Business Workshop Speakers Announced!

Just a couple days ago we blew the rooftops off some noggins with our Beginner Workshop Announcement for Foundation Friday. And coming soon, we’re gonna make you physically implode when we announce what we have in-store for the Design Workshop part of the program…

Look, you know it and so do we. You’re here for the announcement alluded to in the title of this post. Right? Right! We are so giddy and so excited to announce our Business Workshop speakers for Foundation Friday! These folks come from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines; from high up on the mountain ranges where folks of such wisdom often commune with one another discussing the sorts of things we haven’t yet begun to consider. Does that sound crazy? WRONG!! YOU’RE crazy if you think this some sort of put on. Heck, we’ll even send you back in time using our own personal WordCamp TARDIS to show you how we put it all together, just for you!

Enough of the fluff, let’s get to the wonderful speakers who will be bringin’ it to our rapid fire Business Workshop discussions.

88575a70c2ee2dd1862afb9e12c100f7Steve Zehngut founded Zeek Interactive in 1995 and he has been the creative technologist behind the Huntington Beach based company since its inception. Under his direction, Zeek has grown from an apartment bedroom to one of Southern California’s leading development and consulting shops.

Steve is the organizer of the OC WordPress Meetup and has helped build the community to over 1100 members. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and has taught interactive courses at UC Irvine, USC, the American Film Institute, and Cal State Long Beach. Steve has a BA in Film from Cal State Northridge.

Steve went above and beyond to help us organize the Business Workshop track for Foundation Friday, and he’ll also be moderating the discussion on Sales and Marketing.

282d599b414022eba5096510f675b6e2Chris Lema has been managing high performers and overseeing new product development for twenty years. He’s a daily blogger, an ebook author, a public speaker and works as the VP of Engineering for Emphasys Software. In his spare time he helps companies leverage WordPress, and WordPress companies find leverage.

Chris will be moderating the discussion on Project Management.

Jennifer BournJennifer Bourn is the Creative Director and Digital Strategist for Bourn Creative, a full service design company in Sacramento, California, specializing in custom, lead generation WordPress sites. As a Genesis recommended developer, Bourn Creative works with clients around the globe on on branding, website strategy, web design, WordPress, as well as a wide range of graphic design projects.

With more than 15 years in the design trenches, and almost 10 years pretending to take orders from her business partner, boss, and husband, Jennifer is an award-winning designer with a penchant for writing, marketing, chocolate, and Legos (yes, Legos not logos). She built her first WordPress site in 2008, fell in love with giving clients the ability to make their own content revisions, and went all in with WordPress pretty much the same day. Now with more than 300 custom WordPress sites under the belt, Jennifer now shares her expertise and lessons learned as a dynamic speaker, an avid blogger, and a co-organizer of the Sacramento Meetup Group.

Jennifer will be sharing her ideas on Focusing on the Bottom Line as part of the Growing Your Business discussion.

6bec359c1baf9f4c3c98cf1e955cfe91 Cody Landefeld is passionate about helping organizations solve problems creatively. He is a user experience problem solver by nature and has over 10 years of experience in the creative field. He currently leads the team at Mode Effect where they are privileged to work with some amazing clients.

Cody will be stepping us through Explaining the Development Process in Plain English as part of the Managing Expectations discussion.

59db8b5ab9bd1dc2dd87e88404ac92adKarim Marucchi is the Founder and Chairman of the VeloMedia Group, the parent of several boutique professional service firms around the world. Over the last twenty years he’s run startups, taken companies public, managed mergers and acquisitions, and led professional service organizations across the globe. Today he is also the CEO of Crowd Favorite, which continues to grow beyond its current offices in Los Angeles, Denver, Bucharest, Las Vegas, New York, and Rome due to its unique blend of localized project management and high quality digital solutions. As the first premiere WordPress agency for the Fortune 500, National Geographic, DirectTV, Lexus, the Dallas Mavericks and major entertainment studios count among the company’s client roster.

Karim will be talking about closing the sale (Coffee is for Closers) as part of the Sales and Marketing discussion.

81adf1e35a6364ae5805c9b50b9476daGreg Douglas is the Founder and Creative Director of Premium Interactive based in Hollywood CA. An active member of the Los Angeles and Southern California WordPress community, Greg contributes by organizing the popular Hollywood WordPress meetup group.

Greg will be talking about Setting Healthy Boundaries with clients as part of the Managing Expectations discussion.

95e2f589963c4cfc569f258d7f2a0099Blossom Wright has been working with creative teams since 1997 in the Film and Music Industries. She enjoys the challenge of balancing the business and technical needs of a project while maintaining a stimulating creative environment, where collaboration amongst team members and departments is encouraged.

A WordPress user since 2010, she discovered the greater WordPress community of WordCamps and Meetups last year, and let’s just say it’s a slippery slope. Struck by the similarities in process between developing websites and producing projects for the entertainment industry, Blossom is excited to now be flexing her Project Management skills at Los Angeles based Tyler Digital.

Blossom will be sharing her ideas on Fostering a Collaborative Environment as part of the Project Management discussion.

1a98b40b11648b774dc1b2c51c445819Kevin Michael Gray is the founder of and WP E-Signature which transforms any WordPress website into a secure, legally binding and customizable document signing application (but without the monthly fees). He has over 14 years freelance consulting experience helping companies like Google, American Express, Spotify and many more increase their market-share. Kevin will be talking about Validating Your Idea as part of the Growing Your Business discussion.

b6a817504fa68c23de2b15e540d5cca2 Dre Armeda is an old-timer, he has been using WordPress since 2004. You may know Dre as one of the Co-Founders of Sucuri Inc. where he was CEO from 2010-2014. These days you’ll find Dre on the mat practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or on the ball fields with his girls!

Dre presents security and business topics at various WordCamps and other events every year. Dre is a proud WordPress contributor and was the lead organizer that brought WordCamp to San Diego.

Dre is the Co-Host of the DradCast on Wednesday nights. Pressing all the words!

Dre will be moderating the discussion on Growing Your Business.

75a6a0138ff5e4ccad98df8bee36e37d Robert Griffin started in the Mortgage/Real Estate industry in 1996 as a loan processor. He became licensed in 2000 to further pursue a career in real estate and by 2003 he was a Branch Manager for Direct Lender. In 2004 he Co-Founded and launched Catalyst Investment Solutions. Robert started the BPO/REO division in 2007 to specialize in distressed properties. He enjoyed the fast-paced environment of working with banks, lending institutions and asset managers, which utilize his analytical mindset and extensive operational skills in providing a solid foundation that guides his entrepreneurial instincts and enthusiasm.

Robert is currently the CTO and Co-Founder of Media Ocean, Inc, an online target market company that helps drive targeting traffic and leads to local business owners. Robert loved working with other entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses and take them to the next level. His key focus is on technology, and follow-up. We have all head the term, the fortune is in the follow-up. But how many of us have dropped the ball on a call or two, or twenty. Robert works with business owners and helps them get the most out of the traffic, leads, and resources that already have.

Robert will be talking about Selling Yourself as part of the Sales and Marketing discussion.

5ed6d15e7ec205c829b94d099125b266Wes Chyrchel has been building websites for 17 years. He has worked with WordPress since 2006 and exclusively with WordPress, since 2008. He is passionate about creating great websites and personal customer experiences for visitors and his clients. Wes loves to talk about the business of web development and is committed to making his clients successful.

Wes will be sharing his ideas on What to Know Before You Scope as part of the Project Management discussion.

f26869d8a79889a1db6191e2de211be9Nathan Tyler is the Principal and Lead Developer at Tyler Digital. He’s focused on building sites, products, and web applications on the WordPress (and often BuddyPress) platform. If he’s not at the computer, he can often be found playing soccer or recovering from related injuries.

Nathan will be discussing Managing Remote Teams as part of the Project Management discussion.

9311de174bd95babe529d057bb873f02 With a graduate degree in psychology, Jeff Turner looks beyond the “how” of social and internet technologies to get to the “why” that unleashes their true power. He applies the beauty and science of creative communications not just to his own organizations, but to those of his clients. His insight has helped his companies and clients achieve measurable, practical, real-life success … time and time again. As founder and CEO, he led his former company, J.J. Grace to Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 Fastest-Growing Companies in America and was at its helm when it won Cisco’s “Growing With Technology” award, is the former President at Zeek Interactive, and the founder of He is currently the President of RealSatisfied North America, a fast growing real estate brand management tool, is Chairman of the Board at Mothers Fighting For Others, a charity dedicated to educating orphaned Kenyan girls, and serves on the Board of Directors for Aumnia, a full service mobile application development company.

Jeff will be moderating the discussion on Managing Expectations.

498cbdca992fef890b019db7cb6f1e17 Jeff Zinn started web development in the mid 1990s. In 2004 he founded Pixel Jar with Brandon Dove, a custom web development firm in Orange County, CA that began specializing in WordPress work in 2007. Early in 2014 Pixel Jar was folded into the Crowd Favorite family where he currently works.

Jeff also co-hosts the monthly Orange County WordPress Developer meetup in Huntington Beach, speaks and volunteers at neighboring WordCamps, and is a co-organizer of the Orange County WordCamp.

When not programming, Jeff likes to switch off and reset. He spends most of his free time traveling, hiking, camping, surfing, and any other activity where there is no signal.

Jeff will be talking on Keeping Clients Happy as part of the Managing Expectations discussion.

ad516503a11cd5ca435acc9bb6523536 Lisa Tsou has been helping technology and new media startups raise money since she graduated from law school in 1997. Since then, she’s spent time on Wall Street working on financings for companies like DoubleClick,, and Mapquest and done numerous acquisitions of websites like, and

Now, she enjoys spending her time coaching founders and entrepreneurs on how to present themselves to investors and raise the money they need to take their businesses to the next level.

Lisa is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law, received her MBA from the Marshall School of Business at USC, and is a member of both the New York State and California bars.

Lisa will be sharing tips on Pitching to Investors as part of the Growing Your Business discussion.

eb24236ce20b42a513f9c10261563b65Bob Watson is the co-founder with his wife, Kathy Kilingaman, of the highly acclaimed Social Media Mastermind Orange County – SMMOC – 5 years running on Saturday mornings. SMMOC is a free, facilitated discussion focusing on the internet, technology and social media.

Bob will be telling us why you should host a meetup as part of the Sales and Marketing discussion.

With that lineup, it’s no surprise that we think the Business Workshop is going to be a day full of information so useful, you’ll have to adjust your hat band to make room for your bigger brain. Maybe even two sizes bigger. Heck, you might have to throw away your hat and get a visor.

We’d like to send out a big thank you to Steve Zehngut for organizing the Business Workshop. He’s put together a lineup of business discussions that will no doubt give you piles and piles of ideas for running your business better, growing it bigger, and just being all around as successful as you can possibly be.

Stay tuned for the Design Workshop speakers and schedule, which will be coming your way soon. In the meantime, you can bask in the glow of our Business Workshop speakers.

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