A Vibrant Day of Contribution and Connection at WordCamp Europe 2023

As the sun set on Athens, marking the end of an exciting Contributor Day at WordCamp Europe 2023, I found myself reflecting on the day’s events with a heart full of gratitude and a mind buzzing with ideas.

A big shoutout to Taco from Yoast. Thanks to the #YoastDiversityFund, I was able to afford the travel & stay!

One of the first things that struck me was the atmosphere. The room was electric, buzzing with the ‘just do it’ attitude and the desire to make an impact. I was thrilled to see so many people attending – some old friends, others new faces, all united by our passion for WordPress.

One of the highlights of the day was finally meeting Michelle Frechette in person. Our friendship, which had previously existed only online, was brought to life in a much-anticipated meeting. It felt like meeting an old friend, and it was an incredible experience.

Photo of Michelle Frechette and Birgit Olzem
Photo of Michelle Frechette and Birgit Olzem – Photo credits: Carole Olinger

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My conversation with Hari Shanker was another standout moment. We discussed the mentorship program, and Hari shared that Matt Mullenweg was so impressed by my #WP20 story that he not only commented on my post but also shared it internally with colleagues. After contributing to WordPress for over a decade, mostly in the background and seen only by the local community, it feels wonderful to be recognized.

I was also deeply impressed by the vibrant discussion around diversity, equality, and inclusion. The sub-group of the make/WordPress community team, led by Junko Nukaga and Shusei Toda, took a thoughtful approach to the issues. We didn’t find solutions immediately, but we identified many areas where the WordPress community can improve its efforts for DEIBDEIB DEIB stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging..

In a productive meeting with Jessica Lyschik, the WordCamp lead, we sat down with our Global WordCamp Deputy to review our budget for the upcoming WordCamp Germany. I’m delighted to be co-organizing a local WordCamp in Germany for the first time, and I’m thrilled to be taking on the role of local lead.

However, the day wasn’t without its challenges. I was disappointed with the lunch situation. The lack of a seating area for disabled people, like myself, or people who prefer to consume their meal at a table was a letdown. I’ve informed the organizer team about this issue, and I’m hopeful that they’ll find a better solution for the event days ahead.

Regrettably, due to health issues, I had to miss the social dinner for organizers, speakers, and volunteers. Managing my energy levels in the face of recent hip replacement surgeries, ongoing chronic ME/CFS, and Long-Covid related short breath and high pulse condition has been challenging. But, I was surrounded by very supportive people who ensured I was comfortable, for which I am deeply grateful.

Looking ahead, I’m excited about the panel discussion I’ll be hosting on Saturday, “Contributing to WordPress Without Knowing How to Code.” I invite you all to join us – either in person in Athens or via the livestream. Let’s continue this journey of learning and contributing together.

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