About me

Photo of me smiling
Photo taken in 2018 by Kelly Benvenuto

My name is Lea Verou* (Lea being short for Michaelia or Μιχαήλια) and I wear many hats. My day job is researching how to make web programming easier at MIT CSAIL, working with David Karger in the Haystack group.

I have a long-standing passion for open web standards. I’m an elected W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG) member as of Jan 2021. The TAG is a special W3C working group that ensures all new Web technologies are well-designed and consistent with the rest of the Web Platform, and do not expose Web users to harm. I’ve been one of the few Invited Experts of the W3C CSS Working Group since 2012 and co-edit several CSS specifications, so if you’re a Web developer, you probably use bits of my work daily. In the past, I have also worked at W3C/MIT as a Developer Advocate.

I love sharing knowledge and have given over 100 invited talks at web design/web development conferences around the world. My talks are known for their interactive style and are often cited as one of the few examples of live coding that doesn’t suck. I have also written a bestselling book on advanced CSS and several articles.

Selfie from 2018 to commemorate my (still unbroken) personal record number of hair colors 😅

I love designing and building tools that enhance people’s lives and/or make their tasks easier and have designed and launched over 30 tools, most of them open source. Some of them are:

I hold a MSc in Computer Science from MIT and a BSc in Computer Science from Athens University of Economics and Business, and I’m currently finalizing a PhD at MIT. Despite my technical pursuits, I’m one of the few misfits who love code and design equally.

In the more distant past, I grew up in Greece, and started my career at the same time as my studies, in 2005. For the first few years I was freelancing for graphic design and web development projects, and in 2008 I co-founded a startup called Fresset Ltd there. It created and managed several popular Greek community websites that my co-founder and I had created since 2005. I left in 2011 and the company was sold in 2013.

You can email me at lea@verou.me (don’t copy/paste it) if you are so inclined.

* Until 2013 I officially had both my parents’ last names (Komvouti-Verou / Κομβούτη-Βέρου) though I had been going by Lea Verou for over a decade. In 2013 I finally did the paperwork to only keep my mother’s surname, for simplicity and brevity. I think it’s awesome that my parents left the choice up to me, and not the patriarchy, and I have strong opinions on last name politics. Of course, my daughter also has both my and my husband’s last names. 😊