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Working Moms in Tech: Interview with Mercan Topkara from Pod Nods

In celebration of Mother’s Day 2021, the Women in Tech organization at JW Player hosted a series of interviews with five working moms across leading media and technology companies. In these interviews, we discussed navigating motherhood and the workplace in 2021 - the ways in which it has been challenging, rewarding, and empowering. Each interviewee also talked about the advice that they’d give to new and future working mothers.

Mercan Topkara is currently the CTO of the podcasting platform Sounder.fm. She founded Pod Nods, an AI based podcast discovery and monetization platform, during a global pandemic and sold it to Sounder.fm in 2021. Mercan got her PhD in Computer Science from Purdue University. Since then, she’s also worked at several roles at IBM TJ Watson Research, JW Player, Teachers Pay Teachers and Luminary Media. She co-authored many papers at international journals and conferences, and co-invented several patents.

Mercan is also the proud mom of two girls aged 10 and 12, who love visiting their parents' work places and heavily judging the snack quality.

In her interview, Mercan talked about planning for a family, and becoming more efficient at her work as a result. She also covers what it was like raising a family while her own was in Turkey. Finally, Mercan talked about her experience supporting her kids during distanced learning while also co-founding a company in the middle of a pandemic.

Watch the full series of interviews here.