Michelle Frechette Twinterview With WPExperts

If you’re familiar with the world of WordPress then Michelle Frechette needs no introduction. For those who do not, Michelle is currently working as the Director of Community Engagement at StellarWP (LiquidWeb) and Director of Community Relations at PostStatus. She is also the Co-founder of WPCoffeeTalk (Podcast), Underrepresented In Tech, and the President of the Board at BigOrangeHeart.

WPExperts Twinterview With Michelle Frechette

Michelle loves photography (you can find one of her awesome photos below) but that’s not all that she does in her spare time. She also excels in coaching, mentoring, and consulting anyone who needs a hand. She is the keynote speaker at many WordCamps, WordPress-related events and has recently attended State of the Word (SOTW) 2021.

We at WPExperts feel honored to have Michelle Frechette as our Twitter guest for a brief twinterview session. She told us about her day-to-day responsibilities in various organizations and her contribution to the WordPress community.

Let’s read what Michelle Frechette has answered our questions!

Q1: How long have you been in the WordPress industry?

Ans: I logged into my first WordPress site in 2012. I built my first site two years later. It’s funny to think how nervous I was to be on the WordPress dashboard that first time logging in. I was absolutely sure I would break something. 😂

Q2: What are your day-to-day responsibilities at StellarWP and Post Status?

Ans: At StellarWP I work to help all of our brands as part of the marketing team, but also to be involved in the WordPress community representing StellarWP by helping the community as much as I can, and by bringing our brands in to do the same.

On Post Status, I’m the Director of Community Relations. I help with our Slack channels, social media, providing blog content, and creating events like our Twitter Conference in May and our Career Summit in April.

And I get to do things like interview @photomatt at SOTW. 😊

Q3: What is “Underrepresented In Tech”? What do you do there?

Ans: With @allie_nimmons, we created @UnderRepdInTech to help companies and projects (podcasts, conferences, blogs) find the amazing underrepresented folks out in the community who can contribute in amazing ways. Our community is much richer when we include and involve everyone.

Q4:  When did you realize that you have a knack for photography?

Ans: I always hoped I’d have a  good eye! I bought my first good camera 5 years ago and I’ve been working to get better and better ever since. I go out in nature with my cameras as often as I can. It helps me get out of the house, get into nature, and be creative in different ways.

Q5: How did you come with the idea to start ‘WPCoffeeTalk’ and how is it different from other podcast shows?

Ans: I started WPCoffeeTalk to see how to create a podcast. I had no idea it would take off like it did! I ask every guest the same questions in a very relaxed and conversational way. It’s my way of helping others tell their stories about how they WordPress. I’ve met amazing people!

Q6: How was your experience at State Of The Word 2021 in NY?

Ans: Magical! I felt like Cinderella at the ball. 👸 It was amazing to see folks I hadn’t seen in so long. I felt like a part of WordPress history just being in the room. I’m impressed by how many people in the WP community contribute in so many ways & how WP makes it easy to do so.

I’m really encouraged by a lot of what was presented, and I have hopes for more to come. I’m really hoping we draw in more youth to using WordPress (and eventually contributing, of course), and I’m hopeful for much more inclusion in all we do in the community (speakers, etc.).

Q7: What is Big Orange Heart? Why did you donate your business tips-based book ‘A Good Firm Handshake’ to them?

Ans:  .@aBigOrangeHeart is a non-profit for mental wellbeing in remote work. The core is WP users. I donated my book because the book isn’t about profit for me, but about helping others achieve more in business. My hope is that people are encouraged to donate in order to get the book.

Big Orange Heart has two main events each year, WordFest, to bring us all together to learn, to share, and to network. The next one is March 4. Free to attend, and we have some amazing speakers confirmed! Stand by for those announcements soon!

And do go to bigorangeheart.org to learn more about how you can reduce the feelings of isolation and improve your mental wellbeing. And join our community. It’s free to do so. While you’re there, please consider a donation (and get my book, too)!

Q8: What is the future of WordPress in your eyes? Do you think the WordPress community is going in the right direction?

Ans: I think the future of WordPress is still very bright. I know there are competitors out there, and that we have to think about how we market WordPress. It isn’t the easiest solution for someone wanting to build a quick site, so we need to sell the benefits.

Those are different for each audience. My generation likes that you own your data, your site, your platform. Younger generations love that it’s community-built. Some need to build a site for themselves and many more love that you can build a career with WP.

So how we market WP as a solution has to be very targeted. WordCamps and Meetups need to have even more resources and organizers need opportunities to learn how to grow their communities. I think we’re getting there, but we can be doing more for sure.

Q9: You are working in many dimensions like mentoring, coaching, marketing, podcasting, consulting, and much more. Which role do you like the most?

That’s like asking which of my cats is my favorite! How do you pick? I don’t have one thing, l love, more. Depending on the day I might be inspired for one thing more than another. I love variety, which is why I do different things. At the heart of it all is I love helping people.

Q10: As a keynote speaker, share your most memorable experience and the best audience you have ever found in an event?

Ans: The first keynote I was invited to was WordCamp Kent. I was immensely honored. I felt like a celebrity! What was amazing was that so many people connected with what I had to say. The best audiences are the ones that ask questions and want to learn more.

I spoke at WordCamp Montreal one year and then went to the Happiness Bar where I had people come and talk to me and ask questions for two hours after my talk. That was really special. I loved it!

Q11: What is your opinion about Gutenberg? Why is it called the future of WordPress for the next decade?

Ans: I was slow to adopt Gutenberg – just because it looked like a huge learning curve and I was set in my ways. 🤦‍♀️ I love it now! It’s come so far in a relatively short amount of time. I think it is the future of WP because it is (and will be even more) flexible in how you use it.

The possibilities in how you build a page or post have grown exponentially. I’m sure I haven’t even scraped the surface of how to use it all, but I’m enjoying learning. I also love that those just starting out in WP are native users of it and can probably teach me how to use it!

Q12: What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to newcomers in the WordPress industry?

Ans: Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask questions. Ask for help. Ask for mentors. Invest in good tools. Invest in good coaching. Attend meetups and WordCamps. Network. Join organizations. Volunteer. Learn. It’s all there open to you. Come join us!

Time To Say Goodbye!

At the end of the twinterview, We have shown our gratitude to Michelle Frechette for spending her precious time with us. Michelle also enjoyed her twinterview with WPExperts. It’s time to say goodbye until the next twinterview. Stay connected!

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