Two Lakewoodites to Present at SXSW Conference

It's kind of a big deal. The event — featuring music, films, interactive media and technology — is attended by a crowd roughly the population of Lakewood.

Two Lakewoodites are set to present at the annual South by Southwest event in Austin, TX, next month.

It’s kind of a big deal.

The conference — featuring music, films, interactive media and technology — is attended by a crowd roughly the .

Shannon Okey, a book publisher with Cooperative Press in Lakewood’s , and Jeffrey Rohrs, of ExactTarget, are both set to give presentations during the second week of March.

Both of them are presenting in the Interactive category.

Shannon Okey

Okey makes it no secret that she knows knitting.

But where she shines is helping other creative-type folks repackage their work, present and sell it.

She’ll also publish their books.

Okey has published more than a dozen books, including the revised second edition of Pam Allen’s “Knitting for Dummies.”

She's also authored some, too.

She said her job — before the rise of IPads, tablets and mobile devices — wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago.

Before she began at Cooperative Press, the Berea native worked as the editor-in-chief of a knitting magazine in the UK. 

“I knew the way (publishing) worked, but I also knew the possibilities out there,” she said. “Technology has made it so much more successful.”

Okey, whose company broke six-figures in sales last year, said she’s looking forward to taking her message to an audience.

“It shows we’re getting things out there.”

Okey will present “Knitting a Long Tail in Niche Publishing” at the Sheraton Austin hotel on March 12.

Jeffrey Rohrs

Lakewood resident Jeffrey Rohrs is no stranger to presenting his ideas to a large audience.

He’s just never been on a stage so big.

Rohrs, the vice president of marketing research for ExactTarget, has attended the conference four times, but this will be his first time speaking.

Rohrs said, with his skills in social media, branding and permission-based channels, he’s sort of a “Swiss Army Knife.”

“As these channels evolve, how are these relationships with fans and followers different or the same from each other,” said Rohrs. “And what potential does that give to brands who want to optimize their audiences?”

He’s spread his message before — as a featured speaker at a social media summit, hosted by Smart Business, and a guest speaker at an event hosted by Wired Magazine in New York City.

When he’s not traveling, he works out of his Lakewood home (so does his wife, Jenny Rohrs, of Craft Test Dummies).

“We thank our lucky stars that we found Lakewood. It’s sort of like the Portland, OR.”

Rohrs will present at the Hilton Austin on March 9.


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