On June 6, 2019, I celebrated my 10 year anniversary as a member of drupal.org.
I had only been using Drupal for a short period of time before my registration on (what we lovingly refer to as) d.o. (dee-dot-oh), but was quickly embraced as a member of the community and afforded respect, professionalism, and friendship that was both encouraging and empowering.
My local network, the Los Angeles Drupal User Group, welcomed and mentored me, and even gave me opportunities to teach and mentor others. I flourished, and continue to enjoy these friendships to this day. In fact, the work I do with Stauffer came about directly through my involvement with LA Drupal.
Whenever my students ask me how to get started, I always say the same thing: find your professional community. Not your work colleagues (though, they should become your friends and supporters, too), not the people that you network with from time to time, but the people you can truly reach out to for growth. The people who you can work through professional challenges with. The people who have your back. The people who will teach you, and want to learn from you.
This, for me, has been the magic of the Drupal community.
Right from the start, in 2009, I was welcomed as an organizer of the local Drupalcamp and was encouraged when I wanted to pull together a track focused on women in Drupal. I got to present a 2 hour(!) site-building session, Views Demystified, which would be one of the key opportunities that opened a million doors for me later on.
Years later, I’m now able to say I’ve made core contributions — to the accessibility of Media Library and Layout Builder — and that I’m a member of the DrupalCon North America “Tag Team” (the group that reviews session submissions). I’ve presented four times at DrupalCon and produced a 9.5-hour video course, Learning Drupal 8, which was published first by O’Reilly and is now available on Udemy.
But with all of that in mind, the most important part of this story is the friendships I’ve established. My children are friends with children of my Drupal colleagues. I have a network of professional friends that I can reach out to with challenges, and that I can refer people to. And all of this is because of the incredible nature of the Drupal community, especially the LA community.
DurpalCamp LA 2019 will be on August 24-25 at UC Irvine. We hope to see you there.