People of WordPress: Tonya Mork

People of WordPress: Tonya Mork

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In this sequence, we share some of the inspiring tales of how WordPress and its international community of contributors can change individuals’s lives for the higher. This month we characteristic an internet site developer and engineer from the US, who discovered the software program and its neighborhood present the impetus to maintain her going ahead.

WordPress gave Tonya Mork a brand new lease of power after a well being disaster from which she almost died. She had spent 20 years as {an electrical} and software program engineer in excessive tech automated manufacturing. But when she found the WordPress software program, educating it to others grew to become her new goal. Through this discovery, she has gone on to assist hundreds of builders perceive and construct code in nice depth.

As half of her WordPress journey, she has shared her abilities within the roles of Release Coordinator and the Core Tech Editor for the newest main WordPress launch, 5.9 Joséphine. 

Life takes an sudden flip

For the primary 22 years of Tonya’s life, she rose by the ranks from enlisted personnel within the US Navy to a extremely wanted chief engineer with a multi million-dollar industrial automation engineering agency.  

However, whereas she was working in engineering, her life was to vary dramatically. In 2007, Tonya began to face well being challenges that had an impression on all that she had recognized.

“My profession outlined me. It was my canvas and my artwork. When it was gone, I didn’t acknowledge myself.

Tonya Mork

One day, she wakened at residence prepared to go to a shopper’s facility the place her agency was constructing a robotic system. She mentioned: “As I headed for the door, I fell to my knees, as this wave of pain crushed down on my chest.”

Doctors recognized her with a really uncommon coronary heart illness that brought on her blood vessels to spasm, reducing off blood to no matter was downstream of the blockage. 

A number of months later, she was recognized with a second uncommon and extra severe situation, associated to the migraines from which she had been struggling. Combined together with her coronary heart situation, this made each migraine assault life-threatening.

For almost seven years, the sudden adjustments to her well being left her principally homebound and continuously monitored. This meant she needed to shut her engineering agency and say goodbye to workers and purchasers. 

“My career defined me. It was my canvas and my art. When it was gone, I was lost. I didn’t recognize myself.”

But in her darkest hour, she discovered her energy. Tonya made a selection to maneuver ahead, and take advantage of of her life.

“When you are at rock bottom, you have to make a decision or else it will consume you. My decision was that I chose to be happy,” mentioned Tonya.

One of Tonya’s first steps was to begin writing a weblog utilizing WordPress. In this she shared insights on discover peace and pleasure in any scenario. She wrote about kindness and serving to each other. 

The pleasure of making options by WordPress grew to become a means for Tonya to simply accept her new life and never really feel as restricted by her well being. She needed goal, and in WordPress, she discovered simply that.

Tonya felt she might do one thing worthwhile within the digital world. 

A ray of hope for Tonya

In 2013, Tonya’s well being deteriorated additional. She was admitted into intensive care and was recognized with a 3rd uncommon illness, this time associated to her autoimmunity. She was not anticipated to outlive this time. 

Following what she describes as a ‘miraculous recovery,’ she grew to become stronger and was capable of cease counting on a wheelchair. She used the power from engaged on web sites to maintain going. “WordPress kept my mind alive,” mentioned Tonya.

She had first used WordPress for her engineering agency’s intranet. But when she found the software program’s full potential and the collaborative alternatives of open supply, it opened a brand new world. 

“Finding WordPress helped me to find myself again”

Tonya Mork

During the years which adopted, she donated her time to construct some WordPress web sites and plugins. She mentioned: “Through giving my time, I was able to do something other than sit in isolation.” 

Tonya was amazed by the sharing in open supply generally and in WordPress particularly. She mentioned: “I was amazed to see people sharing so much information freely with one another. In my former engineering world, information was proprietary. Throughout my career, I had worked to break down those silos and help anyone to understand complex systems. I was drawn to this open community.” 

She additionally grew to become conscious that WordPress builders had been hungry to be taught extra about growth. She needed to be half of the answer together with her ardour for educating and the information she had gained in trade.

She mentioned: “Finding WordPress helped me to find myself again. Here in this community, I was able to feel like a person again, not a sick one, but a professional with something to give.”

As her curiosity within the software program grew, Tonya determined to begin a non-profit the place she turned to WordPress to construct the web sites. This re-sparked her curiosity in programming. She mentioned: “I wanted to really know the code and understand what made it tick.”

The realization led Tonya to begin the WP Developers’ Club, which in flip spawned Know the Code, to assist educate particular person builders, and remains to be used immediately.

From serving to WordPress firms to engaged on WordPress Core

Tonya pictured with her dog

Tonya went on to work with large and medium dimension WordPress firms serving to their builders and supporting them in elevating their corporations’ leverage with WordPress.

By late 2020, she knew she needed to do much more with WordPress.

In February 2021, Tonya joined a global agency within the ecosystem and commenced working carefully on WordPress Core.

At that point, WordPress Core was pulling collectively a brand new Triage crew. Tonya began volunteering on that crew to search out collaborative options, and assist others accomplish that. In 2020 for WordPress 5.6 Simone, she grew to become the discharge’s Triage lead, and once more for WordPress 5.7 Esperanza

In 2021, she grew to become a Test Team Rep and helped to broaden the crew and is an advocate for the worth of testing and suggestions within the launch growth course of.

A brand new, profitable chapter with WordPress 5.9

Tonya was one of the notable contributors to the WordPress 5.9 release featured in this picture.

Tonya’s ardour for the software program and getting individuals concerned in its development continued. For the WordPress 5.9 launch in 2021, she took on the function of each the Core Tech Lead and the Release Coordinator. As this was a giant launch and included the primary main implementation of Full Site Editing, it had many transferring elements and lots of of contributors. She was capable of share the talents she had realized in communication and mission administration from her days streamlining and documenting engineering software program and processes. 

In the primary 24 hours of WordPress 5.9 touchdown, it had greater than 10 million downloads—and 17 formally reported bugs.

Giving again to open supply

Now in what Tonya describes as her third chapter. She mentioned: “I’m a very different person from the engineer I used to know. What really matters in this world is when you reach out and make a difference in someone’s life.”

She feels she has discovered her goal on this life. “I’m on a mission to give back and make a difference. Teaching is how I will do it. And in WordPress I have found my professional home, and I have all this software knowledge that I just want to share.”

Share the tales

Help share these tales of open supply contributors and proceed to develop the neighborhood. Meet extra WordPressers within the People of WordPress series. #ContributorStory.

Contributors to this characteristic

Thank you to Tonya Mork (@hellofromtonya) for sharing her story. 

Interviews and have by Abha Thakor (@webcommsat) and Mary Baum (@marybaum). Reviewed by Chloe Bringmann (@cbringmann), Nalini Thakor (@nalininonstopnewsuk), Meher Bala (@meher), and Anjana Vasan (@anjanavasan). Photo modifying Reyez Martínez (@rmartinezduque) and Jean Baptiste Audras (@audrasjb).

Thanks to Josepha Haden Chomphosy (@chanthaboune) and Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) and others for his or her help of this initiative.

HeroPress logo

This People of WordPress characteristic is impressed by an essay initially revealed on, a neighborhood initiative created by Topher DeRosia. It highlights individuals within the WordPress neighborhood who’ve overcome boundaries and whose tales would possibly in any other case go unheard. #HeroPress


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