Back in 2013, I joined Yoast as a junior developer. Fortunately (for everyone involved) that didn’t last long and I quickly transferred into a customer support role. Under my leadership, the team grew to 25 support engineers spread across the globe. In early 2020, it was time for something new and I left support in the capable hands of others to focus on a role as Yoast’s community manager.
Then, COVID hit and everything changed. We fast-forward to the spring of 2022 when Chaya, Marieke, Thijs, Omar and Joost asked if I’d be interested to join the leadership team as Head of Relations. Obviously, I gladly accepted this new challenge!
Oh, a few more things you should know about me… I love meeting and connecting with people. So if we haven’t met yet, I’d love to meet you. Being at social events gives me more energy than one can imagine. But be warned, I do have strong opinions and I’m prototype Dutch, so I can be quite direct and rather blunt, even when I try really hard not to be.
Still want to meet? Awesome, let’s make that happen!
Wait.. you’re not done reading about me? Ok. Well, I suppose I can tell you a bit more about myself. Let’s go back to 2013, when I ran into this company that was looking for a junior developer. “Hire for talent and attitude, train for skill”, they said. Being a Computer Sciences student, I knew I didn’t have any skills yet, so I applied. And, much to my own surprise, was hired. That’s how my adventure at Yoast started.
And an adventure it was, when just weeks later, Joost (the founder of Yoast) sent me to my very first WordCamp: WordCamp Europe in Leiden. On the first day, it was overwhelming, but over the course of three days, I made a ton of new friends. My love for the WordPress community was instant. These Open Source people were so extremely welcoming! Fortunately, I got to attend more WordPress events. And the more WordCamps and meetups I attended, the more I enjoyed it. Naturally, the next step was joining an organizing team…
Meanwhile, at Yoast, I switched from being a developer (remember that talent part.. yeah.. not it.) to providing customer support. As the adoption of our plugins grew quickly, I soon needed help, and not long after I found myself managing our growing international support team.
And then, in early 2020, and in the midst of a global pandemic, I was invited to take the next step. After almost seven years of Customer Support I left my position as Manager Customer Support and became Yoast’s first community manager. And that opened a whole new wo… Well, not really. Because it happened in the heat of COVID, everything was happening online. I didn’t get to travel. I didn’t get to meet my peers. I didn’t get to do my job as I had imagined.
That’s why it was all the more surprising when I was asked to join the leadership team and assume the role of Head of Relations. So here I am today, prouder than ever to be a Yoaster!
There’s so much more I want to tell you. Because thanks to Yoast, I’ve learned more about myself, the world, Open source in general and WordPress in particular than I ever imagined I would. But let’s save all of these stories for a better place and time. I hope to meet you soon, so we can exchange stories while in good company at one of the amazing volunteer-organized open source events. And in the meantime, please do feel invited to reach out on Twitter or the WordPress Slack.