100 episodes

Hallway Chats introduces the unique designers, developers, marketing consultants, content creators, project managers, and more who make our community the flourishing environment we love. This endeavor will share the mic with the unsung women and men in our community who struggle, and succeed, in life every day – or at least on most days. Tara and Liam aim to share advice, tips, and camaraderie that ultimately lead to a greater sense of inclusion and belonging. The shared stories, challenges and successes will empower listeners to understand that their own challenges and hurdles are shared by a wider community.

Hallway Chat‪s‬ Tara Claeys and Liam Dempsey

    • Careers
    • 4.9 • 17 Ratings

Hallway Chats introduces the unique designers, developers, marketing consultants, content creators, project managers, and more who make our community the flourishing environment we love. This endeavor will share the mic with the unsung women and men in our community who struggle, and succeed, in life every day – or at least on most days. Tara and Liam aim to share advice, tips, and camaraderie that ultimately lead to a greater sense of inclusion and belonging. The shared stories, challenges and successes will empower listeners to understand that their own challenges and hurdles are shared by a wider community.

    Hallway Chats Episode - Cate and Topher DeRosia

    Hallway Chats Episode - Cate and Topher DeRosia

    A Conversation with Cate and Topher DeRosia

    The DeRosias are the founders and stewards of HeroPress. If you don’t already know about it, HeroPress tells the stories of people who have leveraged WordPress and its community to change their lives and achieve their goals. Through these stories, global connections are made and conversations are had that build a stronger community, more employment, and educational opportunities, and easier access to resources.

    Show Notes

    Website | HeroPress

    Twitter | @mysweetcate

    Twitter | @topher1kenobe

    Episode Transcript

    Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.

    Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.

    Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 150.

    Tara: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Tara Claeys.

    Liam: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Liam Dempsey.

    Liam: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Liam Dempsey.

    Tara: And I’m Tara Claeys. Today we’re joined by Cate and Topher DeRosia. The DeRosias are the founders and stewards of HeroPress. If you don’t already know about it, HeroPress tells the stories of people who have leveraged WordPress and its community to change their lives and achieve their goals. Through these stories, global connections are made and conversations are had that build a stronger community, more employment, and educational opportunities, and easier access to resources. It’s a great resource, a great organization. We are such fans of HeroPress. Thanks for joining us. Hey, we’re glad you’re here.

    Cate: Thanks for having us.

    Topher: Thanks for having us. Tara…

    Liam: You are very welcome. Go ahead.

    Topher: Tara, you did an essay on HeroPress once.

    Tara: I did.

    Liam: Tara is awesome. Thank you for sharing that, Tara. And thank you for flagging that up, Topher. And welcome to you both, Topher and Cate. Thanks for joining us here today.

    Topher: Yeah.

    Liam: This is where we would normally say “tell us a little bit more about yourself.” I feel like because of your great work with HeroPress, most of the folks probably listening to our show or at least our regular listeners are going to know who both you Cate and Topher are. So we’re going to do things a little bit differently on this, our 149th episode of Hallway Chats.

    What we’re going to do is in our little role change, we’re going to ask Cate and Topher really to interview Tara and I. And not so much from our individual perspective than individual lives, but really as the cohosts and organizers of Hallway Chats. So we’ll be really answering our two signature questions, not from our own personal perspectives, but rather from the perspectives of managers of this happy, little show. So if everybody’s all with us here, then I will turn the mic back over to DeRosias and invite them to get this interview underway.

    Cate: So my first question would be, why did you start Hallway Chats?

    Liam: And I’m going to turn that question over to Tara to start.

    Topher: Well done.

    Tara: We had a lot of free time. No, no. Well, in part, to be honest, inspired by what HeroPress was doing. And also at the time, for me personally, I listened to every WordPress podcast there was. And at the time, there were maybe four or five that I really listened to really regularly. And I noticed that a lot of times it was the same people on those podcasts each time. So I thought it would be kind of nice to hear stories of people that I meet at WordCamps and in Slack groups who aren’t on podcasts.

    • 47 min
    Hallway Chats Episode - Stephanie Hudson

    Hallway Chats Episode - Stephanie Hudson

    Introducing Stephanie Hudson

    Stephanie is a geek, entrepreneur, inventor, and craft beer lover. Her passion is helping grow agencies to scale and thrive through her white label company, FocusWP.

    Show Notes

    LinkedIn | Left Brain

    Facebook | Stephanie Hudson

    Website | Focus WP

    Preferred Pronouns | She/Her

    Episode Transcript

    Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.

    Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.

    Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 149.

    Tara: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Tara Claeys.

    Liam: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Liam Dempsey.

    Tara: And I’m Tara Claeys. Today we’re joined by Stephanie Hudson. Stephanie is a geek, entrepreneur, inventor, and craft beer lover. Her passion is helping grow agencies to scale and thrive through her white label company FocusWP. Welcome, Stephanie. Thanks for joining us today.

    Stephanie: Hey, you guys. It’s so nice to be here.

    Liam: Stephanie, what a pleasure to meet you. Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself, please?

    Stephanie: Well, I have been in the WordPress space for about as long as there’s been a WordPress space. I’ve been making websites since dial-up days, which makes me feel super old. But currently I’m a Divi girl. I am on the Divi Chat Podcast. I like Divi but I’m not a hater of the other builders and things like that. I think we should all be able to get along. I’ve run an agency. I’ve freelanced. I’ve done all the things. I’ve had a full-time job with a boss who watched over my shoulder all day long. So I’ve done all of these things. And then I started to sort of take all that knowledge and mix it together.

    We have a white label company, my business partner and I, where we do services for agencies. So I really am having a great time helping agencies to scale and grow. One of my favorite little pet projects is to take freelancers who are super insecure and give them a little pep talk before a proposal is due or something and help them to get more money, because they never think they’re worth it. So I’m just in general kind of a geek.

    Tara: Well, and super positive too. I can tell you’ve got a lot of great energy. So that’s great. I think we have all of the major page builders represented here. Because I use Beaver Builder mostly, although I’m going to try Elementor soon. And Liam is an Elementor user. So we can now get along.

    Stephanie: It’s hard days for Elementor right now.

    Tara: Yeah, they’ve had a little rough time.

    Stephanie: But Divi people understand because we’ve been bashed forever, you know?

    Tara: Yeah. Well, the Divi community is huge. I mean, it really is…

    Stephanie: It’s amazing. And it’s such a nice culture. I mean, when anything gets to a certain size, you have your haters and your trolls. But for the most part, it’s been incredible. And I really am not a side taker. I think it’s so silly that people think that’s worth fighting over. In fact, I just posted in a Facebook group this morning. Somebody was like, “Oh, I want to try a builder. What should I use?” And it’s like kwa kwa kwa. Every side is like…

    And I said, “You know what, pick a tool and go with it.” You can build a great site in literally any of these builders. I just decided early on to stick to what… I was building sites in WordPress in general. I’m not like the best developer ever.

    • 32 min
    Hallway Chats Episode - Bet Hannon

    Hallway Chats Episode - Bet Hannon

    Introducing Bet Hannon

    Bet discovered WordPress in 2008 and has been involved in the WordPress community since 2013 at meetups, WordCamps, and on the support team. Bet runs an agency, Bet Hannon Business Websites, where she specializes in WordPress and accessibility.

    Show Notes

    Twitter | @bethannon

    Website | BHMBizSites.com

    Preferred Pronouns | She/Her

    Episode Transcript

    Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.

    Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.

    Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 148.

    Tara: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Tara Claeys.

    Liam: And I’m Liam Dempsey. Today we’re joined by Bet Hannon. Bet discovered WordPress in 2008 and has been involved in the WordPress community since 2013 at meetups, WordCamps, and on the support team. Bet runs an agency, Bet Hannon Business Websites, where she specializes in WordPress and accessibility. Bet, welcome.

    Bet: Hey, great to be with you guys today.

    Tara: So nice to meet you Bet. I’ve been a fan and a follower, and it’s really great to see you face to face on a Zoom.

    Bet: Thanks.

    Tara: Can you tell us and our listeners more about yourself and Bet Hannon Business Websites?

    Bet: Yeah. I discovered WordPress in 2008. I had a 15 year plus career in nonprofit management, and near the end of that time, I’d been doing drag and drop websites and email newsletters. My organization downsized my position at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008 and I kind of fell into… People would pay you to do those things independent of being a part of their staff.

    I went to a weekend conference, and I met a guy that I knew was an iOS app developer. We were talking and I was telling him what I was doing and he said, “Oh, you should be doing those websites in WordPress.” And I said, “I don’t even know what that is.” So we both way back home and we had a phone call where we both at the same time logged into the back end. It before Zoom and all those things, right? So we logged into the back end of his WordPress website, and my mind was blown. It was just love at first sight. I got involved doing WordPress websites.

    And then went to my first WordCamp in 2013. Went to WordCamp LA, and just started meeting people in the WordPress community. It was just an amazing thing to me and always still is every time I go to a WordCamp, just to meet people from all over the world. Even when you go to small little WordCamps, people come from really far away sometimes, and or just doing super cool things with WordPress. I just really love talking to people, as Liam knows. Liam and I met in 2015 when we were both on the check-in desk for WordCamp US in Philly.

    Tara: Ah, okay. That’s I think when I met Liam for the first time as well was 2015 WordCamp US. Or maybe it was Philly before. Anyway, my first WordCamp was also in 2013, and I started using it a little bit later than you were, in 2010. So I’m curious about that experience of having worked in WordPress on your own for five years or so before discovering that WordPress community or WordCamps, and if that changed the way that you work, the way that you use WordPress, what you do that I guess the quality of your work, perhaps. How did that impact your work discovering WordPress community after viewing it by yourself or without the community?

    Bet: Well, I had kind of been involved a little bit in the community in the sense of I found the support forums. And I’m not even sure really where I kind of ran onto those. But I discovered that I could put things together in terms of getting answers to questions or issues that ...

    • 32 min
    Hallway Chats Episode - Patrick Rauland

    Hallway Chats Episode - Patrick Rauland

    Introducing Patrick Rauland

    Patrick is obsessed with eCommerce. He’s created eCommerce websites for clients, worked at WooCommerce in support, development, and product management, and he creates courses on LinkedIn Learning for WooCommerce. He’s written several books on eCommerce, and also runs WooSesh, an online conference all about WooCommerce.

    Show Notes

    Twitter | @BFTrick

    Website | Speaking In Bytes

    Game Website | LaidBackGames.com

    Nexcess | Optimize WooCommerce, Store Builder

    Preferred Pronouns | He/Him

    Episode Transcript

    Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.

    Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.

    Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 147.

    Tara: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Tara Claeys.

    Liam: And I’m Liam Dempsey. Today, we’re joined by Patrick Rauland. Patrick is obsessed with eCommerce. He’s created eCommerce websites for clients, worked at WooCommerce in support, development, and product management, and he creates courses on LinkedIn Learning for WooCommerce. He’s written several books on eCommerce, and also runs WooSesh, an online conference all about WooCommerce. Patrick, welcome. Thank you for joining us today.

    Patrick: Thanks for having me.

    Tara: Thanks for being here. We’re really glad to have the opportunity to get to know you better and have a little chat. Can you tell us more about yourself?

    Patrick: Yeah. I did forget to write down one thing. I now work at Nexcess as a product marketing manager, and we specialize in eCommerce hosting. So I’m still doing even more eCommerce. Then I also was the lead organizer for WordCamp Denver the last couple of years. Let’s see. And I think just in personal life I also love everything board game.

    Tara: Woo, I’m excited to talk about that because there’s been a lot of board gaming, like probably a lot of people have over the years. Pandemic lockdown, cozy up at home kind of stuff. My daughter came home from college and she’s obsessed with this game that has trains in it and you have to connect the trains across the country.

    Patrick: Ticket to Ride.

    Tara: Ticket to Ride is the name. I’m terrible at it. I don’t like it. You cannot multitask in that game, which is something that really bothers me. But there’s apparently versions like in Scandinavia versions and all these different versions, which would make it much harder if you’re not familiar with what’s where. The game I’m newly familiar with.

    Patrick: In that board game world, that’s a gateway game, we’d call it. So it’s a game to get people into the hobby. So, if that’s too much, many other…all the games on…I know, this is a podcast and most people can’t see behind me, but most of the games behind me are more complex than that.

    Tara: Okay. I’m not sure it’s the complexity. It’s the singular thing you can do on a turn. Like why can’t you get tickets and build a train? I didn’t understand that. But you got me going. I like Scrabble.

    Patrick: I’m terrible at word games. I can guarantee everyone in the world can beat me at any word game. My brain doesn’t work that way. So I give you kudos.

    Tara: Fun, fun. Are a lot of new games out?

    Patrick: Yeah. People are still launching games on Kickstarter,

    • 34 min
    Hallway Chats Episode - Ken Elliott

    Hallway Chats Episode - Ken Elliott

    Introducing Ken Elliott

    Ken lives in Columbia, South Carolina, where he is a full-time webmaster at a law firm. He’s also a co-owner of BKreative Media Solutions, an agency that supports small and medium businesses with digital branding solutions. He’s a core organizer of his local WordPress meetup, which is on a bit of a hiatus to the COVID.

    Show Notes

    Website | BKreative Media Solutions: bkreative.net

    Twitter | @kennethspeaks

    Instagram | kennethspeaks

    Preferred Pronouns | He/Him

    Episode Transcript

    Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.

    Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.

    Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 146.

    Tara: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Tara Claeys.

    Liam: And I’m Liam Dempsey. Today we’re joined by Ken Elliot. Ken lives in Columbia, South Carolina, where he is a full-time webmaster at a law firm. He’s also a co-owner of BKreative Media Solutions, an agency that supports small and medium businesses with digital branding solutions. He’s a core organizer of his local WordPress meetup, which is on a bit of a hiatus to the COVID. Welcome, Ken.

    Ken: Thank you. Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

    Tara: We’re glad you’re here too. Thanks so much for joining us. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

    Ken: Yes. Pretty much what I do is provide brand solutions to small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to kind of grow and scale for those companies that they don’t know where to get started with their actual online branding space. I provide them with kind of general solutions to get them going so they can kind of reach out to their audience.

    Tara: So are you more of a front end web person than a designer? Or do you also…I see your T-shirt. I know no one else can see that see this. So tell us a little bit about your skillset when it comes to being a webmaster and also doing the branding that you do.

    Ken: Yeah, absolutely. I started out doing web development pretty much we’ll say 22 years ago. So I learned how to build my first website. I was in AOL Chat Rooms, which was super popular 22 years ago. And then someone else was doing a website, they said, “I build websites.” I was like, “Well, if you build a website, so can I.” So I ended up making my first website using Microsoft Word, which was the only way I knew how to make a website at the time.

    Then I also proceeded to learn how to go into the view source and grab code and go into the bookstore, looking at different resources at the bookstore on how to learn different coding. So you can kind of say I’m a bit of both. I learned HTML CSS before I entered college, and did not learn how to do PHP in databasing while I was in college. So I learned a lot of stuff pre WordPress—before I even learned what WordPress was.

    Tara: Wow, that’s great. You’ve got a pretty thorough background there going back a long way. How did you get started in the branding aspect of things?

    Ken: Well, what I ended up realizing was when I would build websites for some of my clients, they didn’t know what to do next. It was, “Here’s a website,” and it’s like, “Okay, thank you.” And then I guess they just assumed that the website would bring people to them. And so I was like, “Okay, so let me help guide you on how to reach your audience now that this website is here. Maybe you should put some more strategy into social media.

    • 33 min
    Hallway Chats Episode - Kyle Maurer

    Hallway Chats Episode - Kyle Maurer

    Introducing Kyle Maurer

    Kyle is the Director of Operations at Sandhills Development which is a WordPress plugin company. He loves bringing people together and has a passion for making music and craft beer.

    Show Notes

    Website | KyleBlog.net

    Website | Sandhills Development

    Podcast | WP RoundTable with Tara Claeys

    Podcast | The Get Options Podcast

    Preferred Pronouns | He/Him

    Episode Transcript

    Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.

    Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.

    Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 145.

    Liam: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Liam Dempsey.

    Tara: And I’m Tara Claeys. Today we’re joined by Kyle Maurer. Kyle is the director of operations at Sandhills Development, which is a WordPress plugin company. He loves bringing people together and has a passion for making music and craft beer. He’s also officially the biggest Hallway Chats fan, yay for us, and he could not be more excited to be on the show today. Welcome, Kyle. We’re so happy that you’re here. Thanks for joining us.

    Kyle: Thank you, Tara and Liam. I’m so thrilled to be with you all today. This is amazing.

    Liam: Kyle, we’re absolutely thrilled to have you here, and my ego in particular is grateful for your presence. So flattery can continue as long as you would like to do. It is very welcome. Welcome.

    Kyle: I am happy to. I have an abundance of comments and just thoughts on this wonderful show. I would love…

    Liam: To interrupt you, maybe you can start by telling us a little bit more about yourself beyond what Tara has already shared.

    Kyle: Well, that’s totally fine. That’s what the show is about, right? I have a story that’s no more interesting than the next person’s and we can run through that I suppose. I’ve been doing the WordPress thing for a while just like you have and all the other amazing guests that you’ve had on this fantastic show. I was fortunate in many ways when I was younger, but if there is one thing I look back that I lacked, it was probably role models and mentors. I spend a lot of time in my early career wandering about not knowing what to do or where I was supposed to end up. I milked cows, I ran registers, I shelved books, I powerwashed houses.

    I did all this random stuff not knowing where to end up until I finally got…not finally. I was pretty young at the time. But I got married and bought my first house and started to get really serious about needing to accelerate my career development. I did a lot of research and eventually found that if I learned just a little bit of web programming in my spare time, it could open doors much faster than the dead-end jobs I was working at the time. I don’t remember why. I started with PHP, took some tutorials, dropped some acronyms on my resume, and immediately had takers.

    I turned an internship at an agency into a position and a full-time position, and then a director of technology role, and then eventually had to leave that company because I caught on to how shady the owners really were. But then I started my own company with an abundance of unearned competence and ran a marketing agency with a business partner for five years. And that was the time period when I got the most invested into the WordPress world. At the time, when we started our business WordPress was emerging as the leader of the options at the time but was by no means ubiquitous dominator in the scene that it is today.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

MichelleMAmes ,

Best virtual hallway ever

Tara and Liam are the most gracious and amazing podcast hosts. They are welcoming and get some great conversations going with their guests. It’s always fun to play the next episode, hear who their guest is, and the fun and interesting chats they have. Grateful for their contribution to the WordPress community.

sdee11 ,

A gift to the community

There aren’t many podcasts that are willing to take a chance and be a guest’s first podcast interview. This show is all about that. What a gift to have this show uplift others and help us meet people in the WordPress community who haven’t taken center stage (yet). Thank you Tara and Liam.

whiteleydesigns ,

Interesting and Down to Earth

Tara and Liam bring a down-to-earth approach with guests of all skill levels, lifestyles and business models. Their approach is REAL and it comes through in their discussions. I look forward to listening to Hallway Chats each week.

Top Podcasts In Careers

Listeners Also Subscribed To