Call for Volunteers for WordCamp Ottawa 2014

Why volunteer for WordCamp Ottawa 2014?

Because we’ll need your help

We have a conference to set up, run and take down, hundreds of people to welcome, register and offer direction and snacks and advice to about everything from where a room is located to where lunch will be held.

Who we’re looking for

We aren’t looking for specialists, just those with a pleasant manner, a willingness to do the work that needs doing and an aptitude for delivering calm, helpful solutions.

You, in short.

Are you our Registration Manager?

We’re particularly interested in you if you’d like to be our Registration Manager.

Our Registration Manager helps keep the Registration Table running smoothly from before the sessions start to end-of-day. The person isn’t usually interested in the sessions—and can only be spared to attend one, max. Do such dedicated individuals exist? Actually, yes. They’re often a close friend or a relative of an attendee.

If you’d like to be our Registration Manager, apply today. If you know someone who’d be a good candidate, get in touch and ask them to apply. We currently have openings for this position on the Saturday and the Sunday.

Free ticket

And to help you decide to become one of our volunteers, we’d like to offer you—in exchange for three hours of on-duty volunteering—a free ticket to the event.

Not that you’ll need to accept our offer. You might prefer to support the event both by volunteering and by buying your own ticket. It’s just that as a volunteer you wouldn’t have to.

Learn more

The first step in volunteering for WordCamp Ottawa 2014 is to visit our Volunteering at WordCamp page. You’ll note we have a Volunteer Application page—and that volunteers must agree to the conditions spelled out in the WordCamp Ottawa 2014 Involvement Agreement

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Speaker Spotlight: Mikey Arce

Mikey is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic where his day to day job is helping people use WordPress, and he absolutely loves it.  In previous jobs, Mikey led support efforts at a computer repair shop, a creative firm, and a University campus.  When not engineering happiness on, Mikey can be found playing tennis, badminton, helping his wife with their hobby farm, or out exploring the beautiful outdoors in Vernon, BC.

Mikey is presenting: Engineering Happiness for your Clients: Support through Building Relationships.

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
Simply – it helps me do what I need to do fast and effortlessly and gets out of the way when I need it to.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I have a huge passion for the art of Support and love sharing my stories of failure and success to help people learn along the journey.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
If they can walk away with a few laughs and a few practical ways to improve how they support their users – I’d be happy.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
I love the Underscores starter theme and the Sass version (thunderscores). I start all my projects with Underscores and has saved me countless hours in projects.

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Speaker Spotlight: Rick Radko

Rick Radko has been creating web sites and applications since 1996. He launched his first WordPress site in 2008. Rick is at home coding plugins, designing custom themes, building multilingual sites and teaching others to do all of those. His involvement in the WordPress community began when he became a co-founder of the Ottawa WordPress Meetup Group and spoke at WordCamp Toronto around the same time in 2011. Since then he has been a repeat presenter at WordCamps Toronto and Montréal, and launched WordCamp Ottawa in 2013.  Rick is the founder of R-Cubed Design Forge, where he develops and designs web sites and applications using open source software. @r3designforge

Rick is presenting: Introduction to WordPress

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
I work with WordPress because it’s really easy to use. My clients get web sites that they can manage and update mostly on their own, and as a developer I get a framework that is easy to modify or extend with add-ons and plugins.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I’ve worked with WordPress for the past 6 years, and I want to see it continue to grow. Organizing this WordCamp and speaking too, provides an opportunity to give back to the WordPress community in a way that supports it and helps it thrive.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
The “Introduction to WordPress” is to help new WordPress users get a running start before all the sessions on Saturday.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
As a developer I use a lot of different plugins, but few that I use most of the time are Gravity Forms, Google Analytics for WordPress, TinyMCE Advanced and for building multilingual sites on WordPress multisite – Multisite Language Switcher and WP Native Dashboard.

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Speaker Spotlight: Stéphane Boisvert

Stéphane was a Senior Advisor for the Federal Liberal party for 4 years leading the party to radical growth in online data acquisitions and donations. He currently works for Automattic, the company behind as a VIP Engineer.

Stéphane is presenting: Making It Rain Conversions. How to get visitors to do what you want

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
I feel like WordPress is so flexible, it is able to speed up all site development while not restricting what you are able to do. It also is able to scale to tremendous sizes with little effort.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I’m really excited to talk about conversions and A/B testing. I think there is a lot of myths out there that need to be dispelt and I hope to help people with that.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
I want people to know that changing the colour of a button probably isn’t going to help them increase their conversion rates.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
I feel like the wide variety of plugins is what makes WordPress so wonderful. The fact that there is a plugin for everything imaginable is what makes WordPress so great. No single plugin can rule them all, all of them combined is what makes WordPress great.

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So, What’s a WordCamp?

A WordCamp is an informal, affordable event that focuses on how to use WordPress publishing software. It is organized by a local WordPress community for the benefit of those who use WordPress or who want to learn more about it.

Who attends

Attendees include the range of people from a new or casual user to a core developer. A WordCamp offers something for just about everyone—and, often, a great deal for a great many. It’s an occasion to learn, share and get to know others who, like you, have an interest in WordPress publishing software.

Who you’ll find

You’ll probably find new bloggers. There will be people with sites powered by WordPress who want to learn more. You’ll find you’re in the good company of experts—professional WordPress developers and consultants, knowledgeable presenters, Happiness Bar specialists and employees of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

There will also be those with interests related to WordPress, such as graphic designers, copywriters and copyeditors, and social media professionals. You may run across those seeking more work—and those looking for some help.

What happens

You attend sessions where you listen, usually learn and sometimes contribute. You get answers to your WordPress-related questions. You make new acquaintances if you are so inclined. And you take part in our networking get-together if, as most people do, you enjoy that sort of thing. It’s no secret that WordCamps can bring together people who become friends and business partners.

Not about money

WordCamps operate under planning guidelines set out by, and each WordCamp is approved by the WordPress Foundation.

They’re not about money. As WordPress Central points out, “WordPress-based conferences organized as money-making opportunities are not approved to use the WordCamp name.”

Yes, you pay to attend a WordCamp. But most of the event’s costs are covered by sponsors. Without sponsors we couldn’t hold a WordCamp.

And any surplus isn’t treated as profit for the organizers who, like the speakers, are volunteers. Any surplus is used to benefit the WordPress community—to fund meetups or next year’s WordCamp, or it’s contributed to the WordPress Foundation to fund other community events.

Then and now

The first WordCamp took place in San Francisco in 2006. Since then some 346 WordCamps have taken place in 172 cities in 48 countries on six continents. I suppose you could say the idea took.

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Apply for an Expert Site or Blog Review

If you’d like to hear from experts about how you can improve your WordPress site or blog, we’d like to hear from you.

About the Site Clinic

The experts will offer their opinions at our Site Clinic, a WordCamp Ottawa Sunday session. There, they’ll review and suggest improvements for site and blog design, content, structure and functionality.

The session will aim to offer solid advice, good ideas and some inspiration. The suggestions should prove instructive whether or not your site or blog is being reviewed.

Many requests, few chosen

Site Clinic organizers expect many requests—but only a few of the sites or blogs will be chosen for review. So, if you’d like your site or blog to be one of them, please apply today.

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Speaker Spotlight: Jasmine Vesque

Jasmine is a WordPress evangelist who enjoys helping people share their most important stories and ideas. She loves teaching and regularly contributes as both an instructor and a mentor to The Ottawa WordPress Group and Ladies Learning Code . This is her second year as a WordCamp Ottawa organizer, and if you’ve ever engaged with @wpottawa on Twitter, you were most likely talking to her.

Jasmine is a freelance web specialist, consultant, and trainer. Her work experience includes government, small businesses, arts groups, and non-profits. She is also the VP of Communications and Webmaster for the charity, The Forget for a Moment Foundation.

Jasmine is passionate about digital communications, social media and web design.  She welcomes tweets @jasmineVesque.

Jasmine is presenting: Introduction to WordPress and hosting: WordPress Site Clinic

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
I like using WordPress because it’s flexible and easy to use. Whether you’re a blogger, a small business, or a large organization, WordPress can be scaled to suit your needs. Anyone can use it, and it can help create an online presence for anyone’s ideas no matter how big or small

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I am passionate about teaching. I just love sharing what I know with others! I really enjoyed presenting at last year’s WordCamp Ottawa, and I knew I had to do it again this year.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
At the Intro to WordPress session, I want people to get comfortable with the WordPress platform so they can get the most out of the WordCamp weekend. At the Site Clinic, I want people to walk away with solid advice, great ideas, and inspiration on how to improve their websites. I’ll be wrangling up some other WordPress experts to help me deliver on this. Even if your site is not one we review, I hope all in the audience will leave with some great ideas.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
BackupBuddy! It makes backing-up, migrating, and restoring websites a simple and relatively pain-free experience.

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Speaker Spotlight: James Hipkin

James is an accomplished, forward-thinking marketing professional with 25+ years of multi-disciplinary experience in marketing and marketing communications companies serving high-profile, global brands and B2C clients in consumer packaged goods, durables, transportation, telecommunications and financial services. He has been involved in digital for more than ten years, first as President of a direct marketing agency in San Francisco, where he led the evolution of the agency from traditional direct marketing to digital. Clients included Apple and Wells Fargo online bank. And then as the head of a mid sized agency’s interactive group, with Toyota as the main client. He joined Red8 Interactive (, a long term vendor, as an owner and managing director, 3.5 years ago.

James is presenting: WordPress for Designers

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
Great support network / eco system. Most of our customers need a dashboard that’s straight froward, and WordPress delivers.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I grew up in Manotick, but since I left home my career in advertising and marketing has taken me to South America, Europe, Chicago and now San Francisco. I saw this as an opportunity to bring some of my experience back to my home town. It’s also a great excuse to go see my mother.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
Successful website design doesn’t happen in a vacuum; collaboration with developers early and often is key.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
We build custom themes almost exclusively so no favorite there. Advanced Custom Fields with its extensions is top of our list. Gravity Forms and its extensions are right up there as well.

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Introducing WordPress on an Evening in May

If you’d like answers to some basic but essential questions about WordPress, set aside the evening of May 1.

That evening—if you’ve registered and paid your $5—you can sit in on an Introduction to WordPress session led by accomplished experts.

Questions, questions

Will your questions be answered? That depends.

Do you want to know:

  • What WordPress is and how it works?
  • What the cost of a WordPress site might be?
  • What is a WordPress site is best suited for? And who uses it for their site?
  • How to add content to a WordPress site?
  • How to add and manage menus?
  • What a WordPress Dashboard is?
  • What widgets are and how to manage them?
  • What a theme is and how to change it?
  • What plugins are and how to manage your use of them?

Why attend?

Because if you have questions like these you’ll get answers—and they’ll help prepare you to get more from the WordCamp Ottawa 2014 sessions to be held May 3 – 4.

Now, you don’t need to attend Introduction to WordPress to attend the weekend sessions. You can attend the Introduction to WordPress session only, the weekend sessions only or both.

It’s just that if you’re a WordPress beginner who wants some background to help get more out of the WordCamp weekend sessions, Introduction to WordPress is likely to provide that background.

The details

Introduction to WordPress will be held on Thursday, May 1, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., in Room 5050 of the Minto Centre at Carleton University. Learn a bit more about the evening and registration—and then take a moment to register.

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Speaker Spotlight: Christopher Ross

I am a Canadian websites designer, developer, speaker, teacher, and consultant who enjoys long walks with shortcodes, functional arguments, and playing with other people’s APIs.

Chris is presenting: Tips for WordPress Freelancers (Business)

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
WordPress helps make the web easier for my clients, and in turn for their website visitors. With WordPress, I can deliver a more manageable product for my clients faster.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
My kids grew up in Ottawa, and I’m proud to be part of any community that combines my passion for open source, with my love of such a beautiful city.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
I want people to know that WordPress makes helping people easy. There’s a steep learning curve when you first try, but once you get over the initial hump it’s the easiest way to deliver quality to clients.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
These days it’s Pippin’s Easy Digital Downloads. He’s done such an amazing job putting together a fantastic plugin that it’s sometimes hard to remember that it’s free to use.

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Speaker Spotlight: Mohammad Jangda

Mo lives in Toronto and wrangles code at (Automattic). He enjoys ice cream and other sugary things.

Mo is presenting: The Database Schema

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
Extremely flexible for both UI and developers. It’s an easy platform to learn and powerful enough to do most things you’d ever want to.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
Ottawa is a fun city, with a lot of interesting WordPress activity.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
It’s important to understand what the underlying database looks like and works even though most developers don’t need to interact with it directly. Once developers have that understanding, it’s possible to do a lot of more cool and interesting things with it.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
As an end-user: Jetpack, because it give you tons of amazing features in one plugin.
As a developer: Debug Bar, because it gives you tons of amazing developer tools in one plugin.

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