Learning more about WordFest and how you can participate

Featured Image: WordFest 2021 Info

In today’s article, we will learn more about the upcoming WordFest conference and how you can participate. We will get all the information from Cate DeRosia and Michelle Frechette, volunteers with the Big Orange Heart who is hosting the conference.

You can learn more about the conference on the event’s website: www.wordfest.live.

Life needed a party. Big Orange Heart, as a mental health and well-being charity for remote workers, has seen the struggles not just in the WordPress community, but across the globe. Cate DeRosia

How did the idea for WordFest begin? 

Michelle: It started as a conversation in October around Giving Tuesday, and how we could use Giving Tuesday to give back to the community. We quickly realized that we didn’t have time to do something for December and started talking about something “next year.” That one small conversation turned into WordFest, which still feels like it’s happening so quickly! 

What is the ultimate goal for WordFest, aside from raising money for Big Orange Heart?

Michelle: We’re so excited to be able to offer a global, 24-hour event to support the remote working community, do some networking, and learn from each other, all at the same time.

Big Orange Heart Logo
Big Orange Heart

How is WordFest different than a regular WordCamp?

Click to learn more about what makes this event different.

Cate: Life needed a party. Big Orange Heart, as a mental health and well-being charity for remote workers, has seen the struggles not just in the WordPress community, but across the globe. With a pandemic, civil unrest, and financial struggles — not to mention a lot of people having to embrace remote working whether they want to or not — the community needs an opportunity to come together and relax. And with our virtual platform, they’ll be able to do just that. 

What can we expect when we show up? Will there be networking opportunities? 

Cate: When you enter the platform, the main screen will show four boxes, one for each of the regions: Oceania, Asia, EMEA, and the Americas, with an indicator to tell you which region is currently live. You’ll be able to join the sessions in process or go into a previous region to hear sessions from it.

You can also choose to follow the links within the site to enter any of the Sponsor’s tents — GoDaddy Pro and Fused will feature across the full 24 hours – along with the unique Community Tent. Attendees also have the option to set up profiles to tell about themselves and interact with each other through their personal meeting rooms.

And, yes, definitely networking! Networking was one of our main goals. Most of us are HUGE fans of the WordCamp “hallway track,” and we’re missing it, too. Attendees can wander among the tents listening to speakers, talking to sponsors, or kick back at one of the virtual tables and catch up with a friend.

One of the features we’re particularly fond of is you’ll be able to see who’s at a table at any given time. And if needed, you can spin up your own table to start a new conversation. So much flexibility.

What kinds of presentations can viewers expect to see at WordFest Live?

Cate: Talks include everything from WordPress to well-being with some of them covering both. There are talks on content, selling, connecting, development, as well as coping with stress, and dealing with ADHD.

Here’s a link to the schedule for more specifics: https://www.wordfest.live/schedule/

Some of the WordFest Speakers
Some of the WordFest Speakers

Will the presentations be available to view for a period of time? 

“Registered users will be able to log back into their WordFest profile at any time to catch up with the sessions.” – Dan Maby, founder of Big Orange Heart.

Imagine it is seven days after the event. What are you happy was accomplished?

Cate: Regardless of what happens, we will have accomplished our goal: to bring our community together and celebrate.

Right now, when so much of the world is shut down, we will have been able to provide a way for people to come together for a positive, healthy reason. No matter where anyone is right now, the pain of life is touching us all. It’s unavoidable, it’s unfair, and it’s unrelenting.

But for 24 hours across the entire globe, we will have given people a chance to hang out, connect, and maybe even make their business and future a little bit stronger. Not only that, but we will also have introduced them to a safe place — Big Orange Heart — where they can continue to come for support, well-being, and most importantly, community.

You have a very diverse list of speakers. Can you tell us what went into the selection process for the speakers? 

Cate: Choosing speakers is always tricky, particularly when your goal is to have speakers speaking in their home region. We began with a blind evaluation from a variety of different people, so we had developers, business owners, marketers, etc.

After that, we took the top sessions and checked to see how they fit across our regions. Fortunately, we had over 150 submissions for initially 24 speaker slots, which we were eventually able to expand to 48 with minimal overlap on the schedule.

Thanks to community enthusiasm, flexibility, and a little creative scheduling, we were able to put together a diverse group of speakers that filled each region with “local” speakers and fulfilled our goal of inclusivity as well as we could have hoped.

Wrapping it up

“Life needed a party.” I cannot agree more with Cate about the need for a party. So many things are wearing us down these days. I hope you can find some time in your busy schedules to visit the WordFest and enjoy what is sure to be a lot of fun and inspirational.

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Donata Stroink-Skillrud
Donata Stroink-Skillrud
President of Agency Attorneys