In last month’s Women of Drupal feature, I interviewed recently elected 2019 Drupal Association At-Large Board member Leslie Glynn on the importance of being a mentor and treating people with kindness and respect. Read more about the amazing ways Leslie supports the Drupal community, here.
Recently Drupal founder and Acquia CTO, Dries Buytaert, released his annual report “Who sponsors Drupal development?” which looks at the individuals and organizations who give back to Drupal in some way. The data showed that only 8% of the recorded contributions from 2018-2019 were made by contributors who do not identify as male. While this is a 1% increase compared to the previous year, there continues to be a wide gender gap in the Drupal community. Drupal and the open source community promote acceptance, freedom of ideas and constant innovation. That’s why we all must continue to work toward the inclusion of more women in the tech space and celebrate those members who support their success.
This month in our Women of Drupal interview series, I spoke with Stella Power, Founder and Managing Director of Annertech, Ireland’s leading open source digital agency. Stella has been an involved member of the Drupal community for over 13 years and maintains many modules including Commerce Realex, Commerce Donate and Code Review. She is a member of the international Drupal Security Team, and in 2010 she co-founded the Drupal Ireland Association.
Soon, Stella and her team of “Annertechies” will be attending DrupalCon Amsterdam from 28-31 of October 2019. Stella is excited once again to organise and run Drupal Trivia Night. She loves watching hundreds of enthusiastic Drupalists come together to test their knowledge. As the curator of the trivia questions, Stella says her hardest “tie-breakers” are usually seeing who can name the exact date (down to the day!) of a specific code release.
Thankfully, this time she wasn’t the one quizzing me, and I got to ask her a few questions of my own:
Paige: How did you get your start in tech?
Stella: I’ve always been a bit nerdy to be honest. I was big into science and maths in school, and my parents were very supportive. I studied physics at university, but by the end of the four years, I didn’t really want to do that as my career. Luckily a large part of my course was computer programming, so once I graduated I went straight into working in tech, first as a software developer and later as development team lead, before eventually starting Annertech.
Paige: How did you first discover Drupal?
Stella: I used to do a lot of photography and ceramic art and needed a website to showcase my portfolio. That’s when I discovered Drupal, and very quickly I had a new hobby. I started contributing patches, helping in the issue queues and taking over maintenance of modules. Drupal was very much a hobby for me for about two years before I went to my first DrupalCon in Szeged.
DrupalCon Szeged was a life-changing experience for me. I was working as a programmer in a large tech company at the time but not really enjoying it or liking the company culture there. I took a week of my annual vacation to go to DrupalCon where I was immersed in Drupal and met some really amazing people, many of them working full-time in Drupal. I realised then that I could do the same. The following week I came back and quit my job, and founded Ireland’s first Drupal agency, Annertech.
Paige: What Drupal function, project or contribution are you working on and/or most proud of?
Stella: That’s a hard question. I’m pretty proud of being one of the founding members of the Drupal Ireland Association, but I think I’m most proud of Drupal Trivia Night. My colleague, Alan Burke, and I started it way back at DrupalCon Chicago, and it’s still going strong. It’s like a DrupalCon tradition now! I still write most of the questions for each Trivia Night, even when I’m not going to be there. I remember at the first Trivia Night, we only had about 20 people there, if that, but now there’s usually about 300!
Trivia Night at DrupalCon Dublin 2016
Paige: What are some challenges you've faced, technically or career-wise?
Stella: I think the biggest challenge for me has always been maintaining a good work-life balance. I just love what I do and throw myself into everything that I’m involved in. People often ask me how I get motivated to work, especially considering that I work from home most of the time. However, my problem is more switching off from work. There’s always one more email to send, or one more task to complete, and I have to repeatedly tell myself that it can wait until tomorrow. Having young kids does help actually — when they’re at home, they really do demand your attention. However, while I’ve gotten better at having a better balance recently, it’s still something I have to work hard at.