042: On being a woman of color in WordPress with Brittney Oddo


About Brittney Oddo:

Brittney Oddo runs According to Brittney, award-winning content and social media agency based in Cleveland, Ohio. As a strategist, she specializes in helping entrepreneurs create consistent, lead-generating content. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, her cat, and playing the Sims!

Find Brittney Oddo: According to Brittney | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
042: On being a woman of color in WordPress with Brittney Oddo
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Show Notes

Speaker 1:

Welcome to women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog, design, develop, and more in the WordPress community.

Angela Bowman:

Hi, welcome to Women in WP. I’m Angela Bowman. We are happy to have Allie Nimmons with WP Buffs co-hosting with me and Tracy today.

Allie Nimmons:

Hi everybody! Happy to be here.

Angela Bowman:

Our guest today is Brittney Oddo. Brittney runs According to Brittney, an award winning content and social media agency based in Cleveland, Ohio. As a strategist, she specializes in helping entrepreneurs create consistent leading generating content. Welcome Brittney.

Brittney Oddo:

Hi! Thanks for having me, and my cat, Luna.

Angela Bowman:

Yes, Brittney’s cat, for those of you who are not watching right now, is very much in the frame.

Brittney Oddo:

Right. [crosstalk 00:00:58]

Angela Bowman:

Turn off the sound.

Allie Nimmons:

Turn it off, go to YouTube, come see a cat.

Angela Bowman:

Yes, she looks like the most fluffy and just comforting cat that we could all use right now.

Allie Nimmons:

She’s just like, “Oh, I’m being interviewed?”

Angela Bowman:

Yeah, it’s all about her. We like to start off each episode asking our guests how they got into WordPress. How did you get started?

Brittney Oddo:

Yay. So I got started, actually when I graduated from college in 2015, one of the things they told students who graduated in communications to further your career was to do some writing. So I was told to start a blog, do blogging, so I was like, “Okay, cool, I’ll start a blog,” and I just kind of did a lot of research. I’m a researcher, so I spent way too much time researching how to start a blog, what to do with a blog, and all this kind of stuff and one day I was just like, “Eff it, let me just start the blog,” and I literally just went that day, I just decided, I was like, “[inaudible 00:02:11], I don’t want to think about it anymore, it’s done.” So that’s what I did. I went to WordPress and I just went registered According to Brittney and I just got started writing.

Allie Nimmons:

That is such a quintessential, already gold wisdom. How many people are like, “I’ve been planning this thing, I’ve been researching this thing, I’ve been thinking about, think about it.” Eff it, just do it. Just do it and you’ll be fine. You’ll figure it out. That is amazing. I love that that was your story.

Brittney Oddo:

Yes. I was like, “I can’t do anymore research, I’ve learned enough. Now it’s just time to do.”

Allie Nimmons:

There you go.

Tracy Apps:

That’s the best way to do it. That’s how I started web development. I was like, “I don’t have anything tomorrow, I can just stay up all night and work on this thing.” So did you start with your agency right away out of college, or did you have other thing between now and then?

Brittney Oddo:

No, so I started off just a personal blog. I kind of started off with, the theme was more personal, just my goal was to teach other young women who are in college or leaving college what to do and how to navigate the real world, so I just talked about my experiences, like how I sent applications to get the jobs I wanted and things like that. Just kind of talked about my day to day and then as that started kind of growing, and I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and be an entrepreneur. I’d took an entrepreneurship minor in college.

Brittney Oddo:

So that always was my goal was to one day start a business, and I didn’t really think the blog would turn into at business, and that’s what it has the name According to Brittney, because my blog just kind of transformed into my business. So I started off just blogging, and then I was like, “I want to start a business, that’s kind of where I want to go with this,” so sorry [crosstalk 00:04:12]

Allie Nimmons:

Cat in the background.

Brittney Oddo:

I’m not getting enough attention up here, let me go back here and try to get some. But yeah, so I was like, “I know that I want to start a business, and I know that I really love writing, and I know that writing is something that I want to do for my career,” so then I just kind of started pivoting and my content sort of changed from just personal career stuff to more marketing and marketing tips, and then I started offering services and it kind of just grew from there.

Angela Bowman:

What kind of businesses do you work with? Who’s your clientele, and what specifically, what kind of services do you offer to them?

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, so I do social media management, and consulting as well as content and some copywriting as well, and I work with a lot of different businesses, but I mainly, my main focus, or my main clients I attract are normally coaches, like business coaches or health coaches, or people who teach other people and they really rely on having a heavy social media presence, so they kind of outsource that to me so they can spend more time with their clients.

Brittney Oddo:

So yeah, I’ll take over their accounts and write the content for them, and keep their social media pages up to date for them, and then I’ll also do blog writing and emails and writing for websites and things like that, but my main focus is social media.

Tracy Apps:

So did you get… Is it word of mouth? Did you advertise? How did you start getting your clients?

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, I started with Facebook groups, that was my biggest thing. I started with just joining a bunch of Facebook… That’s how I really started with blogging was, I didn’t know much, so I just joined all kinds of different blogging groups, and then I started joining business groups and I would just talk in there and meet people and post about my services, or post content that I wrote, and then that would bring people in. And then eventually I ended up starting my own Facebook group and then I started bringing people in there, and then that was my own space to talk about my services and my business, and excuse me, that really helped me kind of get started and getting people in the door of my business.

Allie Nimmons:

Was it just you, or did you begin hiring other employees to expand the business with you, or is it just you?

Brittney Oddo:

Right now it’s just me, but I definitely am thinking towards that next step of, I have some contractors on my team that I hire out for different things. I have an editor on my team, things like that, but I definitely, I think in the next couple of years, I’m going to start building up from just me to really that agency where it’s more than one writer, and I really want to train other people and teach them how to do social media, and teach other, especially young women, how to do it and how to… You know, transfer some of my skills onto them and help them grow their careers because I know for me it was… I know how it was coming up in this industry of figuring yourself out and not really knowing what the heck you’re doing, and just kind of falling into it, so I want to kind help other women get direction.

Tracy Apps:

That’s really great, I love it. Was this, when you were in school, was this kind of what you were imagining your business that you would do, or did this just kind of take its own life?

Brittney Oddo:

It wasn’t actually, and I kind of pivoted in school because I didn’t really know that social media was a job that people do, so I didn’t really have a job that would be what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do, actually, my big idea when I was in my entrepreneurship classes was that I wanted to start a magazine for women around body positivity, and that was my whole thing. I wanted to teach it and talk about it and feature women of all sizes and be a really inclusive magazine.

Brittney Oddo:

So that was my thing because I’ve always loved writing. That’s always been the thing I was always… Whatever my career is, it has to involve writing, so my first idea was a magazine. I don’t remember what made me shift from that. I think, I want to say that it was partly there was a job offering at my school for a social media manager for my school, so I applied for it and I think that really kind jogged me, “Oh, I can do this as a job. People do this type of work and get paid to do it,” so that’s where it was. I didn’t end up getting the job, but it at least sparked, I did interview and it sparked my career and now I do it all the time.

Tracy Apps:

I love it. You really, it’s the same vein of things, you are empowering women to really be successful in their own skin, which is really kind of cool to see. Especially when it comes to social media. I am on social media a lot, but I do it socially and I don’t know how to… I’m not good at doing the business side of things, or whatever, but when I have clients that’ll ask me, they’re like, “Oh, do I need to be on all of these networks?” How do you keep up with which networks and what’s the new technology, and how should I… How do you keep on top of such a changing market right now?

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, a lot of it for me is a strategy. I develop a strategy for all my clients where we really dive deep in who their clients are, who their trying to attract, what their messaging is, and that’s the biggest piece that we really focus on in the beginning. And then, we kind of, just like any marketing, we just do a lot of testing. We write content, see what works, we try to replicate things that do well, and try to figure out what their audience really relates to, and a lot of it too is just understanding who they are and who they want to attract. Not just who they want to attract, but also who they are, and being able to show up authentically as themselves and feel confident and feel empowered to share their message. That’s my big thing for my clients. I always want them to feel like they can share… There’s always, not a weird thing, but I’m not a business coach or anything, but sometimes I am coaching my clients because they’re always, they get nervous about sharing certain things, or they feel…

Brittney Oddo:

Like for example, I had one client, and I would write expert in her content, and she’d be like, “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t want to call myself an expert, I don’t want to say I’m that person,” and I was like, at first I was like, “Okay, we don’t have to say it at first, but I’m just saying, you kind of are.” And then eventually after a while, she’s like, “You know what? I am an expert, we should put that in my content.” I was like, “Yes!” So I love that, being able to be your authentic self and I think that’s kind of a big part of social media and how to do it effectively, being yourself and just showing up as you are and really owning who you are and what you do in your message.

Angela Bowman:

It is so amazing. Do you find that social media is a big thing, there’s a lot of platforms, and do you find that your clients really need to focus on maybe just a couple of them or how do you advise them on where to put their energy?

Tracy Apps:

Are they like, “New shiny things!” Right?

Brittney Oddo:

Absolutely. Especially for people who are small businesses. A lot of times it’s only us, or it’s only us and a couple people, so a lot of these companies are doing these huge marketing social media campaigns where they’re on everything. They have huge marketing teams and they have people who are dedicated to this stuff, so when you’re one person, and you also have to do your finances and your client, you have all those other things to do, it’s just not realistic to dedicate your time to all social media channels, and a lot of times what happens is that you just start trying to hit a quota, like, “I just need to post something today,” and all of a sudden you’re posting anything even if it’s not something that’s thought out or intentional.

Brittney Oddo:

Then your content isn’t doing well because people are like, “What is this? I don’t want to follow this.” So yeah, I definitely always encourage my clients to stick to two if they can, two that they… What I’ll tell my clients is stick to two, but have profiles on the other ones, but have those direct them to your more engaged profiles.

Brittney Oddo:

So when I had my Facebook group, that was my most engaged place. That’s where I showed up every day, I did content there every day. So if you went to my Twitter page, which I’m not very active on, it would just link you to my group and you might see me tweet every once in a while, especially during a WordCamp, that’s the only time I’m ever tweeting, but they would know, okay you can go to my Facebook, and that’s where you’ll see me posting, my Facebook group, and that’s where I’m more engaged and you’re more likely to see me there then here.

Brittney Oddo:

And then I would have my blog set up so whenever I posted on my WordPress blog it would just automatically go to my Twitter, so it’s staying up to date, but it’s not as engaged as my other channels.

Tracy Apps:

I really think Twitter is really just for conferences. I forget about it. I mean, I use it to rant about things-

Brittney Oddo:

Exactly.

Tracy Apps:

And then talk at conferences. [crosstalk 00:14:23]

Brittney Oddo:

It’s where I rant when I can’t talk about it on Instagram and Facebook because all my friends [inaudible 00:14:29] are there.

Tracy Apps:

Yes, exactly.

Brittney Oddo:

And then when there’s a WordCamp, I’m there.

Allie Nimmons:

So I have a question, have you ever had a client where… So ages and ages ago when I first started WordPress and I worked in an agency, I worked doing social media for them, and I remember we had a client where we were basically, it was an adult diaper company, and it was really hard to consistently come up with engaging content about incontinence.

Tracy Apps:

Oh my gosh, the puns are just…

Allie Nimmons:

And they didn’t want to embrace that. I wanted to do jokes and memes, and they were like, “No, no, no, people are going to get…” Insensitive.

Brittney Oddo:

Serious topic.

Allie Nimmons:

Yeah. Have you ever had… The thing I find so challenging and interesting about social media marketers is you have to be an expert on social media about whatever your client is an expert in, right? Have you ever had client, and you totally don’t need to name names or anybody like that, but have you ever had that where it’s like, “This is not a business that I know a lot about, or feel very passionately about, but I have to go gung ho with every single post.” Have you ever had that challenge.

Brittney Oddo:

Oh yeah, I have. I was actually talking to my coach about this the other day because she was like, “You know, it’s really weird, not weird, but it’s really different that you work for and do content for all these different industries,” because I do kind of write for different industries. I’ve written for, I write in construction, I write in health and fitness, and business. I’ve done pet stuff, I’ve done all types of different stuff. So yeah, I definitely have that where I have to do my research and take my time to really think about what the content is and even too, what you’re saying too about how things, you had something about how it can be difficult to kind of keep up with the different things and the first thing that popped into my head was this 2020. This year has been that, where it’s constant having to rewrite content, having to throw out our whole content calendar, rewrite a whole new one because, “Oh! We’re in pandemic!” Or “Oh! There’s a civil rights movement,” and there’s so much stuff.

Brittney Oddo:

So it definitely is one of those things where I think too, people sometimes don’t understand about social media managers, a lot of times you do have to become like an expert in this topic and really understand it and I kind of just take it… It’s never been too challenging for me, I’m fascinated by learning about other businesses, so I just kind of dive right in and learn as much as I can, and I try to come up with what I think they would like.

Tracy Apps:

You know, I feel like that kind of gives you… I mean, the fact that you’re coming in as an outsider, because the people that you’re writing for, the audience, usually, unless it’s an internal whatever blog or whatever that’s of sciencey people, or mathematicians, right? But I think that kind of gives you that leg up, and also I feel like that if I think about clients that are very focused on one thing, like you said, there’s a pandemic, it’s very easy when things are so crazy and changing so often, it’s very easy to post some very insensitive, or very poorly timed content if you’re not careful. So that’s really being on top of things, that’s really yeah.

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, I definitely had that moment. Especially in March when the pandemic kind of really, they’re starting to send people home from work, and shutting things down, and it was like, I really had to look at some of my clients’ content and say, “We can’t post this. We need to change, we need to shift things a little bit,” and too with Black Lives Matter, with that going on and people really talking about that stuff, that was another time I had to… I sent out an email to all my clients and I was like, “Hey, just I don’t know if you pay attention to the news, but if you do…”

Tracy Apps:

In case if you haven’t noticed…

Brittney Oddo:

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot going on around Black Lives Matter, and one of the things is that everyone’s posting black squares, let me know if you want me to post for you. Things like that, you have to stay on top of that kind of stuff and make sure that your clients are aware of it, and make sure that their content is up to par, makes sense for the time, and like you said, not being insensitive, because it’s so easy.

Brittney Oddo:

There’s definitely content that I can think of where I was like, “Oh my god, we cannot post this because we’re talking about a global pandemic,” there was one client, we’re talking all this great stuff she’s done, and she’s making [inaudible 00:19:54] and she’s doing all this great stuff, and then people are losing their jobs, so I’m like, “We can’t post that right now. We can post that another time, right now is not a good time to talk about that.”

Tracy Apps:

Yeah. How much guidance do you end up giving? Because I see a lot of, especially with the Black Lives Matter stuff, I see a lot of companies that they put out their… For me, it was very, it was louder when companies didn’t post something that they support this, than those that did put together something of, “Here’s what we support and here’s what we’re doing.” How much have you found having to remind people about that, or have people been like, “No, actually I see this, and not to jump on the bandwagon, but I feel called to say something.”

Angela Bowman:

That is such an excellent question Tracy too, because we had a local bookstore that came out with a statement around Black Lives Matter, which was that we’re not going to make a statement, and all the reasons they weren’t going to make a statement, that they felt like it was some sort of slippery slope that they’d have to make a statement about everything, and it ended up being like, “Why did you even bother to say anything at all?” [crosstalk 00:21:16]

Tracy Apps:

And that was a statement bigger than any other statement. [crosstalk 00:21:21]

Allie Nimmons:

You made a statement and said the wrong thing.

Angela Bowman:

And it was just like, “Does anyone else not see this as a problem?” So people can, they were trying to do something because they felt like they had to do something, but it was just so bad. They needed Brittney.

Tracy Apps:

They needed a Brittney.

Allie Nimmons:

Yeah, they needed a Brittney, for real.

Tracy Apps:

Hey, um…

Allie Nimmons:

So step back [crosstalk 00:21:45]

Angela Bowman:

Yeah, so have you had to kind of coach them a little bit on maybe what might be the appropriate thing to say or that they need to say something? Or do they come to you and say, “I want to say something,” I guess that’s reiterating what Tracy said.

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, for the most part, most of my clients had kind of taken care of it already because I don’t completely take it. I take it over, but they still can post, so most of my clients had already made their statement and talked about it. I work with a lot of women of color, so a lot of them, they felt called to say something, and clients who didn’t, for me I’m like, “Here is what I can do for you, I’m not going to force you, I’m not going to tell you what to do, I’m going to tell you here’s what I think, I’m going to give you the recommendation, and I can help you with it if you need help. Especially as a black, I can for sure help you,” and it’s kind of up to them to make the choice on if they want to or not.

Allie Nimmons:

That’s so cool. I love hearing that you work with lots of women of color, and I don’t want to completely shift the conversation into being something super political or whatever, but as a woman of color in the WordPress space, I don’t see a lot of other women of color. I’m really happy that you’re here because I don’t see a lot of women in color in the WordPress space when I go to WordCamps and so on. What is your, high level, not trying to go into anything insane, but what has your experience been like as a woman of color in this tech space, or the internet space in general?

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, that’s a good question. I think for me, I’ve been really… I don’t even know what the best way to say it is, but used to being the only woman of color in spaces. I went to a predominantly white college, high school, my whole schooling I typically was the only woman of color, or one of the few, so not that it’s a good thing or anything to happen, I’m just so used to it that I don’t even… Sometimes it just goes over my head, I don’t even realize it sometimes. Like, “Oh yeah, I am the only one here.”

Angela Bowman:

Do you notice, like I notice when I’m the only woman. Do you notice it more when you’re the only woman versus-

Brittney Oddo:

Probably. Yeah, I might notice it more. I don’t know. I can’t even think of a time where I even thought about it. I’m an introvert and I’m always in my head, so I’m probably more in my head about just, “Oh, do I look weird, am I not talking enough or am I talking too much,” [crosstalk 00:24:44] do I look stupid? I’m always just in my head about everything, so my brain is just too clogged up to even…

Brittney Oddo:

But I definitely think I would love to see more women of color in this space. In all spaces because I feel like a lot of times it’s like that, where you’re the only one, or you’re one of the few, and I definitely think that kind of, I don’t know the best way to say it, but feel welcomed to do that kind of stuff. A lot of times I think, especially for women of color, I feel like we can feel intimidated. I know there’s times where I can feel, I think I notice things like that more in social spaces and feeling like the odd one out, or the one that’s different from everyone else, and I have to…

Brittney Oddo:

A lot of times for me, that’s when my introvertedness goes to the high, I’m quiet, I close myself off, and I think that kind of keeps, kind of puts the wall up for me. Not to speak for everyone, but sometimes it’s just like taking that leap of, “I’m just going to do it anyway.” When I went to my first WordCamp I literally just saw an ad on my Facebook, and it was like, “Do you use WordPress?” And I was like, “Yes.” And then I was like, “Okay, I guess I’ll go to this WordCamp.” And I just went. I went by myself, I didn’t know anyone.

Allie Nimmons:

I wish advertising was always that easy. It’s like, “Do you need this?” Yes. I will buy it. That is amazing.

Brittney Oddo:

Yes, ah, perfect! [crosstalk 00:26:37]

Angela Bowman:

You’ve done some talks too, right? Organizing and talks?

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah.

Angela Bowman:

Tell us about that.

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, I think I volunteered at my very first one, at WordCamp Kent, I think it was WordCamp [ENO 00:26:51] when I first went to it, and then the last couple of years I organized, so I was on the organizing team, and then this year I did my first talk at our virtual WordCamp, which was really cool and perfect for me. Like I said, I’m an introvert, I don’t mind speaking, but it was nice just to be home and I’m definitely really great at talking via computer, so that was cool, and it was the first time we’ve ever done that, so that was really cool to be a part of that.

Brittney Oddo:

But yeah, I kind of just threw myself in there. I’m really an ambitious person, so I kind of just, I’m really serious about where I want to be and diligent and hardworking, so I kind of, I saw an opportunity of just being able to be a part of something really cool and meeting a lot of people and getting a lot of support for my business and my blog, and so I just kind of was like, “Let’s do it! Next year we’re organizing, next year speaking, let’s get into it!”

Tracy Apps:

You know, as you do. So the million dollar question, so obviously all these studies show, have proven, that companies with women and people of color that are on leadership, they’ll do better. They make better products, everything, right? So for people that aren’t as ambitious as you, that just jump in and see an ad on Facebook, what needs to happen? What kind of things do we have to see before we can actually have that comfortable space that’s open and welcoming for all?

Brittney Oddo:

Good question. I think finding other people who you do feel comfortable with is really important. For me, I always feel more comfortable around women than I do men, so I typically will spend more time with women and at least get comfortable in that space, and then if I do see a woman of color, then I will definitely cling onto them, like, “Yes, we’re here together, woo!” So I think that’s really [inaudible 00:29:14] and that’s not always easy because a lot of times you’re the only one, or you’re the first one.

Brittney Oddo:

So I think that’s one good way, and I think for the organizing teams and things like that, just to kind of make those efforts, and I’m not an expert in this type of stuff, but making those efforts of just making it known that we do welcome everyone, we do want everyone to be a part of it. We celebrate our people of color in our community, and our women in our community and we want them to be a part of this, and sometimes I think…

Brittney Oddo:

I’ve been noticing lately I feel like people feel like they are non-racist and I’m not racist, I’m not, but I think a lot of times we have to be not just not racist, but anti-racist. Like, I’m going to take on the racism, take on the things that are happening, and I’m going to do the opposite. I’m going to counter that through this action of making a statement, or reaching out to a woman of color, or sharing women of color businesses, or whatever that may be where it’s I’m not just going to say, “I’m not racist, and I’m not going to support racism.” That’s great, and it’s important, but it’s also important to say not only am I not racist, but I’m going to support a black woman, or I’m going to make sure they feel welcome.

Brittney Oddo:

I think that’s one thing that’s coming out of this. It’s not enough just to say, “We’re not racism. Our company isn’t racist.” We’re not racist and we’re going to do X, Y, and, Z over the next year, donate or hire more people of color, or bring more people of color into the C-suite, or whatever that is, and I think that’s what important, and I think that’s what will help anybody who wants to make their space more inclusive, is “Okay, what are we going to do?” That needs to be a part of your company. Here’s our policies, and here’s our anti-racism policy.

Tracy Apps:

Yeah, one more time for everyone in the back, right? So true. That whole, I am not racist is not a statement. It’s the start of a statement.

Allie Nimmons:

That is the bare minimum.

Tracy Apps:

It’s the start of the action.

Brittney Oddo:

Right.

Allie Nimmons:

Yeah. Saying, “I’m not,” being not racist is really the bare minimum.

Brittney Oddo:

Right, that’s what you should be.

Allie Nimmons:

You want a cookie for not being racist? Okay fine, you’re not racist. That should be the baseline, that should be the expectation. [crosstalk 00:31:56]

Tracy Apps:

Lives matter. That’s the minimum.

Allie Nimmons:

It’s like saying, “I’m not a murderer.” Okay, cool [crosstalk 00:32:06]

Tracy Apps:

I didn’t kill anyone today. I am a saint.

Allie Nimmons:

Brittney, I don’t know if you are aware of the WordPress women of color Slack channel, but we do have a Slack channel, so I just sent you the link to that in the chat so that you can join that because I’m actually not as active in it as I should be and I’m making a vow to myself right now to change that, but yeah, we do have a little community because I’m totally the same where, I remember there was a woman, Desiree, who works at Bluehost, and I met her at WordCamp US, and I remember seeing her across the huge sponsor room and being like, “You! Oh my gosh! Hi, hi! Let’s be friends!” And the minute she saw me walking toward her, she knew exactly what I was coming toward her about, and we hugged and we were like, “I’m so glad you’re here!”

Allie Nimmons:

And it’s like yeah, it’s amazing. I have so many female friends in WordPress, and I have so many male friends in WordPress, and I love them all and they’re all fantastic, but it is a little bit above when you find someone who is kind of a unicorn like you and you’re like, “I see you, you see me. We’re going to support each other,” and it’s incredibly uplifting, and I absolutely love when it happens, so I’m really glad that I met you because now you are another friend that I can hold on tightly to and support and encourage.

Allie Nimmons:

And yeah, I think… That’s one of the reasons I love the WordPress community is because I, like you, grew up in a very, let’s say mixed up kind of environment, so I only now, approaching my 30s, realize when I’m the only not white person in the room, but now that I notice it, I feel like I can’t unsee it in a way. I’m hyper aware of it. But that’s why I love the WordPress community because I’ve always felt very supported in that and that everyone supports me being vocal about that, and I think that’s really what sets our community apart from others, and why I want more people of color in this community because I do believe that it is a good incubator for change and an incubator for these sorts of conversations.

Allie Nimmons:

Not to completely derail to my stuff, but I love everything that you just said and we need so, so, so many more conversations like this.

Brittney Oddo:

Thank you so much for sending me that link, I’m definitely going to check that out. I definitely want to be a part of that, that’s awesome, and I’m so glad that we met as well.

Allie Nimmons:

Yeah. My friend Ebony started it, and I think you and her would really, really get along. Not just because we’re all black women, but I just like your energy. I feel like you and her would really get along. Because that’s also a trap too, of being like, “Black person, black person, be friends!”

Tracy Apps:

Wait a minute, I know one! Do you know so and so, yeah.

Allie Nimmons:

Do you know the other black person I know? But yeah. You’ve got this energy [crosstalk 00:35:01]

Tracy Apps:

In the WordPress community, unfortunately that is kind of, right? It’s still a small community.

Allie Nimmons:

It’s still a small group, it’s better than nothing.

Tracy Apps:

I like what you said. I think because WordPress is so big and vast, and over one-third of the internet, I think you’re right with that it’s a good place to start, and speaking as someone that checks at least a few more of the privilege and majority boxes, that with that large of a community, it’s very important for us all to be intentional and look around and see who’s there, but who’s missing, and just like you said, have that, make that space for people, because if we are creating the internet, because it really is, we’re going to be creating an incorrect and bad internet, right? If we only have a portion of the world represented.

Brittney Oddo:

That’s true.

Tracy Apps:

So I appreciate that. I’m glad there’s a group.

Brittney Oddo:

Yes.

Allie Nimmons:

I need to be more active in it. I will be.

Angela Bowman:

One of the more women friendly conferences that I went that was more tech was WooConf, which was a WooCommerce conference and I just felt so welcome even though there was a minority of women. There was a lot of diversity, and it just felt, I felt good. I was happy where when I’ve been to conferences where it’s that kind of balance of men to women I’ve felt very out of place and awkward, and they succeeded at something so I went to Patrick Rauland, who was one of the organizers of the event, or I may have even tweeted it, and he said, “Hey, so glad you mentioned that.” He says, “We actually created a committee that was all focused on welcoming and diversity, so there was a lot of intentionality behind everything, behind all the messaging.”

Angela Bowman:

so their brochure, their cover on their website, and everything was a black on a stage, giving the talk. That was the message for this conference is women, diversity, so even that subtle messaging, and they had a room for nursing moms or parents, they made everything super welcoming for people, and I don’t know, it was a vibe, and it’s just really interesting.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah, I think you do have to, like you were saying Brittney, you can’t just passively say it. You can’t say we want diversity, or we’re not racist. You actually have to put intention into it, and there was a really interesting article that went around about companies using referrals to hire employees and how if you get referrals from your current employees, they’re going to refer [crosstalk 00:38:10]

Tracy Apps:

You’re going to have employees that look like your current employees.

Angela Bowman:

Exactly. And it was like how that could be thwarting your diversity efforts. So there is this whole intentionality thing and I think even if you’re not quite sure what it is, you just put together that committee and you will figure out what it is. Whether it’s the messaging, or the images you use, or how you set up the environment, all these subtle cues make a difference in people feeling welcomed, I think.

Tracy Apps:

And we were talking about Twitter being a place of ranting. I’ve totally called out places that I’m like, “Hey, what?”

Allie Nimmons:

And why it’s so important for us to have social media managers and content people from all different walks of life because you also, I try to be cognizant of the fact that people don’t always know what they don’t know. So sometimes for a white cis male owner of a company to make an insensitive statement during Black Lives Matter going on, it may not be because he’s a racist, but just because he doesn’t have that context to understand why that’s not okay to post.

Allie Nimmons:

For somebody like Brittney to come in and be like, “I have this context and this experience, so I can tell you in a kind way that this is not okay,” that’s just so incredibly valuable because otherwise you’re expecting people to just be perfect at something that they have no experience with in a way, you know?

Allie Nimmons:

I think there’s a lot of, “Go out and educate yourself.” We can’t all educate ourselves about everything all the time [crosstalk 00:39:54]

Tracy Apps:

You also don’t know what you don’t know.

Allie Nimmons:

Yeah, exactly. So yeah, I think having a diverse group of professionals, having people from all different walks of life in all different roles just makes everyone else better at their job, and yeah, end of that.

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, I definitely had people who even weren’t my clients and they asked me, “Do you think that this sounds okay?” And I was totally on board for that. I was like, “I will definitely help you craft your message so you can say something that is not going to be offensive to anyone.” I was totally on board for that because I definitely, like you said, you don’t know what you don’t know and I do appreciate when someone is at least trying to make an effort.

Brittney Oddo:

Sometimes an effort can not be a good effort, or it could be… Of course people make efforts and it’s not the right move, but I think, I like to think, at least, that people have good intentions when they do things like this, so like I said, I’m always open to that because I have that experience that they don’t have that I can share with them.

Brittney Oddo:

That was a really big part of my social media because normally I don’t really talk a lot about anything that can be deemed political, which I don’t think Black Lives Matter is political, I think it’s human rights, but typically I wouldn’t talk about that kind of stuff on my page, but I just felt really called to, and I think I really… I think normally it’s, like I said, I’m just not going to speak on it. I have my own views and I’ll talk about it when I feel like talking about, but I did really talk about it a lot on my page lately, and I think it really showed me how important it is for me to talk about it.

Brittney Oddo:

A lot of people would message me and say, “Oh my god, I didn’t even know that,” or, “I had no idea this is what people of color go through,” and it really took me aback because a lot of times I don’t talk about because I don’t want to get in arguments with people, but it mostly was the exact opposite. People were like, “Oh my god, thank you so much for sharing that,” it was very positive, so I thought it was kind of just one of those things where it’s just like, it’s important to talk about it and it’s important to talk about what you’re doing to support this issue in our country that we had and we’ve had for years, and even if you’re not affected by it, or you don’t understand it, to try to understand.

Brittney Oddo:

I don’t have to understand how hard it is for someone to go through a different experience to not care about it. There’s tons of things that I don’t understand, but I can empathize with someone who is having a traumatic experience, and I think that’s really what people need to think about. Or kind of think about it in that sense of okay, I don’t get this because I’ve never gone through it, but I can understand that someone who has gone through feels pain, feels sadness, feels whatever that is, and try to do what I can in whatever space that is to prevent that, or to [crosstalk 00:43:26]

Allie Nimmons:

That is so powerful because you are a communicator. You are somebody who has this gift and this passion of communicating with others through the internet, so I love that you did feel called to speak out about it because there are a lot of people who want to speak out about it and share their opinions, and they are not particularly good at it, and maybe they’re going to stumble over their words, and misconstrue things, and end up getting into arguments, and we need communicators. We need people who are eloquent and able to communicate their feelings properly to be able to have well structured and useful conversations.

Allie Nimmons:

I had a conversation with someone recently about why is this civil rights movement so different from the civil rights movement in the 60s with Martin Luther King Jr, and their argument was, and I kind of agree, is we’re not, as a culture, we’re not good at communicating with each other as much any more. We rely so much on memes and emojis and all these kind of shorthand type of things that don’t allow for nuance sometimes.

Allie Nimmons:

So I think that the fact that you are such a gifted communicator with your messaging, whether it’s construction on social media, or whatever it is, it’s so valuable to be able to, as much as you feel comfortable, using that passion and that gift for positive world changing things. It warms my heart to hear that.

Brittney Oddo:

That’s so awesome.

Angela Bowman:

Brittney, it has been so fabulous to have you on the show. We could just talk all afternoon and it’s like making a new friend. We’ve made friends all over the planet, and we just feel so blessed. I hope that well stay in touch and that we’ll see you at upcoming WordCamps, and before we close, can you tell people how they best can find you?

Brittney Oddo:

Yeah, so I definitely enjoyed this conversation, it was awesome. Thank you guys so much for having me. And you can find me, my website is accordingtobrittney.com and Brittney is spelled with two Ts and an N, not an A, or an E, not an A, and you can also find me on Instagram @accordingtobrittney.

Angela Bowman:

Awesome.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter, or join our Facebook group. We would be honored if you subscribed to the show. You can find us on Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and iTunes. Finally, if you want to be on the show, or know someone who would, visit our website at womeninwp.com. Until next time!

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