6 minutes reading time (1232 words)

Meet a Joomler: Alison Meeks

Alsion Meeks

If you follow Joomla on one of the social media channels, the name Alison Meeks might have a familiar ring to it: Alison is everywhere! Alison was introduced to Joomla by a guy named Bob. She saw the potential of the CMS (version 1.5 at the time) and while she decided not to keep working with Bob (he turned out to be an ‘ass grabber’) she continued working with Joomla. She joined a JUG, one thing led to another and now she’s part of Joomla’s Marketing Team and Team Leader of the Social Media Team. And enjoying it: “I live and breathe Joomla all day, every day.

Alison, thanks for your participation in this interview! Please tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Canadian and have lived all my life within a few hours of Toronto. My background is print purchasing, administration, print design, marketing administration, which in the past several decades has included website design.
I’m a big fan of animals and their welfare and speaking out about environmental concerns.

How did you get involved with Joomla and the J! Community?

I was in my computer store and the guy in front of me was asking if the owner knew of a Joomla designer. The owner, Chris, told him he had never heard of Joomla but I was a designer. That person was Bob the ass grabber. No, I don’t protect him from his deeds. Too many women have had to put up with bad behaviour in tech. I can’t quite remember how I came to hear of the JUG Toronto group. That said, getting to meet them and the wonderful friendships I’ve made there taught me much and brought me to the next link, which was the JUG Toronto FB page where I met Radek Suski. It was he who first convinced me to admin on the Joomla No Spam Facebook Group then from there into the Social Media Team.

What do you do for a day job, and if this includes Joomla, how?

My “day job” is running my own business, AM Graphix. My business started as a part-time job on the side in 1994 doing print design. In 2004 I took it full time and by then included website design. It was during Joomla 1.5 I found out about it and started to use Joomla for my website builds.
Quite a bit of my “day job” hours are also on Joomla. With being in Canada the day is the time when I can communicate with my team unless I am up very late for the early risers like Hans van der Meer and Sandra Decoux. We meet nearly daily as is needed in our team. There is sometimes the comment, when do you have your team meetings? Every day, often on the weekend as well. Communication in our team is critical to ensure we are getting posts out about what is going on in the community.

Do you use Joomla in other ways?

I live and breathe Joomla all day, every day. If I’m not working with it for my business, I’m doing my Social Media tasks or moderating one of the groups. I have a cancer charity I built/update in Joomla also.  

Are you involved in the Joomla community, apart from in your official position (for example JUGS, events, etc)
Moderating and helping in the No Spam Facebook group is outside of my official position as SMT team lead. Also, part of my job with the SMT is doing graphics for posts and more of that since Sandra has stepped back. I am occasionally called on to do site graphics for posts on the J properties.  

How did Joomla change your life?

I spend probably way too much time with it. That said, I also have met so many wonderful friends with Joomla that is also a touchpoint in my life.

What did you (or do you still) learn and/or gain personally from being a J! Volunteer?

Boundaries. I’m a doer and with the breadth of experience I have, I can always see things that need to be done. I’ve also learned that Joomla will take as much as you will give. You have to set your own boundaries for your own sanity. I failed to do that for many years and it has not been good for my health or my business health. While I can see many, many things I would like to help with in the project I have to take care to prioritize my health and my own business first. It’s not easy to have to make the decision to say no when it is something you would like to do.
Gained personally – oh the many wonderful friendships.

You’re an active member of the marketing team, and of the Social Media Team. Why did you choose marketing, and why social media? In your opinion, how can Joomla profit (more) from social media? Anything we can do?

When Radek first approached me to volunteer my reply was; “How can I help? I can’t code!” And then I found out about all the ways I could help with the skill set that I already had.

What can you do? For social media; something as simple as liking posts or sharing them if you found it helpful. If you are on other J teams let us know what’s up. What are you working on? How can we shine some light onto what you are doing? Ideas for posts – always happy to hear from you. Did you build an amazing website? Do a case study and get it on the Showcase.

Marketing is a split. I have helped with my print and other graphics skills here. Hans, Sandra, and I all have a foot in Marketing to see what is coming for Social Media and to give feedback as needed for it.

I also keep hoping that Joomla will stop this quest of trying to be everything to everyone and double down on the fact that we have this amazingly secure, extensible and powerful CMS. No one asks Photoshop to dumb it down and be less than it is. Be the reason that web professionals choose Joomla for their builds. That is where the money is being made.   
People looking to build their own sites typically aren’t the ones paying for templates and purchasing extensions. They are often the ones looking for freebies in the groups. Sometimes with education of why it is important to support developers they come around.

What is your most remarkable Joomla Memory?

That is so hard to name just one. I’m going to have to say J & Beyond Prague. So very many firsts. First passport, first time flying overseas and alone to meet these people that I only knew online, first big Joomla event. Meeting JHeros – leaders in the community and developers of my fav extensions. And a solid foundation for friendships since.
Being in the Joomla Facebook Group has shown me a great group of volunteers, some not on the normal volunteer radar. The people that help in there, there are far too many to name here, really do a service. I’m so grateful for everyone that helps.

Thank you Anja for your great enthusiasm and work with the community. And thank you for asking me to participate in “Meet a Joomler”.

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