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Sheffield Haworth's Sam Wallace on making sure new talent is successful

Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #6 kicks off on April 19th
Sheffield Haworth's Sam Wallace on making sure new talent is successful

2021 is now well underway and the latest Pocket Gamer Connects Digital is set to bring together some of the finest voices in the games industry and beyond.

Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #6 takes place from April 19th to 23rd, so to give you a taste of what to expect, we'll bring you interviews with some of our esteemed speakers at the show.

The conference spans five days and will feature a broad selection of tracks, talks and speakers, as well as various fringe events and the return of our meeting system. For more details on the event and to book a ticket, head to the website.

For today's spotlight, we spoke with Sheffield Haworth managing director Sam Wallace who will host a talk on 'Talent Assimilation'. This will cover how to support new leaders as they enter the business, how do you ensure new talent is successful when you bring them into the business alongside how you prepare an organisation and ensure that the leaders thrive, and the business succeeds when hiring for transformation and cognitive diversification. Tell us a bit about your company?

Sam Wallace: Sheffield Haworth, a global executive search firm was established in 1993. The company has delivered high double-digit growth in fees over the past two years and our consulting, technology and service practice grew 25 per cent year-over-year globally in 2020.

Operating from a strong balance sheet has allowed us to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic safely and avoid redundancies. This sustainable global platform allows us to excel in partnering with clients to achieve their potential. Sheffield Haworth established offices in the US in 2004. The firm is one of only a handful of British headquartered executive search firms to have effectively established a successful presence in North America’s markets.

People are the most important factor in achieving our potential. We are growing our high performing and dynamic team across the US to continue the build a market-leading organisation. To achieve our vision of a multi-service platform we focus on both organic and acquisitive growth and have acquired three businesses in the past 24 months, namely nbi Consulting, Gillamor Stephens and S&H Consulting.

What does your role entail?

As managing director, I wear several hats. The first is to build long term strategic relationships with clients and candidates, understanding their motivations and offer a point of view on industry trends, as well as issues that impact talent.

I also lead the US consulting, technology and services practice so I am responsible for building our team and ensuring that our internal resources have the support and development opportunities they need to thrive.

Finally, I deliver on the retained executive search engagements, finding the best talent for my clients and the best career opportunities for my candidates.

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

I am passionate about supporting executive women. I am a founding member of Chief in LA and a chapter leader of Upward.

As a female search leader, I believe we have a responsibility to influence how women are supported and represented for executive opportunities. I felt that the games industry was underserved, there is so much history of male dominance in the space and the need for leaders to be gamers typically weighted towards men. By partnering with gaming companies we can open up executive opportunities to a broader addressable market of talent and support the appointment of female executives.

“As a female search leader, I believe we have a responsibility to influence how women are supported and represented for executive opportunities.”
Sam Wallace

Over time, the impact on the industry will be game-changing (no pun intended), as more women will join the industry earlier in their careers and more executive women who are not in games will consider it as a career destination. To be a part of that transformation is exciting, challenging and super fun.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?

  • You don't have to be a gamer to get into the industry
  • Understand and be able to articulate how your experience adds value to the organisation
  • Be curious, learn about the market, the competitors, the up and comers

What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?

For the most part, the industry has weathered the COVID-19 storm quite well, with increased production and the ongoing focus on diversity in teams and in games. It's interesting to see the increased adoption of gaming across different age and gender demographics.

What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?

  • A continued focus on diversity and inclusion
  • Ongoing development of the 30 to 50-year-old female demographic as a mobile gaming target
  • The ongoing transformation of esports leaning into the entertainment industry
  • Further adoption of gaming platforms across other industries, such as educational technology, assessments and talent acquisition

How has the games industry changed since you first started?

In the last few years, a light has been shone on the issues of discrimination and this is starting to create more inclusive and diverse teams. This is a step in the right direction and something that needs to remain at the core of how the industry continues to evolve.

Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?

The Industry Vision and Values and Beyond Gaming tracks. I like to imagine what this industry will look like in the future when we have more leaders from outside of the industry and more diversity,

I'm curious about the cultural transformation as there is a core 'gamer' identification that is exclusive but changing. I'm also interested in the 'Biz Round Table'. It's always great to hear from leaders who are breaking ground for innovation and creativity.

Want more?

The full conference schedule is now live on the website. In the meantime, you can also check out our other track rundowns and coverage of previous Pocket Gamer Connects conferences ahead of the event itself.

Register for Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #6 today!