Refreshing after a long absence
It's been quite a while since I posted on this blog.
It’s been quite a while since I posted on this blog.
I got out of the habit of posting through a combination of factors: social media (as with everyone), shifting job responsibilities, and adjusting my priorites to spend some of the time I used to devote to work and work-adjacent things — like blogging — to other pursuits.
In 2014 I was primarily a freelancer working on Drupal websites. I had been working at the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an interfaith peace and justice group, primarily as a web developer until then. Increasingly that shifted into more online communications responsibilities. I strategized for advocacy campaigns, planned out fundraising drives, and supported content creation (not to mention on-the-ground activism).
I gratefully accepted an NTENny award from the Nonprofit Technology Network in 2014 for some of this work, and the presentations I gave at the annual Nonprofit Technology Conference each year. (In 2015 I got to introduce Fight for the Future and my friend Evan Greer to a wider audience at the NTC.)
Frontend engineering with Drupal
While my work at FOR was fulfilling, they didn’t always have the budget to support a full-time job for me. So in 2016 I joined CoLab Cooperative as a senior Drupal developer. I had a great time doing styleguide–driven development and component-based design like PatternLab.
As has been true throughout my career, I continued to center social justice as the framing of my work. With CoLab’s support, I spoke on “Doing good with Drupal and beyond” at the 2018 Pacific Northwest Drupal Summit:
(You can see the slides on their own on LinkedIn.)
Old websites and new tools
Way back in the dark ages of the Internet — 1996! — I had built a website for my parents' titanium wedding ring business. That website continued to be updated, including moving onto Drupal Commerce in its last two iterations, before finally being retired.
Along the way, they began selling a safer cleaning solution for titanium, Multi-Etch, and it became their primary business. So after years of helping them out here and there, in 2020 they hired me full-time as CIO. A little bit of my work involves web development, but a lot of it is more along the lines of customer management and communications. It’s a field I’ve had to learn a lot about, but it’s also given me time and tools to broaden my technology experience.
Consequently, while I’m still a part of the Drupal community — I volunteered as a contribution mentor at DrupalCon Portland 2022 — I’ve spent the last few years learning a whole bunch of new skills. Some of those include: Hugo (the static site generator now powering rootwork.org), “back of the frontend” Node, and MJML. I also invested time in areas where I’d wanted to get familiar for years: Bash scripting, SVGs and animation, and using Linux as my daily workstation.
All of those tools and technologies fit into my work with Multi-Etch in some way, and as a result I have several projects spanning some of these areas that I’m excited to share in coming blog posts.
Things that go together
As my about page (now) says, I have:
worked as a human rights advocate, a community organizer, and a nonprofit communications manager. I’ve been on the board of a justice studies association, helped nominate people for the Nobel Peace Prize, wrote about third-party nonviolent intervention and used electronic civil disobedience to fight insecure voting systems.
All of that went alongside (and was often funded by) my technological work. But as in the past, I’ll continue to write about the intersections between activism and technology, both the positive and negative. I hope you’ll join me for the journey!