Pantheon Community

WebOps Wednesday AMA: Monica S. Flores

My name is Monica Flores, and for the past 15 years I’ve been using my technology skills to support organizations making a positive difference. I currently serve in the role of Technical Project Manager at Lullabot, a strategy, design, and development agency, where I manage digital platform development for our Fortune 100 clients.

In 2004, I started consulting as a self-taught web developer on PHP/mySQL and Wordpress, and moved to Drupal (monicadear) in 2008, eventually launching over two hundred websites for membership groups, non-profits, public agencies, startups, and e-commerce. In recent years I’ve led redesigns on Pantheon, for the sustainability and environmental justice non-profit Green America (view the case study), the entrepreneur program Global Innovation through Science and Technology Network (GIST) through the U.S. Department of State, and the social enterprise Changemakers at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public.

I’m currently on the leadership team of DCFemTech, VP Programs at my parent-teacher association, co-leader of a Girl Scouts troop, and member at The Wing, a network of work and community spaces supporting women. As individuals, we each have so much to offer: it’s important to identify our unique gifts, skills, and talents in order to share those with our communities.

I really enjoy building networks and have launched the Female Founders Network, written for The Nook Online women’s network, and served as chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion board committee at Green America. As part of Pantheon Hero status, I received a hosting package which now powers the platform, connecting designers, developers, project managers, content editors, and marketing and communications professionals with technology jobs, events, and resources.

My goal in 2020 is to speak, mentor, and educate on tools and processes, so that those who desire to build digital solutions for their communities have options to do so. Spinning up a Drupal or Wordpress installation on Pantheon is a simple procedure that unlocks so much power and potential. I’m excited that the next problem-solver, innovator, or maker will learn how to do this and help build a better shared future for all of us.

Ask me anything!

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Visiting Southern California for the Thanksgiving break. So sunny!

Hi Monica! I’m so glad you’re doing an AMA with us.
I’d love to know, since there are so many different things you’re involved in, what is the one thing you’d like to be remembered for?

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Hi, Monica! I have so many questions but I’ll start here:

It sounds like you are really committed to environmental sustainability. :deciduous_tree:

I’m trying to improve my own habits and live a more sustainable life, so I’m curious: what are some ways you’ve been doing things more “green”?

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Great question Katie, and thanks for kicking us off!

I have struggled, much more since I’ve hit mid-life, about the idea of legacy and what remains after I am long gone.

Last year I participated in a Year of Gratitude where I wrote down for myself, every day, something I was grateful for: what it led me to conclude was that, honestly, we are all just stardust :star2: :stars: and each of us are doing the best we can, interacting and living on the planet at this time, using our skills and talents to the best of our abilities.

I’d like to be remembered for making a positive difference with the time I’ve been blessed to have, and every day I do make an effort to “leave it all out on the field” wrt anything I am able to share or do or communicate.

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Hi @monicadear :wave:

Thanks for sharing your story [or at least some of it] with us! I really enjoyed reading all about your accomplishments Monica!

One of the things that really stuck out to me was your work at DCFemTech. I am fairly new to the tech space myself–marketing is really my jam :clap: But I am always looking for new ways to connect with other women in the tech space! I feel like I have so much to learn and what better way than to surround yourself with leaders in that space? With that being said, are there any other organizations you are part of/know of that you feel like would be a great place for me to get started?

Also just thought I might add that I LOVE your goal for 2020 :slight_smile: Learning more about you & your experience, I am pretty sure you are going to crush that goal of yours! But definitely keep us all posted here in the community—that is definitely something I know all of us would love to follow along!

Thanks again for sharing!

This I could talk all day about and there are some tactical/practical suggestions as well as ideas about the bigger picture.

So on a regular basis, we as a family:

  • recycle (rinse out and put into a dedicated box)
  • compost (we have a small one by the kitchen sink for table scraps, then consolidate into a larger 5 gallon bucket)
  • make a weekly run to the collection spot for our county (there have been some changes recently for our drop-off spot, which now accepts mixed recycling, cardboard, glass, and compost)
  • bring our own shopping bags to the grocery store
  • purchase from Clean Cult, which is a monthly service that mails us #plasticfree dish soap, hand soap, body soap, and laundry detergent in paper envelopes
  • have reduced our meat and dairy consumption (mostly because I’m lactose intolerant and my husband doesn’t like beef)
  • run the household on 100% wind energy through Arcadia (Arcadia clean power)
  • cycle or take public transportation when possible

Something I’m interested in doing, now that I travel more for work, is looking into offsetting my plane travel with credits like through Terrapass - I heard about this from my boss at Lullabot.

From the larger picture, I do understand that the climate emergency is heavily related to fossil fuel consumption, factory farming, and the role of human activity on a species-wide level. NASA has some great information on the planetary level [Climate Change Causes]. We can sometimes get overwhelmed by the idea that our individual actions may not make that much of a difference. So on that note, I advocate for, and support and vote for, candidates that are working toward clean power, job re-training, and investment in alternate methods of transport.

My colleagues at Green America (yay, which I did the D8 redesign for) have great resources on how to get involved on advocating at a national level: for example, they are pushing for the telecomms industry, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, to move to clean energy.

Also, from the consumption aspect, I’ve asked friends and family to help us reduce our overall clutter and instead focus on experiences, in the idea of the “reduce” part of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” is most important. We don’t really need things as much, but I personally appreciate and enjoy spending time with other people: taking walks, going on hikes, conversation, sharing food, and visiting local attractions. No more plastic doo-dads!

also, I try and bring my own containers and chopsticks and straws. We have those reusable straws and I keep them in my bag. And I have a water bottle I bring along wherever I need to go

I’ve been thinking about Clean Cult! Is there anything you have ordered from them that you haven’t liked?

I like everything so far! So the way it works is you can do a one-time purchase or a monthly subscription. I started out with:
a laundry detergent pack
a soap (lemongrass flavor, pretty nice)
and dishwasher detergent packs

Now we have gotten the amounts calibrated so on a regular basis we get:

  • body soap (did I mention that it’s lemongrass? yum)
  • those wool balls for the dryer that take the place of dryer sheets.
  • dish soap (they send a glass container and then cardboard refills, kind of like orange juice containers)
  • dishwasher detergent packets (they look like they’re coated in plastic but they can go right in)
  • laundry detergent tablets

Demo (I do love this stuff)

Thanks for the details! I have 3 kids so we’re CONSTANTLY running out of hands soap and I hate how much waste it creates.

Thanks so so much @McKennaR. I have always thought that tech, more than other fields, has the potential, in theory, to be very inclusive, because the code doesn’t judge based on race or religion or socio-economic class or other factors… No one ought to care what the maker looks like, they ought to care how the product or service runs.

However, in reality, I know that there are many barriers in technology and we have a multitude of options to become more thoughtful and inclusive within technology, from giving computers and coding classes to more girls, to creating opportunities for advancement and leadership, to removing “rockstar and ninja” language from job descriptions, to gaining the tools and knowledge to build more for our needs and the needs we hear about from our own friends, families, close associates, and communities and schools.

Heck, even when I applied to join the Pantheon Heroes program, I was concerned if I “fit in” or not, as I didn’t see that many other women and other underrepresented folks on the roster at the time.

That said, I think we all, as a community, are continuing to take incremental steps to allow more individuals to participate on a wider basis and to give makers the tools to make their own solutions.

I’m speaking about How to Set up a Drupal Site on Pantheon for various endeavors such as Drupal Hawaii and Women in Tech Summits so as to spread the word about the ease of use and straightforward ability people can utilize to spin up a development site and start creating, and I’m always happy to share or demonstrate more about how open source makes it easier, especially when a project is in an idea or pilot mode.

In general I’ve always recommended (and attempt to follow my own advice) to get to the front of the room, to speak and share and continue to provide visibility to our shared efforts to make a measurable difference through technology.


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Also happy to answer any questions about my experience with Lullabot so far. I joined the team in July 2019 and have been extremely happy with the level of professionalism, investment in continuous learning, and the mutual feeling of respect and admiration with my colleagues (Lullabot staff list), who are all dedicated to open source, Drupal, and continuously improving.

The Lullabot blog is full of information and articles for designers and developers, and we work very closely with Pantheon for our shared clients.

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Such great suggestions and perspective, thank you.

We are currently looking for composting solutions & I’m also planning to buy work travel offsets this year. I hadn’t heard about Clean Cult but I’m definitely checking them out now, too.

I also recommend chickens :laughing:

If we lived somewhere with more space and a yard, we’d definitely have chickens as they eat table scraps too.

Also consider vermicomposting - when we lived in Oakland we had a worm bin offered by Alameda County, and we filled it with coir (that coconut husk base). The worms are able to break down quite a lot - we kept the bin itself at the bottom of the staircase and took the liquid out to the front garden area to fertilize plants.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we adopted cats a few months ago and they are settling in very nicely with the family!

There is a orange tabby long hair named “Bourbon John” and a gray “dilute tortie” named “Kona Alexander” and they are lots of fun. Some general community cats also stop in from time to time! Those are “Caleb” who my daughter found under the porch and got our neighbor to adopt, as well as “Huey” who is a big black tom.

Kona and Bourbon

Caleb the neighbor cat - he is so handsome

Huey the neighbor cat visiting today

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Aw, they’re all so beautiful!! :heart_eyes_cat:

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