Speaker Spotlight: Mary Baum

Mary BaumWe’re happy to introduce Mary Baum to our WordCamp Kansas City attendees. She got her start in print media and marketing, so we asked her to give a little more insight into how she got where she is.

Q: How did you get started in your current field?
A: I’m trained as a print designer and worked as a combination art director and copywriter in advertising, in the 80s. In the 90s I worked with Maritz – still all in print, but growing my chops in digital design and production.I started doing sites in 1998, but did them in GoLive (wrong!) until 2007. That was when the Adobe Creative Suite switched to Dreamweaver, and I took that as a sign it was time to learn real html/CSS.

I was 47, and the first site I wrote that way was frontenactennis.com (Shocker!)

Once I had static sites down, I recognized I needed to offer more functionality – and flirted with Business Catalyst for a couple of years. Meanwhile, I was aware that I needed to start being able to design WP sites. I started my first few in summer 2010 (the year I turned 50, btw.) After a few CSS struggles and the realization I needed to learn php, I was done with Business Catalyst and committed to WP exclusively. 

In 2012, the last site I converted to WP was frontenactennis.com.

Q: Describe your ‘ah ha’ moment about WordPress?
A: There have been several:

  • The first was opening a second Genesis child theme and seeing its CSS was organized exactly as the first I’d opened was.
  • Another was answering a tweet with a joke that was a made-up php function about Keurigs.
  • Still others have happened every time I realize I just might have the hang of this hooks thing.
  • And then there have been all the times I’ve thought, “I’m a themer.”

Q: If you could go back to when you were getting started and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Skip BC. Learn php already.

Q: Describe your talk in three sentences or less.
A: Designing for conversion: The design decisions we make absolutely affect conversion. They tell a person this site is for them, or no, it’s not, with a million elements that combine to make one impression. But it’s copy that will seal the deal – especially such seemingly trivial copy as UI copy – the words on links, buttons and more.

Q: Who should attend your talk (beginner developer, intermediate content provider, advanced designer, etc)?
A:Designing for conversion: intermediate designer, beginning developer, marketing junkie.
Mobile-first: intermediate designer, intermediate developer, advanced analytics junkie.

This post is part of a multi-day series featuring speakers from WordCamp Kansas City 2015. Subscribe to have them delivered to your mailbox, or feel free to check back every day!