Drupal is for everyone --including marketers! As part of Drupal’s core values of inclusivity and acceptance, the Drupal community has pushed to improve usability and accessibility in Drupal 8 and Drupal 9. New features like the Claro Administration theme and enhancements to Layout Builder have helped make it easier than ever for marketers and content creators to build beautiful digital connections.
Acquia partner Code Enigma has over a decade of experience building and designing digital journeys with Drupal space and working toward the goal of making the web a better and more welcoming space for all. For this month’s Women of Drupal feature, I spoke with Code Enigma’s Marketing Manager Maygen Jacques, who is an active part of the movement for better web accessibility and equality. Maygen talked about her passion for telling the stories of the diverse organizations who make Drupal possible, like the Drupal India Association, and shared her tips for building confidence when pursuing your tech ambitions.
How did you get your start in tech?
My first “real” job post-university was headhunting senior-level software salespeople. Essentially a sales role in itself. This led me into an inside sales role, selling occupational health software. It was apparent the company I had been hired by had zero marketing in place; no real website, no social media, no customer communications, no newsletter etc. I picked this up and my role evolved into marketing.
I spent the best part of five years there. I had a brief jaunt into fiance for 9 months, which, in all honesty, I didn’t enjoy. I knew my home was in tech. Now I’m back with the kind of people I love, developers and designers.
How did you first discover Drupal? And as a marketer, what was the learning process like to use Drupal?
I was introduced to WordPress first, I’ll admit! I quickly learned that Drupal was a big contender, and to some extent, a more secure option.
When I started at Code Enigma, they were just about to launch their rebranded website, which was the perfect time for their new marketing manager to take over as the product owner! Queue learning some basic Drupal skills.
Everything I’ve learned about Drupal has either been completely intuitive, thanks to a well-built CMS, or on a call with one of our clever devs or designers. I can’t think of a time where I’ve been left scratching my head, which is a testament to all involved.
Do you feel that Drupal is marketer-friendly and accessible to non-technical users?
8.7 really did us marketers a favor. It meant I no longer had to raise a ticket and wait for a developer to do some basic tasks for me. This meant I could make changes a lot quicker. When it comes to publishing certain items of content, this can be the difference between being on the pulse or missing the boat.
Page management and the introduction of some drag-and-drop options made things all the more efficiency. Plus, the ability to create a page from a template was a great addition.
Accessibility is something that should be constantly worked on, but 8.7 made some decent strides. Being totally keyboard navigable, for one. Even the drag-and-drop feature makes things more accessible. We should always be working toward making Drupal a totally inclusive CMS.
What are some aspects of the Drupal community you’re involved with?
I’m really interested in talking to all kinds of people in our community. I’m talking to representatives from Drupal Associations in other countries. I want to compare what everyone’s been doing and where there are some examples we might want to follow. For example, I know the gender gap in India is closing because women joining the tech world is becoming normalized and I think that’s just fantastic.
Otherwise, I am a part of the Drupal marketing efforts and am more than happy to contribute to the pitch deck where possible, or write case studies that highlight the good Drupal contributes to the world!
What new developments are you most hoping to see in Drupal 9?
What I’m excited about is how easy Drupal 9 is going to make the upgrade process as well as improving security. As a marketing manager, I want happy clients. If Drupal is always striving to be more efficient as well as safer, this means our clients can have peace of mind that they’re getting the best solution for their website.
What are some challenges you've faced, technically or career-wise?
In my first role, I was the only female in an office of 12. The other 11 being very ambitious salesmen. That wasn’t the challenging bit (they were all actually incredibly lovely to me).
Headhunting differs from recruitment. Recruiters work with people proactively looking for work. Headhunters identify the best people for the job and convince them to quit their current job to take the one you have (if they get it; you also have to convince them it’s worth the preparation, time and risk).
My candidates, typically men, would be on around £100k as a basic salary. Can you imagine their level of confidence? Now can you imagine how willingly they would give me the time of day? I had to be instantly credible or they’d hang up on me. Later I’d walk them through their interviews, salary negotiations and resignations.
It was hard, but it taught me a lot. Some tricks of the trade I use to this day when talking to people. I hear my old boss saying, “no closed questions!”, and not to be afraid of a pregnant pause. He told me the best way to gain someone’s respect whom you’re talking to for the first time is to disagree with them about something (without being argumentative).
The challenge, for me, doesn’t lie between men and women, but confidence and respect.
How do you think we can help make the tech community more inclusive?
I think the community is already inclusive. At Code Enigma, we’ve been shouting about accessibility for a long while. We are committed to building a better world wide web for everyone. We fold inclusivity into our process for creating our clients’ solutions. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone anti-accessibility in their beliefs. You will find people are tied by purse-strings in terms of addressing accessibility limitations on their website, for example.
If we’re talking about the gender gap, again, I think things are changing for the better. The reason I’m so keen to talk to the DA in India is because all you have to do is look at their recent DrupalCamp photos and you’ll see every other person is a woman.
Technology will always be something younger people drive forward. I think sexism is dying in some places. These two things connect and as a result, we’re getting more girls who code. We need to encourage this.
What inspires you? What keeps you passionate about your work?
The Drupal community is something really special. Going to DrupalCons and DrupalCamps is such a pleasure. You can immerse yourself with people who are ridiculously intelligent and equally laid back. My favourite experience with the community is, without doubt, the Splash Awards in Amsterdam in 2019. So many amazing examples of how Drupal can make a positive difference, built by some incredible teams.
I’ve called on a few people for a favour and been met with nothing but happy helpfulness. It’s a testament not just to open source technology, but openness as a value. As a result, I am motivated to put back into it what I get out of it. I aim to be a contributing member of this group.
What advice would you give your younger self or someone who is just starting out in their career?
Tech is always going to offer strong opportunities. If you’re passionate about code, if you have a flair for design, if you’re able to digest complex content, then build that skill into a talent.
It’s OK to make mistakes. In fact, they’re actively encouraged. Just be honest about it early on and make sure you learn what went wrong and how to avoid doing it again.
Also, I’d whisper that Googling stuff is totally OK and not at all cheating.
Maygen’s insights into the positive impact that people are making through technology every day was a reminder of the incredible size and scope of the entire Drupal community. Like Maygen, I’m proud to get to tell their stories. And if you want to learn more about how Code Enigma is helping better the world through creativity and technical innovation, check out their blog.