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Q&A with the organizers of WordFest Live

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As someone who has had many health struggles, I am definitely in favor of looking after my own self-care.

In fact, I have written articles about self-care at MainWP. I believe we should be self-aware.

For that reason, I appreciate the role that the Big Orange Heart plays in this process.

Further, I think that the WordFest Live conference is a worthy event due to the support of self-care and Big Orange Heart.

Starting July 23, 2021, the second round of WordFest Live kicks off. Led by Dan Maby of Big Orange Heart, Michelle Frechette of GivWP and WPCoffeeTalk, WordCamp Organizer Hauwa Abashiya, and marketing expert Cate DeRosia, the festival seeks to bring together the WordPress community, celebrate each other, remote working, and mental well-being.

There are 70+ speakers across 66 sessions, including live Q&As, Talks and Workshops, and Social Celebrations.

The festival is a 24-hour collaborative effort that runs starting in one area of the world and continues through all areas of the globe.

“Enabling a 24-hour global celebration of WordPress, bringing our community together in a safe environment, whilst facilitating freedom of movement within a virtual event.” Source

Registration is free! I know many people who are working on their WordFest Live presentations now.

If you are wondering about the speakers, here is just a few who are scheduled to speak:

Cameron Jones
Lesley Sim
Miriam Schwab
Chandrika Sista
Amanda Gorman
Danielle Zarcaro
Imran Sayed
Maciek Palmowski
Matt Medeiros
Matt Mullenweg
Meher Bala
Tracy Apps

You can see a complete list here.


Register here.

Today, we are going to get some more information from the organizers of WordFest Live. I asked them a few questions, and they graciously answered.

What went into the decision to have a second WordFest Live in 2021? Are you worried about virtual conference fatigue?

We were in the week leading up to the first WordFest Live and were having so much fun planning it that we started talking about when the next one would be. We sent out a survey to all attendees, and the results were really positive. When we asked how frequently people would like to experience WordFest Live, we got replies everywhere, from monthly to annually. We looked at it realistically and decided that twice this year would be a good place to start. Going forward, we will evaluate if once or twice a year is optimal.

We do take into consideration online fatigue, and our hopes are that when we are able to resume in-person events, we would be able to offer either online or hybrid events, to continue to offer events to remote workers around the world – especially those who cannot travel to in-person events.

What goes into the decision of choosing speakers?

We start with a blind process where everyone on the organizing team evaluates each submission from 1-5 based only on the title and write-up (with all identifying information redacted). Once we complete that process, we look at speakers within each continent, also making sure that we have a balance of representation from all community groups. We’re really happy with the calibre of submissions each time and the diversity of speakers.

screenshot: wordfest.live
screenshot: wordfest.live

What did you learn the most from your first WordFest Live conference?

We could talk about the glitches we dealt with technically and how much more improved this experience will be (which is 100% true, by the way), but we’d rather tell you about how impressed we were by the ways that WordPress community members stepped up to be involved in so many ways…from speaking, organizing, and volunteering to participating in session chats, Twitter hashtags, and our networking tables.

And we learned how dedicated and resilient our community is.

Having grown out of the mission of Big Orange Heart to embrace and support the WordPress and remote worker communities, WordFest Live presents a global, festive, human-centric platform for tech, business, connection, and self-care. I’m excited to participate and support this amazing community, in part because under all that tech is a warm orange heartbeat.

Jean Roth, WordFest Live volunteer, Source

How does WordFest Live differentiate from other WordPress virtual events?

WordFest Live is entirely run by and for Big Orange Heart – our volunteers give endlessly of their time and talents, and for that, we are so grateful. It’s also a fundraiser for the work that we do at Big Orange Heart. Although there are a lot of similarities to other WordPress virtual events, WordFest Live does not operate under the WordPress Foundation and is a completely independent entity.

And while our content covers a wide spectrum of WordPress topics, we also have dedicated sessions focused on positive well-being for distributed workers.

What went into the decision to have the conference in one 24 hour period instead of a few days?

Our community is global, so to provide an event that was a portion of a day meant not including entire communities. We always want to be accessible to the whole remote tech community, so 24 hours made the most sense.

Will we see anything different during this edition of the WordFest Live conference?

Yes! And we’re so excited about some new things we have this time, including community interviews, dedicated time in the Festival/Community Tent, and wellness sessions including meditation, yoga, and more!

Here’s our write-up on what’s new this time around.

Imagine it is 4 weeks later. How will you know if WordFest Live was a success?

If even one person feels less isolated in this turbulent thing we call remote work because of WordFest Live, it will have been successful.

I would almost argue that the event has been a success before we’ve even delivered it – it takes a small village to deliver a 24-hour international event, across two stages, with 70+ speakers across 66 sessions. And in order to do this, 108 people give 432 voluntary person-hours on the day. So in the lead-up to WordFest Live, dozens of people come together to learn, lead, laugh, and yes, have the odd cry. This sense of unity and togetherness at this time is very special.

If even one person feels less isolated in this turbulent thing we call remote work because of WordFest Live, it will have been successful.

Wrapping it up

Did you attend the first WordFest Live? This one takes place within 24 hours on a Friday for most of us.

The speakers and their expertise make WordFest Live a very high-caliber event.

Registration is free, and you can do so here. I’ll see you there.

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

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