January 23, 2019
Magento Masters contribute a lot to the Magento Community so, naturally, people want to know what makes them tick. In this Magento Masters Spotlight, we’re chatting with Sonja Riesterer, Marketing Manager with integer_net.
Sonja was selected as a Magento Master for 2018 based on her 2017 contributions through co-organizing MageUnconference, Christmage, and Magento-Stammtisch Aachen, as well as German translation efforts around Magento 2, submissions to Magento DevDocs, and various speaking engagements at Magento centric events.
Who are you and what is your role?
My name is Sonja and I work with integer_net in Germany. That’s a solutions integrator focused on Magento and I’m the one responsible for all kinds of marketing there.
How and when did you first get involved with Magento?
I was working at an IT agency that worked with Salesforce as a marketing intern, but then changed, got the job offer from a different agency which was working with Magento. They were looking for someone for marketing and sales and I was like, “Why not?” On the first day of work, that was the first time I saw a Magento store, knowing it “was” a Magento store. I wasn’t able to quit afterward.
What made you decide to contribute to the Magento Community?
When I started working with Magento I didn’t know anything about it. While I was encouraged to ask my colleagues questions about it, I knew that they were busy working too, so I couldn’t really ask them everything I wanted to know. I started researching, read blog posts, and I was responsible for the company blog. So, I often just used whatever I wanted to learn and put that into blog posts. I started, in a way, contributing back to the community. Sometimes just translating what I had read in English to a German blog post and aggregated knowledge there.
How has the Magento community impacted you?
It has impacted me on every sort of level. I moved to another city because of a Magento-related job and many of my best friends are from the Magento community, and my boyfriend as well. I would say it has had a lot of impact on my life so far.
What is one thing the Magento Community may not know about you?
[Laughing] I would only rather speak English and never speak German. I’ve learned English rather early in school, when I was ten years old. It’s accompanied me through my teenage years, listening to all the English music, watching English films. It felt more emotional to me than the German language I was born with.
Do you have a tip for merchants and developers to maximize partnership?
Find a common language and stay in the loop. Communicate. One of the worst experiences of my business life was when a shop migration didn’t work well and we lost data. Database data, customer data, order data, etc. Everyone was really tense, the merchant, all of us at the agency, and the hosting company. It was a really tough day, but it helped tremendously to always stay in contact, forward information we got, be honest about it, and try to make things as understandable as possible to anyone involved what went wrong and to learn from it.
What project or experience in your career has had an impact on who you are today?
There was a project my colleague handled as a project manager, but he had to take time off from work, so I had to take over. I was friendly asked to do it and there was no way around it. It was like jumping into the cold water. I didn’t really know where the project was. They were just a week away from the launch. We were a very small team back then, but still, I didn’t know much about the project and I had to get into it very fast. That was extremely scary, but I learned so much from it. I learned what I was able to do and afterward, I felt much more comfortable about the whole story.
What does being a Magento Master mean to you?
It means a lot. When I was first awarded as a Master I was super excited about it, and at the same time, thinking, why me? Why not the person X, Y, Z? There were so many people around me I would have given the Master award to freely. It was a great honor to the work we put in, like the things we do to organize events. Just to help this community grow and to [make] each and every one inside this community to feel welcome and become better. The award was a great appreciation of what we do here.