WordCamp Asheville 2020 Goes Virtual and Rocks!

Today I had the absolute pleasure of attending WordCamp Asheville 2020 online. Although I missed seeing everyone in person and connecting with the community as we have in the past, this virtual event was stellar and I have learned so much. I want to give a big shout out to all of the WordCamp Asheville organizers and volunteers for their incredible work, to the national WordCamp who created a system so the virtual event experience was straight forward and easy to navigate, and to all of the speakers for coming from so many different cities and towns. 

Diversity in Tech

I was also invited today to facilitate the Diversity in Tech panel and was blown away by the heartfelt openness, actionable ideas, and inspiring stories shared by Aida Correa, Aisha Adams, and Joe Simpson. I felt completely honored to share the virtual stage with these amazing people. If you don’t know them here are some details: 

Aisha Adams

Aisha is the founder and CEO of the Aisha Adams Media Group and Equity Over Everything. Aisha’s other ventures include the Asheville View, a daytime-style talk show. Nappy Thoughts, a personal blog followed by thousands of people on social media, and the Entrepreneurial Accelerator, a business bootcamp that ties fledgling businesses to community resources. She is also the program developer for the Lenoir-Rhyne Equity & Diversity Institute (LREDI).


Twitter: @AishaAdamsblog

Aida Correa

Aida is a modern-day renaissance woman who brings her love of teaching and creative background together to help women live more inspired lives! She is especially known for being an artist with a passion for her AfroLatinx culture, designer, speaker, blogger, and poet.
Aida regularly teaches kids at STEAM workshops and speaks at WordCamps and community events locally, nationally, and internationally. Aida is an Organizer at WordCamp Jacksonville and loves to volunteer! She also has a thing for wapuu.


Twitter: @lovebuiltlife

Joe A. Simpson, Jr.

Joe A. Simpson, Jr. is a Front-End Web Developer and User-Experience Designer specializing in WordPress solutions. He is also a SiteGround Ambassador. Faced with a life-altering heart event in 2017, he pivoted, focusing FIRST on doing the things he truly loved — WordPress, creative passions, teaching tech, and truly giving back. He actively contributes to the WordPress Community, founding WordPress and Elementor Santa Clarita Valley Meetups, speaking or volunteering at WordCamps, and is the Lead Organizer for WordCamp Santa Clarita Online.


Twitter: @joesimpsonjr

Recap of My Favorite Sessions

In case you are planning to watch the #WCAVL sessions on WordPress.TV in the future I want to highlight a few I thought were extremely useful. Of course, I suggest you watch the Diversity in Tech panel as well.

1. Checking under the Hood: Auditing your website for a smooth ride with Miriam Goldman and AmyJune Hineline.

This talk not only provided some excellent tips and tools for auditing your website in different ways from a technical and content perspective; it also featured amazing images of Volkswagons of all kinds. Also, Miriam and AmyJune put a lot of heartfelt thought into sharing why accessibility is so important for all of us to learn about. They also took a moment to pause for #BlackLivesMatter and to recognize that when you are in Asheville you are standing on ground that was once home to the Cherokee nation.

2. Making Your Contact Forms Land in Your Inbox with Aaron Reiman

This issue is something I think all of us have run into. Aaron was easy to follow and walked through setting up DNS correctly dealing with SPF, DKIM, DMARC and more. This session was very informative and actionable.

3. There were also 2 Lightning Talks I really enjoyed: Brand Identity Witchcraft with Aviva Campbell and Images – Usage, Sizing, and Compression with Wesley Lewis.

It always amazes me how much you can learn in 15 minutes. Aviva’s talk was full of rich examples and I loved how she inspired us to consider and dig into our own brand magic. Wesley’s talk was super useful and full of awesome tools that I am definitely going to try. Websites can always be faster and starting with a clear understanding of how to edit your site images is key to success.

4. Cover Your Assets: WordPress Accessibility Images, Videos, and More with Joe Simpson

Joe gave an in-depth and interactive presentation that I enjoyed a great deal. I especially learned so much about captions, which I really need to understand more deeply as an educator. Watch this session to understand the importance of adding accessibility techniques to your process and get great ideas on how you can get started.

5. WordCamp Asheville 2020 Keynote with Rand Fishkin

What can I say about Rand Fishkin that we all don’t already know? He is a brilliant badass who has inspired me so much over the years to continue my journey as an SEO professional. I never get tired of listening to his ideas and thoughts on technology and the world. Meeting him a few years ago was one of the biggest highlights of my whole life. He’s also married to a talented, smart, and funny woman I have a ton of respect for – Geraldine DeRuiter.

My Final Thoughts

Being part of the global WordPress community all these years has brought me so much joy. Thank you to everyone who made WordCamp Asheville 2020 possible. You have all reminded me how many of us are out there using technology to change the world and to bring more equity, diversity, and inclusion into the world of web design and development. BIG LOVE!

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

~Martin Luther King, Jr