Interview with Justine Ayebale Abunyanga, Vicepresident
After Justine Ayebale Abunyanga got her Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, she started working as a web designer. First, she made hardcoded HTML websites, but when she discovered Joomla, her life suddenly became a whole lot easier. Today, she co-directs the Ugandese IT-company Webstar Uganda. Justine had been an active member of the local community for a while when she decided to run for VP, a role she considers as a broad one: “This role requires that you represent everyone.”
Justine, congratulations on your election as Vice President! Which were the reasons that brought you to run for this office?
I have used Joomla for a long time and got closer to this, my favourite CMS – Joomla. But not just the CMS but also its community, especially when we all engage as a community at gatherings. Getting to know people who all share the same passion.
The vision is actually bigger than I thought before. Sharing and accessing resources has become easier. Over time I became interested in getting to understand the workings of the teams and what happens in the community. It was here I heard about the announcement for application. I also followed the former Vice President who, being a woman as well, motivated me to engage with the election process. So I decided to apply. All through this, other women who I worked with on various projects encouraged me, as well as the few of the JUG Members who were very encouraging.
How do you see the role of the Vice President in Joomla?
This role requires that you represent everyone, supporting them either personally or in the community projects that they are involved in. Besides supporting the president, you must keep up-to-date with what is happening in different teams and the Joomla community at large.
Which will be the major challenges and what do you expect to achieve during your term?
The major challenge is that there is no specific role of the VP towards the community. And this requires the VP to be an all-around person. I hope to foster an open inclusive and friendly attitude to help put the fun back into working with Joomla and to realize and communicate the new developments within the CMS.
The Vice President role is the first Board position you are holding within the global Joomla Community, but you have been actively involved at a local level. Tell us more about your involvement with Joomla.
Joomla was the first CMS I worked with and I am loving it more and more with every major release. I enjoy all the new features as they are introduced and at every level. I am part of my community JUG and very enthusiastic about women adapting Joomla as a way of making a living and a source of income. With this in mind, I spearhead the initiative “CMS for women (www.cms4women.org)”. I led our first Pizza-Bugs-Fun event in 2019 and participated in the same event this year (2020). At such events, we also introduce Joomla to new users interested in joining the community. I also attended some of the bigger Joomla gatherings (Conferences) which are very eye-opening and make you feel that beauty of sharing the same passion with other communities worldwide.
Did Joomla change your life? How?
Plain coding websites became harder to work with especially if not in a team. It required longer amounts of time to achieve an objective. Then I got to know Joomla which enabled me to accomplish projects easily. That was the turning point in my career and my core source of income.
Is there anything we forgot to ask but should have asked you?
Yes, you forgot to ask about my personal life. I am married with two daughters. Joomla brought my husband and me closer together. He used Joomla before I did. Together, we became a better team and are still achieving more using Joomla.