Kathryn Presner

Kathryn 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 with the Theme Team, where she help folks with all types of theme-related issues on both WordPress.com and self-hosted sites.

Speaking sessions and workshops

So You Want to Be a WordCamp Speaker: A practical workshop for beginners in the Community track.

Getting Comfortable With Child Themes in the Beginner Developer track

Tell us about yourself

I thrive on helping people get the most out of WordPress. As a Happiness Engineer on the Automattic theme team, I help WordPress users, designers, and developers around the world configure, customize, and troubleshoot themes. I enjoy speaking and mentoring at WordCamps, Ladies Learning Code, and other grassroots events. Spare time is spent baking delicious things, collecting vintage Pyrex mixing bowls, growing organic garlic, and getting cozy with my three cats. Connect with me on Twitter at @zoonini.

What’s your presentation about?

My solo talk will introduce the audience to child themes: what they are and when you should use them, their benefits and pitfalls, and how to set them up.

What do you want people to learn from your presentation?

I want people to realize how easy it is to make child themes, how powerful they can be, and how fun they are to experiment with.

Tell us more about the community workshop you’re co-faciliating

The public-speaking workshop I’m co-facilitating with Tammie Lister is aimed at anyone who’d like to start public speaking, especially at local WordPress meetups or WordCamps. This includes people who may feel shy, maybe not “expert” enough, or who aren’t sure what they would talk about. I’d encourage anyone who might like to try public-speaking to come to the workshop and get more comfortable with the idea of submitting a proposal!

The speaking workshop will guide folks through the whole process – from choosing a topic, through submitting a proposal, to structuring the talk and creating slides, avoiding common newbie-speaker mistakes, and overcoming stage fright. Check out the public-speaking resources site we put together for a sneak peek.

Why did you decide to speak?

I feel strongly about giving back to the WordPress community, and I love sharing what I know with others who are also passionate about WordPress.

What attracted you to WordPress in the first place?

In 2008 a web-design client wanted to set up a blog and said they’d heard good things about WordPress. I’d been using another (now obscure) CMS at the time but had also heard good things about WordPress, so I took the opportunity to learn how to create a custom theme for my client’s site. The rest is WordPress history!

What is your favourite plugin or theme, and why?

Some themes from my talented colleagues at Automattic are current favourites, including Tammie Lister’s Adaption, Writr and Illustratr by Thomas Guillot, and Sorbet and Sketch by Caroline Moore.

What are you most looking forward to at WordCamp Toronto?

Reconnecting with the Toronto WordPress community – especially since I missed last year’s edition.