Yoast Care fund: An interview with Christiana Mohr
Today we’re interviewing Yoast Care fund recipient Christiana Mohr, who received a nomination from Sally Thoun. Sally nominated her for everything she contributes to the community. Let’s find out what he does exactly! But first, nominator Sally would love to tell you why she nominated Christiana:
Nominator Sally Thoun: “Christiana was the Lead Wrangler for Wordcamp Los Angeles 2020. We had to switch from a physical location to an online environment due to Covid. She supported seven squads and led 10 Organizer Volunteers & 30 volunteers, seamlessly. She was so organized, thoughtful, and transparent. This allowed us to work in a friendly, loving & accepting environment. Christiana respected our roles & did not micro-manage, which was refreshing.“
Let’s get to know Christiana Mohr!
Thank you for those wonderful words, Sally. Now, let’s get to know this all-rounder by asking her some questions:
Hi, Christiana. How did you know about WordPress?
I first heard about WordPress when I had an art studio at a gallery. The gallery owner opened up a WordPress website and welcomed the tenants to write a few posts for fun. I think that was 2012 or thereabouts.
Then during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia, I wanted to create a website to store data and uplifting content – for myself. So I did a bunch of research on-site platforms, weighed my options, and chose to create my Ebola hobby site on WordPress. It became the single place I could go to track what was happening and also calm myself down after reading troubling news.
Less than one year later, in 2015, I created a new WordPress site documenting my Peace Corps experience in Ghana. WordPress was the perfect vehicle for me to share my stories, photos, and YouTube channel videos with family and friends in the US and overseas. And then I helped my Peace Corps colleagues start WordPress blogs of their own. It wasn’t until I returned to the States in 2017 that I began to discover how big – and also how tight-knit – the WordPress Community was. I really had no idea.
So tell us, Why do you think that you got nominated?
My WCLAX 2020 teammates told me they nominated me because they liked how I led our WordCamp Los Angeles team and recent virtual event in particular. I was also told I was nominated because of the work I did leading the inaugural WordCamp Long Beach in 2019, home of the world’s first “Future of WordPress” speaker track, and my years spent organizing WordPress Meetups in Los Angeles. Those tasks included playing the part of a gracious host, booking speakers, planning holiday parties, tracking finances, and negotiating lucrative sponsor contracts on behalf of nearly 3,000 Meetup members. Honestly, I couldn’t have become the leader I’ve become or contributed any of this without my patient, dedicated, and understanding teammates and friends.
By the start of Round Two of leading a WordCamp, I’d grown significantly as a leader and as a woman. And throughout this extremely difficult year, I continued to grow and learn in important ways largely due to my wonderful teammates. They were with me every step of the way. They helped make our organizing experience the life-giving experience it was. Every week, I checked in to see how they were getting along on their squad projects – and how they were doing emotionally. We faced a lot of hardship together. And we survived – and thrived.
Amber Hewitt, Christina Hills, James White, Joey Daoud, Saied Abbasi, Sally Thoun, Sarah Wefald, Sumner Davenport, Tiffany Wong, and Traci Larson are a big part of my Yoast Care win and my story. They will live in my heart forever.
Why did you start contributing? Share with us the first time you contribute?
I first started contributing as a Los Angeles WordPress (now WordPress Los Angeles) Meetup event leader in 2017 because I was asked. That really was it. I was willing.
The inaugural WordCamp Long Beach I led was born from the Long Beach Chapter of LAWP Meetup I co-founded. The same crew that kept the Long Beach Meetup chapter afloat was the same crew that organized Long Beach’s first-ever WordCamp. I’m extremely proud of what the Long Beach WordPress community accomplished together. It was difficult but worth it. Take a look: WordCamp Long Beach, California, United States | October 5 & 6, 2019
Who is your WordPress mentor?
Officially, Cami Kaos was my WordPress Community Mentor for both WordCamp Long Beach 2019 and also WordCamp Los Angeles 2020. Cami is a phenomenal human being. She has been one of the most influential voices in my life.
Unofficially, my WCLB 2019 colleagues mentored me as I lead us. Although I started out a confused and uncertain Meetup organizer in 2017, with the help of others I grew into that leadership role in 2018 and then reluctantly accepted the role of Lead Organizer of WordCamp Long Beach – which semi-replaced WordCamp Los Angeles – in 2019. Alex Vasquez, Sarah Wefald, and Se Reed were excellent unofficial mentors. I learned so, so much from them. I continue to trust them to this day and am grateful for their friendship.
What contribution or moment are you most proud of?
WordCamp Los Angeles 2020 is the most difficult professional project I’ve ever managed in my entire life. I am immensely, immensely proud of each piece of it. Go to WordCamp Los Angeles 2020 to take a look.
But more important than WCLAX 2020 itself was the spirit of openness, hope, and fortitude we fostered and championed together. For many of us, organizing WCLAX 2020 was the only consistent thing in our lives between January 2020 and October 2020. That’s what I’m most proud of. I’m proud to have contributed bravery and love alongside brave and loving friends.
Thank you for this interview, Christiana. And for all of your contributions to the WordPress community! If you’re reading this and know someone like Christiana who deserves a nomination for our Care fund, just go to our Yoast Care page to nominate them!