Speaker Spotlight: Melissa Roberts

Melissa RobertsMelissa is a new and enthusiastic WordPress user who used the CMS as a tool to rebrand and rebuild a complex site. She’s a fixture of the startup community in Kansas City, so we wanted to get a little bit of her background for you!

Q: How did you get started in your current field?
A: After starting off in politics, I fell into the non-profit world. Something that’s always been important to me–whether I’m working on a political campaign or in a non-profit role–is feeling like I’m working toward a goal that’s bigger than just completing daily tasks. These days, helping connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to grow is what gets me up in the morning.

Q: Describe your ‘ah ha’ moment about WordPress?
A: To be honest, I’m still learning a lot about WordPress. I’ve managed many WordPress websites over the years, but I hadn’t built one until recently. My “ah ha” moment–the point where I felt I could really control the structure of a website–was when I first figured out how to make the landing page I had created actually display as the landing page for my domain. I’d been struggling to find out how to replace that “Hello World” blog page with the shiny landing page I has created. When I made that change and my first real landing page popped up–that’s when I felt like I could learn to build anything.

Q: If you could go back to when you were getting started and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Ask people for help before you ask the Internet. I can spend all day digging through help forums and sometimes I find what I’m looking for, sometimes I don’t. I think the typical developer ethic is to try to find information on your own or try, try again until you fix a problem. But I’m not cut from that cloth and I learn differently. I found a handful of people who were always willing to give great advice and help me tackle problems. I think the lesson there is, don’t feel like because you’re learning to code or build websites, that you have to learn the way other people have learned or have the same mindset. Blaze a trail and find a system that works for you.

Q: Describe your talk in three sentences or less.
A: Enterprise Center in Johnson County is one of the oldest entrepreneurial support organizations in KC, and our website looked like it. I managed a rebrand and website rebuild process that changed our most public-facing asset to reflect a modern look. WordPress was the tool that made the process possible and affordable.

Q: Who should attend your talk (beginner developer, intermediate content provider, advanced designer, etc)?
A: Those who should attend my talk are beginners or people who are looking to build an attractive website on the cheap. Or those interested in hearing a design and UX based discussion. Or people who are willing to to make jokes during the Q&A session. I appreciate a good pun.

This post is part of a multi-day series featuring speakers from WordCamp Kansas City 2015. Subscribe to have them delivered to your mailbox, or feel free to check back every day!