We've doubled the days of CSSConf AU this year so we've got double the number of amazing speakers to introduce. With less than 30 days to go we get to spoil you with our third speaker introduction of the day, Sara Soueidan!
We asked her a few questions to help get to know her better.
Is this your first trip to Melbourne? Or Australia? Do you have other plans for your trip?
Yes, this will be my first visit to Australia, and I'm really excited about it! When I was a kid, I always imagined I'd travel to Australia when I grow up and study Marine Biology (I was fascinated by sea life back then). Things didn't exactly go that way, but I couldn't be happier about where I am and the reason I'm visiting AU for today.
Other than the conference events, a bunch of us are planning a trip to the zoo! I haven't made any other plans yet, but I'm generally attracted to green areas—parks, forests, etc. so I'll probably be planning something in that area, and probably try to find a Lebanese restaurant somewhere in the city, too!
What does your usual work day look like?
I'm not sure how to describe a day spent 90% sitting in front of a laptop writing and coding! I usually have to force myself into breaks and days off. I spend the days coding, and find myself writing (articles, etc.) mostly at night. At the end of the day, I just watch some TV and go to bed. I hate routines so I tend to shuffle my daily activities a lot.
Who in the industry consistently blows you away with incredible work?
Manoela and Pedroo, founders of Codrops. Their work is absolutely beautiful and inspiring.
Have you worked in industries other than the web?
I almost started a teaching career at a local school. I was going to teach Maths and Computer classes to kids less than 8 years old, but found myself not to be the best communicator with kids that age, so ended up quitting (ehem) 90 minutes after I started. This happened at almost the same time I started looking into the web and learning the very basics two and a half years ago. I'm very happy I didn't continue along that path, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today.
Clearly, you’ve reached a certain point in your career (because you’re with us!), where do you aspire to get to from here?
I've always loved learning, and before I ever made up my mind about what to study in college, I always had one thought in my mind: I don't want to stop learning. It was my intention to study multiple majors, one after the other, so I don't ever stop learning. I was into architecture, psychology and physics—as a matter of fact, I almost switched from CS to Physics at my first year in college! Never to stop learning is something I still aspire to, and it so happens that, in our field, you can literally never stop learning—that is, unless you want to be left behind, and that's something you definitely don't want to do. I don't have a specific goal or path I'm taking now, I love what I'm doing (coding, writing, speaking, learning) and want to keep doing this and improving my skills as I go.
Do you skydive, knit, play the banjo, cycle or do anything that isn’t on a computer?
I sketch every now and then, but not as often as I used to. I used to draw a lot (some olf drawings here), but haven't really drawn anything since I started working on the web. I used to draw with pencils and coal, and now I draw with code!
You are coming from Lebanon. We know from your previous conference appearances that you don't greet men by hand-shaking. Would you like to share more about that?
Oh yes, indeed! As a veiled Muslim, I don't shake hands with men. It is one of several traditions we have that come with the veil. I do shake hands with women, though. :)
The way we greet men is we put our hand on our chest and say hello with or without a slight nod of the head.
I know that a lot of people don't know that, so I've had some awkward situations before with men offering to shake my hand at conferences, always making sure I explain why I don't do it so nobody thinks it's personal. It's not! Instead of offering your hand to shake, you can just place hand across your chest (over your heart) and say hello like you normally would, and then start a geeky conversation about SVG or CSS or the Web. ^_^
Oh and while we're at it, I might as well mention that I also don’t drink alcohol, and refrain from participating in events where alcoholic drinks are served.
Sara and 15 other wonderful speakers will be at CSSConf AU, will you?
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Thanks from all the firstname.lastname@example.org