Previously in the Women of Drupal series, I interviewed Drupal architect Lindsey Catlett on the role of tech and politics and becoming a team leader in the open source community. Check out all of Lindsey's excellent insights, here.
The Drupal community is an ever-evolving environment built on support, innovation and freedom of ideas. With over a million contributors, Drupalists come from diverse backgrounds and careers and work all across the globe. While Drupal members have done amazing work in living up to their Values & Principles to create a collaborative, welcoming space, there's still more progress to be made in establishing true equality and strong representation of women in tech and open source.
Acquia believes that the best ideas are born from listening to new, underrepresented voices and giving them a seat at the table. Our Women of Drupal blog series seeks to spread the perspectives of leading women in the Drupal community who have made strides in the tech space and inspire those around them every day to keep learning, teaching and contributing. The beauty of the web and the open source model is that it fosters communication and connection. If you're looking for further resources and information on how to connect with other women in tech, explore the Women in Drupal group on Drupal.org for career guidance and networking opportunities.
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For this month’s Women of Drupal spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Leslie Glynn, a dedicated Drupal freelancer, mentor and inspiration to many members of the Drupal community. This April, Leslie was honored with the Aaron Winborn Award at DrupalCon Seattle. The award, which is named after a long-time Drupal contributor who lost a battle with ALS, recognizes an individual who “demonstrates personal integrity, kindness, and an above-and-beyond commitment to the Drupal project and community.” When I first met Leslie this year at Design 4 Drupal Boston, her compassion and eagerness to welcome new members to the Drupal community was felt by everyone in the room She took the time to personally introduce herself to each person in the class, ask about their work and hobbies and patiently answered every Drupal question, no matter how basic.
Leslie also recently won the election to become the next Drupal Association Director-At-Large. The position is part of the Drupal Association Board of Directors and specifically designed to ensure more participation of under-represented groups on the board. Read on to learn more about her vast career in the tech space and journey to being one of the most respected and adored advisors throughout the entire Drupal space.
Paige: How did you get your start in tech?
Leslie: After graduating from college with a BS in Mathematics, I took a job in an engineering organization as a software developer.
Paige: How did you first discover Drupal?
Leslie: In 2011 I was asked to take over the maintenance of a Drupal 7 site at work and had no idea what Drupal was. I went to a local Drupal camp, bought a copy of “The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7”, attended sessions by wonderful speakers, met members of the Drupal community and was hooked.
Paige: What Drupal function, project or contribution are you working on and/or most proud of?
Leslie: After being guided by so many great mentors in Drupal when I was starting out, I embraced the idea of giving back to the Drupal community. I’ve been involved with organizing, mentoring and volunteering at Drupal events for many years. Recently, I was selected as the winner of the 2019 Aaron Winborn award at DrupalCon Seattle in April. It was something I never expected and was such a great honor to receive this award. Aaron Winborn believed in being kind to everyone and I try to be welcoming and kind in all my interactions, whether it’s volunteering or running a Drupal event.
Paige: What are some challenges you've faced, technically or career-wise?
Leslie: Being a woman in the tech industry for over 30 years has been challenging. I was often the only woman or one of only a few women in the IT departments that I worked for. Being treated equally in terms of advancement and compensation was often challenging. Things have gotten a lot better; however, there is still work to be done in that area. Getting more women and members of other diverse groups into tech fields is an important initiative.
Paige: What inspires you? What keeps you passionate about your work?
Leslie: The Drupal community inspires me. I strive to continue to welcome folks into the fold and to teach them how to give back to the project (through contributions) and to the community. There’s a lot of under-represented and diverse members who are attracted to the Drupal community and we need to work on welcoming them and giving them the guidance and research they need to help grow their own tech careers.
Paige: What are some other aspects of the Drupal community that you're involved in?
I am the lead organizer of Design 4 Drupal, Boston, held each June at MIT in Cambridge. I am also on the organizing team for New England Drupal Camp (NEDCamp), which is back in Rhode Island in November this year. I help with the local Boston Drupal meetup, help to organize and mentor at local contribution (sprint) days, run Drupal trainings for those new to Drupal, mentor at the DrupalCon contribution (sprint) day and volunteer at several other Drupal camps and at the yearly DrupalConNA.
Paige: What does the future of Drupal look like in your opinion? More adoption, new features, any major changes?
Leslie: The advancements in Drupal 8, both in terms of technology and usability, have helped to increase the adoption of Drupal. Users can do so much with Drupal out of the box now. I see the growth of Drupal continuing with initiatives like Layout Builder, Workflow, Media and Migration continue to evolve. Options for decoupling Drupal will continue to expand, making Drupal a great choice in that area. One thing we need to work on to maintain Drupal sustainability is getting younger people and those from diverse populations and areas into the Drupal community.
Paige: What advice would you give your younger self or someone who is just starting out?
Leslie: My advice would be to select a career that makes you happy. Be a life-long learner, share your knowledge with others and build a network of people that you can reach out to. Most importantly, always be kind to those you interact with.