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Kathy the debater

How did I get here?

I’ve been speaking in front of audiences since I was 11 years old.

Grade school? I was the youngest lector at church. I learned how to pronounce difficult words in the Bible before I knew how to do anything algebraic.

High school? I was on the debate team. I was good at 2nd affirmative rebuttal because I could talk faster than anyone else. I loved researching obscure and underreported topics.

College? On the speech team. We were champions. I had a fantastic time and learned a lot.

Proof is in the picture. This was from my high school yearbook. I think I am arguing about arm sales or something else ridiculous that the government was doing. My words in a high school debate tournament did not stop anything, but I probably got a trophy.

I wish I didn’t look so much like a blonde Joan Jett, but we all have ridiculous fashion choices from high school, don’t we. Aren’t you happy I shared mine with you?

I am thankful for the internet: it saved me from becoming a DC policy wonk or a lawyer.

Kathy Zant WordCamp Sacramento

What I’m up to now.

Fast forward. Now? I’m thrilled to be speaking in front of audiences again, sharing messages of empowerment through security.

For the last 20 years, I’ve been diving deep on web development, WordPress, and internet security. I’ve been told by clients, customers, and audience members that I take complex topics and make them easy to understand. I can also blather on about any number of topics. I like to research things. Sometimes obsessively so. It’s part of the reason I love security so much: there is always something to learn or a challenge to overcome.

I absolutely love talking to non-technical beginner audiences. I am fanatical about making complex technology easy to understand for anyone and everyone. I am a believer in the WordPress mission of democratizing publishing and giving everyone a voice.

Some of my recent presentations

  • Ten Ways to Make More Sales with WooCommerce
  • The Hacker Mindset: How Beating WordPress Hackers Taught Me to Overcome Obstacles and Innovate
  • WordPress Security 101: The Basics of Keeping your Site Safe
  • Securing WordPress in the Small Business
  • eCommerce Security
  • Evaluating WordPress Plugins: Strategies for Extending Core Functionality
  • How Secure is your WordPress Website? Testing for Vulnerabilities
  • Ways Hackers Get into Your Website (and how to stop them)
  • Passwords and Authentication
  • Website Vulnerabilities: Keeping your internet presence safe
  • Phishing and Social Engineering
  • Evaluating Security Vendors

Events Where I’ve Presented

  • WordPress Meetup NW Phoenix August 2018 – Evaluating Plugins
  • WordCamp Sacramento September 2018 – Evaluating Plugins
  • WordCamp Portland October 2018 – Introduction to WordPress Plugins
  • WordCamp Seattle November 2018 – Evaluating Plugins
  • Rutgers Business School – Small Business Development Center January 2019 
  • LifterLMS Podcast January 2019
  • WordPress Meetup Long Beach, January 2019 – WordPress Security 101
  • WordPress Meetup Hollywood, January 2019 – WordPress Security 101
  • WordPress Meetup Pasadena, January 2019 – WordPress Security 101
  • Rutgers Business School – Small Business Development Center February 2019 
  • WordCamp Miami March 2019 – WordPress Security 101 & Evaluating Plugins (videos)
  • Rutgers Business School – Small Business Development Center March 2019
  • WordPress Meetup NW Phoenix March 2018 – Own Your Content
  • Rutgers Business School – Small Business Development Center April 2019 
  • WooCommerce Meetup Phoenix, AZ June 2019 – Securing WooCommerce
  • WordPress Meetup EIG Phoenix, AZ June 2019 – Evaluating Plugins
  • WordCamp Boston July 2019 – The Hacker Mindset (video)
  • WordCamp Minneapolis August 2019 – Evaluating Plugins
  • WordCamp Sacramento September 2019 – WordPress Security 101: 4 Ways to Keep your Site Safe
  • WordCamp Rochester October 2019 – Evaluating Plugins (video)
  • WordCamp US November 2019 – The Hacker Mindset (video | slides)
  • WordCamp Seattle November 2019 – The Hacker Mindset
  • WordCamp Rochester Keynote October 2020 – Thriving in Uncertain Times, Finding Security through WordPress (video)
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