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Meet the Speakers

The quality of a conference is largely defined by the quality of the presenters. The Front-End Design Conference has always worked hard to find a truly engaging and thoughtful lineup and this year is no different.

  • Josh Higgins

    Josh Higgins


    Currently a Creative Director in The Factory at Facebook, a multidisciplinary team of art directors, designers, writers, film makers, and engineers whose mission is brand development / communication for Facebook. In 2013 Josh concluded his role as Design Director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign. As the Design Director, Josh built and led the creative team for the historic 2012 political campaign in which the web, design, and technology played a pivotal role. The responsibility of Josh and the team was to design the Obama 2012 campaign both online and offline. A main focus was to create a uniform message and consistent visual language across all mediums. With roots in both advertising and graphic design, Josh’s work has earned him national honors.

    Josh dedicates a percentage of his time to social causes. Finding creative ways to support these causes has manifested into exhibits and charitable projects, like The Hurricane, So-Cal and Haiti Poster Projects in addition to lecture series with photographers, designers and film makers with proceeds donated to various charitable organizations

  • Ben Callahan

    Ben Callahan


    President of Sparkbox and founder of the Build Right workshop series, Ben shares his ideas about the web on the Sparkbox Foundry and other leading industry blogs. He’s incredibly grateful for the team at Sparkbox as they pioneer new responsive web design techniques, and he continues to push for great user experiences outside the context of specific devices. You can find him speaking around the world, rambling on Twitter, tinkering with his personal site, or in his backyard splitting wood for next winter.

  • Carl Smith

    Carl Smith

    Bureau Of Digital

    A theater major who decided to act like he understood business, Carl spent 14 years in advertising before launching his digital agency, nGen Works, in 2003.

    nGen ran for 12 years, constantly experimenting with different models of management and team structure, including the Jellyfish Model which was flat before flat was cool.

    Towards the end of nGen’s run, Carl attended the very first Bureau event and fell madly in love with the concept of building community in the web industry. So much so that a few years later he closed nGen to take over the Bureau in 2016. Now Carl spends every day connecting digital professionals to give them the support they need.

  • Anna Stout

    Anna Stout

    Anna is the owner of Astute Communications, a full-service marketing agency specializing in Custom Website Design and Search Engine Optimization. An active participant in the technology community, you can find her attending tech conferences, serving on the board and as a mentor for WomenGetIT, or taking the stage as a nationally recognized speaker. Anna has spoken at various web design industry conferences, and for both the Nashville Global Chamber and the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Luncheon. Her 5-step process for planning a website was recently published as the cover feature in Net Magazine.

    A mother of two, successful business owner and proud “Woman in Tech,” Anna is dedicated to empowering women in technology through ongoing educational opportunities and one-on-one mentoring.

  • Matt Griffin

    Matt Griffin

    Founder, Bearded

    Matt Griffin is a designer and founder of Bearded. He is a speaker, writer, and an avid advocate for collaboration in design. His writing has been published by net magazine and A List Apart, where he is [a regular contributor.

    As if that weren't enough, Matt is also the director of the documentary film What Comes Next Is the Future.

  • Megan Zlock

    Megan Zlock


    Megan is a Front-End Developer at Viget by day and hobbyist illustrator by night based near Washington, DC.

  • Tera Simon

    Tera Simon

    Atlantic BT

    Fondly known as a Southern Belle with Yankee flair, Tera Simon is currently the Director of Client Engagement for Atlantic BT in Raleigh, NC with over a decade of Project Management experience, Tera has helped define, document and implement process within ABT. Her attention to detail and grasp of usability empower her to see projects evolve on schedule and within scope, while achieving the high level of quality that she is recognized for delivering. Tera has the ability to combine traditional graphic design awareness and new media technologies with classic sensibilities, and apply this not just to her clients' projects, but also to her team.

    When she’s not sprinting from meeting to meeting, you can find her supporting local breweries, travelling, and educating anyone that will listen on why football is the greatest sport around.

  • Amber Stickel

    Amber Stickel

    IBM Design

    Amber is a multidisciplinary designer and front-end developer living in Austin, TX. She currently works at IBM Design where she works at the intersection of design and code. She is most passionate about front-end architecture and modular design. When she's not at her computer, she can be found exploring her new home city, drinking coffee, and talking about her cats.

  • Jenell Pizarro

    Jenell Pizarro


    Jenell Pizarro is a junior developer and teacher's assistant at Skillcrush. She is an advocate for diversity in tech and is a member of various groups like Lady Developers, a group that champions female developers of all ages. Upon graduation from The Iron Yard, Jenell started Open Code Orlando which seeks to pair senior and junior developers to work on projects together and maintain an open line of communication between juniors and those they look up to as mentors.

  • Stefanie Young

    Stefanie Young

    Grok Interactive

    Frontend developer at Grok Interactive, focusing on responsive design and CMS templating. I work first-hand with our clients and their users to create fantastic UI/UX through interactive and responsive designs. I have come to teach and speak on the subject of responsive design monthly at local venues and coding schools. I have a serious passion for user experiences and the ability to access products and information via mobile devices. I love educating business owners on responsive design's importance and it's ability to help profit, user retention and SEO.

  • Ayumi Fukuda Bennett

    Ayumi Fukuda Bennett

    Startup Southerner

    Ayumi is the founder of Startup Southerner, a digital publication on a mission to inform, include and empower the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Southeast.

    Born in Japan and raised in the southern Appalachian Mountains, Ayumi first became interested in storytelling by way of editorial cartooning for Vanderbilt University's student paper. A 2015 graduate of Nashville Software School, she also spends time as a developer and UX strategist. Ayumi is glad to be in an industry that brings together newly acquired tech knowledge with her love of visual solutions.

  • Sergio Cruz

    Sergio Cruz

    Code School.

    Sergio is currently a senior developer and instructor at Code School. He regularly teaches and presents technical topics like Angular 2, React and other web development trends.

  • Ryan Cromwell

    Ryan Cromwell


    Ryan Cromwell is the Technical Director at Sparkbox with more nearly 15 years of experience delivering solutions ranging from real-time customer loyalty systems and elegant user experiences to streamlined statistical process control software. Ryan’s passion is anchored in delivering software others enjoy using. He has also established himself as a strong software community ally.

  • Daniel Flynn

    Daniel Flynn


    Daniel is a developer at Sparkbox with an wide range of experience in both frontend and backend technologies. He spends most of his time sipping coffee, writing code, debating software architecture structures, and speaking in Emoji. In his free time he is hanging out with his wife, watching Netflix with his dog, and making sweet, sweet music with his guitars. You can find Daniel attempting to twitter @dflynn15 and pretending to be artsy.

  • Jed Schneider

    Jed Schneider

    Through a series of fortunate twists and turns, Jed has had the opportunity to work with functional programming for over 10 years, much of it targeting front end development. In former lives he has been: a professional cyclist, geographer, ski/snowboard instructor, barista, and coffee wholesaler. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife and two children and is the Director of Engineering for both, and In his ‘spare time’ he mentors through a number of Slack communities and coding bootcamps, including The Iron Yard, and He also contributes to as a guest writer. You can find him on most social networks as @jedschneider, but prefers a good phone conversation.

  • Jeremy Hedges

    Jeremy Hedges

    UX Strategist

    Jeremy takes a collaborative, research-driven approach to designing experiences for our clients. With a dual background in information science and communication, Jeremy investigates how people think and what’s important to them to plan a way forward.


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