Breaking The Glass Ceiling: A PDXWIT Podcast

We interview people to dig below the surface of their achievements and challenges. Showcasing the story behind the story.

We believe that focusing on the person and humanizing their lived experiences will help us shape the future of tech.

New episodes are released twice monthly, on a Monday.

Breaking The Glass Ceiling

Podcast Volunteer Team


 The PDXWIT Podcast is sponsored by KIVA

Special Thanks to Cast Iron Coding
and Paul M. Trubachik

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We are a 501c3 non-profit. Any donation helps to transform lives through education, skill-building events, mentorship, and supporting those who identify as women, non-binary and underrepresented in the Portland tech community. We sincerely appreciate your contribution to help fuel our purpose and vision.




Season 2


Our second season takes a deep dive into PDXWIT’s values. We’ll hear stories of courage, growth, and adaptation. Our guests have demonstrated how taking personal action can affect change at a larger scale. By highlighting these stories, we can make tech, and the world at large, a better place.

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Episode 1: Megan Bigelow

On the Season Two opener of Breaking the Glass Ceiling, new hosts Kimberly Embry and Dawn Mott interview Megan Bigelow. For those who don’t know, Megan is the founder and president of PDXWIT. In this episode, she shares the evolution of PDXWIT's values.

Megan goes deep into her journey with self-awareness and how she’s leveraged some uncomfortable realizations to create a more inclusive organization. Megan also gives some real life examples of how an individual's small scale efforts can make a big difference.


Season 1


Our first season highlighted the people working to make the tech industry a more diverse and inclusive place. On each episode, we dug below the surface of our guest's achievements and challenges, showcasing the stories behind the story. We believe that focusing on the person and humanizing their lived experiences will help us shape the future of tech.



Karvari Ellingson was having a hard time after getting her Fine Arts degree. She got tired of having to choose between eating and paying bills, so she picked up “computer programming” out of a list of “10 highest paying careers” and ran with it.

Karvari joined a coding school and couch surfed to make it work. After completing the program, she earned a coveted paid internship and after trying different programming teams she found her spot in DevOps. Along with a new job, she is a mentor at the PDXWIT mentorship program, and she helps code school recent grads with interviewing skills.

It all sounds like the tech turn-your-life-around dream, but she still has to put up with a lot of sexism, and other -isms that a career in tech seems to bring.


Episode 7: Dayna Del Mar

On this episode of BTGC, Juliana and Brit are speaking with Dayna Del Mar, who uses she/her pronouns. Dayna brings a unique combination of community building, people and culture operations, global travel and talent acquisition to her role as CEO of PackDen.

A Long Island native, Dayna has pursued adventure all over the world, from high-end yachts to villages in Ghana, from the Himalayas to the Andes. She was drawn to the West Coast in pursuit of more adventure and a thriving technology community, so it’s no surprise that she founded PackDen - an app that will help outdoor enthusiasts connect to friends, gear and guides in order to adventure outdoors.


Episode 6: Ruth Lesser, Part ii

The conclusion of Ruth Lesser’s story about her journey to acquiring US citizenship.

In the following hot second interview we talk to Amy Nelson, founder of The Riveter, who goes by she/her pronouns. She tells us about the opening of a new Riveter co-working space and why they chose Portland for it.


Episode 5: Ruth Lesser, Part i

H1B visa immigrant, Ruth Lesser, has been living in this country for 10 years and just bought her first home in 2018. In March of this year she found out her visa extension had been denied and is in the process of petitioning a review with her current employer and their legal team. If that attempt gets denied by US Citizenship and Immigration again, she will have only 4 weeks to leave the US.

We have changed her name to allow for the comfort of anonymity during this challenging time, as this is being recorded on May 5, and the decision will be communicated to Ruth within the month.

Ruth's contact:


Episode 4: Perry Eising

Perry is a passionate champion for underrepresented minorities in tech, who uses they/he pronouns. Born in the UK, they are a passionate champion for underrepresented minorities in tech. Before joining Netlify, Perry was a student and afterwards, an instructor at Epicodus, a coding bootcamp. They’ve been an active member of several communities that support underrepresented identities in tech, including Lesbians Who Tech, Out in Tech, and PDXWIT.


Episode 3: Crazy Aunt Lindsey

In this episode, your co-hosts Juliana Kutch and Brit Syer talk with Lindsey Murphy aka Crazy Aunt Lindsey, who goes by she/her pronouns. Lindsey is the creator of the YouTube web series: The Fab Lab With Crazy Aunt Lindsey. In the show, she turns science into fabulous DIY experiments that engage kids of all ages! After experiencing career burnout on the East Coast, Lindsey moved to Portland where her creativity and entrepreneurial drive led her to many successful partnerships with local and national communities, from TEDx Portland to NASA.

Books mentioned:
- A Women's Guide to Successful Negotiating by Jessica and Lee Miller
- The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki


Episode 2: Abeer Eltanawy

On episode number two, your co-hosts Juliana Kutch and Brit Syer talk with Abeer Eltanawy, who uses she/her pronouns. Abeer is from Egypt and moved to the Bay area in 2014. She then moved to Portland to be with her husband and daughter in 2016. She has completed a Master of Arts in Cancer Research and is currently working on her Master of Science in Information Technology, while creating a space and name for herself in the new field of cheminformatics. Currently Abeer faces a new challenge working out her visa details in the midst of this current political climate.


Episode 1: Katrina Johnson

On this very first episode co-hosts Brit Syer and Juliana Kutch interview Katrina Johnson, who uses she/her pronouns.  Katrina is a Chicago born Data Science student who won the 2018 PDXWIT Scholarship award, which she will use to attend a conference on machine learning and artificial intelligence in Austin, TX. She has dual Masters degrees in English and Philosophy, and hopes to use her newfound data science superpowers to fight for social justice.