Zach’s ugly mug (his face)

Zach Leatherman

Tech Meetup at the White House

April 20, 2015 Watch in 3 minutes

Skip to: Video, Thank You Notes, Related Links, or Press.

About one month ago, I received the following e-mail:

The White House Official Seal
On April 17, we’re hosting community organizers, city and state officials, and technology thought leaders for a Tech Meetup at the White House. Our goals in gathering are to support America’s innovators, to better bridge digital divides, to interconnect us on common topics, to better collaborate on challenging projects where we have deep need and passion to solve them, and figure out how to include all Americans everywhere in our #InnovationNation.

I hope you will be able to join us!

U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President

To which I promptly responded:

Dear         ,

Please forgive my abruptness, but I’m sure I’m not the only one that has had this reaction—is this a real thing? Is it really at the White House?


I received the following:

Hello Zach! This is the real thing :) -- and no, you are not the only person to react this way. It's a very special invitation, and yes, we are all really, truly invited to the White House.

Holy shit.

Later I discovered that they wanted me to do a very short talk (three minutes) about NebraskaJS.

Holy shit.

Holy shit—my name is on the schedule.

Holy shit—I’m in the room.
Holy shit—I’m on the stage.

Video #

Jump to the 2h 23m 26s mark to see my portion.

Tech Meetup at the White House — Zach Leatherman on NebraskaJS on YouTube.

After my talk was over, I immediately posted this tweet:

Thank You Notes #

This was, without a doubt, one of the coolest opportunities I have ever had in my life. A huge thank you to the Meetup team that organized the event and Megan Smith (US CTO) who I learned firsthand is one of the most amazing people on planet Earth.

Another huge thank you to everyone that has helped out with NebraskaJS: especially the original founders Jonathan Sharp, Andrew Wirick, and Eli Perelman; the current co-organizers Nick Nisi and Blaine Kasten; and all the presenters. I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity if it hadn’t been for you all. Thank you.

Press #

TechRepublic: White House plays matchmaker with local geeks and leaders to get more people into tech jobs

Zach Leatherman from NebraskaJS talked about battling brain drain--losing top talent to other parts of the country--drawing the attention of companies to the local talent pool, and essentially making sure no one is held back by negative perceptions relating to their geographic location. Blog Post: Celebrating opportunity at the first-ever Tech Meetup at the White House

NextGov: White House Promotes Tech Meetups

CNN Money: First White House Tech Meetup: You are creating opportunity

Zach’s ugly mug (his face)

Zach is a builder for the web with Netlify. He’s currently fixated on web fonts and static site generators. His public speaking résumé includes talks in eight different countries at events like Beyond Tellerrand, Smashing Conference, CSSConf, and The White House. He is an emeritus of Filament Group, NEJS CONF, and still helps out with NebraskaJS. Read more about Zach »

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4 Replies
  1. Cassidy Williams

    Cassidy Williams @cassidoo #

    Oh DANG what a life-changing time for you! The world was so different then hahaha 🙃

  2. Zach Leatherman

    Zach Leatherman @zachleat #

    Ha! I was 8-months into a pregnancy beard and flew home before the after party just in case my wife went into labor. My daughter was born the next week!

  3. Cassidy Williams

    Cassidy Williams @cassidoo #

    WOW that is wild!! For some reason the thing I remember the most about the event was the afterparty jazz music and appetizers they served 😆

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