Category Archives: Speakers

Speaker Spotlight: Chris Lema

In 2005 Chris Lema left the DotNetNuke (DNN) world and discovered WordPress as a fast, easy way to get started with a website. Within a year he’d created 20-30 sites (all of them using pages, not posts).

Lema said he’s “willing to learn from just about anyone” when it comes to WordPress mentors though he watched the WooThemes and iThemes teams in the early years, along with StudioPress. In later years he leaned heavily on folks like Andrew Norcross and Justin Sainton to tell him what was or wasn’t possible. Plus, Lema added, “I always pay attention to what Syed (@wpbeginner) is doing.”

Lema referenced Iron Man as his favorite superhero. “He’s smart. He builds tech toys. And he can fly,” he said. Chris feels his own superpower is human chess, a talent he utilizes often. Described as “seeing what makes a person unique, understanding how they move on the board and then coordinating several folks to work together for a win!,” Lema has used this ability to improve the lives of many in the WordPress community.

It’s interesting to note that Chris Lema’s first WordCamps were in 2010 at Phoenix and Chicago. Though he attended both camps, Lema said he sat in the back, watched and didn’t interact with other attendees. Seven years later, however, fading into the background is no longer an option. Lema is a highly sought after speaker, discussion and community leader in the WordPress community.

When asked about his thoughts on family and community, Lema shared, “Family and community are both about relationships to me. I think about it as the people I would be willing to be woken up at 2 a.m. for. That list gets bigger every year because of the WordPress community.” Chris also builds community through his hobby of smoking cigars.

Lema has been building B2B SaaS products since he got started in 1995, in telecommunications, in the automotive industry, in software tools, in the public sector (government agencies), and in the financial realm. He has served on nonprofit boards and on the advisory boards of tech companies for years and is currently advising Orange County-based digital agency, Zeek Interactive.

Come learn from Chris as he leads the “Becoming a Better Blogger” Workshop on Saturday at 2:00pm. Chris is also the host of Plugin-a-Palooza on Sunday afternoon.

Jason Weisberger

Speaker Spotlight: Jason Weisberger

A great cook who wishes he had the superpower of plating food well, speaker Jason Weisberger will be attending his first ever WordCamp this June when he speaks at WordCamp Orange County! When asked how he got started in WordPress, Jason explained, “We arrived like refugees, running from the flames of MoveableType.”

Weisberger’s job history may clue you in to his presentation. He owned a comedy club, performed in various ensembles and also worked as a really acerbic dinner magician. Also found in his repertoire is work as a private investigator and salesman of boutique men’s clothing in Santa Monica, CA. Probably more widely known for his role as COO of a publicly traded ad agency, his time spent in VP Ops, Engineering, and Product Management at a publicly traded telecom company, and as CTO at LA area datacenter/web hosting company, Jason Weisberger is currently publisher of Boing Boing, a website devoted to technology, entertainment, and culture.

He looks to Willie Nelson as his WordPress mentor and lists favorite superheroes as Lex Luthor and Ming the Merciless. Weisberger believes both are awesome as they try to make the world a better place and are bald. Weisberger seeks to make the world a better place himself by serving as top-side volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center where he feeds, restrains and medicates seals and sea lions on a regular basis. He also serves as a Board Member on West Coast Great Pyrenees and uses the words of Mr. T to describe his feelings on family and community, summing it up with, “Pity fools. Respect mothers.” Understanding the seriousness of WordCamp Orange County, Weisberger has words of advice for post readers, warning each: “Do not taunt happy fun ball.”

Don’t miss Jason’s talk, “How WordPress Helps Keep Boing Boing Weird,” in the Beach track at 9 AM on Saturday, June 10: “Boing Boing is one of the longest running independent publications on the Internet. From our start as ‘zine to our currently self-hosted WordPress site, we’ve had our ass kicked by every platform we’ve tried. WordPress doesn’t have me in a murderous rage, but that is largely because the guys at WP VIP are so good at sorting out the weird and often suicidal things we do to ourselves. Actually, some issues with 2FA, and our cookies expiring weirdly leave me kinda frustrated… but hey, at least Google can crawl the site this week!”

Fourth Round of WordCamp Orange County 2017 Speakers

Shazaam! Fourth Round of Speakers Announced!

Our fourth round of speakers activate when they unite! Bringing together superpowers from all over the globe, this bunch shows that writing, SEO, programming, plugin development and cybersecurity can create limitless power. Keep a tight watch on these speakers as they explain how they easily maneuver and pose to take over their parts of the world.

Lauren Milligan

“Lauren has worked with thousands of professionals in all stages of career advancement and has developed proven tools and exercises that enables people to reach the next step in their career. Simply put, when it comes to advancing your career, Lauren knows what you need to do to get there.

In addition to her private coaching practice, Lauren teaches workshops at regional colleges, and dozens of business and employment support groups. She has contributed to hundreds of career-related features on WGN Morning News, ABC News, WLS and WGN radio and in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Washington Post and dozens of other media outlets. She’s honored to recently present for the Illinois Association of Professional Engineers (Springfield, IL), International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals (Pittsburgh, PA) and at C4W’s annual conference (Charleston, SC).

Lauren’s topics include career-boosting topics such as Resume Writing, Interview Skills and Job Search Strategies for Older Workers, and business-boosting topics such as Pitching to the Media, Negotiation Skills and Lead Generation
through LinkedIn.”

Aaron Holbrook

Father of two amazing boys. Weightlifter. Swimmer. Gamer. Obsessive DIY-er. Woodsmith. WordCamp Organizer & Speaker. Director of Web Engineering at Zeek.

Emanuel “Manny” Costa

I am a professional web developer, SEO/SEM specialist, eCommerce consultant and web entrepreneur, with over 22 years experience in web development. When I did my first web page there was only 250 sites in the world. I was luck to be an intern at the computer lab while I was acquiring a Bachelors of Science degree in Engineering. At that time the Internet came to Brazil first at the Universities. I was able to start to learn a lot related to internet, web development and user experience. After I graduated, I started working as Civil Engineer and on my spare time was doing simple websites for companies in Fortaleza, Brazil. Two years later, I relocated to the United States and accepted an offer to work for a dotcom under an H1B visa. The year was 1999 and then I lived in South Florida for 8 years. I’ve lived in New York and Washington, D.C, while working as senior web developer consultant for Inter-american Development Bank. In 2015 I relocated to Las Vegas, became an American Citizen, and currently I am expanding my online businesses to the US West region. I’ve been working professionally with WordPress for the past 7 years. I contribute as much as I can, at, translating WP, organizing meetups and volunteering/speaking at WordCamps.

Ori Eisen

Ori Eisen has spent the last twenty-two years in the cybersecurity and information technology industry, and is respected for his business knowledge and leadership. His background includes an in-depth application of innovative solutions for preventing online fraud.

Dennis Hong

By day, Dennis engineers happiness at By night, he is a relationships and comedy writer, which can be redundant or an oxymoron, depending on your perspective.

Jason Bahl

I’m a Senior WordPress Engineer at Digital First Media in Denver, CO where I work on large publishing sites such as, and

Andy Fragen

Andy Fragen has been using WordPress since 2007 and in that time has become a proficient hacker, contributor, plugin developer, and hobbyist of WordPress.

He has several plugins in the Plugin Directory and has contributed to many others. His plugin contributions  have been downloaded almost 500,000 times.

“WordPress provides a problem-solving sandbox that intrigues me and allows me a creative outlet from my normal job. I enjoy helping others and helping them find solutions to their problems.”

Some of his most popular plugins are The Events Calendar Category Colors and GitHub Updater.

Scott Bolinger

Co-founder of AppPresser

Announcing our third batch of speakers announced for WordCamp Orange County June 10-11, 2017.

By Hipster’s Beard! Announcing Another Round of Speakers

Our third batch of speakers will captivate you with their know-how and variety of expertise. These superhero speakers will inspire you to amp up your WordPress game and keep you entertained at the same time!

Russell Aaron

Russell Aaron is a back-end developer & support specialist at Russell has created two plugins. One of which won second place in WCOC Plugin-a-Palooza. He is a fan of WordPress first and foremost. He is currently the lead organizer of the Las Vegas WordPress Meetup Group & WordCamp Las Vegas. He is an admin of the Advanced WordPress Facebook group.

Julka Grodel

Julka Grodel is a Senior Software Engineer at AddThis and has worked professionally with content management systems for over 10 years. She is passionate about writing easily maintainable and extendable code and is on a mission to make it simple to use AddThis’ social tools on single page apps and within a dynamic DOM.

Julka spends most of her time on open source projects integrating AddThis tools for various JavaScript frameworks & content management systems. She is the primary developer on AddThis’s WordPress plugins. When not working, she spends her time volunteering with the Junior League, in a pilates studio, or doting over her blind cat Batman and his BFF Robin.

Amber Hewitt

Amber Hewitt is a front-end web developer who has created websites for a wide variety of clients for over 15 years. With a strong background in design (graphic design degree from Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design), she has developed a passion for good imagery and typography in print and on the web.

Carrie Forde

Front-end architect focused on improving processes, writing better code, and bringing dev teams together. Works @webdevstudios. ❤️ cats, coffee, WordPress.

Ethan Grey

A Senior Product Manager at Media Temple, a Los Angeles-based company providing premium web and cloud hosting solutions and services, Ethan leverages his experience in product management, business analysis, commerce and monetization to oversee the product and go-to-market strategy of Media Temple’s managed WordPress hosting solutions.

Jacob Arriola

Jacob Arriola is a front-end developer from Los Angeles who spends most of his time working with Sass, JavaScript and building custom WordPress themes. He works with Zeek Interactive and is always trying to learn new languages and frameworks to deliver rich and engaging UI experiences.

Michelle Schulp

Michelle is an independent graphic designer and frontend developer in Minneapolis. Prior to beginning her career, she studied Visual Communications, with minors in Psychology and Sociology. As her work progressed, she also branched into front-end development and user experience design to round our her skillset. This combination of disciplines led her to adopt a strategy-based approach to design, focused on solving tangible problems and achieving real goals based on how people think.

She loves the open source community, and when she is not working on projects she speaks/volunteers/organizes at events and workshops around the country. Her passions are communication and empowerment, and she believes in the power of “Why?”

Tish Briseno

Happiness Engineer at Automattic working on I love helping people get started with WordPress.

Announcing our second batch of speakers announced for WordCamp Orange County June 10-11, 2017.

Up, Up and Away! Meet our Second Batch of Speakers!

Wowza! Our second round of WordCamp Orange County speakers is sure to keep you captivated! Check out the names below and save the date to make sure you have a chance to watch them in action!

Zac Gordon

Zac Gordon is a professional educator, currently working with the JavaScript for WordPress Master Course. Previously, Zac taught WordPress for Treehouse. He has years of experience teaching WordPress and JavaScript at the college level and high school level. In addition to teaching, Zac also runs Web Hosting for Students, the world’s largest hosting company dedicated to students and teachers.

Chris Ford

Over the course of her 20 year career Chris has been a visual and UX designer, brand strategist, front end developer, professional scrapbooker, magazine art director, project manager, and support lead. She also loves to write, speak and teach other people about all of those things.

Alex Vasquez

I’m Alex Vasquez, a WordPress Developer and owner of DigiSavvy, a boutique digital studio providing digital marketing and custom web development services. My hair could qualify as a super power.

Jason Cosper

Jason Cosper is currently employed as the Developer Advocate for WP Engine. Honestly, that’s just a fancy way of saying “I get paid to chat with people about WordPress.” Nice work if you can get it.

Jason spends a ton of time with his wife Sarah and two chihuahuas, Rowdy & Gomez. They watch a lot of bad TV, scary movies and premium cable programming. He also enjoys hanging out in musty record stores, drinking whiskey, smoking meats, and sampling craft beers.

Andrew Bergeron

Andrew Bergeron is a designer, speaker, and proud new father. Currently, he is the UX Design Manager for Everyone Counts, a rapidly growing start-up leading the transformation of modern election systems. When he is not focused on improving lives through design you will likely find him surfing, walking in nature or finding a way to make his son giggle.

Verious B. Smith III

Verious Smith the Creative Director of Philoveracity Design, a firm that specializes in Brand Development with work that spans the scope of strategic planning to custom branded campaigns & clients that have included local & national start-ups to medium sized corporations.

He is a BFA VisCom Graduate and has a thorough command of Conceptual Communication with a myriad of mediums.

His current career focus is to build important new relationships while nurturing current connections by properly stewarding my God given time & talents.

Scott Buscemi

Scott Buscemi is the Co-Founder of Lumen Foundry, a next-generation marketing agency based in LA. Since version 2.9 of WordPress in 2010, Scott has been bringing clients into the cutting edge of website and marketing technology. He’s also co-organizer of the LA WordPress Meetup.

Rachel Cherry

Rachel Cherry is a Senior Software Engineer for The Walt Disney Company with over ten years experience in back and front-end web development and digital design. Before Disney, she spent over nine years working in higher education and is the Director of WPCampus, a community and conferences focused on using WordPress in the world of higher education. When she’s not using WordPress to help build the web, she enjoys promoting the importance of accessibility and working to encourage openness, collaboration, and professional development as a conference and meetup organizer. Rachel lives in Pasadena, California but you can find her on Twitter, GitHub, and

First batch of speakers announced for WordCamp Orange County June 10-11, 2017.

Releasing Our First Batch of Speakers!

WordCamp Orange County attracts the best speakers in WordPress, making speaker choice a very difficult task! We found ourselves exclaiming, “Holy WordPress!” when we realized we had nearly one hundred speaker applications from which to narrow. What’s more is that each proposed topic was amazing, providing insight into the trending topics of 2017!

Origin stories on our Awe-inspiring Superhero and Villain Speakers will follow in the coming weeks, however today we are announcing our first batch of speakers in no particular order.

Can we get a Shazaam! for:

Ben Cole

Ben Cole is a Coding Bootcamp Instructor at UCI and Senior Web Developer at SLR Lounge. He self-identifies on his website as: “I craft elegant solutions to complex problems.” He also enjoys tea and swing dancing. That’s a great combo in any super hero!

Yvonne Conway-Williams

Social Media Marketing, Cybersecurity & Web Development Consultant. Co-Founder/Partner of ParadoxPrime Information Assurance.
“Perhaps one of the best parts about getting so involved with WordPress are the friendships I’ve formed with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.” Yvonne Conway-Williams

Jarrett Gucci

Jarrett Gucci comes from a retail background that started at Home Depot in Buffalo NY as cashier and 18 months later was asked to be a project manager based out of Carson California with a goal of opening 12 stores in 14 months.

This goal was accomplished. He has also been an area manager at Big Lots and Bed Bath and beyond. He left his very last retail career as a district manager at Linens & Things in 2007 to pursue a hobby of website development as hope he could make some money doing it.

After 4 years of building and managing WordPress sites, he founded a company called WP Fix It and since 2011 his company has serviced over 54,000 WordPress support tickets. Something you may not know about Jarrett besides all this, is that when he was 15 his neighbor gave him a 1962 dodge dart and he completely took it apart and rebuilt it.

Christina Hills

Christina Hills, the creator of the Website Creation Workshop , has been passionately teaching non-techie small business owners, entrepreneurs, authors, experts, coaches and consultants, how to easily create their websites in WordPress so that they can get their message out to the world.

She has been running this WordPress training program to an international audience since 2008. She loves to teach WordPress as a creative way to get clarity on your business, your marketing, and your message. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Christina Hills worked as a digital artist for the network promotions division of NBC-TV, and then as a senior technical director in the Feature Film Division at George Lucas Industrial Light & Magic with film credits such as Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and ET the re-release, and more.

Adam Silver

Adam Silver is a native of Southern California, and is a serial entrepreneur. Currently providing WordPress development and support services through, produces two weekly podcasts at and The and runs the SouthBay WordPress Meetup.

Additionally, he was the lead organizer for WordCamp Los Angeles 2016, and in his free time, he speaks at industry events sharing his insights & expertise into all things digital. Has been married for 18 years to his amazing wife and has 3 wickedly cool kids.

Adam Warner

Adam W. Warner first discovered WordPress in 2005 and has since founded several WordPress-focused businesses that provide education, plugins and consulting services for online business owners. In 2016 he brought his passion for WordPress to join SiteLock as s Product Evangelist.

Adam has since delivered his zeal for WordPress to 20 different WordCamps all over the world and presented talks at 13. In addition to WordPress, Adam is passionate about his family, robots and, of course, life, the universe, and everything.

Brian Coords

Brian Coords – I’m an in-house manager at a non-profit and a freelancer. I used to be a teacher. My passions include writing, music, non-profits, and education.

Erik Mathy

My name is Erik Mathy, and I’ve been a web applications developer for over 20 years. By way of background I’ve worked on everything from small, informational static marketing sites to enterprise level, SAAS, event registration and management systems used by multi-billion dollar media conglomerates.

Prior to working at Pantheon, I was the Senior PHP Developer and Team Manager for the CMS Team at Techsoup Global, a multinational non-profit.