Support Inclusion in Tech with Winstina Hughes — Post Status Draft 136

In this episode, Winstina Hughes joins Cory Miller to talk about the  Support Inclusion in Tech project created to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in the WordPress community by providing assistance to WordCamp speakers for travel and hotels.

Estimated reading time: 37 minutes


Winstina Hughes  is a long-term community member and organizer within WordPress. She joins Cory Miller to discuss Support Inclusion in Tech, an effort to increase representation of minority and underrepresented speakers at WordCamp by providing needed financial support. This offers everyone in the WordPress community the chance to share their expertise and contribute resources so everyone has the opportunity to engage.

Top Takeaways:

  • Creativity is our common bond. WordPress is the playground where we all came to tinker and build for fun or business. It is the software magic where we discover what new things we can do each day, how to make ideas become reality, and how we might leverage what we learn to create a better world.
  • Ripple effect of inclusion: When you provide the ability for a large group of people to participate, travel, and network, the impact extends beyond the WordPress community to create the bigger changes we want to see in the world. This is our community magic.
  • Fifth Freedom in WordPress: We are all familiar with The Four Freedoms of WordPress. This is the 5th – full participation. Removing the financial barrier will bring us closer to the reality of being a truly inclusive community.

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Welcome to back to Post Status draft. I’m with a good friend of mine when Winstina hughes. I met with Winstina a couple years ago in the post status community. We’ve got to meet in person, talk numerous times, and, um, I’m excited about what we’re gonna be talking about here. Um, she’s got a new, a project called support inclusion in and we’re gonna dive into that today.

But, uh, hi, Winstina. Hi. And pumped to finally have you on,

Winstina Hughes: I’m excited to be with you.

Cory Miller: Could you tell us what you do in WordPress?

Winstina Hughes: Okay. Um, What do I do in WordPress? every time I speak with, you know, every time I have one of these, um, you know, opportunities to speak with someone in the community, I end up like re repeating the question.

Um, cuz it really helps me. I am a community member, um, and I’m also, you know, a, an organizer, um, a meetup organizer and a board camp organizer. I started, um, going to [00:01:00] meetups in New York City and I transitioned into, Speaking, um, at Word Camp, New York City, and then I was invited to become a meetup organizer.

And so, um, my, you know, my participation in the community was, um, you know, like in the early, um, you know, 2010s. And then around 2015, 2016, um, I started, you know, speaking at, at New York City, and then I became an organizer. I meet up organizer. In 2018, I led my first word camp and my only word, camp , hundred twenties, um, a budget of 120,000, a team of 18.

Uh, it was an amazing experience. They were wonderful people and it was. Really tiring .

Cory Miller: Yeah. You know, over the years, Winstina, I’ve had so many dear friends that have been Word Camp organizers and really I go, oh my God, I love you so much because of what you’re doing for the community. But I also go, I hope you [00:02:00] still like word this afterwards because it’s a such a labor of love that I think, um, so often we don’t really give the credit and thanks to the people, That do this voluntarily.

Yeah, like you’re talking about all the stuff you’re done. So anyway, I wanna say thank you because I’ve said it so many times to dear friends over the years going, thank you for what you’re doing. I’ve always shied away from it because it’s so much work and I see all the passion and energy that you and other organizers have and I’m really thankful cuz I think that is so critical to the entire community to have these, and now we’re talking in 2022.

But we hear WordCamps are back. You and I got to see each other in San Diego at Word Camp US. Yes, yes, yes. So

Winstina Hughes: anyway, so Word, word camp Us. I was a co-organizer for Word Camp US this year. Um, and so yeah, you’re right. Like we had a chance to teach other again there, and that was like, yay. That was awesome.

Cory Miller: It was, yeah.[00:03:00]

Yeah. A absolutely. Well, okay, so what drew you to, okay, how did you start with WordPress? Were you using WordPress for, uh, your own website, somebody else’s website? How’d you get started with the actual software?

Winstina Hughes: So I started with WordPress in 2006, 2007. Um, I had a college course that was . Yeah, I, I had a college course.

Um, and our professor required us to add, um, you know, the work that we’d done, uh, into a blog. Um, it was a geographic information systems class. And, uh, we were looking at public health data at the census block level. Um, and so we were actually, you know, looking to see. You know, where, um, there were instances of like, um, I don’t wanna say disease, but you know, like different illnesses.

And so what what’s really interesting is that you can, that schools get access to that data and you can actually like, You can [00:04:00] essentially imagine, and I don’t wanna go too far deep into it, but imagine you have like, you know, Google Maps, right? And like when you have Google Maps open, you can do street view.

So Google Maps lets you like go from that whole, um, like that map into like street view where you jump in as a person. So, uh, this data essentially took you away from just the geographic element, um, and the typography and like really. The census, you know, track level, like essentially, um, you know, looking at neighborhoods and, you know, the instances of disease in those neighborhoods.

And so he, you know, he gave that to us as our final assignment. Um, you know, we did some like, uh, some heat mapping to show where there were greater concentrations of a particular type of illness, , right. Um, or, um, you know, disease or, you know, Uh, I’m not exactly sure like what, what we [00:05:00] were calling it, but that’s what our assignment was.

And, uh, he asked us to, you know, take like a picture of the map and to post it in and that’s how it all started with that , with that assignment. Um, so we were you.

Cory Miller: We were using WordPress at the same time. That’s the same year I started with WordPress when you started. I did not know you went that, that far back with WordPress.

So I love that. Uh, yeah, I do. Thank you. And then you said like in 2010 you started actually, uh, getting involved with community events. And this is relevant to us talking about support, inclusion and tech. So what drew you to start participating in volunteering and contributing to WordPress?

Winstina Hughes: So I went to New York City Meetups, um, and, uh, WordPress, New York City, uh, is the one that’s in closest proximity to where I lived.

I could just take the train in. Um, and it was, it was great. Like I, I really felt, um, that the community there was, was [00:06:00] open, like the organizers were open and, and they were welcoming. Um, Dana, rendy, uh, those were organizers at the time, Steve Bruner, who was an organizer. Was he is the organizer, , he started it and he’s, he’s kept it, you know, um, really like strong, like, since its inception.

Um, and so like just going to these events and meeting these, these like wonderful generous people, these kind people, um, you know, meeting Kevin Cre, Christiana there as well. Um, and you know, just that environ. Was what led me to continue attending events. Um, and they really encouraged me to submit a talk to speak at New York City, um, ward Camp, New York City.

And I submitted a talk to speak there and, you know, since that time I’ve been more engaged in. Event organizing component, [00:07:00] um, or part of the community. So it moved beyond just, you know, um, Like learning, you know, to use Word Pro, you know, building sites and breaking them, uh, the best, right? Yeah. Like, that’s the best way.

That’s the only way you can really learn. I mean, I, I started, you know, with different hosting plans, I’ve had like four or five, like I have multiple domains. Like I think when you’re in our space, you got a chance to really create. And, um, and that’s what I was able to do and what I’m able to continue doing, and.

Now moved from just creating and building with WordPress to assisting with supporting, you know, our community through events like meetups and, uh, word camp organizing and supporting inclusion in tech is, is an extension of, um, of this work, this contribution that I’ve been doing. It, it, it pieces together so many different elements that I’ve come to, like I’ve come to see and I’ve come to understand [00:08:00] and. It’s, it’s a solution that I propose to, um, some current challenges that, um, I’ve heard being expressed. Yeah,

Cory Miller: I, uh, I wanna scroll back for a second and say that when you’re talking about create, I sometimes it, for as long as you and I have been in WordPress sometimes forget that magic of being able to create something on the web or in the, in the world.

See this cool tool called WordPress, so I appreciate that. I think that’s what we rally around in the WordPress community and particularly to post status is helping build tools and projects and things on top of this magical thing we call WordPress. So that was a, when you said create, I was like, it’s just little tingle of magic came up of that’s, that’s why we, I think that’s our common bond in

Winstina Hughes: WordPress.

I agree. I agree. And I think that, uh, when we create as community members, um, and not necessarily [00:09:00] just as. Business owners or, or, um, you know, those who are providing like services. That’s a component of creating. But, you know, in the middle of doing all that, I think, you know, I mean, I like to sit down and just literally play and see, you know, what could I do with it today?

and, um, I entered a com competition, um, held by Sustainable New Jersey, um, right around the time I completed graduate school. And there were municipalities that were seeking, um, solutions for challenges that they had. And there was the city of East Orange and they wanted like a marketplace, um, and a place for their planning department to, you know, add their documents and also something for their green team.

And when I saw this, I was like, I could use WordPress and e-commerce. So I created like a WooCommerce marketplace for them to sell, you know, for residents that would sell their products and services. And I demoed it. Um, and then I also had a website and also a Buddy press site. Um, and the buddy press site would be for their green team members.

And I think that [00:10:00] like, when, when we create with WordPress, like we’re able to like see like, you know, These asks and really apply like our knowledge of what we know the c m s can do and then provide a solution. And the city was actually really happy with the solution. Um, and I made it to the finals of the competition.

Um, but there was another, uh, but there were other teams that that won it. Um, but it was, it was really exciting to show what WordPress, you know, software and what WooCommerce can. Uh, that’s the

Cory Miller: dream. Um, that, that’s so awesome. Thank you for sharing that backstory. As much as we’ve talked and stuff, I haven’t got the chance to ask those questions and, um, it’s a good reminder for me about, you know, I think if you go long enough in the community, you start to, well, I, I’ll say I start to.

Forget some of these nuances, [00:11:00] like being able to go, here’s a project idea, this could be done in WordPress, you know? And that the tools are mostly freely available. Yes. And you can start and build something online.

Winstina Hughes: Exactly. Yeah. You just, you know, download . Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah.

Cory Miller: So that leads me to support inclusion and tech. And you mentioned you saw a problem or problems and challenges in our community that you wanted to help make some a solution to toward it that became support, inclusion and tech. But can you talk about that a little bit? Cause I know my, my understanding and you continue to help me expand my understanding of all this is it’s not just one particular country with DEI, it’s a global thing. But could you talk a little bit about the problems and challenges that you saw in the space.


Winstina Hughes: Absolutely. Um, absolutely. So I, you know, really wanna, like, I wanna hold true to like, um, to how [00:12:00] I, um, shared it on my website. Um, but really the backstory is that. There was a conversation that erupted on Twitter, um, about the need for more diversity on Word Camp, um, organizing teams. And this started, uh, due to, um, you know, uh, some, some thoughts that were expressed about Word Camp Europe, uh, where WordCamp Europe’s organizing team, um, not being.

Very reflective, um, of, you know, more ethnicities or a wider range of them. Um, it was a really difficult conversation that was happening. And my take on it really is that it’s not where camp you’re specific, right? Like, I mean, let’s, you know, let’s really step back and think about the fact that, you know, there’s so many ethnicities around the world that have a ch [00:13:00] like it’s really.

When you’re in the minority as a group, Really up to the group that’s in the majority to weave you into those experiences and those opportunities. Um, and when that doesn’t happen, then you have groups that don’t have an opportunity to be, to participate and to be involved and, you know, support inclusion and tech.

I mean, considering this was a conversation about word camps and our participation in them. Support, inclusion and tech really seeks to assist us in solving the challenge of, um, not having as much, you know, ethnic or, um, or just diverse representation within the Word camp experience. It doesn’t seek to, you know, um, it doesn’t, it doesn’t seek, you know, to like solve, um, Like these, you know, the world that we [00:14:00] live in.

And it doesn’t seek to solve like, um, you know, diversity and inclusion outside of the WordPress space. Um, but I believe that in, in providing these, um, these opportunities within our community, since we’re so large, that the ripple effects can extend well beyond the WordPress community. I believe that when you, Absolut.

When you provide such a large group of people, the ability to, um, to participate in work camps, um, the ability to travel to them, the ability to network to them with, when you attend, um, the ability to like, you know, seek, um, you know, out more relationships, friendships, professional relationships. Then there’s this ripple that extends outside of our community and I think.

That level of empowerment can extend outside of WordPress and those ripples can assist us in diversity inclusion beyond, [00:15:00] um, you know, our, our involvement in WordPress. But you know, this, this particular solution is intended to solve the challenge that I saw, you know, um, being expressed, you know, within our community.

And so the thought is really, Since, you know, since there’s a take on it. And there’s, it’s a, I mean, it’s an, it’s an honest one, right? We don’t see enough people of color. We don’t see, um, enough, you know, people of, um, other minority groups, um, you know, uh, from other parts of the world. Um, You know, we are seeing an equal, more equal balance of, um, men and women.

Uh, you know, but when it extends beyond that into like, you know, more representation in terms of like, you know, a wide range of religions, which ties to ethnicity often. Um, and when you’re looking at representation in terms of those of us who, um, have like neuro [00:16:00] diversion, you know, um, you know, like, uh, characteristics and those of us who, um, you know, who we choose to love, , you know, the what society, um, you know, asks of us , right?

Like, and um, and when we choose to hold true to that or when we’re dealing with the physical limitations, um, that, you know, that we were born with or when we’re in minority. Groups, you know, that have a harder time, you know, uh, receiving opportunities, um, to participate and to increase, you know, their reach and even, um, you know, the professional opportunities that are available to them.

You know, like this. What can we do to, um, to really like solve. To solve that. Mm-hmm. And I thought, what could I do within our community Yep. To, you know, to integrate, you know, like all of those of us who are, um, Either, you know, disadvantaged [00:17:00] or not as represented into WordPress programming and support, inclusion and tech, um, seeks to, you know, take away that financial barrier, which I believe is really what, you know, can limit our participation.

We want to participate, we want to speak, but if we can’t afford to speak , right? I mean, if we can’t afford to travel to the conference and if we can’t afford a place to stay at the conference, um, then. Like, why would we even think to apply to speak at the conference? Right? Like,

Cory Miller: yeah. That’s, that’s really beautiful, Winston, because, um, there’s a couple of takeaways I, I got from this.

Number one is, I, I’ve always believed, um, at least in my world, that WordPress has been. The, an inclusive place, ever growing inclusive community. That’s like a mirror to my world, the way I want my physical world here in Oklahoma to be. And I have [00:18:00] so much learned from our community leadership, uh, over the years, um, that there’s a cons.

Consistent push and drive from the entire community and the leadership to be truly diverse, truly inclusive in all those words. And I, I learn a lot from this. Um, so the mirror I, and I do think WordPress is, our community is so powerful cuz we’re distributed all over the world. So if we make change in our community, in our WordPress, That should be, that should be reflected.

And I think that’s another, we talked about the software magic. This is the community magic. Exactly. Uh, the other thing is, I, I love and I respect because I try to take too much on that, you said, Hey, here’s something I’m passionate about, being an organizer, being at these community events, how special and valuable they are to you and other people instead.

I’m gonna make this dent first. Yeah. Like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna take on this aspect first. You. Beautifully and clearly [00:19:00] shared. This is the thing I’m trying to take on in this bigger, bigger, um, change that you wanna see. We wanna see in the world. Thank you. Okay, so we’ve got this now we’ve got a website. Um, you’ve got a website up to kind of share this.

Now. Take me through, if you would, I am, pretend for a second you’re talking to someone that is in an underrepresented, uh, in, in tech. Of, um, situation. Mm-hmm. , how’s the process to, to get on the, Hey, I want to go to these WordCamps. I want to speak, but I do need some assistance. What does that process look like for, for support inclusion and tech?

Winstina Hughes: So support, inclusion and tech. Um, also weaves into other initiatives in order to, to assist our speakers. Um, and so when you’re accepted, support inclusion tech, it become, moves into the position to, to assist you once you’re accepted into [00:20:00] Word Camp. Um, as soon as you get that, you know, acceptance, you know, go to

Um, and you’re simply just, you know, gonna put in the word camp that you were accepted in. And then there are two components, um, in addition that they’re suggested , right? Like you’re encouraged to do this. Um, you know, uh, we’re in the community of consent and so, um, you have, you know, um, You’re gonna give, you know, the consent to be included in these other initiatives, um, you’re not gonna be forced into it.

Uh, there’s underrepresented in tech and there’s also the WordPress diversity, speaker channel. Um, both of those, uh, are ways of. Further supporting diversity and inclusion and representation within the WordPress space and creating, you know, um, you know, successful opportunities for us to, um, to, you know, to put together great speaker applications and then to also, um, you know, move beyond just submitting [00:21:00] them. Um, but to being accepted.

The, the ask is that, you know, once you’ve been accepted to camp and you’re starting the process of, you know, receiving funding through supporting inclusion and tech, that you also participate in those other two initiatives as well. Um, because you know, in the process of doing that, it’s further supporting the work that we’re doing in the WordPress community. Exactly as you said, Corey, that, you know, the word WordPress leadership already has been putting in, um, you know, the work to, you know, to assist us in resolving the challenges that face society as a whole. And so there are initiatives that currently exist and those two in particular, I think.

You know, are ways that we can continue to support underrepresented minority groups in the WordPress community. Um, and so in the process of, you know, uh, applying for the funding, uh, you’re encouraged to, you know, to list yourself on underrepresented tech to join the, um, the, the diversity speaker channel [00:22:00] on make WordPress.

Um, and then once you’ve just put on, put that information in and you’ve identified the type of support that you’re seeking, um, you just like, and it starts from there. Like I start, um, you know, pairing you with, you know, with a partner that you know can, can step in and provide, you know, the funding for you.

And so, you know, they’re gonna cover your travel and they’re gonna cover your hotel. Um, and that way in order for you to participate, you’re not going to be paying anything really that you know, out of pocket. For that participation, um, in that WordCamp. And that’s really the goal. Um, the goal is to remove the financial barrier to your participation.

Cory Miller: Yeah, that’s fantastic. By the way, I wanted to sidebar for a second and say underrepresented in tech, uh, by Allie and Michelle Frechette. If, if you’re listening to this and, uh, you also as a be becoming a member of underrepresented in tech, get a free [00:23:00] uh, professional membership at post status?

Winstina Hughes: Yes. Yes. I started, I and let’s not also forget too, that like there are other opportunities as well as Post Status has been, um, you know, looking into as ways of increasing, you know, diversity and representation within the Post Status community. Um, so underrepresented tech and that membership, and I know that there’s some other ways that you’re working on it too, Corey.

Um, you know, I think, I think when we can pull all our efforts together. We have a stronger community. Um, and you are, you know, you’re, you’re offering that and then supporting inclusion and tech, you know, encouraging, you know, speakers to, to register and to participate in those two other programs. Strengthen all our efforts. Yes. Um, and, and that’s, you know, that’s the process of it. And so once you’ve submitted, you know, your. once you submitted that form, you know, just letting me know, like the speaker registration that you’re seeking, the [00:24:00] support. Um, you’re also gonna complete the blind directory listing and that blind directory really.

That Blind directory listing has the word camp that you’ll be speaking at. Um, and it has the type of support that you’re seeking, whether it’s just beach travel or hotel, or both, and that’s it. Um, no one in the community, um, you know, needs to know who you are. They don’t need to know what your need is. Um, they don’t need to know where you come from.

And they don’t need to know what makes you underrepresented and what makes you a diverse speaker. Uh, it’s simply a way for, um, for companies that are considering sponsoring to see that the need does exist. And it’s also a way for our community to see that the need does exist, um, and that we do have members that are seeking the support.

Um, that, that blind directory listing is, is just a way, you know, for our community to see that, um, that our need is there. Um, yeah, and it’s also a way of, um, uh, [00:25:00] keeping everyone up to date on the work that’s happening.

Cory Miller: So I know we’ll have two asks. The first ask is if, um, you need assistance, want assistance to go to a WordCamp to be sure to go to

Winstina Hughes: Yes. Once you’ve been accepted, go to Complete the form for speaker registration, and you’ll, um, you’ll be paired currently, um, with four companies, uh, that, um, that have partnered to work on this.

Cory Miller: That comes to our second ask. Yeah, that’s right. Okay. So tell me how, um, now this is very relevant for post status because we’re a bunch of professional and business members in our community.

So the second ask is, we need someone, one, participants, people that need and want assistance go and speak at Word Camps. And the second part of this is the sponsors and partners. Can you tell me a little bit more, more about that and [00:26:00] how that.

Winstina Hughes: Okay, so starting off, partners are sponsors, , um, partners are the first, um, you know, companies that expressed an interest in supporting this project.

Um, you know, this initiative. Uh, and so like that is my way of thanking you, um, by, you know, by acknowledging. that you came into this, um, wholehearted and opened armed. And so thank you to the four companies, um, that have done this, uh, that have stepped forward to say that they will support. Um, you know, it was really exciting once the call went out, um, from Word Camp US that they were seeking, uh, support for underrepresented.

Speakers. It was really exciting because Master wp, um, stepped in at that time, you know, to say that they thought that this was a great project. And, you know, they’re the fourth company they joined, um, GoDaddy, Post Status, and Yoast, um, you know, the original three that said that, you know, that they would love to support this initiative.

And so, um, now we have, [00:27:00] we have four of them and there are also several companies as well that are providing in-kind donations. Um, and, you know, they’re doing so, makes it possible for support, inclusion and tech, um, you know, to, to function, right? Because like, you have the website and then there are all these different like plugins that make it functional and make it possible, you know, for, um, for, for it to run and function the way that we need to.

Um, so if your company that wants to. Sponsor speakers, you know, you just have to go to the site. Um, there is a section there for you to register your support, um, your register, your desire to support. It’ll ask you, um, you know, to provide, you know, like a contact. Um, it’ll ask you the type of, uh, How you want to provide this support.

Um, would you prefer to reimburse speakers for their expenses or are you, um, ready and, you know, willing and able to pay for their, um, their travel and their hotel in advance of their trip? [00:28:00] Um, so, you know, once you’ve identified your contact, you know, your contact is the type of support that you want to provide, you know, then, you know, we’ll have an opportunity, I’ll have an opportunity, you know, to really. Sit down with you and for us to have a conversation about like, you know what would be your process, you know, what would make it easy or for you to be a part of this initiative? Um, this isn’t a cookie cutter means of support for, for companies, because you’re all different.

Um, how GoDaddy, you know, is providing support is different from how Post Status is providing support is different from how Yoss is providing support. And it’s different from, you know, how, um, Master WP is and, uh, When I started this, and I, you know, I, and I wrote on my blog, like, really this proposal on

I went into it, um, you know, with the understanding, personal understanding is that it’s gonna [00:29:00] take a couple years to understand the needs of our community and the ways, you know, companies and our ecosystem can support these needs. And in the last six months, Exactly what I, you know, anticipated, um, is what I’ve been able to, you know, to, to see.

And, you know, currently, um, there have been three, you know, requests, um, for, you know, to participate, you know, um, for funding, for support, for camps and, um, two unique, you know, individuals have, have made those requests. Um, and you know, so right now it’s a question of. You know, like assisting them, you know, with the process of how, you know, our four partners, you know, can support them in that way.

Um, and I think that answers part of your question. Um, the second part of the question is like, so how is this financial component gonna work? Right? [00:30:00] Like, are companies giving me money? No, you’re not , like, I’m not receiving, you know, um, any of the money. Is the financial support that you’re providing. Um, instead it’s looking at your company’s processes, um, you know, your, your financial processes, your accounting processes for you to, you know, step back and think like, how could we as a company provide this level of support?

Um, you know, it could be that you already have an existing program. Yoast already has a diversity fund. Um, and so Yoast partnering with me is a way of, um, you know, kind of bringing the need that exists to them as well. Um, and so therefore they’re able to like further serve the community, um, you know, through those who are expressing an interest through support inclusion and tech.

Um, the way Post Status, you know, is seeking the support speakers too, is different from Yoast. Um, and, you know, uh, [00:31:00] Yoast has a budget, um, and.

Has their own system and their own ways of support. Um, and so they also have a budget and then Master wp, they also have a budget. And so once that budget has been met, then you know the partners essentially gray out for that year. Um, and they become active the next year. Um, and so. , that is a way of making this sustainable.

You know, you, you pledge how much you can support, um, speakers financially, and once that has been met, then your, I mean, your capacity for the year is, is, is met. And then next year, once you’ve reallocated your budget, or not re reallocated, but once you’ve defined, you know, your budget, um, for the year, then you would go, you know, back into the process of supporting [00:32:00] speaker.

Cory Miller: And I wanted to say from personal experience here, that there’s many way, there’s, there’s creative ways to support these speakers, uh, to go, you know, uh, you, you talked about hotel and flights. Yeah. And, um, I, I wanna, I wanted to say that one standard to say this is not an unapproachable. Opportunity to support d uh, diversity inclusion in tech.

Um, this is very manageable for most members at Post Status, by the way. So, you know, flight costs, uh, depending on where it is in the world. Um, I think the first question you asked me was, what’s your budget? Yeah. And that’s a great way. So as you come in and click sponsor, just be thinking of these things with when st for how you can.

Help support this amazing project. Um, and that there’s creative ways to do that. And I, I think Winstina, most members, business members at Post Status can make a meaningful contribution in this way [00:33:00] through this, your project here. And I love the fact also, I know we talked about this too, you wanted to be real careful.

You wanna say you want the support to go to the person as best as possible. A lot of nonprofits have overhead. You have graciously generated your time and your talent to this project, and I, I, I love the way you’ve done it too, even though I go, gosh, Winston, I love that you have this passion. Um, but thank you so much for this.

But I know you give of your own time. For this particular project, but as you talk to Ena, if you’re listening to this now, there’s creative options and ENA is so good at helping you, helping understand where you’re at, and then pair it with people that need assistance.

Winstina Hughes: Thank you. Yes, and that is, that is the goal.

In terms of my contribution to the WordPress community, burnout is so real and because of the fact that I work full-time outside of the WordPress space, the WordPress ecosystem, um, I’m really [00:34:00] cognizant of the fact that I need to perform well. And at a high level , right? Uhhuh , um, at work, you know, and in my personal life.

And WordPress fits into, um, you know, into that. And so I’ve been able to contribute in different capacities since I was in college and. Graduate school, first attending in college, um, or post-college in graduate school, moving into speaking and organizing, um, and now working, you know, professionally maintaining, you know, organizing as a meetup organizer and a WordCamp organizer, and understanding that this can really lead to burnout.

You know, um, my ultimate decision is, you know, that for the next two years, I’m not gonna be a WordCamp speaker, and I’m also not gonna be a. Organizer, you know, this, these are the ways that I can, you know, I can continue to contribute. I can contribute through support, inclusion and tech. Um, you know, but really pair, pair down all the other ways that I could burn out.

[00:35:00] And so by maintaining, Being a New York City meetup organizer and hosting at least a minimum of six meet meetups a year, and, um, really pivoting and concentrating my energy towards support, inclusion and tech. I can sustainably contribute to the community. And so this is a perfect opportunity to really share with you, um, that, you know, I want to meet with every speaker.

You know, that expresses the interest for support. So as you submit your, you know, your speaker registration and you join the directory listing, I will, um, you know, I’ll ask to meet with you, for us to have a conversation, for me to understand your needs and to share. what it is I understand and I’ve learned over time, and also how our partners seek to support.

So we’ll have that conversation. It’s gonna be on the weekend. I hope you graciously incorporate that into your schedule. Um, because, you know, I, I work during the week, [00:36:00] um, and so, you know, we’ll meet once. Uh, hopefully within a week or two of your registering as soon as possible. Especially it’s, it’s, it’s ideal, uh, not ideal.

It’s encouraged to register as soon as possible, um, because the closer you get to your ward camp, you’re gonna. Most likely, um, be reimbursed if you apply much sooner, like a, like two or three months in advance. You know, there are companies that will be able to, you know, cover your, your, your costs, um, of participation in advance of your trip.

If you are reaching out like three to two. You know, to the time of, of your support that the time that you need, then you’re looking at being reimbursed for your expenses. And so like, you know, that’s, that’s something to, to keep in mind when it comes to registering, you know, for this is that companies will be able to assist you with removing this.

It just might be [00:37:00] later. When your need is expressed closer to the time that you’re speaking that it’s more, it’ll be a reimbursement instead. Um, and so that’s something to keep in mind, the timing in which you submit your interest, and also the fact that, um, you know, that we’ll be meeting on a weekend. Um, there’s this speaker that just registered and he wanted to meet with me.

Um, On Christmas, he’s in another part of the world. I mean, you know, like, so yeah. Um, and so I just, you know, I just like, I think when, and I had a con, you know, I just like responded and let him know that it’s, it’s Christmas for me. I’m, you know, I’m a Christian and I’m so celebrating my holiday today. Um, you know, and, you know, like, uh, let’s, let’s meet next week.

Um, so, you know, uh, we’ll have like, you know, we’ll have these conversations and we’ll, we’ll see. And you know how. Um, you know, how you and I can, can have that conversation and [00:38:00] meet and how your need can be met. And I’ll also meet with, you know, companies that wanna sponsor as well. And I wanna tell you, I want you to tell me what’s realistic for you.

Um, I want just, just to, just to give you a sense of how some of the companies are. In fact, um, you have, uh, of the four partner. You have one partner who seeks to provide support, um, you know, within the us. Um, as of our last conversation, you know, the desire is to support minority speakers, um, specifically people of color, um, specifically, you know, black Americans, um, to improve or those of black descent to improve, um, their numbers.

WordCamps in the US. Um, our last conversation was, you know, this is the direction that they wanna go. This is the greatest impact that they think that they can achieve. Um, and [00:39:00] I’m, I’m so glad that I get to listen to what everyone. Hopes to do, you know? Um, because it gives me a sense too that our community is really thinking through, like, this is how we’re gonna solve it, right?

Like, this is how we’re gonna make the dent that we wanna see. So this company already knows this is how we’re gonna make the dent that we wanna see. And there, there. Process too, is that they’re just gonna give you a blanket amount of money and they’re not gonna micromanage how it is you spend it. Um, they just simply ask, you know, that you, not simply, the requirement is that you put it towards your WordCamp experience and that’s where they are with it.

Um, there’s, you know, another company host of course, has an established diversity fund and they have processes already in place for the support. And so you’re simply gonna go through the existing process that, um, Yoast has established and they have a generous fund. Um, and their support, um, is something [00:40:00] that they’ve been offering the support for a long time, and they’re very, um, they’re really respected , you know, for that effort.

And, um, I’ve had an opportunity to like, you know, to speak with someone who has been a part of their support in the past or received it and they speak so highly of, of Yoast um, and that’s, you know, Yoast has already thought it through and they’ve already walked through. You know, Corey and I, you and I have spoken about, you know, the budget, you know, that you’re, that post status is set aside and, and you’ve already shared.

You know, what is the need? Like, we’re not micromanaging, right? Like, let us know what type of support that you need, and we’re just gonna provide that to you. Um, and so like you’re, you are already thinking about like, how can we make this happen? Like, you know, if you need to, you know, it’s a flight, you know, wherever it is.

It doesn’t have to be domestic, right? Like, it doesn’t have to be in the us it could be anywhere in the world. Um, and, and that’s, you know, that’s like, [00:41:00] Post Status is thinking, and then GoDaddy is currently working through their process. Um, and I do believe that because of the fact that they have teams around the world that GoDaddy’s reach will also be of, um, I think GoDaddy’s reach will also extend beyond like the domestic, you know, like within the US and they’ll be able to provide support as well toward camps.

you know, around the world. I’m anticipating it’s possible that, um, GoDaddy’s like impact could, you know, be especially strong with, um, Uh, WordCamps, like Word Camp Asia or Word Camp US or Word Camp Europe. Um, you know, because they’ll have team members there and when they have team members there that can help facilitate and smooth the process over for, for those that they’re going to be supporting, but they’re working through their processes to make this established as well.

And so I think [00:42:00] that, you know, just by me sharing that, you can tell that, you know, each of, you know, my partners are, are working within. Um, you know, like their business processes and their financial processes and also their vision for impact. Um, and I think that’s really important.

Cory Miller: So to recap, here’s what I’ve heard.

So support inclusion and is the bridge between those that want have the desire to share their exper experience and expertise at word camps, but need some financial assistance to get their flights and hotel. That’s what f support inclusion and does. Second, as a participant, as someone.

Um, if you first need to apply and get, uh, approved to speak at work camp, then come to support inclusion and and, um, sign up, have a conversation.

Winstina Hughes: Mm-hmm. , once you’ve been approved.

Cory Miller: Have a conversation with we, Tina. [00:43:00] And then third, the third recap is our ask for, um, well buzzer asked in our community.

Uh, if you’re looking to speak to Word Camp, go to support inclu or go apply, get approved, come to support inclusion in tech. And then second for those businesses out there. You know, you have a heart, you wanna support this. That’s our community. That’s who WordPress is. Uh, go to support inclusion and tech.

Click on the sponsor link and have a conversation with ena. Think about your budget. Think about what you wanna do, uh, when Cena is so creative in helping just make these connections happen so you can really make a difference in our community. Did I get it all right?

Winstina Hughes: You did. You did get it right And, okay.

And I think that support inclusion tech also. It goes through vetting process as well to confirm that those who are seeking assistance, you know, to participate actually have been accepted. And that’s why, that’s why the steps are what they are. Um, partners aren’t gonna [00:44:00] question, oh, is this need real? You know, that vetting is gonna happen in advance.

So when you receive a speaker interest, You know that this is someone who has been accepted a Word camp, and they understand the process and they’re working within, you know, your, your policies and your procedures, um, in order for them to participate. So it removes all those questions. Um, you know, so that and that, yeah, that’s a part of it.

Cory Miller: Well, Winston, my friend, thank you so much for this important work, uh, holding the banner up. I know this takes a lot of time. I know you’ve got a full-time gig. I know you’ve got a life

Winstina Hughes: more,

Cory Miller: um, But I so much appreciate you post. I just appreciate you, our members do for doing this vitally important work and making a difference in our world that can, like we said, can be a reflection in all these thousands of communities we go out to, to say, how can I be more inclusive?

[00:45:00] How can I make sure everybody is represented as at least an opportunity to be represented? So I really appreciate you, Winstina, and your work and also just ringing the bell with me and teaching me and sharing, um, how we can make, make that difference. So I appreciate. Thanks for being. I’m thanks for being on.

Winstina Hughes: Sorry. No, no. I mean, I absolutely, like, this gives me life and it makes me wanna show up in the world, you know, different and energy. I wanna exercise more like , you know, like this is, this is, this is really in a lot of ways just like giving me energy to contribute. And so, um, to like, just to be able to like, work with you, you’re, you’re, you know, I’m, I think you’re awesome

You know that, ditto. You’re, you have a beautiful family. You know, like your energy is like, you have such great energy and so just a chance to work with you and like the amazing people that I’ve had a chance to, it, it just, it gives me life and it makes me want to live more, you know? So like, let’s, let’s [00:46:00] see what we can do to continue to support our community so that the four freedoms, you know, I think that it’s, , it’s creating a fifth freedom, which is, you know, for all of us to be able to participate in a truly inclusive, um, community.

And, you know, that speaks a lot to what the co-founders of WordPress. I think, um, you know, what, what they created and, and where they want, um, what their vision is and, you know, from their vision where we’re, um, going and or how we’re evolving as a community. I mean, to have 40% plus of a reach on the.

There’s so many people around the world that are impacted by this project, you know? So, um, yeah, I love

Cory Miller: that. Let’s, let’s add the fifth Freedom. I love that win. Coined by Win, and I love that leadership vision for our community. We need it. Thank you. Thank you, ma’am. You have a good rest of your year and we’ll see you in the next year.

For everybody listening, thanks for listening. Tune in, go to support inclusion in [00:47:00], and also Winstina Hughes is in our post Slack community. So you can go at Wednesday and you can ping her and, um, get the conversation started there. So thank you, Eena.

Winstina Hughes: Thank you. Thank you, Brent.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

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