029: WordPress and Comedy with Christie Witt

In episode 29 of Women in WP, we talk to Christie Witt, a WordPress designer, developer, and part-time comedian!

Note: This episode was recorded during the very early days of the coronavirus pandemic, prior to the rapid spread across the world.


About Christie Witt:

Christie Witt is the Creative Specialist at Eclipse Foundation. Christie develops the marketing and print materials produced at Eclipse. This includes the production of event signage, tradeshow collateral, presentation templates, e-books, whitepapers, promotional videos, and custom photography.

Christie has over ten years of experience with cross-platform digital design and print design for public and private sectors, as well as non-profit associations. She’s worked on a wide range of projects, including corporate re-brands and web integrations to content management systems.

In her spare time, Christie is a passionate WordPress instructor to Ottawa residents through her start-up – WP Progression. She’s been a member of the WordCamp Ottawa organizing team since 2017, and her passion for WordPress has driven her to speak at WordCamp Toronto, WordCamp Ottawa and the WordPress Ottawa Meetup.

Find Christie Witt: WP Progression | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn


Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
029: WordPress and Comedy with Christie Witt
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Show Notes

 

This episode is sponsored by Malcare. Get a discount on an annual plan by going to malcare.com/womeninwp.

Malcare

Transcript

Amy:
Welcome to Women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog, design, develop and more in the WordPress community.
Angela:
Hi, this is Angela. Before we start the show today, I wanted to welcome our new sponsor, Malcare, a cloud-based high performance WordPress security solution. I’ve been teaching WordPress security for the past 10 years, and one thing that’s always been a challenge, is helping people figure out how they can figure all the insane number of options available with most security plugins. Amy and Tracy, have you experienced that?
Tracy:
Yes. Well, this is the thing. It gets so difficult, and so I open it up and then I don’t use it correctly, so my sites end up being not secure because of that.
Amy:
Oh, well, my sites are secure. But then the one plugin that’s most popular probably, that I’m not going to name, drives me crazy because it sends notifications constantly and false positives.
Angela:
What’s great about the Malcare plugin is, you simply have to install and activate it, and that’s it. There’s no setup needed. And in terms of false positives, it has a very complex algorithm that’s always self-learning to make sure that customers are only alerted if there is actually a problem on the site. It also does all of its malware scanning on an encrypted copy of your site in the cloud. So unlike other security plugins, Malcare is not going to impact the performance of your site. As a result, it’s compatible to use even with hosts who typically don’t allow you to rent any security plugins, which I really like.
Tracy:
Oh, that’s really great. Because now, then you’re not relying on a host for all of that. And definitely speeds it up for sure, yeah.
Angela:
The only part of the Malcare plugin that runs on your site is the firewall.
Amy:
Do you have to configure DNS records?
Angela:
Nope. It’s completely taken care of and you don’t have to run any special DNS.
Amy:
So what about, say you don’t have Malcare and your site gets hacked. Can you go to them to fix it?
Angela:
Having Malcare is like having a private security team taking care of your site 24/7, for a fraction of the cost of similar services. So yes, you can sign up, and as long as you can install the plugin, you can begin using it right away to clean your site.
Tracy:
Yeah, that’s awesome.
Amy:
I am really interested. Can you tell me how much it costs?
Angela:
The cost is $99 for one site, and then there’s discounts when you add more sites to your plan. This includes frequent malware scanning, a firewall, brute-force protection, and OneClick CleanUp. And then you have access to their expert security team.
Amy:
And is there any kind of deal if they use our link? Do they get any kind of special discount or anything?
Angela:
Malcare has given Women in WP listeners, a special URL to use to get 10% off your first year. So for our listeners who might have a hack site or want the peace of mind that your site is really secure, please visit malcare.com/womeninwp. And now, on with the show. Welcome to the show, I’m Angela Bowman.
Tracy:
I’m Tracy Apps.
Amy:
And I’m Amy Masson.
Angela:
Our guest today is Christie Whitt, who is joining us from Ottawa, Canada, where she teaches WordPress to all levels of users and co-organizes the WordCamp Ottawa. She’s a full-time graphic designer and has been using WordPress for over 10 years. In addition to her aesthetic and technical talents, she’s also a standup comedian as a hobby. Welcome to the show.
Christie:
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Angela:
We’re excited to have you, finally. We like to start off each episode by asking our guests about their journey into WordPress and how’d they get started.
Christie:
Yes, definitely. So I’m a graphic designer by trade. I graduated from graphic design at Algonquin College here in Ottawa in about 2010. And at that exact time, websites were transitioning from standard HTML to content management systems. So basically, as soon as I graduated school, everything I had learned became obsolete and I was influxed with nonprofits as their in-house designer, moving and transitioning everything over to WordPress actually, for my first nonprofit that I was working for. And that was just to enable our content specialists to be able to blog and do all these things all the time. So that was really cool learning experience, I guess.
Angela:
Did they provide you training to do that? How did you learn how to use WordPress at that point in time? Did you have books or websites? What were your favorite go-to tools?
Christie:
Yeah, so I mainly looked everything up online. WordPress, as you all know, the community is amazing. There’s a lot of resources online, a lot of knowledge sharing. I think it was still pretty fresh back then, but I was still really resourceful and able to reach out to plugin authors and theme authors and do that kind of thing to evolve my skills. And of course, as soon as I thought I had a grasp on everything, everything would update and change and become more modern.
Amy:
So when you graduated from college with a design degree, were you also building the websites? Because most of the time the designers I know, they were designing in Photoshop and Illustrator, but they weren’t really doing the HTML and the CSS and stuff. That was being handed off to somebody else. Were you doing both of that right out of college?
Christie:
I was. So, in college they tried to teach us all different things, but only in six month increments. So we’d have six month increment of Photoshops, six month of just HTML. And our final exam was build your PSD into HTML in Dreamweaver at that time. So they tried to make us the Jack of all trades, which was also a good learning experience entering the work field realizing, “Oh my gosh, there’s a developer that goes hand in hand with my graphic design skills.” So that was also really neat.
Tracy:
That’s funny because when I was… I was in the graphic design department, but I finished out with just a general art degree because it was just overfilled and I couldn’t get in the classes I needed, and I was already there for six years in college. But I actually got downgraded for trying to do all of the things. And so it’s fascinating to me to hear that it has flipped. I’m glad it has, at least some places, because like you said, they all go hand in hand, and when you get out in the work field and the work, you’re just like, “Oh, there’s all these different pieces and you need to know all of them.” What was your favorite part of all of those pieces?
Christie:
And you’re referring to design versus development and all that?
Tracy:
Design, development, whatever it is. Because I actually… I see a very gray line, a very gray squiggly line between the two. So it could be one and the same, but yeah.
Christie:
Yeah, for sure. I think I found design was good and fulfilling, but what was more fulfilling was being able to take it to the next level and code it or build it in a CMS and see your design come to life, and knowing that you had a big part of that. I definitely see the value now that I’ve been implementing bigger websites and having a developer as a resource for sure.
Amy:
Well, I work with my sister and she’s a graphic designer and so I build the website, so we have the system where she’s doing pretty much all the design and then it comes to me and I’m building the website and what you said, I love watching the design come to life as I’m taking her PSD and building it. But I just don’t have the vision. I can’t picture what it should look like, but once I see it, I can really get in there. And I love that aspect of just seeing it become a reality.
Christie:
For sure.
Tracy:
So where do you get your design inspiration, and what keeps you fresh on the design tips and stuff, trends or whatever?
Christie:
Yeah, so oddly enough, I think a few years ago, Pinterest was a form of inspiration just in general, but I actually enjoy taking a step back from design and trying to seek inspiration in nature or taking a step away from the screen, because you can just get totally bogged down if you’re just staring at that screen, especially nowadays with the remote working culture and everything you just could never leave your house all day. So I guess that’s what inspires me most is being outdoors and just looking at things with a fresh set of eyes when you return to your desk, actually.
Tracy:
It’s funny because I’ve done talks where I advocated for hammocks being a good business purchase for designers because I have made… I take a sketchbook out there and I lay in a hammock and I’m working, and it’s great for balance too. Personal life and professional life balance.
Christie:
Yeah. Very important, for sure.
Amy:
Well and what I’ve never been able to figure out. If I see the design, I can recreate it in Photoshop, but I can’t ever figure out how should it look and where do you start when you’re starting with the design? How do you figure out how it should look?
Christie:
So I usually start with the project briefing with the client and get a good handle on their business and what their goals are. And then from there I will actually wireframe it in a first stage of course, which is mainly just black and white, no images, maybe some iconography. And then from there, once that wire framing step is approved by the client, I use UXPin, so they can interact and add comments, which is really handy. I love it. Especially if you’re working in different time zones too, because overnight they can go and add all their comments. Then next morning you’re on top of all their changes.
And then from there I’ll usually assess their brand guidelines, if they have any. If not, then we have to take a step back and actually create brand guidelines as from a design perspective. And then we established the tone, the message, the color scheme and between the brand guidelines and the end goals that we want the user to take, then I put everything together after the wireframe has been approved, then I’ll slide in images and iconography and things like that.
Tracy:
Do you ever have a client that confuses a wireframe with a design and be like, “I wanted colors and images?”
Christie:
Oh boy.
Tracy:
This has happened to me. This is why I asked.
Christie:
Oh my goodness. I can only imagine actually. So I try to, when I can, present the wireframe and present all that context of, this is just a wireframe, this is just a first step.
Tracy:
Totally done that too. And they’re like, “But I really don’t like that font.” And I’m like…
Christie:
Oh boy, that’s tough. I don’t even know.
Tracy:
Well, good. I’m glad that you haven’t experienced that because it is… I literally, I’m like, “It’ll be different, the design, when the design phase comes.”
Christie:
Yeah. That’s what I like about our industry is there’s all sorts of different challenges and people in different experience levels. And I think it keeps us on our toes and keeps us fresh as well. How can we simplify our explanation of what we’re doing and what the process is for all levels of experience and design, including no experience?
Tracy:
Yeah, exactly. And I think just being a creative, it allows us to be creative about those kinds of things. And I really like that, and communication as well.
Christie:
For sure.
Angela:
You make it sound really easy where, “Oh, we just create a wireframe and then we look at the brand guidelines and then we make the design.” But there’s a lot of magic that’s happening between that wireframe brand guidelines and actually creating the design, because there’s this certain level of creativity and spark. And sometimes I like to call it the page jewelry that happens. There’s the little elements to the page that make it very unique and creative. I guess it’s that creative part. Where do you find… You mentioned nature for the creative inspiration, but I’m like Amy. I just look and I’m like, “Sure, I could create a wireframe, no problem.” I could look at your brand guidelines and have some fonts and colors, but that’s not what makes it ‘wow.’ So where do you feel like you draw your wow from?
Christie:
Yeah, it’s tough to say. I actually try to take a step back and take more of an abstract perspective on things. So, finding an abstract representation of the key message that the brand is trying to portray? So an example is an event that I’m working on right now. I work for Eclipse Foundation. So we’re doing EclipseCon, which is like [inaudible 00:13:55] or WordCamp Europe. So our version of that, and I guess I took a briefing from a marketing manager and the goal was to showcase collaboration and networking. And basically our event is the building blocks of collaboration. And I actually seeked inspiration children’s toys and physical building blocks. And that was almost like, it turned into sacred geometry and geometric patterns and a representation of that. So it was like all of these things from childhood to spiritualism, to an end product that I actually wrote a whole rationale of how this represents the building blocks of the foundation that we want to build with our event. So I guess it’s everywhere. Inspiration’s everywhere.
Tracy:
I love that. Do you always include a rationale with your designs or on larger projects, or do you do it all the time?
Christie:
I think I do, especially for branding, and it can be anything from three sentences to maybe six sentences long. It just depends, but it does help when I’m pitching it. Because sometimes you’re caught off guard trying to justify your design and then I’m like, “Oh, I have these cool talking points, go team Christie.”
Tracy:
Yay, past self.
Christie:
Yes, exactly. So it’s always good to have a backup plan or something, you know.
Amy:
I noticed that in Angela’s intro, she mentioned that you are also a part-time standup comedian. And can you tell us about that and if it also involves WordPress?
Christie:
Yeah. So, I’m trying to think. So it doesn’t involve WordPress currently, I do have a domain, Christiewithcomedy.ca, which is built on the WordPress platform. So in some ways the fact that I’m a designer and web person to benefit me from a comedy marketing perspective for sure. But I would say I perform comedy to reset and take my head off a computer screen and that kind of thing. So it’s a separate world actually.
Amy:
I’m literally loading up Christiewithcomedy.com right right now.
Christie:
Yeah, I can’t remember if.com or.ca [crosstalk 00:16:17]
Amy:
It’s .com, I see your photo right there. So when you’re doing comedy, are you just going to open mic nights? Are you getting paid? I know we’re off the WordPress topic, but I don’t care.
Christie:
Yeah, no that’s okay. So I go to open mics and it’s a combination of paid and unpaid gigs. So a comedy situation in Canada, it’s really tough. You have to spend years and years and years dedicating yourself to really get feature spots. So I’m at amateur level after a year and a half of performing and I perform pretty much four to eight times a month type of thing. And yeah, most shows are pay what you can. So we pass a bucket around and people just… Yeah, it’s really unpredictable how much I’ll get paid.
Angela:
What are the topics for your comedic routine? What do you like to get people laughing about?
Christie:
Yeah, so I it’s a little bit self-deprecating so I like to make fun of myself lot, and some really terrible, but funny dating stories. I’m trying to think of what else, just funny things like, I turned 30 and somehow I broke my nose at the spa. I just fell and I have this funny story of how I had to see a plastic surgeon and all of these super, not safe for work things, I guess, like asking for a boob job and all these funny Christie stories, I guess, adventures in the life of Christie Whitt.
Amy:
Well, you’re not safe for work, so it’s totally cool.
Christie:
Awesome.
Angela:
So you also speak at WordCamps. And do you feel like your ability to get on the stage, make a fool of yourself, helps with WordCamp speaking? And what advice would you have to people who are super nervous about doing their first WordCamp speaking gig?
Christie:
Yeah, so I do find that doing standup comedy has helped me with my comfort zone while speaking at WordCamps, because I don’t have the pressure at a WordCamp to be funny or make people laugh. And I’m just talking about things that I know, which is really cool, although it’s much longer time period. So for comedy, I have six minutes on a stage, and then for ward camp, it’s 45 minutes to an hour and you’re just like, “Oh boy.” So I’m trying to think some words that other club owners have said to me before going on a stage for comedy was like, “Just remember, this doesn’t matter.” Even before a comedy competition, because you’re not getting paid it doesn’t actually matter. This is just your hobby, and it’s just for fun. Not to downplay my passion, but at the end of the day, it is a passion and a hobby.
And I think treating WordCamp speaking that same way, that this is your passion and this is your hobby. And at the end of the day, people know it’s hard to get up there and do your thing, nobody’s going to be rude. It’s just not tolerated as a code of conduct for one thing. So just for people who are about to speak at WordCamps, just remind yourself that this is your passion, you’re chasing something that you are passionate about. And yeah, I don’t know, just go for it. And the more you do it, the more you’ll get comfortable at it. Same as standup comedy, actually.
Amy:
So which makes you more nervous? Speaking at WordCamp or doing standup comedy.
Christie:
Actually standup comedy, because I’m not allowed to bring notes on stage when performing in clubs, versus WordCamps, I can reference my notes on my laptop if I need to when I’m presenting. So that’s a huge difference. If you freeze up, you have a backup plan, but with comedy, not too much of a backup plan, you’re just there.
Tracy:
You’re there and… Yeah. Well, it’s interesting because you say that. And I remember I would go through that when I first started speaking and I was like, oh, I get all nervous. But then I was like, “Wait a minute.” This is what I do for a living. I know this stuff. It’s just a matter of getting up there and saying it, and just being confident. And I was like, “Wait a minute. No, I actually know this.” And yeah, I hear other people they’re like, “Oh, I couldn’t do that.” I was like, “No, you are a master of what you do. You absolutely can just get up there and just talk about that.” You know.
Amy:
It’s harder for some of us than others, Tracy.
Tracy:
Well, but you know your stuff. I know you could just go behind a curtain, and just say.
Amy:
I could do that. I’ve done a talk and I’ve been on a panel, and I was just sweating through my clothes the whole time. And even though I know my stuff and I know what I’m talking about, the speaking to my peers has always been a problem. When I used to be a school teacher and I could stand in front of those kids all day and talk and never had a problem. But you put me in front of people my age that do what I do, and then I just freeze up.
Angela:
Yeah. I did the keynote for WordCamp Denver summer before last, and I felt like I had to be entertaining. Because it’s a keynote, it’s not like you’re talking about a technical topic and explaining something. Like I could do a how to all day long, but that, I just about imploded after that. I did implode a little bit after that. That was painful. And it was almost 50 minutes of having to tell a story. And then the AV and sound, everything cut out at the very end, when it is supposed to be the big dramatic finale. There’s several hundred people in the auditorium, and I just went to the very edge of the stage and I’m like, “Can you hear me?” This is the most important part. I just delivered-
Amy:
That’s when my teacher voice comes in handy.
Angela:
Yes, yes, definitely. But I’m telling you, don’t do a keynote. That’s all I have to say.
Christie:
Yeah, that sounds-
Angela:
Once in a lifetime.
Christie:
Oh my gosh.
Angela:
So you are also a WordCamp organizer?
Christie:
I am. So I co-organized WordCamp Ottawa. I’ve been doing it for about three years now. So we have a pretty solid team. We’re a small team, like six people, and then many volunteers help us in addition to that. But yeah, it’s been really rewarding. Especially last year’s camp, we had so many people just coming up to us saying, “This was so helpful.” Because we also do the WordPress meetups here in Ottawa. And then people were just asking, “How can I learn more after attending meetups.” And we told them at WordCamp. But then I started to see all these familiar faces funneling through the system of knowledge sharing. So that was really cool and rewarding to see that we had impacted people’s lives as something we do on a volunteer basis, you know.
Tracy:
Do you still do work with nonprofits, or do you work in other sectors as well?
Christie:
I mostly just work for nonprofits right now, yeah.
Tracy:
So I’ve done some design for nonprofits and I know that there’s big differences. Any tips because there are a lot of things to keep in mind with nonprofits, anything special that you can give people advice on, that want to do design for nonprofit sector?
Angela:
And also plug-ins that you like.
Tracy:
Oh, there you go too.
Christie:
Yeah. So for nonprofits. I would say definitely establish their budget first and foremost before you start a project, and identify areas where you can save money, like on stock photos and things like that, make some good recommendations for them. And then I always ask for 50% deposit on my quote and things like that, just in case. Not saying anything… Things bad could happen, you never know. And yeah, favorite plugins. I have a lot of favorite free plugins, mostly Contact Form 7, things like that. Trying to think of what else I would recommend.
Angela:
Do you use the give WP donation plugin for the nonprofits? Or how do you handle donations?
Christie:
Yeah, I do usually use donation WP.
Angela:
And in terms of creating that kind of scope of work, some nonprofits are just one employee, and some are many, and they have a real staff. And so do you find that you really have to adjust yourself around the size of the nonprofit? And do you feel like WordPress is the best solution for smaller profits? I’ve had even some pretty medium size nonprofits go to Square or Wix, which has horrified me. And I’m just wondering if you’ve had any of those experiences of maybe WordPress just being expensive to implement for some of them.
Christie:
Yeah. So I still highly recommend WordPress even for nonprofits, because I’ve seen the nonprofits grow to a point where their Wix website isn’t scalable, and it’s just not working. It’s more costly for them to pay someone to maintain a Wix site than it would be for the time to quickly implement those changes in WordPress platform, so.
Tracy:
Yeah, I agree with that. Even, yeah, small businesses, I get a lot or people that are like, “Well, I just want a portfolio for my whatever.” But if they have the chance, if they think that they’re going to grow. Unlike Wix, I’ve had so many people that they started it and they’re like, “It was so easy to start, but now I can’t grow with this. I can’t change it.” And yeah, that’s definitely something I’ve experienced as well with client work.
Christie:
For sure.
Amy:
Well, my issue with platforms like that is that, with the proprietary platforms won’t let you export any of your stuff. So if you have a blog that you’ve been working on for a year, you can’t export that blog and move it to WordPress. It becomes very difficult.
Tracy:
Yeah. I was wondering because someone was like, “I don’t know how you get that data or if you can get that data.” Or it’s just like-
Amy:
Well, they let you import it just fine, but they will not let you export it.
Tracy:
See, that’s what I thought, but I wasn’t sure.
Amy:
It’s like a roach motel you come in, but you can’t get out.
Tracy:
Like those traps.
Angela:
Yeah. And my challenge has been, I would work with these nonprofits and then they’d have some volunteer with say, “Well, I know Wix and I can do Wix.” And they’ll do a whole design, air quotes because the sites don’t look that great. But they say it’s easy and then suddenly they’re off and they’re on Wix because they’ve got a new executive director. This executive director has a friend who’s a designer, who decides to do the design for them. And then suddenly it’s like, “Oh, we’re transitioning to Wix and I didn’t even know what was happening.” And I feel like that’s the hard part with nonprofits, because they’re always looking to cut their budgets and make things simpler. But then they go with the volunteer who knows Wix, or.
Amy:
Oh yeah, that happens with every church website I do. We’ll finish it and launch it and they’ll be like, “Oh we have this church member who knows how to use Square Space, so we’re going to move it there.” And it’s like, “Well why’d you pay me to do it then?”
Tracy:
Yep.
Angela:
But you don’t have this experience, christie. You’re so lucky. Maybe we should come to Canada where the people are just-
Tracy:
How do you find your clients and the people that you work with?
Angela:
So it’s mostly through word of mouth right now. I’ve used this print shop for print design for 10 years. And whenever clients come in asking them to update their websites for them at a printing shop, they refer them over to me. So that’s been really good. I also just have friends that work in IT, and obviously these clients think that the IT person can also do web support in which case-
Tracy:
Oh, you know computers, right? You can do all of these things.
Christie:
Yes, exactly. So it’s oddly, it’s just through my network of friends and connections through my professional life that I get just referrals through word mouth, strictly. I have not done any paid marketing or anything fancy like that.
Tracy:
That’s awesome. Yeah, I’ve had that like, “You’re a web developer? Oh, well my printer I bought the other day.” I was like-
Amy:
Oh yeah, people ask me all the time to fix their computers. I’m like, “I don’t how to fix your computer. I can’t even open outlook. Don’t bring you windows machine to me and asked me to figure out your email.”
Christie:
Oh, man.
Tracy:
Hey, what’s my password.
Amy:
But people do. They think because you’re good at this one part of working with computers, that you know how to do every other thing. And I can figure out my own email, but don’t ask me to figure out yours.
Angela:
So you mentioned in your email to us about the WordPress community feeling very welcoming and supportive, particularly as a woman, but that also that when you’ve attended conferences, you’ve sometimes been the only woman at the table at different things. Can you compare and contrast these different experiences and how it’s impacted you both ways?
Christie:
Yes, definitely. So I would say the community, overall speaking at WordCamps and things like that, I’ve never had any terribly bad experiences or anything like that, but I’m definitely sometimes the only woman at the table in different professional environments. I did some consulting for a little while last year, and I was definitely the only female at the table. And it was, I guess what I didn’t like was that I was told to wear a suit and dress a certain way. I didn’t like that aspect of it, and I get that we have to look professional, things like that, presentable. But I was like, “I just feel like a piece of meat that’s here for people to look at.” So I’ve had just comfortable experiences.
And other than that, I actually find it’s harder to present. Basically before WordCamp, Ottawa, we do the introduction to WordPress for beginners class, just for a few hours, and that’s two days prior to the conference for people who are total newbies, and I was co-teaching at. And I found people were just like, “Oh, you are teaching us?” Because I look so young and it’s an older generation. And then they’re… I think actually it’s harder, not just being a female, but being a younger looking female. I just look 10 years younger than I am. I guess most importantly as a woman in WordPress, what I recommend is, having your… It’s almost a power pitch or a power slide of like, “Oh I have X amount of years of experience, I’ve worked in all of these different industries and hey, here I am.” That way people don’t just look at you like, “Wow, she’s such a young woman just teaching us WordPress right now.” Why is this happening to me? This is what I can get.
Because I guess with comedy, you can read the room when you enter it and then you go and teach WordPress and you read the room because people are like, “You’re teaching us?” They’re verbally saying that, and their eyes are lighting up and you realize, “Oh boy, I have to prove myself and earn the trust of these people.” Kind of thing, which I did. I did a live demo in that intro to WordPress with Gutenberg and the demo surprisingly, no technical glitches happened, which is incredible.
Tracy:
Impressive, yeah.
Christie:
Doesn’t always happen that way.
Angela:
Especially not with Gutenberg.
Christie:
Yeah, exactly.
Tracy:
Anything live demos. It’s like, okay.
Christie:
High risk, yeah.
Tracy:
Very high risk.
Christie:
For sure.
Tracy:
I’ve gotten that, “Oh, well, well, what does she know?” Kind of thing. I like the advice of basically establishing yourself as, “No, I actually do know what I’m talking about.” I really wish that that wasn’t the narrative that we had to, because I’ve seen people that were young or just out of college, and then… So they actually were young, and they entered into the field and they were like, “Oh, will I just do this?” And I was like, “But you actually have a leg up on all the people that have been doing this for a long time, because you have come with this fresh eyes.” I wish that we could also value that and be like, “Yes, I am younger than you, whatever, but I do have this experience and I also have a fresh look at this stuff.”
Christie:
Yeah, exactly. I think there’s something to be said for, even as a recent graduate or something, having this cool internship under your belt or that workplace experience as well as your fresh education and stuff like that. So I highly recommend to even young females to find a mentor who has been in the field for a while, and maybe just get some advice or feedback on their resume pitch portfolio and things like that. That way, it’s all about confidence and how you present yourself, so.
Tracy:
Yeah, it’s really good advice. I agree with that.
Amy:
I think the confidence thing is huge. Whatever you’re talking about if you can speak with confidence, people will believe you, even if you’re lying. So I would tell women in WordPress or anywhere. Whatever you have to talk about, just talk about it with confidence like you really know what you’re talking about, and people will buy it and they’ll respect you
Christie:
For sure.
Angela:
Yeah, and you have 10 years of experience, which is just amazing. And I would think that you’re a prime instructor presenter, that I think we also get hit on the other end because I’m older and I feel like women will be like, “What’s she doing teaching? She’s just so old or this…” You know what I mean? It’s just funny. So I wonder how much of it is male versus female too. As women, we’re either docked because we’re too old or we’re too young, and what’s just right? Do I have just five sweet years that I need to maximize this experience? But yeah, I like that idea of presenting what your experience that you do have. Because that’s pretty significant.
Christie:
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, unfortunately we have to earn people’s trust and prove our worth in that initial introduction of anything we’re doing, but it’s definitely valuable, I guess.
Angela:
Can you tell us a little bit about the WordPress community in Ottawa? Just give us a feel. Like if we were to walk into the meetups, the WordCamps, have you been to any WordCamps outside of Canada, or you’ve been to the Toronto WordCamp, which I’m so interested in going to. So could you tell us a little bit about what the scene is like?
Christie:
Yes, definitely. So I’ll start with the Ottawa scene. So I would say, basically it’s really supportive. It feels like family, and nobody ever undermines anyone or makes anybody feel stupid or less than another for asking anything. So you can come in, ask me anything, it’s pretty cool in that sense. And then same with the WordCamp, Ottawa itself, we have the Happiness Bar and things like that. It’s very warm and welcoming environment. And I find we really just live and breathe our Canadian values of being the most friendliest WordCamp, and we’re so accommodating for our speakers that come in from the States and all that kind of thing. We have a really strong network between the organizers of WordCamp and especially the US, all of those people know each other. And then I would say actually, as far as WordCamp Toronto goes, it was also a really good experience, really welcoming Toronto. They’ll definitely grind your gears a little bit more, ask a lot more questions when you’re doing a talk. So be prepared for that.
I had a 30 minute talk and 30 minutes of questions. The whole room of 30 people, one by one asked me a question. So my backup plan and suggestion for everybody else is, just once it derails like that, just say, I’ll be at the Happiness Bar to answer any questions for you. I was not prepared for that. And then I recently, actually earlier in February, did my first international WordCamp, which was WordCamp Vienna. Actually it was super cool experience. Yeah, so that was 400 attendees. I was actually traveling for another conference in Europe for my work for a [inaudible 00:37:39] foundation. So then I went to Vienna to speak at the conference right beforehand. And so yeah, 400 attendees also very cool welcoming Europeans, take a little bit longer to warm up to you.
It’s actually almost two to three interactions and then they’re like, “Okay, now you’re in. Now you’re one of us.” But that was typical for every activity I did in Europe, not just a WordCamp, it’s just, people have to see your face a few times and then warm up. So that talk was well received as 35 people in the room in Vienna at the university of Vienna as well. It was just the room layout was intimidating. It was a big lecture hall with all the seating and the huge projector scheme, the biggest room I’ve ever presented in, I guess. So that parallels to comedy and that with comedy, you’re more comfortable on stage when you know the room that you’re going to, and you’ve been there before, and you know how the audience is reacting. And then at WordCamp Vienna, I opened the door and I was like, “Wow, this is a huge room. Okay, here we go.” So I guess that was the fun surprise, which it was cool. Everything went well and they didn’t have any technical glitches or anything. It was full headset and all that. So all the volunteers were incredible in making sure I was set up properly. So that was great.
Amy:
Will you be going to WordCamp Europe this year?
Christie:
So, so far I’m holding out, especially everything with the coronavirus, actually I’m holding off on a lot of travel plans, to be honest, right now.
Amy:
Yeah, all of us already have plans to go and be there, and tickets, and Airbnbs. And so who knows what’s going to happen? If they cancel the trip, do I still go and just sight see? I don’t know.
Christie:
Yeah. Yeah, it might be-
Tracy:
We can make our own little conference, but we’ll be in small, so that’s right.
Amy:
I can speak in that situation.
Tracy:
There you go, see?
Angela:
Although I have to say, there will be port wine and green wine?
Amy:
Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah, it’s crazy right now what’s going on with the virus and how many things are being can celled. They just made announcements, I live in a college town, that the college is going to go for two weeks after spring break of online learning. So I guess it’s just one by one everything’s being canceled.
Christie:
Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s even like we’re kicking off our WordCamp Ottawa plans, and it’s definitely for consideration that we might not be able to do a camp this year, depending on how everything goes, so.
Tracy:
The website, isitcanceledyet.com? It’s pretty funny.
Angela:
Yeah, it’s a funny website.
Christie:
I’ll have to check that out.
Angela:
We’ll put it in the show and well [crosstalk 00:40:34] relevant, it will, because this is airing soon.
Amy:
[crosstalk 00:40:39] isitcanceledyet.com?
Angela:
Yeah, isitcanceledyet.com.
Christie:
Yeah, let me check this out.
Angela:
And I’m really sorry that Colorado sent you a case. I really apologize for that. Well, actually we didn’t really send it to you, it was one of your own citizens came to visit Colorado, and we sent her back with the virus. But apparently, it’s not circulating in our community.
Tracy:
Don’t quote us.
Angela:
[crosstalk 00:41:01] poor audible woman has-
Tracy:
Colorado just-
Amy:
I mean it’s everywhere. I mean, I live in a college town. Professors here travel all the time with a huge international population. I mean, even though it’s a small town in Indiana, I fully expect that we’re going to have it here and we’re going to have it soon.
Christie:
Yeah, for sure.
Angela:
So we’ll just spa together on Zoom and have happy hours remotely with all of our women [crosstalk 00:41:25]-
Tracy:
Yeah, we to have a hour soon friends.
Amy:
Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. Before we go, can you tell our listeners where they can find you online?
Christie:
Yeah, definitely. So Christiewithcomedy.ca, and then you can also find me on Instagram, creative Christabel. Yeah, those are my socials.
Amy:
We’d like to give a thank you to mal care for sponsoring this episode. Want to be on the show? Sign up on our website@womenandwp.com. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram and join our Facebook group. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

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