March 28, 2015

One day, two tracks.

Two dozen unique voices sharing their stories
and helping you make the most of yours.


Friday Evening

Join us for a casual celebration and start getting to know your fellow bloggers at our welcome mixer. Enjoy storytelling brought to you by Longreads along with libations and snacks, and pick up your attendee packet to save you time on Saturday morning.

This mixer will be held on March 27 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Portland, OR at 319 SW Pine Street. The event will open at 5:30 with snacks and libations, and the Longreads storytelling will begin at 6:30pm, and the event will close at 8pm.

This event is free, but please RSVP so we’ll have enough libations and snacks for everyone.


Doors will open at 8am, with sessions starting promptly at 9. We will have presentations running in two ballrooms, grouped in sets that include a featured blogger followed by relevant WordPress.com tutorials. Attendees are welcome to move between the rooms throughout the day.

Sessions in the Queen Marie and Fireside tracks will be livestreamed on Saturday.

Register for your free livestream ticket!

Time Queen Marie Fireside Blogging U
8:50 amOpening Remarks
9:00 amGoing Public Mary Laura PhilpottAround the World in 80 Posts Erick Prince-HeaggansWriting 101: Storytelling Mike Dang
9:30 amMaking the Most of WordPress.com Premium Grace ParkBlogging on the Go Joe Boydston
9:45 amMastering the Dashboard Sheri BigelowWild About Widgets Kathryn Presner
10:00 amBreak
10:15 amComments Can Save Your Life Christine LeeBlogging for Obama Ananda LeekeBlogging 101: Planning Ahead Josepha Haden
10:45 amKeeping Up with Comments Grace ParkA Tale of Two Sites Michelle Langston
11:00 amBeyond the Blog Mike DangFinding Your Theme Michelle Langston
11:15 amBreak
11:30 amFrom Blog to Business Kelly Bejelly5 Years of Longreads Mark ArmstrongDesign 101: Customize Kathryn Presner
12:00 pmPodcasting 101 Carolyn SonnekPrettier Posts Josepha HadenDesign 102: Menus and Widgets Kathryn Presner
12:15 pm$$$: Ads, Affiliates, and Stores Marjorie AsturiasGetting Discovered on WordPress.com Josepha Haden
12:30 pmLunch
1:45 pmLet’s Ask Ariel Ariel Meadow Stallings, Jen MyloFarming by the Blog Cecilia GuntherWriting 201: Clinic Mark Armstrong, Mike Dang
2:15 pmTaking Off with Jetpack, VaultPress, & Polldaddy Anne McCarthy, Carolyn SonnekPhotos, Media, and Galleries — Oh My! Sheri Bigelow
2:45 pmBreak 15 min.
3:00 pmA DIY Success Kathy Cano-MurilloWhich Came First, the Book or the Blog? Jerry MahoneyDesign 201: CSS Basics Michelle Langston, Kathryn Presner
3:30 pmGetting the Word Out: DIY SEO, SM, & PR Josepha Haden, Marjorie AsturiasVideo on Your Blog Joe BoydstonDesign 202: CSS Clinic Michelle Langston, Kathryn Presner
3:45 pmStats! (& Publicize) Carolyn Sonnek
4:00 pmBreak
4:15 pmPanel: Going Pro Ariel Meadow Stallings, Kelly Bejelly, Erick Prince-Heaggans, Kathy Cano-MurilloPanel: From Blog to Book Mary Laura Philpott, Cecilia Gunther, Jerry Mahoney, Christine Lee, Ananda Leeke
5:00 pmNetworking Social 5-6pm

Queen Marie

Taking Off with Jetpack, VaultPress, & Polldaddy

Carolyn Sonnek will give an overview of the WordPress.com features available to self-hosted blogs via Jetpack, and will highlight a couple of the bigger/newer ones such as the Jetpack Manage tool for managing multiple blogs from one dashboard, and new security features. Anne McCarthy will wrap it up with an overview of using VaultPress to protect your site, and Polldaddy to embed polls and surveys into your blog.

Going Public

Mary Laura Philpott started with an anonymous blog to share her quirky sense of humor and wound up with a book deal. She’ll discuss the pros and cons of putting yourself out there in an authentic way.

Making the Most of WordPress.com Premium

Grace Park will provide an overview of the upgrades included in the WordPress.com Premium plan that all attendees receive, and answer questions to help you make the most of your blog.

Mastering the Dashboard

Join Sheri Bigelow as she walks you through using the WordPress.com dashboard, including lesser-known features that make blogging even easier.

Comments Can Save Your Life

Eight years ago, Christine Lee survived a stroke in part due to the concern of commenters on her anonymous blog, and more recently experienced the comment flood that comes with a post going viral. She’ll talk about online connection and keeping up with comments.

Beyond the Blog

Mike Dang, an editor at Longreads, will talk about finding a broader audience for your content by working with  bigger online outlets.

From Blog to Business

Portland grain-free food blogger Kelly Bejelly will share her experience growing her blog into a Paleo powerhouse.

Podcasting 101

Carolyn Sonnek will give a short overview of what’s involved in creating a podcast and distributing it using WordPress.

A DIY Success

Kathy Cano-Murillo, the force behind craftychica.com, will share her crafting journey from personal passion to big business.

Getting the Word Out: DIY SEO, SM, & PR

Josepha Haden will share SEO tips & tricks she’s picked up over the last ten years as an SEO and marketing consultant to help you you improve your blog’s performance, and Marjorie Asturias will cover the basics of how to promote your work, both through social media tools and more traditional means such as creating a press kit.

Blogging for Obama

Ananda Leeke, founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network,  began blogging for personal reasons and evolved into a social media leader for the White House. She’ll share her story and talk about making the most of opportunity.

Panel: Going Pro

Most people start out blogging for themeselves, or maybe friends and family. After a while, the ones who find themselves spending more and more time on their blogs always seem to wind up asking, “How can I find someone to pay me to do this?” In this panel, several of our featured blogger speakers return to discuss (and take your questions about) going pro with blogging, and professional opportunities that have come their way through their blogs.

Finding Your Theme

With more than 300 themes available on WordPress.com, and thousands available to self-hosted bloggers through the WordPress.org theme directory, choosing the right theme can be a daunting task. Professional theme wrangler Michelle Langston will talk about different types of themes (both free and premium) and what to look for when making a choice, and will show lots of examples to help you find your best theme.

Let’s Ask Ariel

How does someone go from neon-haired raver to overseeing a successful wedding and lifestyle site business? Find out as we sit down with Ariel Meadow Stallings, the founder of Offbeat Empire, and ask her everything we (and you!) ever wanted to know about going from to book to empire.

Keeping Up with Comments

When you get as many comments as Christine, how do you keep up with them? Grace Park, who handles thousands of comments as a moderator in WordPress.com’s Blogging U, will give tips on managing comments, dealing with jerks, and keeping spam at bay.

$$$: Ads, Affiliates, and Stores

Kelly Bejelly has multiple revenue streams coming from her site. Join Marjorie Asturias as she gives a brief overview of how you can use ads, affiliate links, and ecommerce on your site to monetize your blog.


Around the World in 80 Posts

Erick Prince-Heaggans will share how blogging about his travels led him into a successful career as a photojournalist and travel blogger.

Blogging on the Go

Joe Boydston will give tips for taking better iPhone photos and demonstrate how to use the WordPress mobile apps to document your own travels, even in your own neighborhood.

Farming by the Blog

After an international career, Cecilia Gunther found herself on a Midwest farm with a new husband, a camera, and the dream of milking a cow.  Learn how starting a blog created a community that helped her build an old fashioned farm in her new environment and provided mentors and friends to keep her company along the way.

Wild About Widgets

Join Kathryn Presner as she walks through a variety of widgets, shows how to use them, and demonstrates how the widget visibility feature can give you greater control over the pages of your blog.

Blogging for Obama

Ananda Leeke, founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network,  began blogging for personal reasons and evolved into a social media leader for the White House. She’ll share her story and talk about making the most of opportunity.

A Tale of Two Sites

Like many people, Ananda Leeke had an older website in addition to her blog. Join Michelle Langston as she shows how they combined two sites into one that would truly express Ananda’s personality and meet her online goals.

Which Came First, the Book or the Blog?

Join Jerry Mahoney, author of Mommy Man: How I Went from Mild-Mannered Geek to  Gay Superdad, as he describes his experiences in publishing, including how he mobilized his blog’s community to shoot his book to the top of the Amazon charts.

Panel: From Blog to Book

“My blog would make a great book!” Would it? We have a handful of featured speakers with published books to their credit. They’ll return to the stage to discuss the various ways blogging was involved in their becoming published authors, and to take your questions about how to get published. The publishing experiences among this group range from self-publishing to getting a multi-book deal, so if you’d like to write a book someday, this panel is for you!

Finding Your Theme

With more than 300 themes available on WordPress.com, and thousands available to self-hosted bloggers through the WordPress.org theme directory, choosing the right theme can be a daunting task. Professional theme wrangler Michelle Langston will talk about different types of themes (both free and premium) and what to look for when making a choice, and will show lots of examples to help you find your best theme.

Photos, Media, and Galleries — Oh My!

Sheri Bigelow, longtime Automattician and photographer, will share photography tips, walk through how to use WordPress media features, and show you how to optimize  images.

5 Years of Longreads

Mark Armstrong, founder and editor of Longreads (now part of Automattic & WordPress.com), shares the story of how Longreads went from a Twitter hashtag to a global community or readers and now a publisher of original stories. He’ll share what he’s learned about how people read in a mobile-centric world, and why storytelling still matters.

Video on Your Blog

There are a lot of ways to post video content online. You can create original video content for your site using a tool like VideoPress, or you can pull in videos from other sites like YouTube and embed them in your blog. Jerry Mahoney does both of these things on the Mommy Man site, and Joe Boydston is going to show you how it’s done.

Stats! (& Publicize)

Bloggers often look at their stats even more than they look at their comments. Carolyn Sonnek will walk you through how to read traffic stats, using the WordPress.com/Jetpack stats as her example. She’ll also give you tip on a tool that can help you increase traffic, the Publicize tool that shares your blog posts with your other social media accounts.

Prettier Posts

Have you ever noticed how some blogs and sites have just a headline and a block of text, while others have posts and pages are so polished that they look like they could be in a magazine? Formatting is what makes the difference, and we’ll teach you some simple tricks (beyond bold and italics) to make your posts prettier.

Getting Discovered on WordPress.com

This session will cover finding content, getting inspiration for content, and connecting with other bloggers using the editorial tools and communities available on WordPress.com. such as the Reader, Freshly Pressed, The Daily, Post, and Blogging U.

Blogging U

Writing 101: Storytelling

Blogging is just another way to tell a story. Join Mike Dang and Mark Armstong, editors of Longreads, for a 30-minute writing class focused on practicing the art of storytelling. A combination of writing, sharing, and providing feedback, this class will get your creative juices flowing. What’s your story?

Blogging 101: Planning Ahead

One of the most important things when trying to grow a blog — posting regularly — can also be one of the greatest challenges. What if some days you don’t know what to say? Or don’t have time to write? We’ve got your back! In this class we’ll take a look at some of the programs on WordPress.com aimed at helping you get the creative juices flowing, like Blogging U, Daily Prompts, and weekly Photo Challenges, and we’ll help you set up a posting plan for your blog. We’ll also create a few draft posts and learn to use the post scheduling tool, so that you can put your plan into action!

Design 101: Customize

The first thing people notice when they visit your site is how it looks. In this workshop, bring your laptop or tablet and begin the process of making your site feel more like you by using the customizer to update things like taglines, fonts, and theme options.

Design 102: Menus and Widgets

Dig deeper into customizing your site. In this session, you’ll use the WP Admin screens to set up custom menus for your site navigation, and widgets to bring more shazam to your sidebars. And yes, you’ll even try out the custom menu widget. Worlds collide!

Writing 201: Clinic

For this one-hour session, bring some writing with you (your blog on your laptop or other device counts!) that you think could be better, and participate in a writer’s workshop led by Longreads editors Mike Dang and Mark Armstrong. They’ll guide the group in giving feedback, and will provide their own constructive criticism on how to improve the elements of your writing that you want to improve.

Design 201: CSS Basics

How many times have you heard, “You can change that with custom CSS,” but you didn’t know how to get started? In this half-hour class, learn the basics of working with CSS as our teachers walk you through the process of making some simple CSS changes on your blog. You’ll want your laptop with you for this one!

Design 202: CSS Clinic

You understand the basics of CSS, like how to change a color or the size of your headlines, but what about the more complicated stuff? In this open clinic session, come prepared with your CSS hopes and dreams, and our teachers will walk through how to make people’s dreams come true in a classroom setting so everyone can learn together. What kind of dreams can be solved by CSS? Move your sidebar to the other side, add a new border around all your photos, hide elements from being displayed — dream big.

The Fireside Room will double as our Happiness Lounge today, staffed by WordPress.com Happiness Engineers ready to help you with any questions you may have about making the most of WordPress on your blog. Lunch will be provided in the Arcadian Gardens, with opportunities to bond with like-minded bloggers over a relaxed meal and common interests.

Sessions will wrap up around 5pm, with open social/networking time until 6pm.


Rest, relax, and blog about your experience. :)


Featured Bloggers

We’re ridiculously excited about the speakers we have lined up, from personal bloggers to published authors from all over the country. Their successes and unique points of view represent a diverse range of the possibilites that come with sharing your voice with WordPress.

Ananda Leeke

Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke is a lawyer turned “Jill of many trades:” innerpreneur, author, artist, creativity coach, digital communications consultant, reiki practitioner, and yoga teacher. She started blogging in 2005, and has published several books, including one that grew out of her blog posts. She created the Digital Sisterhood Network, a media channel that celebrates women in social media and technology, is a frequent speaker at conferences and events like Blogalicious and BlogHer, and was named one of the Black Women in Tech You Should Follow on Twitter in 2011 by Black Enterprise. She has served as a social media leader for the White House and the U.S. State Department, and these experiences inspired her to establish the Digital Citizenship Project, an online initiative that encourages individuals to marry their passionate interests and digital presence to support causes, events, movements, policies, and programs that build awareness and community and create positive change. She is a graduate of Morgan State University, Howard University School of Law, and Georgetown University Law Center, and she currently serves as CEO of Ananda Leeke Media, a digital social enterprise company based in Washington, D.C. You can find her on WordPress.com at authoranandaleeke.wordpress.com.

Ariel Meadow Stallings

Ariel has been on the internet since 1992, started blogging in 2000, and founded her digital publishing company the Offbeat Empire in 2007. Her focus has always been on digital media, although she did her time in the print trenches in the ’90s first as the Executive Editor of a rave magazine and then freelance writing for print weeklies. She graduated from the Columbia Publishing Course at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2001, where she disappointed her instructors by being blue-haired weirdo who mostly wanted to talk about blogs. In the years since, her work has been featured by the likes of the New York Times, Today Show, and The Guardian. Ariel’s book, Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives For Independent Brides, was first published in 2007 with a second edition in 2010. Through her work with the Offbeat Empire, she now reaches over a million monthly readers.

Cecilia Gunther

After an eclectic life juggling overlapping careers: high school teacher of drama, script developer,  photographer, director for stage in New Zealand  (all the while managing to raise five children of her own to adulthood) –  then as a personal assistant and reader for a film director in London, Cecilia gave up her rather frantic jet setting lifestyle for the deep quiet of a prairie farm in America. She raises and grows almost all her own food and is the author and photographer for thekitchensgarden.com where she documents and comments on her life as a farmer in Central Illinois.

Christine Lee

Christine Hyung-Oak Lee has been blogging since 1995, back before a weblog was called a “blog.” She has been a WordPress blogger since 2006, when she launched an anonymous blog jadepark.wordpress.com to chronicle her recovery from a stroke at the age of 33. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ZYZZYVA, Guernica, The Rumpus, BuzzFeed, and Hyphen. She was awarded a residency at Hedgebrook, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize as well as placed in competitions by Poets and Writers Magazine’s Writers Exchange Contest, Glimmer Train, and others. She is at work on a stroke memoir, based on her blog, and a novel.

Erick Prince-Heaggans

Erick Prince-Heaggans is the creative force behind MinorityNomad.com, as well as being a staff writer for Green Global Travel and feature writer for Yahoo Travel. After visiting 71 countries, on five continents, Erick has a passion for exploration and travel that he wants to share with the world. He believes that true self-actualization can only be achieved by challenging what you have come to believe, and that travel is the perfect catalyst for personal growth and change. Erick is also the founder of A World Beyond Youth Exploration, a fledgling non-profit dedicated to increasing opportunities for low-income students to experience travel and learn marketable skills in photojournalism through ongoing mentorship. Read more about Erick in our speaker announcement.

Jerry Mahoney

Jerry Mahoney is the man behind the highly popular blog Mommy Man: Adventures of a Gay Superdad.  Part parenting tips, part personal journal, part funny rants, Mommy Man was named one of Babble’s Top 10 humor blogs and has been Freshly Pressed multiple times on WordPress.com. Jerry’s posts have been reblogged by Scary Mommy, Today Moms, Lifetime Moms, The Good Men Project and dozens of other sites. He has appeared on The Today Show, HLN and HuffPost Live. The success of his blog helped him publish his first book, Mommy Man: How I Went From Mild-Mannered Geek to Gay Superdad (Taylor Trade, 2014), which was called “uproarious” and “touching” by Publishers Weekly. Jerry will also be featured in the upcoming anthology, Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now (Putnam Adult, April 2015). With the help of his blog following, Jerry managed to promote his book to #1 bestseller status in its category on Amazon.com and to reach #2 on the Amazon.com Movers and Shakers chart, based on a sales surge of 98,150%. Jerry lives with his husband, Drew and his 5-year-old twins just outside of New York City.

Kathy Cano-Murillo

Kathy Cano-Murillo is a writer/novelist, artist/illustrator and founder of the award-winning site, CraftyChica.com. Known for her glittery “Mexi-boho” style, she is a national spokesperson for iLoveToCreate and a creative influencer for Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores. She has a product line that is carried in Michaels stores and is a former columnist for The Arizona Republic, and has authored nine books, two of them novels. She have been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, HGTV, DIY Network, Lifetime TV and more. When Kathy isn’t designing, crafting, or writing books, she tours the country teaching classes and giving motivation and business presentations. She is a third-generation Mexican-American, a native Phoenician, mom, wifey, with four Chihuahuas.

Kelly Bejelly

Kelly Bejelly is the girl behind the popular grain-free website, A Girl Worth Saving. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Parade and Natural Solutions Magazine. She just released her first cookbook, Paleo Eats: 111 Comforting Gluten-Free, Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Recipes for the Foodie in You. When she’s not cooking up something fun in her kitchen, she’s re-learning her ABCs with her 3-year-old and chasing her puggle around the gardens.

Mary Laura Philpott

Mary Laura Philpott is an author, editor, and occasional illustrator. Her regular day job is with the indie bookstore Parnassus Books, where she is the social media director and the editor and producer of Musing, its online literary magazine. She is also the co-author of Poetic Justice: Legal Humor in Verse and has written for The New York Times, The Toast, The Queen Latifah Show, and B&N Reads: The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, among others. In 2012, Mary Laura started a blog called I Miss You When I Blink on WordPress.com as an outlet for her humor writing. Two years in a row, she has been named a Voice of the Year by BlogHer, and her posts have been mentioned on sites such as Refinery29, Go Fug Yourself, and the TODAY show. The Random Penguins, a set of comic characters Mary Laura introduced on I Miss You When I Blink, are waddling into the real world when Penguin Random House publishes Mary Laura’s next book, Penguins with People Problems, this June. Mary Laura graduated with high honors in English from Davidson College and still loves to dissect a good book. She lives in Nashville with her family.

Teachers & Helpers

These Automatticians — the folks at Automattic who oversee WordPress.com — will all be on hand. Speaking, helping at the happiness bar, or teaching classes, they’re all there to help you make the best of your blog.

Alex Mills

Alex Mills is a Portland-based developer at Automattic and contributor to the WordPress open source project. He’ll be on call in the Happiness Lounge to help with your site questions, no matter how complicated. A rabid car-lover, Alex blogs about his Viper and anything else that catches his interest at viper007bond.com.

Andrea Middleton

Andrea started blogging at Wine Scamp in 2007 and will happily talk your ear off about wine, food, scifi/fantasy, and parenting. She’s lived all over North America, including 5 years in the Caribbean, and has worked as an English teacher, wine rep, construction proposal manager, and most recently, community organizer for the WordPress open source project. She’s the mom of two young kids now and is thrilled to be raising them back in her beloved hometown of Portland, Oregon. Andrea is a co-founder of Press Publish and has worked at Automattic since 2011.

Anne McCarthy

A recent graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, Anne originally called Winter Park, FL home. While studying psychology in school, Anne lost track of time working on web.unc.edu, a WordPress multisite installation. Ever since, she has become increasingly interested in using her knowledge of psychology to improve her use of technology (and vice versa). After moving on a whim to San Francisco, she now works for the VaultPress team at Automattic to secure (ha!) happiness. In her free time, she’s learning film photography, enjoys helping non-profits enhance their web presence, and blogs at annezazu.com.

Cami Kaos

As a lifelong writer Cami has always been inquisitive and curious. It’s a quality that has left her enamored with the ever-changing world of technology and the people who build it. That’s how she found herself smack in the middle of the Portland tech scene 10 years ago, first with blogs and then events and podcasting. While back in the day she focused on innovative podcasts such Strange Love Live and memePDX and events like 30 Hour Day, she now spends more time making order out of chaos in her life, parenting, work and from time to time camikaos.com. Having lived in Portland, Oregon for nearly 20 years, she can’t imagine making another city her home, or finding a place better suited for raising her daughter. Cami works at Automattic as a community organizer for the WordPress open source project, overseeing the WordCamp community conference program. She can be found, quite often, on Twitter as @camikaos.

Carolyn Sonnek

Carolyn has been an active WordPress user since 2005 and has been a speaker and a Happiness Bar volunteer at numerous WordCamps over the years. She is a recent transplant to Oregon and works for Automattic as a Happiness Rocketeer for the Jetpack plugin and WordPress.com Guided Transfers. Carolyn blogs at both carolynsonnek.com on self-hosted WordPress and Fitness After Forty on WordPress.com.

Grace Park

Grace joined Automattic/WordPress.com in 2013 as a Happiness Engineer. She’s been blogging off and on for about 8-9 years and her current blog can be found at gracejiyoung.com. She loves teaching and helping users create the sites they envision. You can find her in the public WordPress.com Staff Answers forum and the Blogging U Blogging 101 courses when you need WordPress.com support.

Jen Mylo

Jen started blogging in the last millenium, and has been with Automattic since 2008, where she served as a user experience lead and community organizer for the WordPress open source project prior to co-founding the Press Publish event series. She’s lived all over the country, and has traveled the world meeting WordPress users at WordCamps and other conferences. Other areas of interest and inquiry include cooking and baking, acupuncture and other healing modalities, books of all sorts, friendly cats, and native plants. Now making her home in Portland, OR, Jen can be found online at jenmylo.com.

Joe Boydston

Joe is an advocate for open source, an evangelist of Journalism, and a dreamer of exciting futures for both. Founder of NewspaperFoundation.org and Foundation board member of LocalMedia.org, Joe now works for Automattic as a Happiness Engineer from his home in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Joe is an avid long-distance runner — his running blog is at crazyrunningguy.com — and often runs into town from the airport when he travels for WordPress events rather than taking transportation such as a taxi or light rail. That’s right, he runs all the way from the airport. Find him in the Happiness Lounge if you want to know the route he takes in Portland. 🙂

Josepha Haden

Josepha comes from a long line of writers and was raised to be a life-long learner. She has a passion for language and strorycrafting, a skill she has honed on chanthaboune.wordpress.com. Josepha has over a decade of experience using SEO, data analysis, and content marketing to bring success and visibility to clients all over the world. Since 2010 she’s been working in her hometown of Kansas City to increase digital literacy and get more women in tech. Josepha works at Automattic as a community organizer for the WordPress open source project and can be found on Twitter as @josephahaden.

Josh Root

A proud and happy native of Washington State, Josh spent his childhood climbing up, sliding down, swimming in and exploring through the San Juan islands and Cascade hills. After leaving the nest, he ended up first being a professional photographer, then running a million-member online photography site, and ultimately became immersed in the world of web communities, users and and how to keep everything running smoothly. These days he spends his time chasing after his two young sons with his wife, following his favorite sports teams, drinking too much coffee, and fly fishing whenever he can. Josh is the leader of the WordPress.com support forums Happiness Engineers.

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 and is a member of the Theme Team, where she helps folks with WordPress theme customization, configuration, and troubleshooting. She enjoys spreading her passion for WordPress at WordCamps, Girl Geeks, Ladies Learning Code, and other grassroots events. Non-WordPress hours are spent collecting vintage Pyrex mixing bowls, growing organic garlic, and cavorting with her three felines.

Marjorie Asturias

Marjorie R. Asturias is a Happiness Engineer on the Store Team at WordPress.com. In short, she’s devoted to helping business users build and grow their online presence and find their audiences. Prior to joining Automattic, she served as chief creative officer of Blue Volcano Media, a social media and content marketing agency she founded in 2009. She and/or her company have been mentioned in the New York Times, Fox Business News, Mashable, American Express OPEN Forum, Reuters, Intuit.com’s Small Business blog, and numerous other online and offline publications. She can be found online at her blog, myinnerfrenchgirl.com and on Twitter as @marj_asturias, or just as likely rescuing and rehoming stray dogs.

Mark Armstrong

Mark joined the Automattic family by way of Longreads, a service he founded in 2009. He’s now on the WordPress.com Editorial team, helping work on new ways to find, share and create outstanding content. Mark spent 11 years in New York before returning to his California roots in 2012, and can be found online at markarms.com.

Michelle Langston

Michelle is a Tar Heel-born-and-bred web designer and developer who built her first site at the age of 14. More than a decade later, she’s still at it. She pursued her undergraduate and graduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, earning degrees in Multimedia Journalism and Information Science, respectively. The topic of her Master’s project? Guess! (Hint: it starts with “Word” and ends with “Press”). Michelle enjoys cute animals, reading, singing in choirs, taking long walks, watching Tar Heel basketball, and trying to relearn how to play all the songs on the piano that she pounded out in her earlier years. Michelle blogs at planewhimsy.com.

Mike Dang

Mike Dang is a New York-based writer and editor, and is the managing editor of Longreads His articles have appeared in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and Bloomberg Businessweek. In 2012, he co-founded The Billfold, a site where people share honest stories about their money. Blogging on and off since 2001, Mike’s personal blog is currently at dangowitz.com. He has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Sheri Bigelow

Sheri joined Automattic as a Happiness Engineer in 2008 and currently leads the squad focused on helping WordPress.com users make their blogs beautiful through the wonders of Custom Design. On the side she dabbles in photography and has contributed to the WordPress open source project as well as the open source Jetpack plugin by Automattic. Sheri can usually be found experimenting with CSS, speaking at WordCamps, skiing the Rockies, or exploring the Adirondacks. You can find her online at designsimply.com.


Saturday’s conference will be held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Portland, OR at 319 SW Pine Street. The historic former Multnomah Hotel was built in 1912 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We’ll be taking over the beautiful mezzanine for the day, so you’ll see the event as soon as you enter.

Parking will be available in the garage across the street for $7/day with a voucher you can obtain at the event, and the venue is within walking distance of several bus and MAX lines if you’d like to take mass transit.

If you’re coming from out of town and wish to book a room at the conference hotel, you can take advantage of the group rate by booking online at our group page or mentioning the group name “Press Publish” when calling 800-643-7892 to make a reservation.

Get Tickets

At Press Publish you’ll get inspiring stories, helpful tutorials, personal help with your blog, and a tasty lunch with like-minded bloggers. Tickets are available now!