Yoast Care fund: An interview with Yvette Sonneveld

Yvette Sonneveld

Avatar of Siobhan Cunningham

Nominated by:
Siobhan Cunningham

Today’s recipient of the Yoast Care fund is Yvette Sonneveld, who was nominated by Siobhan Cunningham. Yvette has her own company focused on inbound marketing. In the WordPress community, she’s a team rep for the marketing team and is often involved in WordCamps. Let’s find out more about Yvette and her contributions.

Introduction by nominator Siobhan Cunningham
Yvette has done so much! She is one of the marketing team reps and a very consistent factor in that. Whatever she’s got going on, she keeps pitching in and thinking with us. She personally leads a few initiatives within the team, in which she finds ways to brainstorm with people and inspires them to pitch. Yvette is a great person all-around, who isn’t just a great marketer herself, but also an indispensable part of the marketing rep team. She inspires so many people to get involved and makes them feel welcome enough to actually get going.

Thanks Siobhan! Let’s get to the questions, answered by Yvette herself:

So Yvette, tell us, what do you do?
With my business, Inbound Marketing Bliss, I train, coach, consult and assist freelancers and owners of small service-based businesses in building a magnetic online presence (also called Inbound Marketing). Up until three years ago, I mostly worked with professionals in the real estate and financial services industries. Over the past few years, I have increasingly been working with creatives and web professionals who need someone who understands WordPress, the WordPress user base, and the community.

My clients hire me for all sorts of reasons. To help brainstorm and create buyer persona and customer journeys, to map out and build e-mail campaigns. to create landing pages, and to write blog posts, for instance. I also have clients who love to write, and only hire me to create pages that can be hard to write. Their about us page, for instance, and case studies.

Within the WordPress community, I am a team rep for the marketing team and I regularly speak at WordCamps. I’ve also been on the organizing team for WordCamp Utrecht, one of the major cities in The Netherlands, twice.

Why did you start contributing?
My very first contribution was volunteering at WordCamp Miami in 2014. Back then, we still lived in the Dutch Caribbean. I purchased a ticket for WordCamp Miami because I had challenged myself to attend a web-related conference all by myself. When I received an email about volunteer opportunities, I signed up right away.

I was a bit nervous about traveling and attending a conference all by myself, and I hoped volunteering would make that easier. Which is exactly what happened. My registration desk buddies became my conference buddies and now six years later, I’m still in touch with one of these lovely ladies. This first contributing experience led to more volunteering opportunities. Not only at WordCamps, also at several other conferences I got to attend in the US in the years after.

Then in 2016, we moved back to The Netherlands after having lived abroad for 15 years. I needed to start building a local network all over again. I knew about WordCamps, but not about MeetUps yet. I had missed WordCamp The Netherlands, and the first WordCamp where I could expect to meet Dutch people was WordCamp Europe. Needless to say, I signed up to volunteer again.

In Paris, I also participated in a contributor day for the first time. This one weekend led to opportunities I would have never dared to dream of: I was encouraged to start speaking, continued to contribute to the marketing team between contributor days, started attending MeetUps, and became a WordCamp organizer. I now would recommend contributing to anyone. I learned tons, made friends with people from all over the world, and got lots of amazing opportunities.

What contribution or moment are you most proud of?
Not a lot of people know that I was bullied as a child, at several schools. I have only started to open up about that about a year ago. Because of that, I may have seemed confident at first glance, but have been struggling with insecurity in all sorts of ways. I worked hard to bring my self-confidence to a healthier level by challenging myself to keep stretching my comfort zone. By making myself do things that seemed scary. Two of the contributing related things that scared me and that I did anyway, were public speaking and being in a position that could be seen as leadership. I am very proud of both accomplishments.

What started as a nudge by several community members in Paris, led to one speaking opportunity after another. My first talk was about sharing how my volunteering had helped me grow my self-confidence. And last June in Berlin, I was sharing my expertise on content repurposing in front of hundreds of people. This was one of my most impactful comfort zone stretches. I got wonderful feedback. Thinking back still makes me smile, and feel proud.

Because of my insecurity, I have always shied away from leadership positions. I tried and failed. And concluded that it was not for me. And although being a team rep is officially not a leadership position, you will need quite a few leadership skills. I still make lots of mistakes. But I have received many compliments too. That I am good at facilitating brainstorms. At helping groups reach consensus. And at keeping our team together. I’m proud of that, and I am determined to let go of thinking that I am an accidental team rep. I am determined to keep stretching and growing those skills.

What would you love to do in the future?
One thing is sure: I will keep looking for challenges that will get me to stretch my comfort zone and to collaborate with people from all over the globe.

No lack of challenges in the world, that is for sure. COVID-19, cyclones, and racism are raging. People are losing beloved ones, their sense of security, fragile as it may have been, their jobs, their homes. And while I have lots to be thankful for I am also aware that I could lose everything overnight. Just like any of us. In my opinion, open-source, working from home, and distributed teams could help create a more sustainable and inclusive future. And I would love to take part in making that happen.

How? I don’t know yet. Encouraging others to contribute to the WordPress software and community could be one way. Sharing my expertise through training and mentoring could be another way. And there will be many more ways that I can’t think of right now.I have learned from experience that shift tends to happen by sharing your hopes, dreams, and intentions with your friends and the universe. So I will be doing more of that again in the near future.

Where can people find you?
People can find me on Slack (@yvettesonneveld), Twitter, LinkedIn, and my business website Inbound Marketing Bliss.

Does this interview make you think of someone else who definitely deserves the Yoast Care fund? Someone who does a lot for the WordPress community? Don’t hesitate to nominate them! How? Just go to our Yoast care fund page where you can read all about it!