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2015 Speakers

Speakers for 2016 will be announced in the coming months.

Keynote Speakers

Karen McGrane

Karen McGrane Photo

Karen McGrane plays nicely in the content strategy, information architecture, and interaction design sandboxes. She is the author of Content Strategy for Mobile from A Book Apart; Managing Partner at Bond Art + Science, a UX consultancy she founded in 2006; and formerly VP and National Lead for User Experience at Razorfish. She’s led projects for dozens of clients, including The New York Times, Condé Nast, and The Atlantic. She also teaches Design Management in the Interaction Design MFA program at the School of Visual Arts.

Follow @karenmcgrane on Twitter

Steve Krug

Steve Krug Photo

Steve Krug (pronounced “kroog”) is best known as the author of Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, now in its third edition with over 400,000 copies in print. Ten years later, he finally gathered enough energy to write another one: the usability testing handbook Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems.

The books were based on the 20+ years he’s spent as a usability consultant for a wide variety of clients like Apple,,, NPR, the International Monetary Fund, and many others.

His consulting firm, Advanced Common Sense (“just me and a few well-placed mirrors”) is based in Chestnut Hill, MA. Steve currently spends most of his time teaching usability workshops, consulting, and watching old episodes of Law and Order.

Follow @skrug on Twitter

View Past Keynotes

Session Presenters

Amy Hammond

Amy Hammond

Amy is an extroverted Web Application Developer with a traditional Computer Science background and a passion for technology, people, and breaking stereotypes. She shares the same “built my first site in Notepad” story as most of her colleagues and is a self-proclaimed geek with an interest in all things tech. With a history of hybrid roles, Amy has managed to avoid choosing between the front-end and the back-end – allowing her to establish a skill-set ranging from PHP to CSS to MySQL to JavsScript. When she led the legacy application rewrite of one of Fisdap’s flagship products, she discovered the natural high sparked by clean, commented, well-organized code.

Follow @amlyhamm on Twitter

David Olsen


Dave Olsen has been a developer and project manager with the University Relations-Web unit at West Virginia University (WVU) for the last twelve years. Over that time he has worked on and led projects that range from developing a university-wide CMS to creating award-winning marketing websites. Dave’s primary role is to help find the balance between tech, content, and design for many of the university’s biggest projects. For the last four years he has also been responsible for implementing mobile solutions for the university. These include SMS-based services, WVU’s central mobile web portal, as well as a number of responsive design-based websites.

In addition to his work at WVU, Dave actively participates in open source projects and writes as well. This past year his project, Pattern Lab, was nominated for the Net Awards Open Source Project of the Year. In 2013, Dave contributed a chapter on web performance to Smashing Magazine’s “The Mobile Book.” He shares what he’s learned about mobile, as well as his reactions to mobile trends, on his personal blog.

Follow @dmolsen on Twitter

Dylan Wilbanks

Dylan Wilbanks is a web roustabout, raconteur, and curmudgeon currently practicing as a user experience designer in Seattle. He has been designing, building, and maintaining experiences for public and private sector organizations for 15 years. He has presented on user experience and accessibility at conferences such as SXSW and Webvisions. He created one of the first Twitter accounts used in higher education, but that was an accident, and he’s really sorry about that.

Follow @dylanw on Twitter

Emily McAuliffe

Emily is VP of Strategy & UX at Clockwork, a digital agency that builds business applications that connect companies with their customers on the web, and in mobile and physical environments. She works with a team of content strategists, user-experience architects, and analysts to help clients – from startups to Fortune 50s – make sense of, and make the most of, digital media and digital tools.

Gianna Pfister-LaPin

Gianna Pfister-LaPin is the senior UI/UX designer on Mayo Clinic’s in-house intranet team, recently named one of Nielsen Norman Group’s 10 Best Intranets of 2014. There she leads large design projects for clinical and operational departments, consults on enterprise-wide standards for a variety of digital interfaces, and conducts user research to gain insight into Mayo Clinic’s 60,000+ employees.

Gianna currently lives in outside Rochester, Minnesota with her partner and two children. She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, plays with yarn in her spare time, and — when necessary — can be bribed with stroopwafels.

Mahtab Rezai

Mahtab Rezai

Mahtab is Principal and CEO at Crux Collaborative. She has spent nearly two decades as a user experience designer, researcher, strategist, leader, and mentor. She has worked on user experiences for companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 50. She has a loud laugh and a lot of shoes. She also has a lot of strong opinions and has been known to say “think about it until you agree” after expressing one of them.

Follow @ms_rezai on Twitter

Marc Drummond

Marc Drummond

As a front-end developer for Lullabot, Marc focuses on creating great experiences no matter the device, browser or abilities of the person accessing a site. Marc is currently writing Drupal 8 Responsive Web Design for Packt Publishing and serves as co-maintainer of Drupal 8’s core Responsive Image and Breakpoint modules. He previously served as the web technologies coordinator for the city of Minnetonka from 2004-2014; he also served on the board of the National Association of Government Web Professionals from 2009-2014, serving as President of the organization from 2013-2014.

Marc earned a BA in English and a concentration in Public Service from Albion College in Michigan, as well as degrees in web design and graphic design at Minneapolis Community & Technical College. Marc enjoys living near the Twin Cities suburbs with his wife and two-year-old daughter, as well as their cat and dog.

Follow @MarcDrummond on Twitter

Matt Edwards

Matt Edwards

Matt Edwards is a Senior UX Designer at The Nerdery in Minneapolis, MN, where his primary focus is design strategy and research. Working with a wide variety of clients, ranging from local nonprofits to Fortune 50 companies, he’s specialized in integrating human-centered design processes into development workflows of all varieties. When not writing about himself in the third person, he’s working on DIY art and Arduino projects at home. Matt is an alumnus of Indiana University’s HCI/D MS program.

Follow @astronautpnguin on Twitter

Mykl Roventine


Mykl is the Digital Platform Development Director at BringMeTheNews, designs engaging web experiences, and speaks about social media, WordPress, and typography. He is the director of Social Media Breakfast – Minneapolis/St. Paul, the largest SMB chapter in the US. He co-organizes the Minnesota Blogger Conference, co-founded and coordinates the activities of Ignite Minneapolis and UnSummit, and runs the local chapter of TechKaraoke Minneapolis. Mykl has a special passion for the social web and its power to educate and inspire. He blogs at

Follow @myklroventine on Twitter

Paul DeBettignies

Paul DeBettignies, better known online as Minnesota Headhunter, is a Minnesota IT Recruiter who builds IT teams with startups and tech companies, creates recruiting strategies for Fortune 500 clients and is the author of the Minnesota Headhunter blog, the longest running regional recruiter blog.

He is a frequent local and national speaker, trainer and subject matter expert on recruiter, HR, career, networking and social media topics. Recent activities include presentations at Twin Cities Startup Week, Google for Entrepreneurs, Social Media Breakfast MSP, the University of St Thomas, Capella University, MinneBar and ERE and interviews with WCCO AM (CBS) Radio, FOX 9, MSP Business Journal, Minneapolis StarTribune, St Paul Pioneer Press, and TechTarget.

Paul is involved in the Minneapolis and St Paul technology, marketing and social media communities as a sponsor, volunteer and mentor and was the co-founder, coordinator and advisory board member of Minnesota Recruiters, the largest regional recruiter group in the country.

Follow @MNHeadhunter on Twitter

Ruth Rosengren

Ruth Rosengren

Ruth is a senior project manager and analyst at Clockwork with a defining curiosity about how things work. So much so that she’s asked for access to a client’s database just to better understand their data. Her past gigs in teaching and linguistics have been unexpectedly helpful in doing her job. Teaching helps her to read a room quickly and switch gears easily. Linguistics has taught her to break down an issue into smaller parts to better understand it as a whole.

She likes to quote Einstein when looking at problems: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” In non-working hours, you can find Ruth in the garden, on a bike, or reading a book.

Follow @ruthstp on Twitter

Steven Bayer

Steve spent most of the past ten years in healthcare, working first for Kaiser Permanente and then locally for HealthPartners. He recently left HealthPartners to start his own company focused on helping small companies compete with bigger competitors. His work is focused on service design and building products that provide value to the people who use them.

Tonu Mikk

Tonu Mikk works for the Disability Resource Center at the University of Minnesota where he has many roles among which are:

  • Assess and recommend adaptive technology for students, staff and faculty.
  • Administer and and websites.
  • Work with UMN web designers to help them make their websites accessible.
  • Monitor accessibility of U of M websites

He has a BS degree in Animal Science and an MA degree Agricultural Education from the University of Minnesota. He lives with his wife and two children in South Minneapolis.

Follow @tonumikk on Twitter

Tonya Oaks Smith

Tonya Oaks Smith

Tonya Oaks Smith has spent most of her adult life smoothing frayed edges, herding wet and hungry cats, breaking down silos and perfecting the #facepalm – all while dancing backwards and in heels with a big smile on her face. A former reporter who sold her soul and then redeemed it by moving to communication for a public university, Smith is a fan of the words “y’all” and “malheureusement” – not necessarily in that order, and prefers the em dash to commas. She’s currently the executive director of marketing and communications at Henderson State University.

Follow @marleysmom on Twitter

Trystan Hansen

Trystan holds a BA in both health education and exercise science and an MS in exercise science and health promotion. She is a certified health and fitness specialist, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and wellness coach. Work with Mayo Clinic, BlueCross BlueShield, and HealthPartners provided product development experience but also allowed her to work “in the weeds” with clients and individuals. A fascination with behavior change””constantly searching for effective strategies to encourage higher quality living””continues to fascinate and motivate her.

Victor Yocco

Victor Yocco

Victor Yocco is a researcher and strategist at Intuitive Company, a user focused research, design, and development firm located in Philadelphia, PA. He is the current Vice Chair of PhillyCHI, an organization representing students and professionals interested in HCI and UX fields in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Victor received his PhD from The Ohio State University, where his research focused on psychology and communication in informal learning settings such as science centers and zoos. His current interests include persuasive communication and incorporating social science theories into design. He has written on these topics for A List Apart, Boxes and Arrows, Smashing Magazine, and a number of academic journals.

Follow @victoryocco on Twitter

Workshop Presenters

Eileen Webb

Eileen Webb

Eileen Webb is a co-founder and partner at webmeadow, a firm that helps progressive organizations develop content and technology strategies to make the world a better place. Her background is in server-side coding and being that odd person who translates between the marketing and development teams. Webmeadow’s offices are located on a solar-powered farm in northern New Hampshire; her Twitter feed is equal parts content strategy and pictures of poultry.

Follow @webmeadow on Twitter

George Walters

During the daylight hours, George works as an application developer for Northwoods Consulting Partners. With more than 15 years experience in application development, he has become an advocate for building clean, concise code without sacrificing the user experience. He builds applications in an agile environment using a variety of technologies including Java, Groovy, C#, Objective-C, JavaScript and Ruby. He is also a strong promoter for using Adaptive and Responsive Design in all aspects of web development and pushes the need for developers to become stronger and more affluent in the Web UI stack of technologies.

After dark, well, that’s a different story… Between raising two young kids with his wife, Jen, he enjoys hockey, role playing games, science-fiction, comics and technology. Any spare time is spent putting the last few touches on a new home and freelancing web projects.

Follow @walterg2 on Twitter

Kate O’Reilly

Kate O'Reilly

Kate has always been good at getting people excited and organized, so she made it into her work. She’s part human megaphone, part nerdy wordsmith, part intrepid chaos-into-order maker. She founded her a la carte agency, CleverKate, in 2008 to great success, most of which she attributes to being able to deliver all of the elements of an agency, but without the high price or politics.

In the past few years, Kate has worked on a product launch as big as the iPhone itself, a high-profile Congressional campaign, transforming a television station, editing a New York Times bestseller, a magazine column of her own, coworking space launches, restaurant openings, new apps, six book launches, a feature film, ten small business launches, an international art show, dozens of large and small events, and a number of charitable projects. Her titles have included publicist, writer, editor, producer, website beautifier, communications director, life coach, blogger, opinionated consultant, content strategist, truth teller, hell raiser and countless others. She has also (accidentally, but enthusiastically) become the poster lady for entrepreneurship; speaking about charging what you’re worth, making the leap to freelancing, being candidly honest, and balance in work and life.

Follow @cleverkate on Twitter

Kevin Lamping


Kevin Lamping is a Front-end Engineer at Four Kitchens where he builds web apps using AngularJS and, when not playing with his kids, dabbles in scale model building, tabletop gaming and gardening.

Follow @klamping on Twitter

Michael Metts

Michael Metts

Michael Metts is a Chicago-based content strategist / copywriter at Wolfram and co-owner of Metts Photo. His journalism training and experience has led him to believe that great UX work involves listening and telling a story, in that order.

Prior to joining Wolfram, Michael was a content strategist at the Free Methodist Church – USA where he worked on web content and processes that served over 1000 churches. He has spoken previously at Confab Central as well as smaller workshops and training sessions.

Follow @mjmetts on Twitter

Phil Kragnes

Philip M Kragnes has served as the Adaptive Technology Specialist for the University of Minnesota since october 1998. He manages the Computer Accommodations Program (CAP) — a partnership of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the Disability Resource Center (DRC). The program exists to ensure access to information and Information Technology for university students, faculty, staff, guests and visitors with disabilities and medical conditions.

Follow @PKragnes on Twitter

Scott Kubie

Scott Kubie Headshot

Scott Kubie is a designer from Des Moines, Iowa. As a consultant, speaker, and workshop facilitator, Scott helps individuals and teams better understand how their tools, processes, and principles affect the quality of their products and communication.

As head nerd and founder of Content Nerds Des Moines, he helps organize monthly meetups of like-minded web and design professionals in Des Moines, and organized Des Moines’ first World Information Architecture Day event in 2014.

Scott has spoken and led workshops at events including the Information Architecture Summit, the Web Conference at Penn State, the University of Illinois Web Conference, and MinneWebCon. He recently delivered the keynote address at HighEdWeb Michigan.

Follow @scottkubie on Twitter

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