Alison has been building websites since the late 90s– ever since her family had dial-up Internet installed, she’s been very involved with making the web a more useful, more accessible place. By the mid-2000s she was focused on honing her design and technical craft and building a freelance web business.
In early 2009, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Mass Communications with a concentration in Graphic Design from the International Academy of Design and Technology to pursue more creative aspects of building websites. Since college, Alison has been involved with the American Advertising Federation– even winning an Addy for her work in Web. She served on the Board of Ad 2 Tampa Bay, as the Interactive Director for several years, launching their web presence into the modern age of open-source.
The age of open-source and community
With a strong desire to grow the open-source and publishing community in Tampa, Alison co-founded a WordPress group in the Bay Area called Tampa Bay WordPress in the summer of 2009. It became officially affiliated with the WordPress Foundation (WordPress.org) in 2014. Wanting to expand the community further, Alison led the charge to launch the first WordCamp in Tampa– a web publishing and technology conference revolving around the open-source publishing platform WordPress. The first event was held in October 2014 and grew to an almost 500-attendee, 3-day conference– with a special day dedicated to U.S. Veteran and Youth learning. Alison recruited five community leaders within the Tampa Bay WordPress organization to help coordinate. Her community leaders were kind enough to present her with an Award of Leadership at the closing ceremony of WordCamp Tampa 2015.
Branching out on her own
After accumulating a lot of experience in software development firms, advertising agencies, and small interactive firms throughout the years, Alison co-founded a design and development agency in early 2012. Her web design and development firm positioned its clients to utilize the inbound marketing methodology to grow their business. Throughout the years, Alison’s team launched dozens of websites and applications and several custom WordPress plugins.
Public service and government
In 2017, Alison began winding down her firm’s workload after pursuing different opportunities. After much thought, she decided to run for office, Florida State House Representative, after her representative spontaneously decided to step down, spawning a special election in February 2018. She ran a strong campaign with a dedicated team of volunteers who helped to knock on doors and call voters on her behalf. She appeared on television and radio several times, including a live debate on ABC. Alison lost her bid for office, even after breaking state fundraising records for her party.
With her passion for public service still burning brightly, in late 2018, Alison accepted a contractual position with the City of Memphis in Tennessee to overhaul their public-facing websites, including the primary city website and more than a dozen subdomains.
She would go on to help other public entities with communications and the web, including LeMoyne-Owen College, the City of North Little Rock, and the NLR Police Department.
Public relations, journalism, news and media
In a twist of fate, Alison co-founded a hyper-local digital news outlet, the Mountain Home Observer. Founded in December 2021, the Observer has grown to an average of 50k online readers a month with a healthy base of paid subscribers. The outlet serves a city population of about 14k and a county population of 44k. Honing her writing skills and experience with government, Alison has written several dozen articles covering dubious ARPA money appropriations, primary and general elections, and helped to expose several Arkansas FOIA violations from several government entities. The Observer is now a full-fledged member of the Arkansas Press Association.
Alison is also a member of Rotary International, the American Advertising Federation and the WordPress.org Community Team. Alison has also spoken at many events and conferences on topics ranging from productivity while remote working to front-end design and development for WordPress.