We are so excited to welcome Fen Slattery (they, them) to the Clique team as our newest front-end engineer. Fen is not only an amazing developer, but also loves sharing their knowledge by speaking at conferences, most recently on web accessibility. Although I didn’t get to hear a full speech, I was able to sit down with Fen and get to know them a little bit. Here are some highlights…
Tell me a little bit about yourself
“I’m from Wisconsin. I came to Chicago to go to school at IIT, and eventually went to Dev Bootcamp. I’ve been a developer for a little over 2 years now, I’m a huge accessibility nerd, and I love speaking at conferences—I was just in New York speaking at Codeland.”
How’d you get into that?
“I’ve always been kind of a theater and public speaking nerd since I was a kid. Once I realized conferences were a thing you could apply to I just started doing them.”
They’re speaking at one here in Chicago next week!
What does your ideal weekend look like?
“I’m big into gaming, so my ideal weekend is probably one that I live all too frequently with LARP,” (Live Action Role Playing, for those who don’t know). “You know, like Dungeons and Dragons and stuff, but you’re actually acting it out. My husband and I run games—he’s actually a professional game designer—so really just a full gaming weekend would be ideal.”
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
“I have 2 cats and 2 gerbils, but if it could be any animal…if you could have a panda that was the size of a hamster, I would want that. It would be an abomination to nature but ultra cute.”
Now there’s an interesting idea….
What did you want to be growing up?
“I was an overly ambitious child…I had this idea that if I wasn’t the most famous person, then what was the point? I wanted to be the president, then I wanted to be the first person on mars— I just wanted to do the most important things.”
Hey, if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.
If you could be the best in the world at one skill but bad at everything else what would that skill be and why?
“It’s a cheesy answer, but this skill would make my life fundamentally awesome—communicating well. To be able to fully understand what the other person is saying, listen well, communicate my ideas well so there were no misunderstandings—that sort of empathy would be so valuable.”
What’s something you do to make your day a little bit better?
“Trying to stay in the moment. Breaking out of whatever I’m worrying about and just reading a comic or listening to music or trying to consciously put the stress aside and exist in a sort of present mindful state.”
Best advice you’ve received?
“It’s actually a quote from Grace Hopper: ‘A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.’ It can be easy to worry about things going wrong, but if you did the thing that was safe or not scary all the time, then what’s the point?”
Wise words, Fen. We’re excited to learn more from you and about you as you begin your journey at Clique!