First batch of WordCamp speakers announced

Hamilton’s annual WordPress conference WordCamp Hamilton is taking place on Saturday June 4th at McMaster Innovation Park!

The first batch of speakers has been announced – check out the line-up below!





1My name is Ben Cool and I work for A2 Hosting as the Application Optimizer / WordPress Evangelist. I have three kids and live across the lake in Ann Arbor, MI, USA. I have given presentations on System Administration topics at WCCBUS and WCA2. I am a co-organizer for WordCamp Ann Arbor in charge of volunteers and contributor day. I am a member of the team (no badges). As a developer for a Hosting company, I am responsible for developing internal tools and websites as well as performance optimization tools for customers such as A2 Optimized ( Attending the WordPress community summit was a highlight for me last year.



2Ryan Welcher has been a web developer for over 12 years and over the course of his career has had the opportunity to work with many coding languages, frameworks and technologies. He is currently a Senior Web Engineer at 10up where he builds enterprise level WordPress themes and plugins. In his spare time you may find him contributing to WordPress core, reading up on a new technology or spending time with his wife and three children.



3I’m a front-end developer from Burlington. I’ve been making websites for over twenty years, and WordPress themes for nearly ten! I spend most of my time with Object Oriented CSS, experimenting with streamlining workflows, and optimizing tools. I currently lead a team of developers at, and love to nerd out about keyboards.



4Kathleen Farley is a computer geek, teacher, learner, vinyl junkie, hockey fan, and recovering non-profit executive. Occasionally she breaks (and fixes) computers. Not necessarily in that order.

The Montreal-born technologist trained as an audio engineer before moving to Hamilton, Canada in 2007. She now runs Maisonneuve Music, a Hamilton-based independent record label.

Kathleen has been teaching web technology and data management to beginners since 2009 under the moniker Robobunnyattack! She’s currently a bestselling web technology course author on Udemy with over 11,000 students. She also serves on the faculty at Harris Institute, a private music industry school in Toronto where she teaches future rock stars how to make websites and other cool things.

Along with her partner Michael Chambers, Kathleen is the co-founder of Audiohackr, a startup that helps indie musicians, producers, and DIY labels make the most of technology.




5I am involved in content creation and management in a number of ways. I work in communications at TD Bank, write weekly posts for two eCommerce blogs ( and, and have done copywriting for websites through a marketing agency. I finished my bachelors degree with a focus on communications from University of Toronto.

You can find my social profiles on



6Marie Wiese is founder of Marketing CoPilot, a leading Canadian digital marketing agency that helps companies’ increase sales using digital and content marketing. In addition to running Marketing CoPilot, Marie is also an Executive-in-Residence at the Innovation Factory, a Regional Innovation Centre in Hamilton, Ontario where she coaches early stage companies on how to develop digital go-to-market strategies. Marie is author of The Essential Guide to Better Content Marketing and other related marketing guides. She is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, mom and writer. Marie has spoken at industry events for the Canadian Marketing Association and Marketing Sherpa in the United States. She can be found online at



7I am a certified scrum master, passionate about Agile methodology and frameworks, over 15 years of experience on software and web development, I enjoy to work on teams sharing ideas to produce optimal results and release valuable products through WordPress as main development platform.


MEDIC joins other Canadian innovators on shortlist for Vision to Reality ‘Innovator of the Year’awards

Originally posted on Mohawk College News Desk

Mohawk College's MEDIC team has been chosen as a finalist in PWC's 2016 Vision to Reality Innovator of the Year awards. MEDIC was nominated for its work with private and public partners to co-develop new digital health solutions.

The annual awards recognize companies that display creative thinking and innovation in the development of a new product, service, process, partnership or campaign. Nominees must be able to prove that their innovation is having an impact on the business. The innovation must be proven, measured and reported through revenue or other key performance indicators. Nominees must also be headquartered in Canada.

The winners will be announced at an awards celebration in Toronto later this month.

Diverse speaker line-up at EmbraceUX

This will be the last EmbraceUX (@EmbraceUX) related post until the conference – if you haven’t heard of it yet or haven’t gotten your ticket yet, it’s not too late. EmbraceUX is Hamilton’s largest and best tech and design event all year – a two-day, one-track exploration of the spectrum of user experience – from art and accessibility to service and strategy.

One of the best things about EmbraceUX is the amount of outside town experience that it brings in each year. Hamilton has never been so well connected to itself, both in the tech sector and in the broader creative / innovation community. Connecting with outside experts brings in new inspiration, experiences, ideas and networks!

Another great thing about the EmbraceUX speaker line-up is the diversity – with 50% female speakers and 22% POC:


Screenshot 2016-04-11 at 21.05.05


Don’t miss the greatest tech and design event of the year! The attendee list we’ve got coming out to this event is as strong as the speaker line-up you can get at other events, making EmbraceUX a chance to be a part of something awesome.

And it’s just $225 with discount code ILOVEUX.

To see the order of talks and pictures of the speakers you can check out the Embrace UX schedule (@EmbraceUX), and for the talk details check out the list below:


Talk Details


Topic: What the hell is UX Strategy

Speaker: Jaime Levy
Quick Bio: Author, ‘UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want’


User experience (UX) strategy lies at the intersection of UX design and business strategy. This talk delves into this crucial practice, which relies on empirical, lightweight tactics for pushing cross-functional teams toward a unique digital solution that customers want.

Several UX strategy techniques will be demonstrated that you can use for crafting consumer products regardless of your work environment. It will start with a primer covering topics such as competitive analysis, validated user research, disruptive mental models, and why your product must deliver superior value through a “killer” user experience. The business case of Airbnb will be deconstructed so you can see how they started (by running experiments), ambitiously scaled (with growth hacking techniques), and monetized their value proposition (with an innovative business model).


Topic: Social Media Upped the Game on Content Strategy

Speaker: Sabaa Quao
Quick Bio: President, /newsrooms


On January 15, 2009, a US Airways Flight made a miraculous, emergency landing on the Hudson River after the jet’s engines failed. All passengers and crew were rescued. Twitter broke the news of the plane crash before the news networks did. How digital and social media evolved around breaking news stories has never been the same since.

The unrelenting pressure of the 24-hour news cycle has proven to be an excellent testing and continuous learning environment for content. Sabaa will talk about how his team has learned from the world of breaking news stories and adapted these methods to building resilient and effective content strategies for brands.


Topic: Failing Fast – Letting Humans, Not Brands, Drive Technology

Speaker: Amber Foucault
Quick Bio: Product Management Director, BNOTIONS


On January 15, 2009, a US Airways Flight made a miraculous, emergency landing on the Hudson River after the jet’s engines failed. All passengers and crew were rescued. Twitter broke the news of the plane crash before the news networks did. How digital and social media evolved around breaking news stories has never been the same since.

The unrelenting pressure of the 24-hour news cycle has proven to be an excellent testing and continuous learning environment for content. Sabaa will talk about how his team has learned from the world of breaking news stories and adapted these methods to building resilient and effective content strategies for brands.


Topic: Unhooked: using product design to deconstruct habits

Speaker: Liam Oscar Thurston
Quick Bio: Creative Director, TWG


The most engaging digital products encourage habits within their users, habits that hook us into coming back over and over again. I used the design principles of habit-forming products to analyze, deconstruct, and ultimately kick several destructive habits of my own. We’ll work backwards from a deeply ingrained addiction and look at how design principles and psychology can empower meaningful change in our daily lives.


Topic: Digital Anthropology: How understanding people’s true motivations can drive innovation

Speaker: Ujwal Arkalgud
Quick Bio: Cultural Anthropologist, co-founder of MotivIndex
Speaker: Jason Partridge
Quick Bio: Insight strategist, co-founder of MotivIndex


Many new business ideas struggle because they are come about without understanding the underlying values that drive a population to seek the products or services being created.

Figuring out WHAT people need in a product isn’t WHY they buy/adopt/advocate for it. This is a critical distinction, that is often missed. Especially in the research that is typically used to support innovation projects. As a result experience designers are forced to work with the WHAT rather than the WHY, leading to uninspiring results.

Through a series of real-world research examples, we will illustrate how studying the consumer’s motivation online allows us to first unearth WHY people care about something, before we get to WHAT they’d care about. And how knowing the WHY can make the difference between an experience that moves people versus one that simply just does a job.


Topic: Case Study: How AMI embraced UX to build an accessible, inclusive broadcast media website

Speaker: Laura Baxter
Quick Bio: Principal, MitreBox UXD
Speaker: Virginia Vuleta
Quick Bio: Director of Digital Strategy, Accessible Media Inc.
Speaker: Andre Gaulin
Quick Bio: Principal, MitreBox UXD


As a broadcaster with a CRTC mandate to produce content for visually impaired Canadians, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) faces unique challenges on a daily basis. Having recently seen success with their broadcast television and audio services, AMI turned to MitreBox User Experience Design to help them design a new web offering that was not only accessible but also highly usable and engaging for their unique audience. Andre Gaulin (MitreBox UXD Principle) will moderate a discussion between Laura Baxter (MitreBox UXD Principle) and Virginia Vuelta (AMI Dir. Of Digital Strategy) as they outline the journey from initial user research to functional specifications and visual designs that have resulted in a major online upgrade for AMI.


Topic: The Past is over, Now is boring, the Future is bright

Speaker: Dustin Rideout
Quick Bio: Vice-President, Strategy, Partner, Sid Lee


In rapid-fire form, we will explore why every step we take should be firm planted in what has yet to occur. In an inspiring and provocative discussion, Dustin Rideout will share his vision for communities that emphasize future intent as their driving present day force.


Topic: Immersion and experience in digital artworlds

Speaker: Ty Tekatch
Quick Bio: Artist, Filmmaker


Artists have always pursued the aesthetic depths of emerging technology. In the era of the digital, how are artists using emerging tech to define a new aesthetic? In this wide-ranging survey of current artistic directions, filmmaker and artist Ty Tekatch examines how projection mapping, interactivity, data visualization and digital video are being used by artists to create a new visual culture.


Topic: Accountable Experiences: From Product Design to Award-Winning Profitable Digital Experiences

Speaker: Tara O’Doherty
Quick Bio: Vice-President, Customer Experience Strategy, Cossette


Can innovative experiences even launch in the high pressure world of metrics and KPIs? Join Tara as she explores the latest methods in innovative design thinking, customer-centric ideation, and post-experience behavioural tracking that can provide you with breathing room in creativity while still making those C-level clients and stakeholders happy. This case-based session will cover off some unique and proven techniques to create awe-inspiring work that will keep your soul satisfied and your stakeholders happy.


Topic: Service Design Heuristics

Speaker: Shannah Segal
Quick Bio: Principal, Usability Matters


Heuristics offer a hands-on approach to discovery, where knowledge is culled through trial and error. They are rules of thumb that give us a framework as we move through the research and design process. In service design, this kind of framework is also valuable for assessing completed projects to find the weak links. Heuristics can be applied to a single moment in time or to a user’s entire long-term relationship with a service. As systems grow ever more sophisticated and interconnected, designers will continue to face new challenges. Service design heuristics can help us to frame and think about these complex experiences on a new level.

In this session, Shannah Segal, one of the authors of Usability Matters’ Service Design Heuristics, will present the heuristics, with examples of their use from the real world. Then, participants will have an opportunity to work with a few of the heuristics in a hands-on activity.


Topic: Inside/Outside Service Design

Speaker: Judy Mellett
Quick Bio: Director, Service Design, Innovation & Strategy, TELUS
Speaker: Chris Ferguson
Quick Bio: CEO, Bridgeable


Judy Mellett from TELUS and Chris Ferguson from Bridgeable take you through a service design project from the perspective of internal champion and external consultant.


Topic: Panel: I’m Inspired… Now What?

Speaker: Sarah English
Quick Bio: Principal, Usability Matters
Speaker: Jennifer Hayes
Quick Bio: User Experience Design Lead, IBM
Speaker: Todd Hummel
Quick Bio: Senior Recruitment Specialist, Ari Agency Executive Recruitment
Speaker: Howard Kiewe
Quick Bio: Director of User Experience, Intelex Technologies


After two days of exciting ideas, insights, and conversation, our panel share their career journeys, discuss how innovative companies are building design teams, and provide tips on taking the next step in building your own experience design career.


Lunch ‘n Learn: The Startup Journey




This unique learning and networking opportunity will include a complimentary lunch

Adam is the current VP of Sales Engineering & Product at Slyce, and has years of experience in the startup world.

In this interactive session, Adam will speak to the startup life-cycle. He’ll be sharing his experiences in the hopes that what he’s learned about building a product, creating a team, navigating the often impossible task of fundraising, going through an acquisition, and dedicating significant time to help others understand how to approach the startup experience with their eyes wide open.

Everyday is a gamble, and Adam’s hope is that his story can help others navigate common entrepreneurial challenges. Areas he’ll touch on include accelerator/incubator programs, assembling your founding team, the role of fundraising, simplifying things as much as you can, acquisition and the post-purchase challenges.

Our Lunch ‘n Learn events are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a free lunch, and learning something new! Please forward this to all of the innovators you know.




11:30am-noon – Lunch & Networking
Noon-1pm –  Factory 5 and Keynote Presentation
1pm – 2pm – Dessert & Networking (at iF’s Innovation Destination)

Parking Information

Parking is available for a cost of $1/ hour at McMaster Innovation Park Special Events and Conference Parking.

New EmbraceUX student discount code



Students can save 40% on a ticket to EmbraceUX (@EmbraceUX), Hamilton’s largest tech and design event – a two-day, one-track exploration of the spectrum of user experience – from art and accessibility to service and strategy.

We’re expecting 200 attendees (and tickets are selling fast), so the event will offer amazing networking opportunities for students!

Discount code: STUDENT

Price: $150 ($250 regular price – $100 student discount)

EmbraceUX will take place on Friday April 15th – Saturday April 16th and features an incredible line-up of speakers, breakfast/lunch/sancks both days, craft beer tasting, and after parties both evenings (at CoMotion on King and SERVE Ping Pong).


Women in IT – Info Session on Friday April 15th, 10am

YWCA Hamilton’s Women in I.T. program is now in its third year offering support and training to women with multiple barriers to skills upgrading, industry certification and access to employment in the IT sector completely free. In partnership with Mohawk College, participants can access IT academic training, work placement and job search support. In order to be eligible you must currently:

  • be unemployed or under-employed
  • have at least a highschool completion
  • limited personal income
  • computer literate

I’ve had a small part in helping train Women in I.T. clients in year 2, as well as hiring them for some amazing logo design ( ) and administrative assistance and research work. I’ve been extremely impressed by the output of their select candidates. Not only does this program put these women through a gauntlet of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and WordPress but they are given support and opportunities to redefine their careers and solidify their paths within the IT sector.

If you’re interested in hiring a Women in I.T. graduate, contact the YWCA Hamilton.

If you’re interested in participating as a student, the next information session will be held at YWCA on Friday April 15th at 10am. The program is completely free. For registration, contact Jupiter Deveau at


McMaster Spectrum awards $105k in Student Startup competition


Article via McMaster Spectrum

For the second year running, McMaster’s on-campus entrepreneurship initiative Spectrum made a big splash – this year awarding more than $100,000 to student entrepreneurs at its Spectrum Student Startup Competition.

CIBC Hall at McMaster was filled to capacity with well over 225 student entrepreneurs, McMaster staff and faculty, and members of Hamilton’s entrepreneurship community.

After a months-long process of narrowing down our original 50+ applicants to 10, The Top 10 finalists were given a slot in the Competition to compete for a prize pool of $105,000.

Thanks to McMaster Engineering, we were able to double our prize money this year!


Five winners each won $20,000 in cash and an automatic spot in McMaster’s accelerator The Forge. Plus, they were awarded in-kind prizes from our generous sponsors.

An additional $5,000 prize was given to the startup that the audience voted as The People’s Choice.

(Note: We had originally intended on awarding four prizes of $25,000 each. The calibre of startups was just too good! We decided, during the event, to instead award five startups $20,000 each.)

Judges, Winners and Competitors  

The panel of judges would decide the winners and provided the Top 10 Finalists with great feedback, pulling on their own experiences from their respective entrepreneurial successes. This year’s judges were: Adam Spence of the Social Venture Exchange and Mars Discovery District; Sean Van Koughnett, AVP and Dean of Students at McMaster University and founding director of UWaterloo’s Velocity; and Dr. Sunny Kumar an experienced venture capitalist and Executive-in-Residence at Innovation Factory.


Each startup team had to select only one person, who would present their 3-minute pitch to the audience. After hearing each pitch, and asking a few questions, the judges had to deliberate and choose the five startups who would go home as victors. They did this by taking into account the live pitch and all aspects of the application process.

The audience in attendance got to vote for their favourite startup, and award that team the People Choice Award.

After careful consideration and calculations, this year’s winners are as follows:

Eatable (Mohammed Ahmed) – $20,000,

FISH Technologies (Melissa Houghton) – $20,000,

HINT (Jacob Jackson) – $20,000,

TronClub (Gregory DeLaunay) – $20,000,

Virtual Possibilities (Mitch Wilson) – $20,000, and

People’s Choice to Cognosco (Akiv Jhirad) – $5,000.’

(See details on each company below)


We were astounded and proud of the quality of this year’s applications, semi-finalists, and finalists. At every stage of the process, the competition was incredible competitive and decisions were difficult. The feedback was overwhelming: the entire community is impressed with what McMaster student entrepreneurs are doing.

The Top Ten Finalist startups competing were: 20/20 Optimeyes, Cognosco, Eatable, FISH Technologies, HINT, KiDi SMS, Nectocare, TronClub, Virtual Possibilities, and Zentrella.




Company details

Eatable: Mohammed (Fawad) Ahmed, Wesley Kerfoot, Rishabh Moudgil, Avian Yuen, Steven Zhang

Eatable is about revolutionizing the way people create and connect through food. Our mobile app platform serves as a hub for students to search and share recipes.

University students have difficulty finding cost-effective, convenient, and healthy ways to cook – they also love to share what they create. Eatable provides student-friendly recipes in a home cooking community passionate about sharing self-made meals. Sharing on recipe apps is not compatible with how students want to showcase their food creations. Eatable will allow students to share recipes in a more personal and fun way.


FISH Technologies: Melissa Houghton, Robert Van Gemeren, Kris Cuachon, Vinod Chaudhary, Ali Sheikh

Farming Innovations & Sustainable Horticulture (FISH) Technologies is a company that is focused on reinventing the farming industry through innovation. This reinvention is focused on reducing the environmental impact of current practices while maintaining, or increasing, profitability of our clients. Our current focus is on the greenhouse industry, with the intention of introducing a commercially viable aquaponics system to replace current practices.

We plan on building a system that has a low initial investment cost that can be upgraded as finances become available. This system will feature automatic water balancing and hands free fish waste removal. We will focus on making the system easy to use, which will reduce the risk involved in investing in the new technology. We will also provide the opportunity for servicing which would help reduce the knowledge barriers associated with new technologies.


HINT: Jacob Jackson, Ahmed Elmeligi

At Healthcare Innovation in NeuroTechnology (HINT) we are developing a wearable monitoring device for high-risk patients that can detect a stroke in their sleep. Until now, a stroke during sleep resulted in either debilitating effects or death. This is because sleep strokes are unable to receive the highly effective, time-sensitive treatment. Our device provides continuity of care outside of the hospital for up to 250,000 patients and will save the lives of thousands of stroke victims every year, while maintaining quality of life. At HINT, we care for you when nobody else can.


TronClub: Gregory DeLaunay, Roslyn DeLaunay, Jennifer Bendle

Tron-Club™ lowers the barrier to entry for aspiring Makers by supplying them with monthly circuit building kits. Each kit starts easy and ends challenging. Tron-Club™ was founded in June 2015 with an initial $1,500 grant from the Ontario Summer Company. Tron-Club™ was the most successful company in the Ontario Summer Company for that year. To date, we have shipped over 1,600 kits, we have invested over $5,000 in equipment, have over 11,000 YouTube view for our commercial [ref], we have a total revenue over $60,000, and our projected sales for the year will be over $100,000. We have been featured in many blogs and in TechCrunch.


Virtual Possibilities: Mitch Wilson, Dr. David Langlois, Lawrence Schembri, Dr. Tian Zhang, Stephanie Hoeppler, Amy Dyck, Mo Khan, Xiaoyue Wang, Gavin Zhang, Kyle Arscott

Virtual Possibilities Inc. (VPI) is commercializing a novel surgical navigation system technology (“LaparoGuard”) designed to markedly improve the safety profile and accuracy of laparoscopic procedures. Our solution will reduce surgical tool-patient tissue collisions, reduce costly readmission procedures and improve the efficiency, workflow speed and intraoperative planning in an operating room, by increasing surgeon’s confidence in the correct placement of hardware therapy. VPI estimates that its predictive, error-prevention imaging & navigation technology could play a pivotal role in allowing the 90% of North American hospitals that lack the resources for surgical navigational systems to afford a flexible, affordable solution.


Cognosco: Akiv Jhirad, Mandakini Jain, Larona Toteng, John Barberiz

Cognosco was inspired by the increasing rate of traumatic brain injury due to vehicle accidents, falls, violence and sports. We are a medical device startup aimed at creating non-invasive solutions to prevent the detrimental effects of traumatic brain injuries in victims, through early detection. Currently, our research and development is being focused towards a portable device that uses near infrared spectroscopy technology to noninvasively examine the presence of a bleed underneath a patient’s skull. A time and cost effective solution using this technology has been created by our group. The portability of our device allows it to be a diagnostic tool on site of the accident, which makes it an essential tool for paramedics to possess. It is also accurate enough that hospitals will find it diagnostically useful, and inexpensive enough that emergency caregivers (safety officers in sports centers, emergency dispatchers) will also find it to be resourceful.

Hamilton Feminist Edit-a-Thon



When: Sunday April 10th 2016 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion On King – 115 King Street East, Hamilton, ON

Organizers: Meg Smith (@megthesmith) and Erin O’Neil (@erinlauraoneil)



Wikipedia has a gender bias problem. Their own surveys have indicated that only about 8–16 percent of Wikipedia editors are female and a 2009 Wikimedia Foundation survey showed only six percent of super editors (more than 500 edits) were female. This is an issue for many reasons, including reports of harassment of female editors on Wikipedia forums.

The lack of female editors on Wikipedia also creates a bias in the content generated by their editor community. We need more women participating to ensure that women are represented equally in the massive fabric of human history that is Wikipedia. One approach to address this bias is running female edit-a-thons, which are growing in popularity and have taken place across the globe.

We are proud to be hosting a feminist edit-a-thon on April 10 at CoMotion on King (@CoMotionOnKing) to bring together our incredible community of women in this city and bring some much-needed new knowledge to Wikipedia!

No experience with editing or wikipedia required, but you will need to bring a laptop (or let us know if you’ll need access to an extra one – we can facilitate that too!). All feminists welcome – men included!

The event is free but please register to indicate that you plan to attend. Organizers will email all registrants with important ahead-of-time preparation (just a few easy steps!) that you need in order to start editing right away at the event. 

We are SO GRATEFUL to edit-a-thon sponsors Ladies Learning Code Hamilton and CoMotion on King!

*Please note that the CoMotion on King facility is currently not accessible by elevator. Our sincere apologies for this – if this is a barrier please let us know and we will do our best to find a solution!