I am a designer with a background in software engineering, psychology, art and performance. I have worn a few hats over the years from design lead, design operations to hybrid roles that embrace both design and engineering. I’ve also worked across a range of industries, focusing on open source and startups specifically. I have run workshops, given talks all around the world and been lucky enough to be part of one of the biggest open source publishing projects.
How it began
A long while ago I started my journey by wanting to be a psychologist and teach primates to communicate. It’s been quite a journey since then and I now find myself in the middle of my life a product designer working in open source. I couldn’t be happier doing the work I do, I truly believe that open source and remote work are the way forward.
I left art school after taking a change in direction to follow my artist passions, I spent the next few years trying to explore those along with performance poetry. As the internet began to be a thing, I retrained in software engineering and found myself on the path I now follow. It took me through the gaming industry, agencies and then into building up my own company focusing on creating communities. In this, I found the perfect blend of technology, design, psychology, my passion communities and for open source.
Open source journey
My open source journey began early with Linux and small contributions through the IRC communities. Growing tired of tormenting my own CMS, I was recommended WordPress and started my journey in 2006 as a contributor. Over the years I contributed increasingly to WordPress and BuddyPress, growing and moving focus areas as I did from theme to design.
I ran my own company for over a decade focusing on building and creating communities. This was incredibly rewarding and not only saw a wide range of projects but also saw me working across many disciplines. I focused specifically on enabling open source communities, using open platforms to empower. During this time I was lucky enough to write a book on BuddyPress theme development.
Focusing on WordPress
I was given the opportunity to join Automattic (a fully remote company) and it seemed a fitting change of pace, a chance to focus on the project, community I had grown to care so deeply about. I began focusing on themes, specifically theme experience. Then I moved into being donated full time to the WordPress.org project.
Today, focusing wider
I left my role at Automattic after over 7 years to explore other opportunities. I wanted to not only continue in open source, but grow my mentoring and own projects. I spent some time setting up the foundations of design and product in Extendify and am excited now to explore new opportunities. One of those is working with startups, designers coaching and advising, another is enabling products to deliver the best experiences they can.
Learn about my passion for open source and focus on that here.