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March 4th 2022
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Community Interview – Michele Butcher-Jones

Session overview

What to expect:

Join Michele as she shares her experience of giving back to the community.

Michele is the Lead WordPress Technical Specialist at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency and runs her own WordPress shop at 13Core. She is also the Head Geek over at Can’t Speak Geek. When not working her jobs, Michele is an organizer for WordCamp St Louis and the Lead Organizer of the Southern Illinois WordPress Meetup. You can usually find her snapping pictures, at the gym, hanging with her family, or reading a book. She is always down for an adventure, especially if it involves great food or drinks.

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Michele Butcher-Jones – Community Interview – Michele Butcher-Jones

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Cathy Tibbles: Hi, welcome [00:03:00] back. We are going to get to meet Michele, one of our WordFest organizers. Uh, we’re going to take some time with this round, this work fast, to get to know our organizers. They volunteered for a huge job, and we just want to know why. And we also want to know a little bit more about that. And, uh, who’s contributing to the Big Orange Heart.

Cathy Tibbles: Hi Michele.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Hello.

Michele Butcher-Jones: The first thing I thought of when you’re like, why, when you said about why I’m choosing to volunteer, I’m like a little crazy.

Cathy Tibbles: Oh, I’m glad you did. So tell me about what you do. Is it WordFest? Do you volunteer with the bigger, [00:04:00] uh, orange hard as well?

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, I haven’t really done that much with the Big Orange Heart, but I’ve always been one for promoting a better mental health, um, better just, um, mental health with working remotely and overall.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And anytime that I have seen different things, uh, with Big Orange Heart, um, Like promoting them online and stuff like that. I’m always like, yes, these people are great. And then, um, it came up to be a speaker and I’m like, yeah, I’d like to do that. Let me submit some things. And then later I got a message saying that they needed help in the volunteers group, I guess, unfortunately, um, previously had to back out and I was like, sure, I can help.

Cathy Tibbles: Did you have any idea what you were signing up for? Oh,

Michele Butcher-Jones: not a clue. [00:05:00]

Cathy Tibbles: So what is it, what’s your role that you’re doing this time?

Michele Butcher-Jones: The volunteer lead. Oh, yeah. So wrangling, wrangling all the, uh, all the volunteers, um, and making sure that everything is covered or if not covered the, one of the actual, uh, volunteers team heads could jump in there. And of course the way I’ve been sick today. So I’m not going to be able to help bye.

Cathy Tibbles: Your fired.

Mitsy Combs: I appreciate it. And thank you. Thank you for being understanding of, I don’t know what I’m doing. Doing great

Michele Butcher-Jones: joked around with a friend of mine. I was like, this is not hurting cats. This is hurting squirrels. And they’ve all been part of it before.

Cathy Tibbles: How many of us are there? Do you know the numbers

Michele Butcher-Jones: a [00:06:00] lot?

Cathy Tibbles: It takes a lot to put this event on.

Michele Butcher-Jones: See here, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, looking at a about. 60 volunteers like six, zero. Yeah.

Mitsy Combs: Wow, bless you.

Cathy Tibbles: Yeah, it was quite bad. When you look at all of the spreadsheets that go into this, it’s amazing,

Michele Butcher-Jones: especially why there’s not that many people who are taking more than one shift and we’ve got. Let’s see, 18 different spots for volunteers across six time periods.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And there’s only four hours. Yeah. Well, and there’s only, uh, about, I’d say ten-ish that are doing [00:07:00] more than one.

Cathy Tibbles: That’s awesome. More people to help. And this is how I, um, heard of Big Orange Heart actually, and getting involved. So it’s, it’s a great opportunity to get, to meet some more people behind the scenes.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Yes. People doing really good work. It also gives one of the things I like about with, um, WordFest is it’s it was such a more calmer atmosphere in a way in it’s a good.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Stepping stone in a way for people wanting to get into public speaking, helping volunteer, giving back, um, in the WordPress and remote community, because you, when you, if you are wanting it in public speaking, you don’t have that standing in a room in front of hundreds, or like if your first one’s working for us, thousands of people, it’s just in a way you and your computer at first.

Cathy Tibbles: Yeah. It’s a good [00:08:00] stepping stone. How do you find the speakers? I guess that’s not your area.

Michele Butcher-Jones: That was not my area on this one, but a lot of times it’s, um, just you put out the call for it, the website and put it out through social media. And nine times out of 10, I’ve done a number of WordCamps, including WordCamp US, um, being on the speaker team and being speaker leads at different ones of them.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And usually you’ll end up getting almost double it’s sometimes not true. The amount of people submitting for the top slots you have.

Cathy Tibbles: Wow. Well, I guess it’s good publicity as well. They get to get their name out.

Cathy Tibbles: And a lot of people like with speaking, volunteer, organizing any of it, it’s a lot of times just people like to give back.

Cathy Tibbles: What is your, when you’re not volunteering, what is your full-time job? [00:09:00]

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, my full-time job is I am, um, the support team, um, specialists lead. Um, at Thrive Digital Marketing Agency, which is based out of Dallas, Texas. Um, I wrangle all of the support specialists and, um, help assist with the developers to make sure that our developers have everything they need to fix the sites to make the clients happy.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And then I also work a part-time job for Cornell university doing content manage.

Cathy Tibbles: Wow. You’re a busy lady. So do you spend any time at home?

Michele Butcher-Jones: Oh yeah, I’m sleeping. And then the weekends, and then I also have a daughter who’s a senior in high school, this, so actually next week we are going to visit the college that she’s, um, pick to go to, which is university of Michigan.[00:10:00]

Cathy Tibbles: I have one in grade 12 as well. It’s very exciting.

Michele Butcher-Jones: I’m not ready for all of this, graduation, you just be pushed back another year. I’m fine.

Cathy Tibbles: I know, I know. It’s really hard when they grow up so fast. We have, um, an interview with Bluehost. Do you know. If they’re coming on?

Michele Butcher-Jones: They shouldn’t be,

Cathy Tibbles: We get to interview someone else.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Devon Sears, who is a very fun guy. If you’ve never met him.

Mitsy Combs: Okay.

Cathy Tibbles: So do you, can you tell us how else we can get involved? If we wanted to give back, like I’ve heard there’s a [00:11:00] five, five and five. What does that camp WordPress? Right.

Michele Butcher-Jones: The word, the press foundation is the ones behind five, five, and five. And what that does means is you give 5%. Of your resources back to the WordPress community, and that can be your individual self, or your company, um, individual self you’re looking at only two hours per week, and that could be spent, uh, volunteering for, um, these types of.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Events that WordCamps, WordFest, um, stuff like that. It can be spending time in the, um, support forums, helping people answer questions on, um, plugins that you use and, you know, the answers to it can be.

Cathy Tibbles: Uh, what’s the address for that? Give us the link for

Michele Butcher-Jones: make.wordpress.org is their main site. Um, I can, I cannot remember the actual URL for the [00:12:00] five, for five to sign up for it,

Cathy Tibbles: for the future.

Cathy Tibbles: Right. Informative to me. I keep saying five for five, five, right? That sounds familiar. Yeah.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And, um, Then for a Big Orange Heart, you just, um, go online. Um, um, you can do the monetary help out. I know. Oftentimes there is. Options where Dan and co. will message out saying we need help with the actual organizing team, whether that be in, um, social media, helping out with that content.

Michele Butcher-Jones: I know they’re always happy for, um, guest writers to write a blog piece on like their story for, um, how they got into WordPress or story on mental health and how they’ve overcome different things. And I know for sure they’re looking for anything uplifting.

Cathy Tibbles: Who is looking for those stories?

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, Big Orange Heart.

Cathy Tibbles: Okay. [00:13:00] Okay. I just missed that. Yeah. And a guest posting there, and then we can also sign in for an account at wordpress.org and answer questions. Like you don’t need any special training. You just answer the ones that you know of. And there’s people asking everything from how to log in to yes. How to

Michele Butcher-Jones: code. If you’re into doing training, there’s a group for that in make.Wordpress.org, where they’re building out all kinds of trainings, um, for as simple as what’s the difference between a post and the page all the way up to they’re starting to get into more developer stuff.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Um, you can help out with marketing, um, really, uh, WordCamps, um, for the speaker sponsor. Um, volunteers there’s, um, Meta, polygons is one that they always need help with. If you are someone who speaks multiple languages, they’re always looking for [00:14:00] people to help translate.

Cathy Tibbles: Yeah. There’s always, there’s some way that we can get involved.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Yes. It’s and the, one of the things is though to keeping the mind is it is so much fun and it’s actually kind of addicting for doing volunteer work and giving your time to something is the most precious commodity you can give. However, make sure you are holding boundaries with yourself and being able to take those breaks. Not let yourself get burned out on.

Cathy Tibbles: How do you maintain boundaries with two jobs and want to have the time to do the stuff that feels good, volunteer volunteers or giving back? Like there’s stuff that we want to do.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Do as I say , not as I do.

Cathy Tibbles: So it’s a really good reminder.

Michele Butcher-Jones: I’m one who thrives more [00:15:00] on the, always being on the go, always having something to do, um, type of personality when I’m awake. I’m, you know, feet to the floor from when I get up to when I go to bed. Um, but I find a lot of joy and relaxation in doing a lot of this kind of stuff. We’re it doesn’t really feel like a job. It does feel like a hobby, but when it gets to be something that I’ve losing my joy in, I do tend to take a step back.

Cathy Tibbles: Yeah. That sounds smart. Knowing who you are. I have a daughter that’s completely opposite from me like this. I enjoy doing, but it taxes me. So then I’ll need a break. Well, she, if she’s at home all day, she’s just go crazy. Like she just needs to, to get back to. Volunteering and all over the place. And that gives her joy, builds her up. So we have to understand ourselves and the able to prioritize the things that are important to us.

Michele Butcher-Jones: Very much so that’s like [00:16:00] probably well I’ll um, I paused on, um, the volunteering about 4:00 AM central us time, which is about halfway through. And then, um, And who has an interview later, we’ll actually be taking over for moderating all the volunteers and then I’m passing out and then getting up.

Michele Butcher-Jones: And actually my husband and I have to, um, stay up comedic concerts. We’re going to this week. So after all the hustle and bustle of getting the WordFest out and completed, and with a very full workweek this past two weeks, um, at both jobs, um, have just been able to have that relaxed time. Yeah.

Cathy Tibbles: Well, we really appreciate your help and organizing all of us. It’s a bigger job than I think any of us really realize until we’re in your shoes. So thank you so much.

Cathy Tibbles: It’s [00:17:00] a pleasure.

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