Contributor Spotlight: Jamie Madden

Welcome to another edition of the Training Team’s Contributor Spotlight!
In this series, we introduce one of our many valued contributors and invite you to learn more about their journey.

WordPress contributor Jamie Madden's profile photo

Meet Jamie!

Jamie Madden had been involved in open-source long before WordPress’ first release. He made his first contribution to the Red Hat kernel in 1999. Since then, he’s been contributing to the WordPress documentation, testing, and, of course, Training Team.


“I discovered WordPress when Matt (Mullenweg, WordPress co-founder -R.S.) started posting about it on the B2 Evolution forums. I have been around since the beginning. First, it was for personal projects. By 2006, I was using it professionally with my friend in our small agency, building websites and plugins for niche sites.”

An Australian living in Vietnam with his wife, Jamie has over 25 years of experience in IT in software development, infrastructure, backend server admin, customer support, and more. He also founded a multivendor marketplace pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party for WooCommerce and is now working in the emerging field of AI.

A pack of fish swimming in the sea. Photo by Jamie Madden
This is not a screensaver (photo: Jamie Madden)

Besides software, Jamie is also a passionate scuba diver with technical certifications who is looking to add dive master to the list soon. “If I’m not in the ocean, I’m on a mountain snowboarding,” he says. “I enjoy learning new things, and my current area of interest is languages. I’m studying Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish and dabbling in a couple more.”

What motivated you to start contributing to the open-source project? What drew you to the Training Team?
“I’m passionate about open-source and open standards and have been interested in this since I got involved in IT in the mid-to-late 90s. I have been a tutor, teacher, and trainer on and off over the years, and I find that training is essential when learning to use new open-source tools. It was an opportunity to contribute to the Training Team as a subject expert.”

Jamie also regularly reviews lessons and has been part of the team’s dev-squad since it started. “We hold regular meetings to triage code-related issues on the Learn website. The #meta-learn channel on the Making WordPress Slack is also where other training folks can come to ask developer-related questions.”

When asked about a memorable moment in his journey as a Training Team contributor, he picks a recent one: “I got to co-lead the Training Team Table at this year’s WordCamp Asia with Wes Theron. Meeting so many faces in person and onboarding new contributors has been a highlight.”

Could you share any challenges or obstacles you faced when starting to contribute and how you overcame them?
“The biggest challenge for entry when contributing to any open-source projects—no matter if it’s development, marketing, documentation, or other areas—is documentation. The Training Team Handbook, the Developer Resources, and SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. have been staples in my contributions.”

Jamie Madden underwater, during technical scuba training
Soon to be Dive Master. Jamie underwater

What advice would you give to someone interested in contributing to WordPress?
“Everyone learns differently, so ask questions, be curious, and start building. That’s how you learn WordPress and find where you could contribute most.”

(In)Frequently Asked Questions

Which tutorial changed the way you work with WordPress?
“All the BlockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. Editor tutorials that Wes produces.”

Name three things you must pack for WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more..

  1. My name badge from the last one
  2. A spare bag for swag
  3. Comfortable shoes

If you had all the time in the world, which other open-source project would you contribute to?
“I would go back to contributing to the PostgreSQL team. I used to contribute to the docs team 20 years ago.”


Thank you, Jamie, for all your dedication and contributions to the Training Team and the WordPress Open-Source Project!


Are you interested in contributing to the Training Team?
Check out our Getting Started guide or join the Guide Program for mentorship with an experienced contributor. We’d be happy to have you join us!

#contributor-spotlight

Contributor Spotlight: Cynthia Norman

Welcome to another edition of the Training Team’s Contributor Spotlight! In this series, the Training Team introduces you to one of our many valued contributors, and you can learn more about their contribution journey.

a profile photo of WordPress contributor, Cynthia Norman

Introducing Cynthia!

Today’s featured contributor is Cynthia Norman from Canada! Cynthia is one of the Training team’s Content Creators with expertise in theme development, and she’s also a Faculty team member. Let’s get to know more about her WordPress journey.

All About Cynthia

Cynthia is a family woman–she’s a proud nana of six grandchildren who lives near the beautiful Ontario landscape, where the wilderness is just a little beyond her backyard. She grew up in Quebec and comes from French-Canadian heritage, so no wonder that she’s eloquent in French.

Cynthia and her golden retriever, Mya, playing outside when it snows

With a background in Civil Engineering and French language proficiency, Cynthia has taught computer science, math, and French for many years. That was until 2010, when she decided to switch gears from teaching at high school to web development. She obtained a diploma in Applied Web Development, and now it’s been five years that she has worked as a freelance web developer. 

Outside of WordPress, Cynthia enjoys spending time in nature. “As a self-proclaimed introvert, I am most happy spending time fishing, kayaking, vegetable gardening, and walking with my golden retriever, Mya,” she says.

She also cherishes the time when she’s with her own family and her church family. “As grandparents, my husband and I are never short on family gatherings around birthday celebrations and holidays!” The great outdoors, a nice dose of solitude, and fun times with loved ones–now that’s what you call ‘joie de vivre’!

Cynthia’s WordPress Journey

When she was still studying web development, Cynthia did volunteer work for her church–she helped create a website for them. It was the first time she developed a website, and she used HTMLHTML HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a markup language that is used in the development of web pages and websites. and CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site. to build it. Soon after, she built her first WordPress website professionally, and she’s been hooked to this CMS ever since.

Over the years, she has built and maintained hundreds of WordPress sites as a freelancer for her own clients and as a contractor with WordPress agencies.

As time went by, Cynthia’s eagerness to stay current led her to start contributing to WordPress’s open-source project. “I felt contributing to the WordPress project would tick all the boxes for my desire to grow professionally,” she explains. “I was a WordPress Contributor Mentorship program mentee in July 2023. I chose to join the Training Team as this is where I felt most comfortable, given my background and experience in education.”

Her first significant contribution was updating the BlockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. Theme developer course created by Jonathan Bossenger on Learn WordPress. “Working collaboratively with WordPress educators has been so rewarding, and exactly what I needed to complement my freelance work,” Cynthia affirms.

Powered by her experience in creating many WordPress sites and hundreds of WordPress tutorials, Cynthia also decided to extend her passion for knowledge-sharing by launching a WordPress Tutorials YouTube channel, WP SOS Hub, in 2023. There, she created videos about her experience with WordPress-related topics such as themes, plugins, and full-site editing, aiming to inspire people to have a beautiful and SEO-optimized website that will convert visitors into customers.

Overcoming Challenges 

For Cynthia, the most challenging part of contributing has been figuring out how much time to set aside on a consistent basis. She shares her trick: “My efforts to contribute at least 2 hours daily have helped me grow into my current role as a Faculty Member of the Training Team.”Moreover, Cynthia acknowledges that the Training team’s onboarding process and handbook are excellent resources to guide contributors along their journey. In the Training team, there are multiple onboarding paths for multiple contributing roles, so new contributors can choose any path they like.

Memorable WordPress Moments

Cynthia joined the pilot program of WordPress Contributor Mentorship in 2023, and completing it has been the highlight of her WordPress journey. “The mentorship program was what I needed to gain insights into what contributing to the WordPress project meant to begin with. My mentor, Jenni McKinnon, made me feel supported throughout the program. We had a little one-on-one time which was so appreciated,” she reminisces.

The Contributor Mentorship Program itself is a cohort-based and 1:1 mentorship to new and aspiring contributors. The program is intended as a pathway to help new contributors find their way into WordPress contributions. The second cohort of the program is currently running, starting from February 19, 2024.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started with contributing to WordPress?

“Choose to work on one thing you feel drawn towards, and try hard to avoid getting distracted by all the different directions your contributions can take you. You may get discouraged and give up if you don’t feel a connection with anyone. From my experience so far, I have found it best to slowly build things so that I can gain confidence in one area before moving on to the next thing.”

Thank you, Cynthia, for all your dedication and contributions to the Training Team and to the WordPress Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. Project!

If you are interested in getting started with contributing to the Training Team, please check out our Getting Started guide and/or join the Guide Program to be mentored by an experienced contributor. We’d be happy to have you join us!

#contributor-spotlight

Contributor Spotlight: Oneal Rosero

Welcome to another edition of the Training Team’s Contributor Spotlight!
In this series, we introduce one of our many valued contributors and invite you to learn more about their journey.

Meet Oneal!

Today’s featured contributor is Oneal Rosero!
Based in the Philippines, Oneal volunteers as a WordPress Training Team Faculty Admin and WordPress Community Program Support.

He also serves as a co-facilitator of the #WPDiversity workshops and assists the DEIB working group.

Training Team contributor Oneal Rosero dressed as a Star Wars Stormtrooper

In what is quickly becoming a tradition, in recent months, Oneal has been busy helping organize WordCamp Asia 2024, just like he did in the 2023 edition.

When not contributing to the community, Oneal works as a Project Manager, Agile Coach, and IT Instructor. He also manages WordPress sites for family members, non-profit groups, and charity organizations.

May the Force be with you

Oneal is a big Star Wars fan. Actually, that’s what led him to WordPress in 2007: he volunteered to build a website for a global fan club.

How did you discover WordPress, and why did you start using it for your projects?
“I used Drupal to build a website for my costuming group but found WordPress easier for non-technical users, with more community support. It was also better supported by developers in the community.”

After migrating the first site, Oneal continued using WordPress to build websites, blogs, and community membership sites for family members, small businesses, and other charity and community organizations.

His passion for George Lucas’ epic series still burns: Oneal spends his weekends building and wearing Star Wars-themed costumes for charity events, fundraisers, and children’s hospital visits.

Training for the Training Team

Oneal’s online journey has often involved training. In the 1990s, he ran an internet cafe, teaching people how to use the internet, join chatrooms, and play and run LAN games. Then, he trained co-workers on doing customer support over the phone, Skype, and IRC.

Eventually, he joined one of the biggest logistics companies in the Philippines as an IT Learning and Development Specialist, training thousands of people each year. 

What motivated you to go beyond using WordPress and start contributing to the open-source project? What drew you to the Training Team?
“I discovered the global WordPress community during the pandemic. I had been using WordPress since 2007, but my work hours prevented me from getting involved in the local WordPress community. The lockdowns in 2020 left me with free time to join the Training Team meetings. Then, Courtney Robertson asked me to run one of the Team’s online meetings.”

Oneal also helped Jill Binder organize the #WPDiversity workshops. He’s run events in the Philippines, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, India, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Switzerland, and helped Jill run workshops in South America. 

In July 2022, Oneal was invited to join the Training Team faculty as an Administrator, where he currently helps vetting Training Team online workshop facilitator and training presenter applications. 

He is also on the WordPress Community Program Support Team, helping vet WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. and MeetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. applications.

What was your first contribution, and how did seeing your work reach so many people feel?
“I helped run online meetings, edited meeting notes, and supported team members running online workshops. It made me feel like I’m part of the community of contributors. The WordPress community is not only made up of developers or coders—there are many avenues of contribution where anyone could make a difference.”

Could you share any challenges or obstacles you faced when starting to contribute and how you overcame them?
“Time zones are a big challenge. I’m based in the Philippines (APAC timezone), and many meetings I helped run were usually in the US or UK timezone. l had to be awake at 1 am to join; eventually, the Training Team shifted to a two-meeting arrangement, accommodating contributors across the globe.

Another challenge is the cost of attending WordCamps and Meetups. “In the US and Europe, you can drive to an event. If you want to attend a WordCamp in Asia, you have to fly, which not only costs money but also means taking time off from work.”

Nonetheless, when Oneal heard about WordCamp Asia 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand, he decided that this had to be the first WordCamp he would attend in person. “I applied as an organizer, and for almost a year, 50 of us took time out of our week for meetings and prepared a flagship WordCamp in another country.”

Were there any specific resources that helped you along your journey as a contributor?
“A great resource in WordPress is the vast amount of content created by the Training Team. There are workshops and videos on every aspect of WordPress, and many are translated into multiple languages for broader reach.

But the best resource is the people in the community. There are people who will guide you and those who will bend over backward to help you, and there are those who will sit and listen to you. They are the greatest assets, and why many of us still contribute.”

Can you share any memorable moments or achievements while contributing to WordPress?
“One of the most satisfying times was when I was asked to contribute to an online workshop, discussing how the Training Team Faculty admin performs the vetting process for content contributors and how to ensure they comply with the GPLGPL GPL is an acronym for GNU Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing https://wordpress.org/about/license/. The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ license https://www.gnu.org/licenses/copyleft.en.html. This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples..”

What advice would you give someone who wants to start contributing to WordPress?
“Jump in! Just join any team you feel you can contribute. Everyone is friendly and willing to help. There is always something to do, and there are many areas where you can make a difference. The community is dynamic and always moving, and people are welcoming and encouraging.

WordPress is not just software, code, ones, and zeros. WordPress is people. WordPress is a community. That is what makes WordPress stronger and keeps people coming back.”

Thank you, Oneal, for all your dedication and contributions to the Training Team and the WordPress Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. Project!


Are you interested in contributing to the Training Team?
Check out our Getting Started guide or join the Guide Program for mentorship with an experienced contributor. We’d be happy to have you join us!

#contributor-spotlight

Contributor Spotlight: Tracy Rhodes

Welcome to another edition of the Training Team’s Contributor Spotlight! In this series, the Training Team introduces you to one of our many valued contributors, and you can learn more about their contribution journey.

Introducing Tracy!

Today’s featured contributor is Tracy Rhodes! Tracy is a Faculty Member with the Training Team, contributing as an Administrator, Content Creator, Editor, and Subject Matter Expert.

Tracy’s Background

Tracy brings a unique perspective to the WordPress Training Team! He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and served 20 years in the USAF as a pilot and Aeronautical Engineer. After retiring from the Air Force, Tracy was a pilot for Northwest Airlines (and Delta Airlines after the merger) for a total of 22 years.

Merrill and Renny on a mountain hike. Renny is 'flat dog' waiting for someone to make the pine cone move.

Tracy has always enjoyed technical subjects. He earned a BS degree in Engineering Sciences and an MS in Aeronautical Engineering. His early programming experiences were using Fortran (and punch cards), then around 1985 he bought his first computer—a Zenith 100 desktop—and taught himself Basic/Visual Basic. 

When not in the WordPress world, Tracy is immersed in the world of aviation. He owns a small 2-seat airplane that he flies and maintains. He is also the president of the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association and volunteers as a FAA Safety Team Lead Representative with the Reno FAA Flight Standards District Office. He and his wife also take care of their two dogs, a Border Collie and an Australian Shepherd.

WordPress Origin Story

Tracy’s journey with WordPress began during a challenging period in the aviation industry around 2005. As major airlines declared bankruptcy and renegotiated employee contracts, Tracy experienced a significant reduction in salary and potential retirement income. In an effort to regenerate some of that loss, he and his wife decided to start a business focused on selling homemade dog toys at events and through an ecommerce store.

This new venture required Tracy to acquire skills in ecommerce development, and SEO/marketing. He started out studying PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php., HTMLHTML HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a markup language that is used in the development of web pages and websites., CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site., and MySQLMySQL MySQL is a relational database management system. A database is a structured collection of data where content, configuration and other options are stored. https://www.mysql.com/. databases. He pursued online courses, consumed programming manuals, and attended programming and marketing conferences.

It wasn’t long before Tracy discovered WordPress as a CMS that simplified website creation. This discovery marked a turning point in his trajectory. Upon retiring from airline flying, Tracy established his own single-member LLC and began creating WordPress websites for clients.

First Contributions

Tracy’s enjoyment of teaching played a big role in his decision to contribute to the Training Team. With his background as a flight instructor, Tracy has been giving civilian flight instruction since 1972, making teaching a natural inclination for him.

Inspired by his experience at the Reno-Tahoe WordCamps in 2011 and 2012, Tracy, along with a few others, started up the Reno WordPress meetup. Soon after, he started leading discussions within the group then became a co-organizer for the 2013 Reno-Tahoe WordCamp.

For Tracy, joining the Training Team was a logical continuation of his participation in promoting and teaching WordPress to new users. His first contribution was part of the Training Team’s onboarding process, engaging in a content review for a Tutorial. Tracy found the process to be very rewarding, as his comments and suggestions were received well and appreciated by the Tutorial creator.

“It felt great to be a contributing part of the team and to be able to help out, even a little bit.

Overcoming Challenges

When he began contributing, Tracy struggled to find a clear path to becoming a better contributor. Having come from regulated industries with clear paths to success, he found it frustrating to not have clearly outlined steps on how to progress with the Training Team. However, this challenge was greatly mitigated by the efforts of the team in the past year.

“This first challenge has been largely taken care of with the tremendous changes this year that can be found in the Training Team Handbook. Thank you to all who have contributed to that effort.”

Tracy also encountered challenges in determining his level of participation. As a self-taught programmer in WordPress languages and without prior experience working in a website agency, he wasn’t familiar with aspects such as pull requests and code development as part of a team. Due to this, Tracy had to dedicate lots of time and effort to research and catch up in this area. Yet, even when he became a training team faculty member with the ability to carry out significant tasks within the Training Team systems, he initially hesitated.

“At first I was very reluctant to participate because even though I had the ability to do things I wasn’t sure if I really should.  Discussions with and questions to @courtneypk, my self-designated ‘faculty mentor’ have helped me through this challenge. Many thanks for the guidance, Courtney.”

The Rewards of Contribution

Conducting WordPress Meetups, where Tracy had the opportunity to assist new users in solving the problems they have been facing has been rewarding for him.

Additionally, witnessing the success of WordCamps has also been rewarding. Seeing the tickets sell out and the event come together is satisfying, as it shows the valuable impact and interest that the WordPress community generates.

Tracy also enjoys helping presenters and developers with Online Workshops. The appreciation expressed by attendees through their comments and words of thanks is a great feeling, and serves as a reminder of the positive impact that the team’s contributions make within the WordPress community.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started with contributing to WordPress?

“The WordPress Training Team is an international volunteer organization and as with any volunteer organization, what you get out of the organization is directly related to what you put into the organization.

If you really want to know what WordPress and the WordPress project is all about then become part of the project by participating in one of the many teams that make up the project.

Are you new to WordPress and don’t feel you have anything that you can contribute? You are wrong. There are many things just on the training team that you can accomplish as a new user. Take a look at the Training Team Handbook and get started with your training team onboarding process today.”

Thank you Tracy, for sharing about yourself, your contribution journey, and advice with us! The Training Team appreciates all your contributions and your dedication to the WordPress Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. Project.

If you are interested in getting started with contributing to the Training Team, please check out our Getting Started guide and/or join the Guide Program to be mentored by an experienced contributor. We’d be happy to have you join us!

#contributor-spotlight

Contributor Spotlight: Nadia Maya Ardiani

Welcome to another edition of the Training Team’s Contributor Spotlight! In this series, the Training Team introduces you to one of our many valued contributors, and you can learn more about their contribution journey.

Profile photo of Maya.

Introducing Maya!

Today’s featured contributor is Nadia Maya Ardiani from Indonesia! Maya is a Content Translator for the Indonesian locale, an Indonesian Translation Coordinator, a Faculty team member, and is also currently trying out being a Content Creator!

All about Maya

Maya’s educational background is in English literature, and she began her career as a journalist. Starting from radio, Maya explored many mediums, including magazines and websites. She specialized in music, culture, and regional news, as well as feature writings on people and places. Maya’s fascination for media and communication brought her to various related avenues: media relations specialist, publicist, and public diplomacy officer for a foreign government representative. 

However, everything changed when the pandemic hit — Maya had to find another arena that was more flexible in regards to place and time, and that was when she became a content writer in the tech industry. This was the time when Maya learned in-depth about WordPress because she had to write about it. It was quite a pivot, but a step that she is grateful she took.

Maya is currently a content specialist with Hostinger, and interviews people — from Hostinger’s clients to WordPress community members — and writes articles about their expertise and inspiring stories. She also works on social media to boost the performance of their website content.

Outside of WordPress, Maya loves going to live music. She also loves spending time with her friends, reading, experimenting with recipes, watching movies, and exploring the internet for her daily dose of memes.

Maya’s WordPress Journey

Maya has always been drawn to the Internet and its culture, as well as the people who create and use it. She first discovered WordPress during her school years and was struck by its sophistication, even though it didn’t visually captivate her at the time.

Years later, Maya’s job as a tech content writer required her to have a deep understanding of WordPress. She was surprised to find that WordPress had grown significantly, offering exciting customizations and becoming easier to understand. She started exploring WordPress more, attending her first WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. and contributor dayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of https://make.wordpress.org/ There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. https://2017.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/ https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/getting-started/getting-started-at-a-contributor-day/.. It was during these experiences that Maya fell in love with the WordPress community, where everyone learns and supports each other.

Maya’s commitment to the WordPress community solidified when she volunteered as an interviewer at WordCamp Asia 2023. Being a part of something that makes the internet more accessible to everyone motivated her even further.

“It’s just so lovely to be involved in something that makes the internet more accessible for everyone.”

First Contributions

Maya’s journey as a contributor to WordPress began with her first contribution to the Polyglots teamPolyglots Team Polyglots Team is a group of multilingual translators who work on translating plugins, themes, documentation, and front-facing marketing copy. https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/.. While she doesn’t recall the specifics, she remembers working on some strings related to the current release towards the end of 2022. 

With the Training team, Maya made her initial contribution by creating a lesson plan and translating a tutorial. To her surprise and delight, she received news that the tutorial she translated was the first-ever Indonesian translation within the Training team—something she found truly awesome!

Overcoming Challenges

When Maya first began contributing to WordPress, she faced a common challenge—the feeling of knowing very little and wondering if she truly belonged on the Training team. There were moments when she questioned if she deserved to be a part of a team dedicated to helping others learn about the platform. However, Maya discovered a supportive and helpful community within the Training team.

“Everyone is a work in progress, and we’re never alone in the process, so as long as we’re willing to learn, we can learn together with everyone.”

Memorable WordPress Moments

Being welcomed into such a diverse community, even in places where Maya may not see many people who looked like her, has been a great source of joy. One significant moment was when she interviewed Michelle Frechette, who told Maya that it’s important to show up and start doing something even when you feel like you’re one of the minorities, because you might open the door for others who relate to your experience. This conversation inspired Maya and served as a reminder that her participation could create opportunities for others like her. Seeing fellow POC hijabi women participating at WordCamp US 2023 reaffirmed the idea that there is a place for her at the table. This heartwarming encounter boosted her confidence and conviction more than any inclusivity campaign had.

Maya also had incredible experiences at her first local WordCamp and her flagship WordCamp. The local event allowed her to dive into the intricacies of the project, while the flagship event provided her with a whole new scale of WordPress contributor experiences. These experiences fostered a sense of camaraderie with her fellow contributors, and Maya will always cherish those moments.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started with contributing to WordPress?

“You don’t have to be an expert to begin contributing. Start with what you have and improve at your own pace can always be a good idea. In the WordPress community, everyone has each other’s back, so don’t be afraid to ask, even though it might feel like a stupid question (it’s totally fine, everyone’s a newbie at some point in life).”

Thank you, Maya, for all your dedication and contributions to the Training Team and to the WordPress Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. Project!

If you are interested in getting started with contributing to the Training Team, please check out our Getting Started guide and/or join the Guide Program to be mentored by an experienced contributor. We’d be happy to have you join us!

#contributor-spotlight

Contributor Spotlight: Laura Adamonis

Welcome to a new series, called the Contributor Spotlight! In this series, the Training Team introduces you to one of our many valued contributors, and you can learn more about their contribution journey.

Profile photo of Laura Adamonis

Introducing Laura!

Our first featured contributor is Laura Adamonis! Laura is a Content Creator with the Training Team, a volunteer working with the Faculty program, and our newest Team Rep for 2024!  She is also part of the start-up DEIB team and has contributed to the Photo and CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. teams.

Laura’s Background

Before finding WordPress, Laura’s background took several different turns. She has a degree in set & lighting design, worked in a department store, and a visual merchandiser setting up displays and Christmas. “​​I thought about being an interior designer or architect because when I was little I always loved rearranging my room,” she adds.

Laura started her journey as an educator when she became a Montessori teacher for 6-9 year olds and taught for several years. She did several years of volunteer work from coaching, to library helper, to mentoring. She then went back to teaching at the local science center and became the robotics coordinator in charge of LEGO classes, engineering, robotics, and coding for kids.

Laura started her own website design business, Add A Little Digital Services, last year.

Outside of WordPress, Laura loves spending time with her family, scrapbooking, baking, gardening, and exploring new places. 

Laura’s WordPress Journey

“I like using WordPress for the ease and that 40% if not more of the world’s websites use it.”

When Laura discovered WordPress, her job at the time required her to work weekends and she was at a point where she wanted to have the flexibility to pick up and do things, so she quit her job. She was just taking time to do some projects around the house when she was scrolling through social media and found a woman-owned website coding course that focused on WordPress.

Discovering Contribution

Laura’s motivation to go beyond using WordPress was a two-fold decision:

“I had impostor syndrome and felt I didn’t know enough to call myself a designer. I was taking all the workshops and watching tutorials to learn more to build my confidence. The second part is as an educator I want to help others learn and understand. We all learn in different ways and I have a good sense of the different learning styles to help others. That is what drew me to the training team.”

Laura’s first contribution was as a co-host for an Online Workshop:

After co-hosting I felt amazing. The fact that I was co-hosting for someone on the other side of the world and that people from all over were attending.” 

Overcoming Challenges

“Last year when I decided to contribute I also decided to not contribute. Finding information about how to do things was impossible for me to find or I would find it then spend hours trying to find it again. I overcame this by setting a goal and started bugging people, asking questions. I wrote out the steps I needed to do, I created folders in my browser so I could find pages more easily. The Training team has done a great job in the past year to update the handbook and document the steps to take in order to do different things. You might even see my name or face within those documents. I love that I am able to contribute as I navigate through the different processes.

The Training team has been focused more on improving the handbook and creating tutorials and workshops to show the steps on how to contribute. This has been very beneficial.” 

Memorable WordPress Moments

  • Publishing my first tutorial has been very exciting.
  • Going to my first WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more..
  • Most of all, being a part of a special community where we learn together and help each other.. 

Check out Laura’s latest tutorial, “How to create a menu with the navigation block”. Laura was also co-lead of the Training Team’s table at WordCamp US 2023 Contributor Day!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started with contributing to WordPress?

  • DO ask questions. There is this awesome community called WordPress just waiting to answer your question. 
  • Be alright with not getting it right.  A great way to learn is from our mistakes. Own them. Let them make you confident. 

Thank you Laura, for all your dedication and contributions to the Training Team and to the WordPress Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. Project!

If you are interested in getting started with contributing to the Training Team, please check out our Getting Started guide and/or join the Guide Program to be mentored by an experienced contributor. We’d be happy to have you join us!

#contributor-spotlight