Speaker Spotlight: Roy Sivan

Roy has been using WordPress since the early days. Nowadays he’s a senior application developer that specializes in WordPress at Disney. He’s also socially awkward, but love when people say hi to me.

Roy will be giving a talk titled “The case for the REST API, why do we even need it?“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

Carl Alexander

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

Carl Alexander

What is your talk going to be about?

Carl Alexander

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

Carl Alexander

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Carl Alexander

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

Carl Alexander

Speaker Spotlight: Kathryn Presner

Kathryn Presner thrives on helping people get the most out of WordPress. After a career designing and building websites for clients, she joined Automattic as a Happiness Engineer in 2012. She’s currently Theme Whisperer on the Theme Team, where she helps folks with customization, configuration, and troubleshooting. She enjoys spreading her passion for WordPress and encouraging new public speakers at WordCamps, Girl Geeks, Ladies Learning Code, and other grassroots events. Non-WordPress obsessions include vintage Pyrex mixing bowls and growing garlic.

Kathryn will be giving a talk titled “Imposter Syndrome and the Techie Continuum“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

I’m going to cheat a bit on this one and call out the Headstart feature we brought to WordPress.com. Headstart automatically sets up a site to look like the theme’s demo, and users love it because it reduces frustration and helps them get started much faster. It’s something I really hope we can offer to self-hosted sites at some point.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

No way I could miss my hometown WordCamp! I think it’ll be my seventh consecutive time speaking at WordCamp Montreal – wow.

What is your talk going to be about?

I’m going to do a short talk about my experience battling imposter syndrome and then facilitate a group discussion in which I hope others will share their stories.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

I hope people come away with strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome and a realization that everyone has something to contribute to the WordPress community, no matter how much you feel like you don’t know.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Tracy Levesque (@LilJimmi), David Bisset (@dimensionmedia), Shannon Smith (@cafenoirdesign)

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

As I mentioned above, I’d like to see Headstart – or something like it – come to self-hosted sites, so all WordPress users have an easier time setting up their sites.

Speaker Spotlight: Max Kovalenkov

Max has been tinkering with web sites since 1998; his first blog was running on WordPress 2.0 – in 2006. He started professionally working with the platform about six years ago, after having moved to Montréal from Ottawa (and having never looked back). Two years ago he made a break from the office and became a freelancer.

Max will be giving a talk titled “Testing WordPress: It Doesn’t Actually Suck“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

Responsive Images and WP REST API

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

I’ve been wanting to do it for a while – since my first WordCamp five years ago or so; I’m also shaky at public speaking so it’s a terrific opportunity to practice.

What is your talk going to be about?

Testing in WordPress

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

Testing is good for any project, no matter the size.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Drew Jaynes, Rarst, Andrew Nacin

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

Teleportation module! On a serious note, anything I can think of can be done with plugins, so the issue is moot. Perhaps something around quality guidelines for themes and plugins, some sort of a standard. The plugin and theme market is currently quite a messy place: hard to navigate for even advanced users, with wild variations in quality.

Speaker Spotlight: Linn Øyen Farley

Linn Øyen Farley is a Canadian/Norwegian cat enthusiast. She runs a one-person web design & development studio in Toronto, where she works primarily with WordPress. On the side she teaches beginner classes in WordPress, HTML & CSS with Camp Tech.

Linn will be giving a talk titled “Don’t Fear the Custom Theme: How to build a custom WordPress theme with only four files“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

If I have to pick just one: responsive image support. It’s also been great to see the little tweaks to the content editing experience as WordPress continues getting easier to use.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

I love your city! Plus I met lots of Montréal WordPress people at last year’s WordCamp in Toronto and everyone was so lovely, it was a good excuse to make the trip.

What is your talk going to be about?

The bare minimum of PHP functions you need to create a custom WordPress theme. Child themes totally have their place in the ecosystem; this is just an alternate way to get into making your own themes without having to rely on commercial ones.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

The confidence to try writing some PHP! Or if you’re already doing that, some inspiration to approaching theme building from a more lean, stripped-down perspective.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Other than WordCamps I don’t participate in the community as much as I’d like to, so this is going to be a short list – the two people that come to mind immediately are Billy Gregory, for giving people a kick in the pants to take accessibility seriously, and Zoe Rooney, for sharing everything from business admin strategies to WordPress functions (sadly she’s no longer in the industry, but I still use things I learned from her all the time).

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

I use Advanced Custom Fields on most of my projects, but sometimes I don’t need the full power of that plugin, so I’d love a better UI for basic custom fields in core. I wouldn’t simply want ACF integrated though since Elliott Condon already does such a great job of supporting and improving the plugin as a separate product.

Speaker Spotlight: Meagan Hanes

Meagan Hanes is a WordPress expert and technology consultant based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with over 20 years creating websites by hand and over 10 years using WordPress. She creates elegant, high-performance, mobile-optimized web solutions – front-end, back-end, and everything in between. You may have seen her present talks across a variety of WordPress subjects, such as website performance, the website creation process, and learning HTML/CSS. She gives back to local communities through organizing WordCamp Ottawa 2016 and 2017, running meetups such as the Ottawa WordPress Community and the Arnprior WordPress Group, and teaching others to code via Ladies Learning Code. She is currently in the process of launching a new web agency, and is interested to talk with anyone who has ideas or advice 🙂

Meagan will be giving a talk titled “Giving Back to WordPress – No Code Needed!“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

I for one am glad to have a “slow” 2016 in terms of features and releases in Core. So for me, I’ve been impressed with the increase in size of WordCamp Europe! Can’t wait to see how large WordCamp US becomes.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

Montreal’s WordCamp was the first WordCamp I ever spoke at, so it has a special place in my <3. The city is one of Canada's finest experiences, and in July the city is alive with music, food, and fun – if you haven't been before, get an AirBNB for an extra few days and explore, you won't regret it!

What is your talk going to be about?

My talk demystifies the process of contributing to the WordPress Project, and addresses a number of misconceptions, such as one needing to be a code expert to contribute. Ever wonder how WordPress, plugin and theme translations, documentation, meetups and WordCamps happen? Let’s go on an adventure to see just how these are made, and how you can find your own place to give back!

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

People will leave my talk knowing exactly how to give back to the WordPress Project, whether through code, community, or collaboration, and will be inspired to take that first step in becoming a maker instead of only a user.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

There are too many to list. I recommend following all members and fans of @thewpcrowd

Also, if you haven’t seen Petya Raykovska’s opening announcements of #wceu, go and find them. Gave me shivers <3 #madlove @petyeah

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

To WordCamp Montreal – daycare would be appreciated!
To WordPress – core adoption of the REST API and standardization of the top common custom post type
To the WordPress Project – more meetups and events, and to continue to nurture and grow our special community’s kind-natured spirit 🙂

Speaker Spotlight: Lucas Cherkewski

Lucas is a designer and developer who has worked professionally with WordPress and other platforms for six years, for a variety of clients. In addition to client work, he follows and contributes to open source civic design efforts, working to improve the relationship between citizens and their governments. Passionate about reading up on new design principles, and about supporting reuse and easy maintenance, he’s been working with pattern libraries and the design and development methodology they suggest for two years.

Lucas will be giving a talk titled “Tiny Little Pieces: Designing and developing with pattern libraries“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

Though it’s not directly related to the core project, I applauded WordPress.com (and other hosting providers) when they announced support for automatically applying Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates to custom domains. HTTPS should be a non-negotiable at this stage, and seeing big moves towards making it easily accessible is very exciting.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

Great city, great people, and WordPress—is there any question?

What is your talk going to be about?

We’re going to dive into designing and developing with pattern libraries. Instead of designing in terms of pages, we’ll zoom in on the components that make up those pages. Designing with patterns creates more modular and extensible designs, and provides exciting opportunities for designers and developers alike.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

Building designs that are modular and easy to extend helps everyone involved: designers, developers, clients, and, most importantly, the people using our websites.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Though there are so many, there’s a few I’d like to call out. Chris Van Patten, for being a great boss and for questioning a lot of the common wisdom about how we use WordPress to build websites. Josh Pollock and Roy Sivan, for their awesome work with the REST API. Chris Wiegman and Carl Alexander, for their writing and guidance which has improved both my development and how I work with servers. Michal Bluma for his astounding range of front-end talent, and for being a great developer to work alongside. Rachel Carden for conceiving and working so hard towards WPCampus, an important widening of the scope of WordPress conferences. Matt Cromwell and the team at WordImpress/Give for the important, and impressive, plugins that they’ve created. Meagan Hanes for her incessantly positive attitude about the past, present, and future of WordPress—she inspires me to stick with it.

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

Though not necessarily a new feature, I’d love to see a mindset shift towards even more modular, pluggable code and designs. Building times and plugins this way makes it easier for anyone to build websites using our work; developers and designers of third-party themes or plugins should always keep in mind how someone using their work might want to extend or change it in the future.

Speaker Spotlight: Brendan Sera-Shriar

Brendan Sera-Shriar has been an interactive designer, developer, college and university professor, community manager, author, consultant, and professional speaker at some of the largest corporations and festivals in the world, including Microsoft, Mozilla Firefox, Sun Microsystems, WordCamp, BlogWorld, SXSW and more. His work has also appeared in TechCrunch, TechVibes, WordPress TV, and a host of other blogs. He was also featured in the October 2012 issue of Marketing Magazine. Despite being known best for his work as a WordPress designer, developer, and WordCamp speaker and organizer, Brendan’s best communications skills lie in his ability to help organizations understand how they can build communities around their products and services.

Brendan will be giving a talk titled “Seduce Your Readers With Copy That Converts“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

That’s tough. Most improvements this year have not directly affected what I do with WordPress. But if it had to pick a few, and I guess I do :), I think there have been some significant improvements to the Visual Editor which certainly makes things easi for my clients.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

Well since this not my first rodeo I will have to re-purpose my answer from last year, which is still valid – WordPress has been a HUGE part of my professional success over the years and as an ex WordCamp organizer and long time community member I feel a sense of responsibility to give back where I can.

What is your talk going to be about?

How to seduce your readers with conversion copy writing.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

That, as writers or content publishers, we need to stop taking our audience for granted. We need to be truthful in what we create and bring something to the table that people really want and can benefit from. Then we can seduce them into becoming customers, members, etc.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Honestly, no one in particular. I keep my on many members I follow on a handful of networks. I’m inspired by anyone that makes big moves and change in the community.

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

As landing pages and one page sites become more and more the norm of the web I would really love to see more core features that enable end-users to better customize a post or page with custom fields. Currently developers and designers have to heavily rely on 3rd party plugins, widgets, apps, etc. It’s timely and costly and it’s helping no one execute better quality pages.

Speaker Spotlight: Nick Adams

Nick Adams is a web developer and the founder of Revault Media, which is an agency operating in the US and Canada, based out of Rochester, New York. He splits his time between London, Ontario and Rochester, New York where he organizes the WordPress London and WordPress Finger Lakes meetups in each city respectively. Nick started Revault Media while attending the University of Hartford where he studied Computer Science and French. He is passionate about making information and learning accessible to all people.

Nick will be giving a talk titled “Getting Started with Child Themes“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

WordPress 4.4 (December 8, 2015) was one of my favourite releases in recent years. The additions of responsive image handling and REST API infrastructure to WordPress core were major steps forward for the software. The new oEmbed features, making WordPress a provider, is pretty fantastic and Twenty Sixteen is an awesome and wonderfully coded theme.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

The Montréal WordPress community is amazing, and I love seeing multilingual WordCamps, as WordPress is all about democratizing the web and what’s more democratizing than bringing information to people of many languages?

What is your talk going to be about?

My talk is going to be about Child Themes – why to use them and how to make them.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

I want everyone to be using a Child Theme from now on! No more lost changes due to updating themes.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

I’m a very big fan of Montreal’s own Carl Alexander. His blog is one that I can’t stop reading.

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

Full REST API integration in core.

Speaker Spotlight: Sasha Endoh

Sasha is a web strategist, front-end developer, and multidisciplinary designer. She runs an interactive design studio in Montreal, Canada that specializes in creating WordPress websites for NPOs, cause-based organizations, and other do-gooders. Her goal is to make a lasting impact through amplifying the voices of those who are working towards meaningful positive changes. She enjoys spreading her passion for coding, design, and social change through public speaking and educational initiatives like Ladies Learning Code and Girls Learning Code.

Sasha will be giving a talk titled “Simplifying Flexible Content With Advanced Custom Fields“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

Responsive images in core and auto updates!!

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

It seemed like a natural next step after teaching a few coding and design workshops this year. I’m passionate about WordPress and am also really excited about sharing my passion for websites that are simple to use for clients but pack quite a bit of flexibility.

What is your talk going to be about?

Oops, guess I started going into that with the previous question. At the core, my talk is about making content flexible without going overboard with options. This requires developers and designers to put forth a little extra effort on the strategy and planning side of things instead of just installing a page-builder. I’ll talk about the down side of using page-builders and will present a case study using Advanced Custom Fields as an awesome alternative.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

Our clients look to us to be experts at what we do. Apply that expertise towards making it easy for them to do what they do. Give them the tools to do it better, easier!

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Paulund is the answer to every question. Tom McFarlin has a magically prolific blog. Chris Lema is my go-to for a bit of strategy. Not sure if Wes Bos does much WP anymore but his passion for teaching is a huge inspiration. Love reading WPShout.

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. I’d love to see more effort go towards thumbnail/image sizes. Now that things are responsive it would be great to give users more robust tools for working with images. For example, giving image sizes/thumbnails “pretty” names and descriptions. Then allowing for cropping/re-cropping of those thumbnails on upload (or even in the media library) without a plugin would be a great value for smaller teams that might not have a graphics person handy at all times.

Speaker Spotlight: Mika Ariela Epstein

Mika Ariela Epstein is better known as Ipstenu, the Half-Elf Rogue. Working for DreamHost, specializing in WordPress hosting (aka ‘WordPress Guru’), Mika helps make WordPress and hosting better for everyone. When she isn’t reviewing plugins she’s helping in the support forums and speaking at WordCamps worldwide about code and open source technology. A self-taught guru on Multisite and .htaccess, she has a passion for writing and technology and blogs about them whenever possible.

Mika will be giving a talk titled “Behind the Curtain: Reviewing Plugins for WordPress.org“.


What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

I’m sneaking this in, but it’s my change to humanize the first comment! It’s so simple to just de-genderize WordPress and make it more for everyone 🙂

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

In 2011, this was the first WordCamp I ever attended. I was too terrified to talk. I wanted to come back, 5 years (OMG!) later and thank the community here.

What is your talk going to be about?

Reviewing Plugins for WordPress.org

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

A deeper understanding of how the review process works that, I hope, will help everyone submit better code. Understanding what we’re looking for, and why, should only help people.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

So many people. I feel like it would be unfair to list one or two. In absolutely no order: Andrea Rennick, Chris Lema, Helen Hou-Sandí, Sam (Otto) Wood, Andrea Middleton, Pippin Williamson, Kari Leigh Marruchi, Tracy Levasque, Courtney Dawn… And yes, I follow all those people 🙂

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

I’d love to see the new user experience get more friendly. WordPress has a steep learning curve, after all, and anything we can do to help users out would be great. We’ll only get to 30% if we keep making it easier to use.