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Kimberly Blessing Hi, my name is Kimberly Blessing. I'm a computer scientist, Web developer, standards evangelist, feminist, and geek. This is where I write about life, the Web, technology, women's issues, and whatever else comes to mind.

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Making Me a Speaker

I owe some thanks to colleagues and friends in the Web world for recent highlights and opportunities, so here goes…

Kudos to Meri Williams for setting up the Make Me a Speaker site and thanks for interviewing me for it! Meri set up this site after the topic of women speakers at conferences came up back in February. A lot of the hype has died down, but I hope that the information and resources on the site will continue to be useful for anyone seeking to start or improve their career as a speaker/presenter.

Kit Seeborg and I met at SXSW last year, and this year she invited me to speak at WebVisions in Portland. I was grateful for the opportunity to start speaking about how I’ve made process the driver behind integrating Web standards, but I was even more grateful for the chance to finally visit Portland (having heard so much about it from Ben Henick) and to meet some great people, like Erica O’Grady (yet another woman who does so much for the Web industry, and just so much in general!). Sadly, I didn’t get to spend any time with Kit, but Erica and I did have a good heart-to-heart while perusing the shelves at Powell’s Books. It was a great conference and a great weekend, and next time, Kit, we’re doing dinner — work be damned!

Then I was absolutely bowled over when Rob Dickerson invited me to give the closing keynote at the Penn State Web Conference. I’ll admit that, at first, I wasn’t sure how I’d translate my industry experience for an audience that was supporting academia… but then I realized that that’s how I started out, and academia actually helped prepare me for much of what I encountered in industry! I just hope that all of my ‘how to be an evangelist and advocate for processes and roles that support standards’ mumbo-jumbo translated well, and that attendees will find it useful. I was thoroughly impressed by the other presenters, most of whom were from the university system, and I had a great time at Quaker Steak and Lube (a restaurant… really!) with Jared Spool, Dan Frommelt, and company. And I got to have ice cream at the PSU Creamery! Mmmm!

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