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Kimberly Lipari, Owner of Valet, Shares Her Journey & Insights on the WordPress Community

Updated on August 30, 2022

6 Min Read
Kimberly Lipari interview

Hailing from Louisiana, USA, Kimberly Lipari helps website owners create secure and optimized platforms. Kimberley owns valet.io, a WordPress support provider service that connects you with WordPress pros to help you with website maintenance and optimization.

We’re excited to have a female entrepreneur with us who has made her name in the WordPress community and continues to inspire a lot of WordPress aspirants. Let’s learn more about her:

Danish: Hi Kimberly, thank you for joining us today. Let’s start by knowing how you started with WordPress. Any interesting anecdotes you’d like to share about your professional career?

Kimberly: I transitioned to web work right after the birth of my first child. It was a way for me to be home while still contributing to my family and filling a sense of purpose.

I started working at 16 and loved the independence it gave me, so it was important to me personally to keep working in some respect after starting a family. My first web job was on a plugin support team for an agency with a dozen plugins, definitely dove in head first!

Danish: You have been in the WordPress industry for a long time. What motivates you to continue with WordPress?

Kimberly: I’ve been working with WordPress for just over 10 years. The community is what really keeps me here. Getting to meet so many new, creative people has been such a joy!

Danish: You were engaged in engineering work before starting in the web world. We’d love to know why you chose to join the web world. How was your journey from an engineer to a web professional?

Kimberly: My engineering background gave me a great start in web. Learning how to understand large complex problems and map out solutions has been critical to my success on the web.

The transition from office to remote work was much harder, though. It felt very isolated initially, but I found ways to adjust, and now I really enjoy the flexibility it gives me.

Danish: You have been an active member of the WordPress community. What role has the WordPress community played in your success?

Kimberly: The WordPress community has been such an encouragement to me over the years. I’ve found so many intelligent people to learn from, many caring people to form relationships with, and opportunities to contribute in ways you don’t get to do with other jobs. It’s been a safe place to learn and grow.

Danish: Why is the WordPress community so much bigger and better than the other communities in the tech industry? Any thoughts on that?

Kimberly: WordPress represents opportunity. Open-source is a place of possibility, and you see that in our community. There is so much room for ideas and contributions. I believe it’s a better place because it attracts people who are hopeful, which means a larger collaborative spirit dominates the conversation.

Danish: How important is the WordPress community for WordPress survival?

Kimberly: I believe the community has been critical to WordPress’s survival over the last decade. I also think we’re seeing some changes in how closely connected the WordPress community is to the WordPress economy over the last few years. With such an explosion of growth and acquisitions, it will be interesting to see how we maintain our community essence through the natural cycles of economic growth that come along with market share.

Danish: Would you name any three community members who have inspired you?

Kimberly: I wish I could limit the list to three! I’ve had so many sources of inspiration, and I continue to meet people to this day who show me new perspectives. The list of people who have shown me kindness and grace and have inspired me is too long for me to pick any one (or three) out.

Danish: How did you end up creating valet.io? What was your inspiration? Would you share a brief story about that?

Kimberly: I was asked to join the agency years ago. We operated under a different name then. My co-founder and I grew the business by just listening to what people were asking for. It shaped the plans and services we have provided over the years. After some time, I took over more of the day-to-day operations, and I finally purchased 100% of the business in 2020. It’s been quite the journey, and I’m very proud to be a female business owner in the tech space.

Danish: Out of so many options in the WordPress ecosystem, why did you opt for WordPress maintenance? Was it challenging for you?

Kimberly: We realized early on that maintenance was critical for day-to-day success. In order to effectively fulfill our client’s requests, we needed an updated site, or else we’d spend extra time and money taking care of that process before we even began work.

It wasn’t a smart use of their budgets or our own time, so we decided to offer a separate package for maintenance only. We now require it for any clients on support plans.

With the rise of malware and increased core releases, it became a core offering. It’s important that we promote valuable services, and ensuring your site is updated is the first thing for protection and performance. As we grew, it was indeed a struggle to figure out how to deal with the volume and uniqueness of each website. We adopted a staging first update process to ensure we protect our clients and make the update process as risk-free as possible.

Danish: How big is your team? And what is your primary role in the team?

Kimberly: We currently have 11 team members spread across the globe. We’ve been remote since day 1 before it was popular. My day-to-day is filled with ensuring the team has what they need to fulfill services and helping to grow the business in whatever way I can. Making sure we have steady work and secure positions is critical to me.

Danish: How many WordCamp events have you joined as a speaker? We would love to know some topics you’ve covered in the past. Are you planning to give a talk at the WordPress future events?

Kimberly: I’ve presented at a few different camps over the years. Miami, Fort Worth, and Phoenix are the ones in most recent years. Most of my talks have centered around project/client management and website health. I’ve also had the opportunity to be included on a couple of panels for agency owners where we discuss growing teams and business. In recent years I’ve transitioned to volunteering, having helped in some capacity for WCUS since 2019. Not sure if I’ll speak again, but I really enjoy being a supporting player in showcasing others.

Danish: What inspired you to become a speaker, and how did you end up speaking at the WordPress events?

Kimberly: After attending my first WordCamp in 2009, I made it a goal to speak at a WordCamp one day. I was enthralled by the idea of sharing what I was learning and helping others.

Danish: You’re on the programming team for WordCamp US this year. Would you share some insights on this volunteer team and how can people actively volunteer for WordPress events?

Kimberly: Volunteering is a wonderful experience, but it’s not one to be taken lightly. WordCamp is a LOT of work, but having many hands makes a difference.

I’ve volunteered on different teams over the years and have learned something new about WordCamps every time. I believe that having a learning posture is just as important as being willing to give your time when you volunteer.

Check out your local camps on meetup.com or keep a lookout on socials for your flagship camp and offer to help set up or present a topic. Any effort is helpful and good for building community.

Danish: What is your favorite part of WordCamp?

Kimberly: The people, always. So many new people to meet and old friends to catch up with. I love the connections.

Danish: A sound mind and body are essential to excel at work. Do you practice meditation? And how does it help you?

Kimberly: I agree that you have to take care of your whole person – mind, body, and soul. I try to stay as active as I can through exercise and practicing mindfulness. A good session of either will leave me feeling lighter and clear-headed. I’m a big fan of a good sweat session!

Danish: We’d love it if you could share an image of your workstation for our readers.

Kimberly:

Kimberly Lipari Workstation

Danish: Kimberly, it was truly an honor to have a female businesswoman like yourself expressing their valuable thoughts on the WordPress community. Thank you for sharing your intriguing journey and for taking the time for this interview. We hope to have you again in the near future. Excited for our team to meet you at WordCamp US 2022.

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Danish Naseer

Danish Naseer is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He is passionate about designing, developing, and engaging with people to help them. He also actively participates in the community to share his knowledge. Besides that, he loves to watch documentaries, traveling and spending time with family. You can contact him at [email protected]

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