MEET KarIn Bretz
What is your title and your favorite thing about your job? I’m a product designer at Simple. I capital L Love that I get to spend time doing both open-ended problem solving and nitty-gritty pattern and component design.
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? I am a PDXWIT success story! Last year when I was job hunting, I attended the Simple-hosted Happy Hour and at that event got connected with a Simple product designer. We made a coffee date for an informational interview, during that coffee she told me about a position that had *just* opened up, and (after a series of interviews) I was hired a month later. I love my job and I’m so glad that PDXWIT helped me find it. In 2017, I volunteered for the PDXWIT Satellite Events Team because I’ve found folks at PDXWIT to be really warm and welcoming and I wanted to support that work and keep it going.
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? Eat all the foods. Portland punches way above its weight with food options and trying new restaurants is kind of like pseudo-traveling—you get to try new things but still come home to your own bed! Ha. Also, Team Coco Donuts all the way.
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? My partner loves board games so you might find me playing a new game with him and probably losing.
MEET Joanie Wang
What is your title and your favorite thing about your job? Head of Marketing at Expensify. Marketing is all about aligning your product’s value with your audience’s pain points, and I love that Expensify gives me full reins to dream up the most creative and interesting ways to do this (check out expensicon.com if you want to see our spin on the traditional partner conference!). This of course isn’t possible without a fun, collaborative, and hardworking team that supports and builds upon each other, of which I’m grateful to be a part of. Finally, as a generalist (our entire team is composed of generalists), it’s really great to be able to learn all different types of marketing without being pigeon-holed into one specific set of tasks or role, which allows me to keep learning and growing and a big reason why I continue to love being at Expensify!
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? Alex, our Director of People Ops, and I were looking for ways to get involved with the local community as the newcomers last fall and decided to attend a PDXWIT event. It was a lot of fun, and when we moved into our new office, we thought it would be a great space to host similar events!
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? I’m taking ceramics classes at PNCA, which is super fun! I’ve always wanted to develop the skillset to create what I want to create (vs. seeing what happens magically) and so I decided to be a bit more disciplined and have been taking classes for about a year now. Currently focusing on perfecting mugs and plates! You can also find me at least once a weekend at Revolution Hall, where I love taking my two pups to run, play, and meet other pups!
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? At a dinner party with friends, browsing through the aisles of the grocery store for late night baking ingredients, or catching up on my favorite shows (currently watching Legion and the full extended episodes of The Office).
Find her on Twitter @joanatello
Meet Natalie Zuniga
What is your title and your favorite thing about your job? Customer Operations Team Lead. My Favorite part about the job is that Squarespace lets me be the kind of people manager I want to be. I can create an environment where folks can be authentic, and I never have to tell someone they can't go home and see their sick mom.
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? I became involved with PDXWIT through Squarespace. We started hosting happy hours, and bam. Here I am.
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? I love cheering on the Blazers; going to games at Moda Center, or watching them win from my couch. I enjoy taking advantage of the natural beauty we have here: hiking, walking, drinking on a patio. I like trying all pizza and tacos. I love cider, but especially cider from the PNW. And I love finding a rad park with my partner, Ashley, and our twin two year olds.
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? Most Saturday nights: drinking wine with Ashley and watching basketball or baseball.
Meet Liz Johnson
What is your title and favorite thing about your job? I'm a Technician at Quantum Spatial. I have two favorite things! One, is being confronted with technical challenges on a near daily basis and being able to develop and implement solutions that help improve our data and workflows. The second, is getting to collaborate across teams, like helping out in the field or contributing to our latest robotics project. Our office is full of talented individuals doing really cool work - I love being able to learn and grow from them!
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? I identify as a non-binary person who is fascinated by the opportunities in tech. As such, I seek out spaces that emphasize inclusion around shared passions and interests. I appreciate that PDXWIT strives to offer up such spaces and not only helps develop technical skills, but also works to host events that address intersectionality within the tech industry. Groups like these keep me inspired and involved.
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? Ride my bike, eat donuts, drink things that are either a product of roasting or fermentation, and attend the variety of events that show off the creative imaginations of the Portland community.
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? Typically, either out exploring the natural world with my partner and my dog, or geeking out at home on some python based project or tutorial.
Meet Ellen Black Noel
What is your title and your favorite thing about your job? I’m a Software Developer at Viewpoint, working to develop construction management software for the growing – and modernizing! – construction industry. As far as my favorite thing, I love a good troubleshooting challenge and also digging into a development project. And I love the folks on my development team … they’re a great group to work with.
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? I found out about PDXWIT through my company’s in-house WIT group and just started attending some of the PDXWIT happy hours.
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? I enjoy playing with my cats, gardening and outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. I also have a fond spot in my heart for folk music and have been in several groups performing specifically folklore music from Southeastern Europe and the Pontian Greek people. I like to sing in foreign languages, play the flute and the tupan (a drum specific to that part of the world).
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? Mostly hanging out at home with my husband cooking gourmet meals followed by reading, watching TV or enjoying a movie.
Meet Kirsten Benzel
Where do you work? I work on the Data Engineering team at SurveyMonkey
What is your title and your favorite thing about your job? My title is Sr. Database Engineer; my favorite thing about my job, hands down, is the amazing team that I work with. I also get really excited about optimizing t-sql queries and the art of indexing tables!
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? I’ve attended WIT events through SQL PASS and a friend told me about PDXWIT. I’ve been to a few events and hope to keep on attending!
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? My passion is hunting seaglass and agates along the coast. I just joined a D&D group and I also like to go for drives in my M2 I named Danerys or try new restaurants.
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? You’ll typically find me watching Netflix (I need to re-charge my inner introvert!), hanging out with friends, curled up with a book, or wandering a beach somewhere.
Find her on Twitter @CyberSnark
MEET DEB MUMM-HILL
Where do you work? OMSI
What is your title and your favorite thing about your job? VP of Learning Engagement – thinking about how to engage and inspire youth every day
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? 2009 – I connected with PDXWIT seeking women tech professionals to mentor K-12 FIRST Robotics teams as we need more role models accessible to youth.
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? Explore food carts and microbreweries
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? Depending on the time of year. Dry Season – coming back into town from an all day hike. Wet season – attempting to intersect with any of my four adult kids and their adventures
Find her on Twitter @debmummhill
MEET Suzan Lee
Where do you work? I work for Free Geek.
What is your title and your favorite thing about your job? My title here is Online Sales Associate, and my favorite thing about my job is getting to work on a building-wide team. From receiving & recycling to testing & builds (and everything in between), I get to work with just about everyone here. All of our jobs are so intertwined and so interdependent, that we all rely on each other to keep the whole shebang running! I am a total sucker for skilled teamwork, and I have never worked anywhere that does teamwork like Free Geek. It makes me proud to be a part of it.
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? I was invited to speak at this event by our CEO and Executive Director, Dan.
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? I have long been a homebody. So what I like to do for fun, no matter where I live, is... prepare and enjoy a nice meal with someone I care for. Or maybe fire up my computer and jump into a cooperative game with a friend. In fact, my best friend and I are currently playing a mining, crafting, side-scrolling, adventure game called Terraria. We log on, catch up on each other's lives, and save the world together, one block at a time. I love making them laugh, and the delight that comes when they turn the tables on me. When we devolve into gasping piles of goofiness, unable to even speak. I also make sure to spend some time every day (no matter how busy I am) playing with my cat, Cricket, because she is my little ball of sunshine. I don't know where I would be without her.
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? On a Saturday night... Well... I have worked minimum wage, corporate jobs for the last 20 years, so a typical Saturday night would have been spent working. Now? I spend Saturday nights as I would spend any other time off: relaxing, either alone (although you're never really alone when you have a cat) or with family/friends. Eating a nice meal, watching, playing, or just talking with each other. Following the winding trains of thought until we are quite literally riding the same wavelength. My interpersonal connections are very important to me, and so I nurture them as much as I am able.
The only social media account I use is Facebook, where I use it to stay close to my small group of family and friends. I don't have a place for Twitter in my world. I want to share life stories. I want to share hopes and dreams. And I want it to take as long as it takes to do so. No less. 140 characters just isn't enough for me.
Meet Katy Boyles
Where do you work? Zapproved
What is your title and your favorite thing about your job? Product Manager. My favorite thing about my job is that I get to investigate customer problems and work with engineers to think of novel solutions. It's like solving a puzzle.
How did you become involved in PDXWIT? I believe it's because we hosted an event at Zapproved and I decided to start going to more events in the area to network and learn more about the Portland tech scene.
What do you like to do for fun in Portland? Exploring! Whether that's trying new restaurants and bars, finding new hikes, discovering street art, attending random events, or whatever. I love trying new things around town and getting to know Portland better.
Where can we find you on a Saturday night? Low-key drinks with friends.