- Name: Laura Weatherhead
- Pronouns: She/her
- Company name: Spun
- Role: Full-stack .NET Developer
- Country/region: UK
- Working with Umbraco for: ~11 years
Laura’s journey with the Umbraco Community
My Umbraco community journey actually started in 2018 when I went to UK Fest and won a ticket to Codegarden 2019. I’d been using Umbraco since 2012, but for various reasons hadn’t strayed out of my comfort zone in the interim years - but I’m sure glad that I did (better late than never right??)
Following on from that I spoke at Umbraco Spark 2019 about Umbraco GraphQL which at the time was a new and fancy buzzword. I’d never spoken at a conference before and to this day I’m not sure where that gumption came from, but again I am super happy that I went for it, and Spark will always have a special wee space in my heart.
After that I finished up my rather active first 6 months in the community by attending the pre-Codegarden retreat and being made an MVP! It was definitely a busy entry to the community, but I made some amazing life-long friends and I’ll always be so grateful for all the people who were so welcoming out of the gate, and made me feel like I’d really found my home <3
There are lots of ways to get involved to the Umbraco Community, here are some of the ways I have contributed
- I am a co-organiser of the Umbraco Kent Meetup
- I co-host the Candid Contributions podcase, you can have a listen here
- I am a member of an Umbraco Community Team, specifically the Backoffice Community Team
- I have also spoken at many events and have written articles
- I am an MVP, which is in recognition of my contributions and gives me opportunities to help shape Umbraco
A brief moment that turned into something super cool
One of my favourite Umbraco community memories was at DUUGFest 2019 when Emma Burstow asked Carole Logan, Lotte Pitcher and myself to join her on stage to take part in a tech panel discussing the state of open source.
As many may know, this event discussion led to the beginning of the wonderful Candid Contributions podcast.
What is it about the Umbraco Community that keeps me coming back for more?
I think the values of Umbraco i.e. openness, honesty and trust breed a genuinely wonderful atmosphere in the community, which I love being a part of.
This also means that you meet a lot of really fascinating people: I suppose once you break down the professional barriers of formality and allow people to feel empowered to be their authentic and full selves, that’s what makes the whole community quirky, interesting and colourful (and makes you want to be the same).
The Current things I'm working on
I'm currently scoping out a v12/v13 Umbraco headless solution with a mix of shared and personalised content being passed through the Content Delivery API to various front-ends. It’s definitely an exciting time to be an Umbraco developer and I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into all the new things on the horizon.
Another work-related task - a little like the “cobbler’s children have no shoes” - my company website Spun is almost always in need of some attention. It is currently pegged for a shiny new rebuild later in the year, which always takes about 8 times as long as any other piece of work I ever do!
I have had a busy calendar in recent weeks, having been lucky enough to attend my second CODECABIN last month. I had some really great chats with friends old and new and I came away feeling inspired and motived.
Not long after CODECABIN I was off on my next trip, this time to the Community Teams week at Umbraco HQ in Denmark. It was a really good opportunity to get stuck in with what other people are up to and to get an overview of what the HQ outlook is on the current progress and developments.
Looking ahead, my next Umbraco Community event will be UmbUK Fest in November, which I'm really looking forward to, as it is one of my favourite festivals of the year; always a great turn-out and a good vibe.
What I do for fun and other interesting facts
I once was a backing dancer for the one and only Kylie Minogue! Well, let's rewind. I volunteered as one of the cast members for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Kylie was performing, I was dancing. So, I was *technically* one of Kylie Minogue’s back-up dancers.
I love watching the TV program on Netflix called “Too Hot to Handle”. Okay hear me out… I recently finished an MSc in Applied Neuroscience, which makes this program incredibly interesting, from a psychological perspective. Essentially, they take a bunch of very selfish and emotionally repressed people and stick them all in a camp together, and over eight episodes they apply a number of psychological conditioning exercises which teach them to think of others rather than just themselves and the basic tenets of self control. This is real-life applied operant conditioning (good behaviour rewarded/poor behaviour punished) and it is fascinating, as by the end of the series the little lab mice (sorry, people) are all suddenly much more useful, empathetic members of society. It also only requires one brain cell to watch, so there’s that as well.
I have a bucket list of things I'd love to do, the top two being a trip to see the Northern Lights while staying in a glass cabin and the other being a ride in a hot air balloon.
Stay in touch!
Is there someone you'd like to nominate for a uProfile?
Do you know someone who deserves a spotlight on their Umbraco journey? To nominate a friend, peer, or colleague, reach out to Lucy Brailsford in the DevRel Team at firstname.lastname@example.org and explain why!