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Francois Akiki for Harness

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Adventures at MagnoliaJS

Last week I had the great pleasure to speak at a very intimate developer community event in Jackson, Mississippi. The event I spoke at is called MagnoliaJS. MagnoliaJS is ran by two great community ambassadors, Kayla & Richard Sween, as well as a great group of volunteers. This year the event was Halloween themed. There were decorations outside the venue, as well as spooky coffee cups, various Halloween candy scattered about, and even speakers and attendees in costumes.

This year's event I did not plan accordingly lol. You would think that the horror fan would have had his stuff together…nope. There was a Spirit Halloween nearby but I felt that next year I could plan better and just talk up my idea to the community. Be on the lookout for what Kayla and I have cooking up.

Day One

Day one of the event was everything you could ask for. The day kicked off with opening remarks by the one and only, Kenneth LaFrance. When I say the one and only, I mean he is Kenough! IYKYK lol. Following Ken’s opening remarks, Taylor Desseyn from opened up with content creation

The day was filled with great speakers from Alex Riviere with their talk on design systems, to Rizel Scarlett with an AMAZING talk on breaking down barriers through the use of emerging tech. Rizel is a Staff Developer Advocate at TBD. Make sure you attend a session of theirs if you ever get a chance.

Throughout the day we had talks from Karl Groves, speaking on accessibility, to Pato Vargas displaying immense knowledge on simplifying your codebase with React monorepos. If you get a chance to watch Karl deliver his accessibility talks, and Pato literally talk about anything, don’t sleep on it. Trust me.

Taylor closed out the event with another great talk. Taylor is the former Managing Director of Global Solutions at Vaco. Now Taylor is at as a Talent Advocate. To sum up his talk, the abstract below explains it all.

This is a checklist that every leader in an organization needs to check out to be successful in scaling their company when it comes to hiring.

Day Two

Day two kicked off like day one with opening remarks from Ken LaFrance. Ken gave yours truly an incredible introduction as I kicked off the conference. I delivered my talk on the relationship between ROI (return on investment) and a11y (accessibility). Of course I opened up with who I was, my role at Harness, and what we do at Harness. I can safely say that 99% of my audience now knows who Harness is and what we are all about. It was eye opening.

Mo Daniel gave their VERY FIRST talk ever. Mo is one of the nicest people I have met in my life. Their talk really hit home when it came to learning. They ended their talk with a positive affirmation and we all stood and clapped for an amazing performance.

I joined in on a talk where I did a voice over as a sea captain along with Abbey Perini and Nerando Johnson. That was a blast to do. My friend Mark Noonan, Senior Software Engineer at Cypress, delivered a talk on front end testing. And we all did voices as characters throughout the talk. I even dropped a Jaws reference and luckily most of the audience got it.

There were a handful of great talks over the two days of the event. I wish I could cover them all here. Todd Libby closed it out with his accessibility talk on Deceptive Patterns & FAST. And in his Halloween, East Coast fashion, he came out of the entrance where the kitchen is, dressed in a Lobster costume and uttered the words, “man is it hot in there!”

If you get a chance to attend or speak at MagnoliaJS, definitely do it. Great people, great talks, great community.

Social image and cover image from the MagnoliaJS Twitter. All images below are from myself or community members.

Rizel Scarlett on stage at MagnoliaJS.

Ken LaFrance introducing Angie Jones at MagnoliaJS

Me taking a selfie with the fake skeleton at MagnoliaJS

Kicking off day two at MagnoliaJS.

Halloween decorations outside the venue at MagnoliaJS

Picture with Mo Daniel and I at MagnoliaJS

Michael Liendo giving his talk at MagnoliaJS

My behind the podium at MagnoliaJS.

Todd Libby dressed up as a lobster during his talk at MagnoliaJS

Virtual coffee selfie at MagnoliaJS with myself, Mark Noonan, Kayla Sween, Nerando Johnson, Abbey Perini, Todd Libby, and Dan Ott.

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