Welcome to Automattic Women—conversations with some of the remarkable women working all over the world to design and develop Automattic software and make the web a better place. Today’s interviewee, Marjorie R. Asturias, chats with us from her home office.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m a proud Automattician based in the western United States, but I’m also a dog mom, writer, runner, loyal friend, bibliophile, and consider myself an all around decent person. I try most of all to be kind and empathetic, or as much as my flawed human self will allow.
At work, I wear different hats depending on the day and the project or initiative that I’m working on, but my two main responsibilities are to lead the Built By WordPress.com website services program, and to lead the product and content marketing groups within the WordPress.com Marketing team.
What the first “job” means is that I manage a team of project managers, sales staff, and website developers and designers, who work together to design, build, launch, and manage websites for WordPress.com customers. We launched the Built By WordPress.com program to the public over two years ago, and we’ve since built literally over 1,000 websites for clients, ranging from simple portfolio sites and blogs to complex, multi-functional websites for global enterprises.
My other “job” is relatively new, and entails my leading a small but mighty group of skilled marketers, who work closely with product and/or cross-functional teams, to build and manage campaigns that connect the amazing things our platform can do to the audiences hungry for nothing less than a delightful experience with their websites.
A very small but still important additional part of my job is managing a handful of external partners.
What’s a typical day like for you?
On my LinkedIn profile, I summarize what I do day-to-day in 1.5 sentences: I type a lot. Like, a LOT.
But there is a rhythm, a general cadence to my days that look a bit like this:
- I try to run at least five times a week, and walk my dogs an equal number of times.
- I’m very much a morning person, but I only need one cup of coffee per day. The rest of the day I mainline plain ol’ tap water.
- I try to keep Mondays free for deep work and/or critical internal meetings that can’t otherwise be scheduled the rest of the week.
- Tuesdays through Thursdays, my mornings are usually filled with team meetings, project meetings, and 1:1s with team members. I also try to take advantage of internal coaching and professional development resources by signing up for workshops. This quarter, every other Tuesday morning is devoted to a Feedback Conversations workshop that is facilitated by one of our Learn coaches and includes a small group of colleagues from different departments/divisions.
- Tuesday through Thursday afternoons are usually blocked for more deep work, catching up on internal P2s, emails, and Slack messages, and following up on all the tasks and requests that are the result of all those morning meetings.
- I keep Friday mornings open for other ad hoc meetings that need to be scheduled this week, but which couldn’t find a home elsewhere on my calendar. Sometimes this might be a rescheduled meeting from earlier in the week, or it could be a casual catch-up call with someone I haven’t spoken to in awhile. I’ve been here for over nine years, so I’ve met and worked with a lot of folks! I’ve become friends with quite a few of them, too, and it can be super easy to fall out of touch in the day to day, so I try to catch up with a few every quarter. I also have a couple of Donut chats every month, and they often fall on Friday mornings.
- With three aging pups and a few other personal and family obligations, I usually end up breaking up my work days into two chunks—morning and evening—at least two days of the week to make room for vet and/or doc appointments in the afternoons, as well as other personal errands.
- I block out Friday afternoons to try to clean out my inbox, plan out the following week, and attend a weekly music lesson. (I’m learning to play the drums, but I’m also teaching myself to play the harmonica.)
I have a dedicated home office, but I can’t work there all day, every day. If I have meetings with external folks, I’m almost always in that office, but otherwise, by the time I’m finished with lunch, I’m ready for a change of scenery and take my laptop and dogs to either the living room or—if the weather is lovely—the backyard, where I have a fenced backyard, a covered patio, and a great view of the wide, Western sky.
What drew you to Automattic and what keeps you here?
I landed here at Automattic nine years ago, and hope to be here until I retire.
Before I came here in 2014, I had a small digital marketing agency with a half dozen employees. I loved the work but was exhausted by the demanding pace of building and growing a startup. I’d read a profile of Matt Mullenweg, Automattic’s CEO and WordPress co-founder, in Inc. magazine sometime in the early 2010s, and I remember thinking that if I ever decided to chuck the startup life and become a W-2 employee again, I couldn’t think of a better place to work, or a more interesting person to work for, than Automattic and Matt.
I was sad to say goodbye to my employees, to whom I’d given months of notice about my plans to leave, should I be offered a job at Automattic. But they totally understood my decision, and Automattic graciously gave me a few more months to wind down my operations even after I’d started working here, to make sure that my team and my last remaining clients had a new home in which to go once I shut down the company for good.
I stay here because I love the work, and the knowledge that I’m personally making an impact on the lives and livelihoods of our many clients. No two days are ever the same—everything I do stretches my intellectual and psychological skills and abilities, which excites me no end. I love to solve problems, and the more challenging the better! Most of all, I love the folks I work with. Yeah, it’s a cliché, but if you knew an Automattician you’d understand. I’ve never worked with so many incredibly smart and endlessly fun people.
Your job title at Automattic is “Chief Puppy Wrangler.” Tell us about the dogs in your life.
Thank you for asking this! I’ve been a dog rescue volunteer for over a decade, so of course I have a houseful of dogs. I used to foster regularly, but my own dogs are getting quite old, so all my volunteer work right now is mainly doing transport and occasional supply runs and errands.
Right now, I have three dogs, all of whom are senior and rescues. Dooley is a Corgi mix and my oldest; he’s roughly 15-16 years old, and while he’s slowed down quite a bit, he still looks as handsome and adorably grumpy as ever.
Pepper is some odd mixture of terrier, fox, and bat. I found her in a remote alley on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas (I grew up partly in Dallas and only moved out west four years ago) in 2010, and she’s the queen of the pack. She’s intensely curious, focused, and, I swear, looks like either a bat or a fox, depending on the expression on her face or what she’s up to.
Mary Ann is the youngest, a likely mix of Lab, Great Dane, German Short-haired Pointer, and probably a few other large-dog breeds. She’s going to be 14 this year, and looks and acts five years younger. She’s the only dog I know who likes hugs, so of course she’s my favorite, but please don’t tell the others.
Connect with Marjorie on LinkedIn.
That’s it for this edition of Automattic Women. Follow Developer Resources and Automattic Design to meet more great women of Automattic. And if you’d like to do more than just read about these great people, consider working with us! Join our team of diverse, global perspectives building a better web, and connect your career to the power of Open Source.