Michelle Frechette Interview

Hello! This is the August edition of our blog interview series. This month, let’s welcome Michelle Frechette – one of the most involved people in our WordPress community you will ever meet!

Until we get to know Michelle better, don’t forget to check out our last month’s interview with Laura Nelson from the WooCommerce team. If you want to keep reading insights from more WordPress people, here’s our full collection of interviews for inspiration.

Michelle Frechette Interview with Themeisle

There are lots of things to say about Michelle Frechette. To keep it short, let’s just say that she’s deeply involved in the WordPress community. When she’s not managing her own business projects, she is contributing to various WordPress companies with her talent for bringing people together.

Michelle is the co-founder of UnderRepresentedInTech, where she’s helping people find jobs and make careers in the technology world. She is also helping the StellarWP team grow their community engagement in the WordPress space.

As a side project, she hosts her own podcast at WPCoffeeTalk, where she talks with interesting people from the WordPress ecosystem. Moreover, she’s contributing to building awesome communities around Post Status and Big Orange Heart.

If you think this is all Michelle is doing for the WordPress community, we aren’t even halfway there. Read this interview to learn more about her projects, goals, and thoughts.

Here’s Michelle answering our little curiosities:

Michelle Frechette interview

When and how did you start working with WordPress? Is there an interesting story here?

Michelle Frechette:

2022 marks 10 years of working with WordPress for me. It started as a site that my friend’s husband (Rob Marriage) built for us to use for a small nonprofit we had started. We had to get into the site and post the content. I loved how simple it was, and how easy it was for her and me to get information out on the internet for our members to use.

After that site, I wanted to learn how to make a site from start to finish, so Rob taught me how. I’ve made hundreds of sites in 10 years and have no plans to stop.

How do you define “being successful”?

Michelle Frechette:

If you’re happy, and you are able to provide for yourself and your family, then I’d call that success. For each of us what makes us happy will be different. For me, being able to help others through some of my projects (like UnderrepresenteInTech.com with Allie Nimmons, WPCareerPages.com, and the work I do at Big Orange Heart, Post Status, and Get Hired) makes me extremely happy. Add to that the work I get to do through WordCamps and I’m over the moon.

I think sharing with others and collaborating on things that make a difference, all while being able to support myself through my WordPress work, is success for me.

Describe the WordPress community in one word.

Michelle Frechette:

One word? Oh my gosh, that isn’t easy. But since I can only choose one word, I’ll go with “amazing.”

What’s the no. 1 thing a new business entering the WordPress space should do?

Michelle Frechette:

Get involved in the WordPress community. In doing so, learn from others in forums, Slack channels, Twitter, and more. Pay attention to the direction that WordPress is heading. Go to meetups and WordCamps. This community has so much to offer one another, and that includes you.

Resources: WordPress Slack, “Make WordPress”, WordCamp Central, Meetup (search “WordPress”)

Any tips on how to build a community around a brand and keep people engaged?

Michelle Frechette:

Provide quality content through your site, social media, webinars, videos, and more. Ask questions. Highlight community members. Don’t just sell. Show.

And celebrate milestones and people.

What are the key aspects you’re looking into when you choose the guests for WPCoffeeTalk?

Michelle Frechette:

Some guests I’ve reached out to and invited on the show. Others have simply completed the “I’d like to be on the show” form on my website. If you’re in WordPress and you have a story to tell, then you’re welcome.

I ask every guest the same set of questions. Everyone’s answers are so different. I think that’s where the magic is. That we all have similar and yet such vastly different experiences in WordPress is what makes our community so strong.

I’ve interviewed someone on every continent but Antarctica. (If you know someone doing work there, hit me up!)

What are the main challenges of being involved in a project like Big Orange Heart?

Michelle Frechette:

The primary challenge in any nonprofit organization is fundraising. It’s always challenging, but we need to pay the bills, and we need to pay the director. Our amazing sponsors and many donors help with that, and we don’t take that for granted ever. But we’re always open to greater support from the community.

WordFest has been a huge endeavor over the last few years, and the sheer number of people that make each iteration of WordFest happen is awe-inspiring. From organizers to speakers to emcees and team volunteers, I’m so grateful for the folks that get involved.

Our goal is to reduce the feelings of isolation that come with working remotely. I think we do that in a lot of ways, but we’re working to do more and will be launching new initiatives later this year.

What is driving you to keep doing what you’re doing? What’s your personal mission?

Michelle Frechette:

I have received so much support from so many people and the WordPress community as a whole. I owe my career to WordPress, and the ability to provide for myself and my family. I’ve never taken that lightly. My personal mission is to help others like I’ve been helped. My work through WP Career Pages, Post Status, and Big Orange Heart is a huge part of that.

If I can say that I’ve left the world (and the WordPress community) a better place by the end of my time on earth, I will have fulfilled my mission.

That sums up our Michelle Frechette interview. If you enjoyed it and want to learn more, please leave your comments in the section below. Also, if you have any ideas for who we should talk to next, feel free to share your suggestions with us!

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