Meet a Joomler - Jenn Gress
Come and meet Jenn, or to be more exact, meet Jenn again since she has already been interviewed in 2015. Jenn has been a Joomla volunteer in different roles and teams through the years. It’s time we catch up with her.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m Jenn. I reside near Austin, Texas, USA. Most of my life I lived in California but it got too expensive and the crime too high to stay there.
How did you get involved with Joomla and the J! Community?
Way back in the mid 2000’s, I was working in telecommunications. One of my roles was marketing coordinator. I had “charge” of the website but I had to call some guy any time I wanted to change anything. One of my colleagues introduced me to Joomla and we installed Joomla 1.0 and built out a site for the company. We then built out a 1.5 site for a sister company. I left that company and went to another telecommunications company and started building out a site for them too. Sadly, this was 2008 right at the beginning of the Great Recession. I was laid off and couldn’t find work.
Through the strangest series of events, I ended up connected with this group of guys with a series of Joomla websites. I did volunteer work on those sites at the same time I looked for a new job. I learned a ton. One of those guys started sending me clients. I didn’t think I was ready but three websites later and I reckoned I’d start a business. I built myself a site, found some part time work and worked my ass off for the next few years building the business.
In 2010 I became involved with the Bay Area Joomla User Group. I co-organised that until I left California in 2018. That was my first bit of involvement with the Joomla Community. It was in 2012 when I attended JWC2012 in San Jose that I became more involved. I didn’t join a real team until 2014. I joined the JUG Team and spent a few years there. I participated in the Update Working Group during that time as well. Wrote the docs for the migration section of docs. I spent some time in Trademark, but I wasn’t very helpful. I can’t remember when, but I started testing with the CMS Release Team. It was finally where I wanted to be. I love testing. Sadly, I had to leave all my teams/groups because of my brief stint as Ombudsman. Once everything mellowed out, I joined the CMS Release Team again and that is where I remain.
What do you do for a day job, and if this includes Joomla, how?
I work for a Global company that provides software products to libraries. I’ve worked there for a little over a year now. I no longer do client work. I sent my clients to other service providers in the Joomla Community where I thought they’d best be served. Now, I only work with US public libraries that use a software product that integrates with Joomla.
Do you use Joomla in other ways?
I still have my own website but it’s just because. I don’t really need it. I learned a long time ago not to build websites for friends. It’s a great way to lose friends.
How did Joomla change your life?
It kept me alive during the recession and thereafter. I will always be grateful that Joomla found me.
What did you learn and / or gain personally from being a J! Volunteer?
Specifically as a JUG Organiser, I got business. As a volunteer with the actual Joomla! Project, I’ve learned how to say no, have boundaries so that I don’t burn out, and not allow anyone to take me down. Strange to say all that, but it’s true. In addition to that, I learn a lot about Joomla by being a Joomla volunteer. Lesson learned: I will never organise another JDay for as long as I live.
Do you have a memorable Joomla-moment?
So many. I truly miss events. I would say that most of my memorable Joomla moments were at events. But another that stands out is when a JUG Organiser told me that because of me and my support in the JUG Team, their JUG continued. They were about to throw in the towel and I gave suggestions. Here’s the thing, I don’t even remember making the suggestions or what they were. It was like breathing for me to do the best I could to help this Organiser (and any organiser) to make their JUG better and make it. It felt good. I had no idea of the difference I was making. <3