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WordCamp Phoenix 2024 – Recap


WordCamp Phoenix 2024 was a blast! I love the WordPress Community in Phoenix, they are very warm and welcoming and I feel lucky to be able to attend every year.

Arriving for WordCamp Phoenix 2024

My short flight from LA was delayed by one hour due to a ground stop in Phoenix as it was raining quite a bit over there. That did not stop me from being excited and happy to be on my way to the camp.

As I was checking in the hotel, I ran into Marcus Burnette from GoDaddy, who was also staying at the same hotel. I had not seen Marcus since WordCamp Atlanta last year, so it was nice to quickly catch up.

After I was settled in my hotel room, I went down to the lobby to meet up with my team, Ericka Barboza and Marco Berrocal. By then, it was already time to head over to Arizona Wildness Brewing Co. where the speaker-sponsor dinner was being held.

Marcus was in the lobby with Courtney Robertson also from GoDaddy. I had never met Courtney in person, but we knew each other from the community’s social media, so we were formally introduced.

Since Marcus and Courtney were also headed to the speaker-sponsor dinner, they offered to share a ride with us.

Midtown Phoenix from the Hotel

Speaker-Sponsor Dinner

Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. is located in Downtown Phoenix, in a very happening area of the city, full of restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

Because it was a cold night in Phoenix (which is rare for this time of the year), the dinner was held in the indoor area. When we walked in, the WordCampers were already there having drinks and eating delicious tacos.

We all joined in and had great conversations with many people, including Perri Collins, who was going to speak on the last day about a social media topic.

Speaker and Sponsor Dinner
Ericka, Marco, and I at the Speaker-Sponsor Dinner

After we had been enjoying drinks and tacos, Raquel Manriquez, the WordCamp Phoenix 2024 Lead Organizer, went around all the tables and gave some thank-you gifts (cute painting sets) to each speaker.

I spotted Matthew Clancy, who was the Lead Organizer last year and we got caught up as well. Everyone in this community is so awesome!

First Day of Camp

WordCamp Phoenix 2024 was held at the Phoenix College which is one of the oldest community colleges in the country.

Ericka, Marco, and I walked in and got our registration badges. The first thing we did was to go thank the volunteers for all the work they do at these camps.

After setting up the booth, we started talking to people and giving out swag. Let the fun begin!

Phoenix WordCamp GreenGeeks Booth
Ericka, Marco, and I are ready for WordCamp Phoenix

I went around the sponsor tables to say hi to the other sponsors whom I had known for a while. That included Chad Beatty with Rocket.net, Chris David Miles with Bluehost, Jen Swisher with Jetpack, and many others.

I also met a new sponsor I had not seen at other camps, CommercialNoise, led by Bruce Holland. We had a nice conversation about their hosting services and what they are all about.

On Day One, I was able to attend several presentations, starting with “The 2024 Remote Work Survival Guide” by Kathy Zant. I have known Kathy since 2019 and it was such a pleasure to listen to her presentation.

According to Kathy, it looks like although some major companies are moving employees back to offices, remote work is not going away. This is a good thing for many people, especially in this community.

Kathy Zant
Kathy Zant at her presentation on the 2024 Remote Work Survival Guide

Another interesting presentation I was able to attend was “AI Crash Course for WordPress Users” by Keanan Koppenhaver. I love that he kept saying that AI tools will still require human involvement.

After Keanan, Robbie Adair talked about “Using AI To Speed Up your WordPress Builds”. Looks like AI is of huge interest in the WordPress community.

Lunchtime

At lunchtime, we enjoyed delicious taco bowls in the outdoor area of the college and I had a chance to get caught up with Kathy Zant on her new position with Motivations AI. She spoke of how happy she is to work with great people such as Chris Lema and Jennifer Bourn whom I have known for a while.

After Day One of the camp was over, Ericka, Marco, and I decided to have a relaxed and delicious dinner at The Compass which is a well-known revolving restaurant located on the very top floor of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.

As always, the food was delicious as was the wine, and the views of Downtown Phoenix were awesome. It was great to be able to share a special dinner and private time with my team.

I reminded them again how important they were to me and that I could not possibly do my job without them.

Dinner at The Compass
The three of us enjoying a delicious dinner at The Compass Restaurant

Day Two of Camp

On Day Two of Camp, I also was able to attend several presentations.

I watched Alicia St Rose talking about the “The Story of a Custom Post Type Lost in a Word of Pages” and Chris David Miles about “Understanding Your Customer Using Personas and Empathy Maps”.

I then listed to the fireside chat of Raquel with Jenny Poon and Odeen Domingo, who founded the largest coworking community in Arizona, CO+HOOTS in downtown Phoenix.

Later, I ran into Jen Miller whom I had not seen in a while and just started a position with WebDevStudios. It was nice to catch up with Jen.

I also met up with Bet Hannon with AccessiCart and we talked about a possible partnership with GreenGeeks.

Ericka and Anna at the Sign
Proud to be sponsoring WordCamp Phoenix 2024

All the presentations were really interesting but all of a sudden it was already time for closing remarks! Raquel thanked everyone, especially the sponsors and the volunteers who are an integral part of the camps and they truly deserved our appreciation.

Marcus Burnette did a giveaway on behalf of GoDaddy for a Nintendo game and the lucky winner was Perri Collins who had just given the last presentation of the day about Social Media.

The After Party

The After Party was also held at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in the outdoor heated covered patio of this European-style beer garden. It was a very chilly but clear evening, but the patio heaters and firepit really helped.

We sat and had drinks with the A2 Hosting Team and then we had a great conversation about WordCamps with Julia Golomb, a Community Team Organizer who lives in Northern California but travels around the world for camps.

The After Party in Phoenix
From Left to Right: Julia Golomb, Anna Gargioni and Ericka Barboza

We talked to a lot of people that night, Unfortunately, it was getting late and we had to head back to the hotel and get some rest. It had been two long and busy days and Ericka and Marco were going to have a long trip back to Costa Rica the next day.

The next morning, Ericka, Marco, and I met in the lobby for breakfast and for goodbyes.

But wait, it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later as I am sure we will meet again at WCUS in Portland in September!

Another WordCamp Phoenix Is in the Books!

A huge thank you to the organizers, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and of course, the Phoenix WordPress community. We love them.

Until next year!





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