Michelle Frechette, Director of Community Engagement at StellarWP, has launched a new independent project called WP Speakers that helps event organizers find available speakers for WordPress meetups, WordCamps, podcasts, and other events. The site offers a database of speakers that is free to join and free to search.
When speakers sign up, they include a bio, headshot, location, languages they speak, topics, expertise, and contact information. They can also specify if they identify being from an underrepresented group. In the short amount of time the site has been live, WP Speakers has added 149 registered speakers who are ready and willing to share their WordPress knowledge at both virtual and in-person events.
“As a meetup organizer for my local WordPress meetup, I’m constantly searching for speakers to present,” Frechette said. “On one hand the pandemic made it harder to keep coming up with fresh meetup content, but on the other hand, it allowed me to connect to speakers globally as all of our meetings were moved online. But even with all of the speakers in the world now able to present, it was still hard to think of topics and then source speakers. As well-connected as I am in WordPress, I couldn’t even imagine how much more difficult it might be for someone who didn’t know a lot of speakers personally. So WP Speakers was born.”
Frechette has a knack for bringing people together and helping them find their place in WordPress. In addition to her open source contributions, she maintains WPCareerPages.com, a site that connects job seekers with WordPress companies, and publishes a weekly tweet thread with available positions.
Frechette is supporting her efforts on the project through sponsorship funds, which allow her to keep the resource free.
“It’s important to me that the ability to belong on the site as well as be able to search for speakers always remains free,” she said. “That way no one is denied from being able to participate. A resource like this should be available to all.”
Frechette plans to continue adding to the speaker resource page and an event organizer resource page is next on the roadmap. Anyone who wants to be listed on the site can fill out the “Join As a Speaker” form and new profiles will be approved in 1-3 business days.