Here at PocketGamer.biz we celebrate diversity of all kinds. Speaking to various inspiring women at our Pocket Gamer Connects events around the world, and being aware that there is still a real need to shout about the subject, we decided to focus on females for December. In this series of features we will interview various women working in gaming, as well as sharing other stories around the subject.
PocketGamer.biz: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your current role?
As Chief of Staff at Dubit, I act as the main point of contact between the CEO and stakeholders. Key responsibilities include advising and providing solutions on critical tasks, and filtering essential information to the CEO to safeguard the operational day-to-day running of the business.
What first attracted you to the gaming industry?
I was lucky enough to spend 3 summers at Dubit when I was a teenager - I worked in different teams and interacted with different personalities. I loved the idea that choices made in that room helped so many young people have fun, play, and learn. And, I love that there are so many possible career routes - it’s not all coders and engineers. I started out in a commercial role - then there’s design, marketing, finance, HR, legal, art, and audio - so even if you don’t code, there are so many opportunities! And that’s before the recent proliferation of no and low-code platforms which has made building games and experiences a reality for almost anyone.
What effect do you think the culture within which you grew up has had an influence on your career path?
I cherish the culture I grew up in - it’s a cliché, but I always believed (and I still do today) that if I put my mind to something, I will achieve it and excel at it. This was instilled in me by my parents. I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where honesty, communication and trust were paramount, and I carry these values with me in every aspect of my life, including my career. So yes, I think that had a big impact on me!
What challenges have you had to face during your career - thinking specifically about being a female in the industry?
I feel lucky that Dubit hasn’t ever felt like a challenge. I’ve always been respected, supported and listened to. There was a client (no names!) who once emailed our CEO with the line “I’m assuming you wrote this email, rather than Stephanie, so see my responses below…”
Needless to say, we let that client go! I’m thrilled to have such a great team around me.
What advice would you give to companies looking to improve equality within the workplace?
Put a regular process in place to assess internal policy - hiring practices (even down to job specs and candidate requirements), training policies, upskilling opportunities, and salary policy. Consider hiring an external consultant who isn’t as close to the business and culture. Be prepared to listen and make changes.
And what advice would you give to other women joining the industry?
Golden rule - know your worth. Know it, and back yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and don’t be afraid to challenge it!
Who inspires you the most (not necessarily from within games)?
My family, every single day. Pushing me, challenging me, and helping me grow. For me, inspiration is everywhere - in leaders, in games, in business, in nature, in music, in film, in the people I meet. Seek it out!
Since you entered the games industry, what is the biggest change you’ve seen and is this for better or worse?
The rise of social gaming metaverse platforms.
In the last two years we’ve evolved into a Metaverse and Builder Economy company. We’re building on Roblox, Fortnite, Core and we’re expanding to new platforms. In this time, we’ve spoken to hundreds of builders, and we’ve learnt that many of the most popular games are built by small teams that come together for a short period of time and then disband.
We realised that the future of work will look like an Ocean’s 11 team! You form groups that are good at accomplishing certain types of missions. You get called on when there's a mission. You sprint. You crush it. And then you do it again.
For me, this is a great thing! Builders have the freedom to pick the missions they want to work on, they decide when they work, the hours they work, and they can work from anywhere in the World (Covid helped accelerate this!). This means they will be proud of their work, ultimately leading to better experiences.
To enable the future of work we’re creating protocols to help teams form, communicate, execute on their missions for the biggest brands in the world, and raise investment for their own missions.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
We need to encourage girls from a younger age to enter the industry in the first place. There’s a lack of representation in leadership roles among women and it’s because there aren’t enough women in the industry - yet. Gaming-specific careers workshops with schools would help, delivered by both women and men.
Once you’re in the industry, networks are very important - I’ve had the support of Women in Gaming groups before, but creating more mentorship programs, connecting women at all levels. In a way, you need to see yourself mirrored among leadership somewhere in the industry, otherwise it will feel like an impossibility.
If you could only keep 3 games on your phone for the rest of time, which would you choose?
I’m going to cheat here and say Roblox. A platform full of incredible social and gaming experiences - what more could you ask for?
My top 3 Roblox experiences change daily, but I’ve loved the recent music events (Dubit developed the CharliXCX concert with Samsung which was nominated for the first ever MTV Metaverse VMA!), Nickelodeon's NickVerse (big Spongebob fan!) and Elf on The Shelf Snowball Fight, because who doesn’t love a snowball fight… and even more so when your hands can stay warm!