The conference for people who build the web
Oct. 23-24th, 2017
Historic Automotive Building at Exhibition Place

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Speaker Bios

Here you can learn more about the speakers and follow them on twitter!

Jonah Photo

About Jonah Kowall

VP Market Development and Insights at AppDynamics

Session: Monitoring and Instrumentation
Strategies, Tips & Best Practices

Jonah Kowall trained in computer science and co-founded one of the first content filtering companies in the late 1990’s. Jonah became a security expert committing code to both the FreeBSD project and helped build the first wireless cracking algorithms.

In 2011 Jonah changed careers, moving to Gartner to focus on availability and performance monitoring and IT operations management (ITOM). Speaking and writing research globally for IT leaders and CIOs. Jonah led Gartner's influential application performance monitoring (APM) and created the network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD) magic quadrants. In 2015 Jonah joined AppDynamics to drive the company’s product strategy, roadmap and vision, while developing entry into new markets and providing valuable technology and business insights.

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About Sam Kitajima-Kimbrel

Engineering Manager at Twillio

Session: One Data Pipeline to Rule Them All

Sam Kitajima-Kimbrel is a software engineer with many feels about distributed systems, data routing and storage, and usable APIs. He currently leads Twilio's Data Platform team, building scalable and reusable data infrastructure to support a 400-person R&D organization. Sam has a different hair color every month, enjoys cycling and cooking, and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his husband Kameron and their dog Basil.

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About Luke Westby

Partner at HumbleSpark

Session: Fantastic Types and Where To Use Them

Luke is the cofounder and a partner at HumbleSpark located in Chicago, IL, USA. Luke is an active member of the Elm community, helping to maintain several open source packages including elm-lang/core and elm-http-builder. Luke loves contributing to the Elm community by speaking about the language, answering questions in the Elm Slack, writing blog posts, and organizing the Chicago Elm Meetup. When Luke isn't thinking about code he likes to play the guitar, speed-run Metroid Fusion, and watch far too much TV with his fiancée.

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About Yaroslav Tkachenko

Senior Software Engineer, Lead at Mobify

Session: Building Stateful Microservices With Akka

Yaroslav Tkachenko is a Senior Software Engineer, Lead at Mobify. He joined Mobify to work on Mobify Platform, which includes Progressive Mobile and Engagement Marketing solutions.

Before that Yaroslav was a Director of Engineering at Bench Accounting. He joined the company as a first employee (and a first Software Engineer) and helped to grow the engineering team from 3 to almost 30 people.

At Bench Yaroslav worked with Platform and Integrations teams and was mostly focused on designing and implementing microservices architecture using various stacks (Scala, Node.js), building low-level infrastructure and contributing to DevOps tooling.

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About Ruy Adorno

Senior Front-End Developer at AppDirect

Session: Node.js server side rendering in the Age of APIs

Ruy Adorno is a Front-End Developer with more than 10 years of experience working with the web and the many versions of ECMAScript. Also an avid open source user and contributor.

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About Matthew Davey

Senior Product Designer at AgileBits

Session: Designing Everyday Privacy and Security

I grew up in a little village in England 🇬🇧 but I live in Toronto 🇨🇦 and design for 1Password. Previously I've designed for brands like Ecco, Gucci, HSBC and Microsoft.

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About Ole Michaelis

Senior Software Engineer at DNSimple

Session: Get your fancy pants on with Elixir

Ole Michaelis is the co-founder of SoCoded, a hackfest and web development conference in Hamburg. He’s a Software Engineer working for DNSimple making Domain Automation a breeze. In his free time, he’s building slidr.io, a hazzle-free slide sharing platform. Ole is passionate about open source software, enjoys traveling, and loves Mexican food. He classifies himself as a 'bad' German as he dislikes beer and soccer – the traditional German past-times.

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About Alex Wilmer

Software Developer at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Session: Organizing Applications In The React Ecosystem

Alex Wilmer has a passion for all things JavaScript. It started with making side scrollers in Flash and has made its way to building research applications with his amazing colleagues at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. He spends much of his free time exploring new technologies, languages and frameworks, giving back what he learns to students at Lighthouse Labs and the Stackoverflow community. He also has a passion for open source and encourages everyone to make as many pull requests as possible. Find him on the TorontoJS slack community to say hello and ask any questions you like!

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About Ben Ilegbodu

Senior UI Engineer & Manager at Eventbrite

Session: Isomorphic React sans Node??

Ben is a Christian, a husband and a father of 2 with 10+ years of experience developing user interfaces for the Web. He currently leads and manages Eventbrite’s Frontend Platform team. On the side, Ben also enjoys playing basketball, DIY, watching movies, and blogging (benmvp.com) / tweeting (@benmvp) about his experiences with new web technologies.

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About Cassandra Faris

Director of Talent Management at Improving Columbus

Keynote: Health: The Most Important Dev Tool

Cassandra Faris is the Director of Talent Management at Improving Columbus, a software development consulting and training company. She is passionate about growing the tech community and its people, regularly attending, speaking at, and helping organize conferences and events. She is President of the Microsoft-focused Dog Food Conference and Marketing Lead for CloudDevelop. She has an MBA in Organizational Leadership, and is an avid tabletop gamer, runner, and soccer fan who travels as much as possible.

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About Ivana McConnell

Sr. UI/UX Designer at Customer.io

Session: Remote working: Swings & Roundabouts

Ivana was born in Sarajevo to a civil engineer-turned-translator and a UN Logistics Officer-turned-software engineer, and is now based in Vancouver. She arrived there via Croatia, Scotland, and Toronto, and has previously made a living as a rock climbing instructor and video game tester. The first code problem she remembers solving is figuring out the difference between a local and public URL while sprucing up a Neopets guild page. These days she’s a senior UX designer at Customer.io, and is most interested in the intersections of technology, identity, and data.

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About Tirell Mckinnon

Software Engineer at Skookum

Session: Jack of all trades, Development with Vuejs

Tirell Mckinnon is a software engineer at Skookum located in Charlotte, NC. Tirell has a background in computer science, frontend development has always been his passion. Tirell has always had a curiosity of deeply understanding software, he loves solving problems and exploring new technologies. He is a family man, avid learner, hobbyist mountain biker, and a member of the Army National Guard.

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About Chris Guzman

Developer Advocate at Nexmo

Session: Building a Better API with JSON:API

Chris is a Developer Advocate at Nexmo where he helps developers use their global communications platform. He co-organizes the Baltimore Hackathon, Baltimore’s Google Developer Group, and teaches classes at Betamore.

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About Juniper Belmont

Developer Advocate at Vaadin

Session: What Rocky Horror taught me about Shadow DOM and CSS

Juniper Belmont is a genderqueer developer advocate passionate about the open web platform. They love meeting people, talking about their passions, and giving presentations interspersed with bawdy jokes and lavish, mostly true stories. They use they/them pronouns and they can be found @juniperbelmont

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About Dana Scheider

BDD Evangelist at HealthSparq

Session: Oh Behave!: Behavior-Driven Development with Cucumber

Dana Scheider is a member of the Cucumber core team and lead author of Rambo, a contract testing tool for Ruby. She is particularly interested in testing, REST API design, and improving processes within engineering organizations.

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About Marissa Levy-Lerer

Chief Technology Officer at Compose[d]

Session: TBA

Marissa Lerer is a technologist, musician, cake decorator and mom. She received a BS in Music Education and an MA in Graphic Communications, Management and Technology from NYU. She is currently managing a team of developers, as CTO at COMPOSE[D], a digital creative and development agency in New York. Marissa prides herself on being a “cool nerd” who likes to get her hands in everything. She is also an accomplished singer/songwriter who has released three albums. She has also participated in the 2012 StartupBus and was on the winning team of the 2012 International Space Apps Challenge. She is passionate about mentorship, especially for women in tech. In addition to teaching programming at the School of Visual Arts she is also a regular panelist at Pace Path Live and recently mentored Girl Scouts at a SXSW event sponsored by Twitter and Dove. Last year she was the keynote speaker at Full Stack Toronto.

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About Jason Matthews

Technical Architect at SapientRazorfish

Session: React Native Ra11y

Lover of all things mobile, accessibility and performance. Passionate about React Native and Javascripts.

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About Jana Beck

Technical Architect at SapientRazorfish

Session: Fighting JavaScript fatigue? Try JavaScript therapy!

Jana Beck is a coffee-fueled engineer at a small open-source and not-for-profit startup called Tidepool, based in the Bay Area of California but with developers on three continents. Tidepool's mission is to reduce the burden of type 1 diabetes through data technology, and Jana works mostly on Tidepool's front-end stack (React with Redux; D3 for data visualization). When she's not coding or sleeping, there's a high probability that Jana is sweating in a gym or a dance studio.

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About Hira Javed

UX at ScotiaBank

Session: UX of Voice Interfaces

Hira is a Usability Specialist, she conducts UX research to inform product decisions from conception to post-launch. Hira has also been teaching at the University of Waterloo since 2012, where she created the curriculum for a required UX Design course as part of the Global Business and Digital Arts program. Her research interests includes digital memory, online communities, ephemeral messaging and gamification.

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About Kristina Balaam

Software Engineer at Shopify

Session: Tackling Technical Debt: Getting Started with Continuous Integration Testing

Kristina is a software engineer with Shopify's Developer Experience team, working primarily with the platform's API and app store. Prior to Shopify, Kristina led a team of developers building web and mobile applications for enterprise and start-up clients. Kristina graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Science from McGill University in 2012. She mentors with the Toronto chapter of Women in Leadership, founded the Women in Tech Toronto book club and leads the Toronto chapter of the Women in Tech Week conference.

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About Houssein Djirdeh

Software Developer at Rangle.io

Session: Tackling Technical Debt: Getting Started with Continuous Integration Testing

Houssein is passionate about JavaScript and all things web. Based in Toronto, he works as a JavaScript developer at Rangle.io. On the rare occasions when Houssein is not working on a blog post or his next side project, he enjoys weightlifting and long walks on the beach.


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