The New England Drupal Camp 2022 is in this weekend. We asked between 5 to 8 questions to every speaker at the camp via email/slack. Some questions were common to all, and some were specific. We also gave them a choice not to answer any particular question. The Drop Times got written responses from most of the speakers. We are publishing those short conversations as a series. Here is the eighth interview.  

Dori Kelner is the VP of Human Workplace at Esteemed, creating a compassionate, people-first workplace. As the founder and principal of Insightful Culture, she designs workplace programs in stress management, resilient leadership, and cultural change. Dori will deliver the session on ‘How to Lead a Human Workplace’ at Room: Maine (Gaige 203) from 4:00 pm to 4:45 pm this Saturday, November 19, 2022, as part of the New England Drupal Camp 2022, happening at Rhode Island College, Providence, RI. She was kind enough to respond to the questions posed to her. 

TDT: [1] A brief introduction about yourself and your work in Drupal

Dori Kelner: My passion is creating workplaces where people can thrive and find happiness. I am a corporate wellness expert, serving as Esteemed’s VP of Human Workplace. Esteemed specializes in people operations and human capital management. My work at Esteemed allows me to help and support our clients in creating people-driven workplaces. Organizations that put people first see significant benefits to morale, ethics, and their bottom line. 

TDT: [2] The community parlance is that ‘you come for the code but stay for the community.’ How did you first get introduced to the community? 

Dori Kelner: I’ve been in the Drupal community for about 15 years, initially joining as the owner of a Drupal agency. I was introduced to Drupal when my agency recognized that we needed a robust platform to serve our nonprofit clients. Drupal fits the bill, and over the past 15 years, I’ve made wonderful connections with the community by participating in camps and cons. When I decided to change careers, I knew that the Drupal community would continue to support me.

TDT: [3] Tell us about what you present in the New England DrupalCamp 2022 and who should attend your session. 

Dori Kelner: My session at NEDCamp presents a framework for creating the 21st-century human workplace and what leaders need to do personally to support a workplace dedicated to fulfillment and happiness. With people “quiet quitting” (sic) in droves, we must understand the value of building engagement, community, and connection. Whether current leaders or aspiring leaders, we all need to embrace the essential skills necessary for serving others.

TDT: [4] With more companies staying with the remote or hybrid work practices they began during the pandemic, the work-life balance has to find a new equilibrium. In such an environment, how do you think employees overcome burnout? 

Dori Kelner: It’s easy for us to place the onus on individuals to manage their own mental health. However, it is incumbent on organizations to normalize mental health and cultivate a supportive culture. Individuals fighting a broken system will not be able to avoid burnout alone. Organizations, managers, and employees must collectively see the importance of building harmony between work and life and recognize that work is merely one element we all need to juggle daily.

  1. Organizations need to ensure that employees understand how their role fits into the organizational mission, and employees who do not have this clarity need to ask for it.
  2. Organizations need to respect work hours, and employees need to enforce boundaries.
  3. Organizations need to give people agency in where and how work gets done, and employees need to make accommodations to work effectively in different settings.
  4. Organizations need to treat all people with dignity, and employees need to support one another when they perceive injustice.

When organizations build a culture of trust and caring, employees will find themselves working in flow, the optimal zone for managing their energy. They will face burnout far less frequently; they will have the tools they need should they recognize the signs of burnout arising.


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