9 Women in WordPress You Should Be Following

After my recent post picking out ten personalities in WordPress you should be following, I received several comments and emails asking why there were no women in the list.

There was no conscious reason why I didn’t include any women, but I would be the first to admit that it was poor form on my part. There are plenty of women in the world of WordPress who are worthy of mention. With that in mind, I set out to produce a followup to my “ten personalities” post and present to you below nine women in WordPress you should be following. Enjoy!

Sarah Gooding (@PollyPlummer)

Sarah GoodingSarah was one of the first people I met in the WordPress community, let alone the first woman. We worked together at WPMU.org which was my first online writing gig.

At the time Sarah was proudly presented on the blog as an award winning writer, and with good reason. She has been writing about WordPress longer than many of us have been using it. Not only that, she is a partner at Untame, a boutique digital marketing firm specializing in open source content management systems and social networking architecture (to steal directly from her WPMU.org profile page ;-)).

Siobhan McKeown (@SiobhanPMcKeown)

Siobhan McKeownClosely following on Sarah’s heels was Siobhan — another old team member of mine at WPMU.org. When I first started writing for the site I was in awe of the success of just one article that Siobhan had written: Why You Should Never Search For Free WordPress Themes. Incidentally, the message contained within that post is as important today as it ever was.

Siobhan has also moved on from WPMU.org and is in fact now working at Audrey CapitalMatt Mullenweg’s angel investment and research company.

Helen Hou-Sandí (@HelenHouSandi)

Helen Hou-SandiMeet Helen Hou-Sandi, the very definition of multitasker. By day she works at WordPress implementation specialists 10up as the Director of User Interface Engineering, but her involvement in WordPress goes way deeper. She was involved in the recent 3.6 development cycle as a guest committer and feature lead for the post formats UI, and regularly helps out with Trac tickets. On top of that, she’s authored several plugins.

Unsurprisingly, Helen also keeps her own blog, where she recently confessed her love (and hate!) for the world’s favorite content management system:

I love WordPress. I develop using it for my job and for my own projects, I write (occasionally) using it, and I suggest it as a tool for content-based websites all the time. I also hate it. If I thought WordPress was perfect just the way it is, I wouldn’t work on core.

Outside of the community, Helen is a talented collaborative pianist, performing at many events in the New York area.


Jen Mylo (@JenMylo)

Jen MyloJen Mylo is one of the most well-known women on the list, partly for her UX work at Automattic, but more recently for her taking on the role of encouraging more women and diversity in the WordPress community.

“When Matt convinced me to take the job at Automattic, one of the things that got me in was that he said I could work on programs to bring women and girls into the WordPress community, especially around programming”, says Mylo.

She launched a series of women-only workshops, but she doesn’t always believe positive discrimination is the way forward, as evidenced by comments on her blog about the new Doctor Who:

The negative, bitter backlash from diversity activists (and the non-activists who mostly just retweet things) when it was announced that Peter Capaldi — a 50-something British white dude — would be taking the role was pretty sucky. We are not entitled to determine the creative decisions of artists based on our own socio-political agendas. They’re artists for a reason… they have ideas they want to express.

Tammie Lister (@Karmatosed)

Tammie ListerAs time goes on, more people are experimenting with community plugins such as BuddyPress. Tammie Lister (yet another WPMU.org graduate) is known as a BuddyPress specialist, but in addition to custom design work, her company Logical Binary offers user experience consultations, vital for any online community to thrive.

Her mantra is “design for humans”, with a particular focus on providing logical pathways through websites. Her focus on the user experience makes Tammie a popular speaker at WordCamps, including the sold-out BuddyCamp in Miami.

“I’m a firm believer in do the things you love and it shows. I’m passionate about communites, content and users. I’m slightly obsessed with bringing a human touch back to websites and creating emotional and personal digital experiences. I don’t believe in one size fits all”, she says.

Earlier this year, she launched Buddy Design Labs, a blog exploring what can be done with the BuddyPress UI, such as a statistics dashboard and an activity stream timeline. You should bookmark it if you’re even the slightest bit interested in seeing what can be done with BuddyPress.


Lisa Sabin-Wilson (@LisaSabinWilson)

Lisa Sabin WilsonWisconsin resident Lisa Sabin-Wilson is a poster girl for the freelance dream. She left her 10-year career as a Registered Nurse to launch a web design & development business. Eight years later she accepted a merger deal with WebDevStudios, where she is now co-owner and partner.

Along the way, Lisa was signed by Wiley Publishing to author the first edition of WordPress for Dummies, and another five editions after that. The book was a huge success and led her to write BuddyPress For Dummies, WordPress All In One For Dummies and WordPress Web Design For Dummies.

She knows her way around Multisite and spoke at WordCamp Las Vegas last year on the topic. It was a popular talk, particularly in the first 30 seconds. To find out why, check out the video on her blog.

Jessica Barnard (@ThePixelista)

Jessica BarnardRocking the theme development world since 2008, Jessica is better known as The Pixelista, where she creates beautiful themes targeted at women.

“While I was in high school, I started my career working in the Graphics Department of a magazine publishing firm. With our society’s shift to digital media becoming more apparent to me every day, I decided to swap my printer ink in lieu of HTML, PHP and CSS (a few of the coding languages I’m fluent in!) and delve into the world of web design. I began designing websites professionally in 2008, and haven’t looked back since”, she says.

Jessica develops solely on the Genesis framework, allowing her to focus on design not code. She also has an entrepreneur’s eye, recently expanding her business by taking over the development and support of the popular themes from EightCrazy Designs.

Mika Ariela Epstein (@Ipstenu)

IpstenuBetter known as Ipstenu, Mika Ariela Epstein is the Half-Elf support rogue. She works for DreamHost as a WordPress support specialist, but like so many others involved in the community, her work goes way beyond her day job. She’s a regular problem-solver in the WordPress.org forums, and is a dab-hand at plugin development too.

Her special area of interest is Multisite, a topic on which she’s authored two eBooks.

Mika is a regular speaker at WordCamps. Last week she presented in Portland, where she combined her love of WordPress support with her obvious love of role-playing games in “Rolling Your WordPress Support Character”. You can see her slides here.

Suzette Franck (@suzette_franck)

Suzette FranckSuzette works at web hosting specialists Media Temple, where she educates and advocates for WordPress. The line between her work time and free time is blurry however, as she attends an astonishing number of WordPress meet-ups and WordCamps.

Her most recent project is WordPress for Artists, a new meetup in Culver City aimed at artists, performers, and freelancers wanting to build their own website portfolio with WordPress. The event is free, and it’s a concept I can see catching on worldwide.

Her blog is a great place to check out everything she’s involved in, but also to get a feel for what the WordPress community is really about, with first-hand accounts from Suzette on the event she attends. Last but not least, she is also a regular guest on the WPWatercooler video podcast.

Who Else?

There’s no doubt that more women are getting involved in the WordPress, whether volunteering for the core project, helping solve support tickets, designing themes, or attending WordCamps, but is there still a gender bias in the community? Who else should be on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tom Ewer
Post Author: Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is a professional blogger, longtime WordPress enthusiast and the founder of WordCandy.

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Got something to say? Join the discussion.
  1. Raelene Wilson says:
    Nice list! There are so many amazing women doing amazing things with WordPress :)
  2. bucurblog says:
    I would add to this list and Crondeau which also do good things for wordpress https://github.com/crondeau
    • christine says:
      Thanks bucurblog. I never know if anyone cares about my stuff on github. It's good to know it's appreciated.
  3. Shelly Peacock says:
    I want to be on this list- maybe an over 40 version? Great article!
  4. DeborahEdwards-Onoro says:
    I'd add Stephanie Leary to the list of women. She's helped many WordPress users and developers with her Beginning WordPress 3 and WordPress for Developers books.
  5. Dave Bonta says:
    A very useful list, but I think you should update it to include Stephanie Leary (@sleary), author of the newly revised WordPress for Web Developers as well as some of the coolest plugins out there. http://stephanieleary.com/ (And no, I don't know her; I've never met her.)
  6. Stefanie A. Newton says:
    How can Andrea Rennick not be on this list? http://profiles.wordpress.org/andrea_r
  7. DeborahEdwards-Onoro (@redcrew) says:
    One more to add! I forgot to mention Natalie Maclees, another woman very active in the WordPress community. Natalie speaks at many WordCamps and leads the SoCal WordPress Meetup group.
  8. Brad Touesnard says:
  9. A. Canton says:
    You mean to tell me that there is no one over 30... or 40... or (horrors) over 50 to make this list? My biz partner is over 60 with 40 years of graphic experience and IMO can out-design anyone on this list... but because she is not young and "pretty" there is little change for her to get recognition. Yeah, I know. Life is unfair. OK it is your blog and your list, but you should have made some effort to broaden your search beyond people who can't remember a day when there wasn't an Internet.
    • AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:
      AJ Clarke | WPExplorer
      Has nothing to do with age. Is your partner a big contributor to WordPress? That is what this post is about. If so, please share her name/site.
    • Jen Mylo says:
      For the record, I'm 41.
  10. makeupsubscribe says:
    Very nice article when the guy talking about women ;)
  11. Miriam Schwab says:
    The Andreas are missing: Andrea Rennick and Andrea Middleton. Other than that, great list!
  12. lucy beer says:
    Natalie MacLees - genius developer, jQuery goddess, book author, runs a huge WordPress meetup group in California (SoCal WordPress), WordCamp speaker with the best reveal ever (WordCamp Reno 2013 jQuery talk), co-organizer of WordCamp Los Angeles 2013, cat lover and all-around awesome gal.
  13. haha Miriam, YOU'RE missing!
  14. Joseph Herb says:
    All are very good WP women and had made hard influence in WordPress world.
  15. Jerralyn Tanoc says:
    Your right Tom! I would probably follow these 9 fantastic women.
  16. Todd E. Jones says:
    I remember getting started in digging further by reading the book by Lisa. I have and am meeting several really smart ladies in the Genesis community. They are very helpful!
    • Tom Ewer says:
      Tom Ewer
      I know that the Thesis forums and WooThemes forums are great too -- can't beat 'em when you're looking for specific help!
  17. sashancruise says:
    Thank you for the post. I would like to point out that Suzette Franck handle on twitter is @suzette_franck
  18. Manny Costa says:
    I think Kimberly Castleberry should be also in this list. Met her at Wordcamp Orlando last year and she's an amazing person and professional. https://twitter.com/AskKim

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