This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at WordCamp Philly at the University of the Sciences. I gave a presentation on an introduction to the command line for designers, which is not something I ever thought I would do.
As someone who has been very shy and quiet for as long as she can remember (voted one of the quietest in my high school class of about 500 to give you an idea), I never imagined I would voluntarily speak in front of a group of people, much less on a topic such as the command line.
Three years ago or thereabouts I drove from Quakertown to Center City to attend a hackathon for women, LadyHacks. It would be the first of many events I’d attend from GirlDevelopIt classes to conferences to un-conferences and so on. It took me probably two and a half hours to drive down there on 309 to 76 and so forth that night.
I still remember being one of the first people at the event, sitting down at one of the big round tables across from Lisa Yoder. We kind of shyly looked at each other, both too nervous to talk. At least I was. I could be wrong, but in any case. At the time I was an all-hats-wearing administrative assistant… or something. But what I wanted to be doing was making websites, full time. Lisa and five other women all got together to work on our project, SheTechPhilly and we’re still friends to this day. That was the night I found my people.
Anyway, fast forward to the present. My biggest takeaway over the past few years is the power which comes from being given support and finding your people. On Saturday I wore my Claude Garamond shirt and about a handful of people commented on it. Before then, I don’t think anyone ever noticed it was a font shirt. This is one way I know these are my people.
What better place to learn more about support and community than at a conference dedicated to the open source software project that is WordPress — and what a community there is in Philly! It was a really really great weekend.
This post is meant to serve as a thank you to those who have supported and nudged me out of my comfort zone from my awesome colleague Liam as well as those from GirlDevelopIt and beyond and in between. And to serve as a nudge to those who haven’t yet found their own people — it may seem daunting to drive those 2.5 hours down 76 but you’ll never know what might come of it. You might just find yourself leveling up.