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Women in Games

Women in Games appoint Jocasta Kelsey as Marketing Director, add three to its Advisory Board

Jocasta Kelsey

Angela Natividad

Women in Games is pleased to announce the appointment of Jocasta Kelsey as Marketing Director. Jocasta is a former Marketing Director for We R Interactive. She now works as a commercial consultant specialising in helping start-up, early stage and established businesses to achieve their potential. She has worked across a number of sectors including not for profit, immersive tech and gaming. Jocasta joins the 5 person, part time Executive Board that meets monthly to manage strategically the day-to-day activities of the organisation.

WIGJ has also appointed 3 new Advisory Board members.
Dr Sharon Tolaini-Sage is a Lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts who specialises in lecturing on the cultural, contextual and storytelling aspects of digital games. Already a successful Women in Games Ambassador, she has supported the organisation for a number of years.
Mark Eyles was until recently a Principal Lecturer and Section Leader in the School of Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth. He also founded the first Women in Games Conference in the UK in 2004. He remains an Educational Advisor to TIGA and has just launched his own studio, Ambient Quest Studios.
Angela Natividad joins to bring her esports expertise to the organisation. She has worked in advertising for over 15 years, both in agencies and as a journalist. In 2015 she co-founded Hurrah, the leading esports advertising agency, with the goal of attracting non-endemic clients to the space and helping the sector grow sustainably toward the mainstream. She also plays an international relations role for France Esports.

Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of Women in Games commented. “We welcome Jocasta, Angela, Sharon and Mark to the team. It is important for Women in Games to market itself consistently, at the highest level. Much of what we do has gone unreported and therefore unnoticed due to lack of this resource. Jocasta brings us extensive experience in not for profit and technology marketing and we look forward to her helping us professionalise our messaging moving forward. The addition of Sharon and Mark reflects the commitment of Women in Games in supporting the Games Education sector to collaborate more closely and effectively with Games Development. We plan further exciting initiatives in esports and Angela will help us impact and lead in this growing field.”

Women in Games speaks to UK Government at its Inquiry into Immersive and Addictive technologies

Women in Games WIGJ spent 75 minutes on Wednesday, 24th April talking to the UK Government at its Inquiry into Immersive and Addictive technologies, speaking about diversity in gaming and esports. Here is the final question of the day where CEO, Marie-Claire Isaaman, responds to Damian Collins, MP who asks about the resources of Women in Games and the level of support it receives from the sector. Please contact us if you would like to learn how your company can support Women in Games.

Women in Games starts celebration of 10 year anniversary with a Party at GDC – sponsored by 2K.

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Women in Games WIGJ, working to advocate for diversity, inclusion and the representation of women in the games industry. WIGJ is proud to co-host its first formal event in North America with Corporate Ambassador, 2K at GDC 2019 and is keen to meet all its friends in the USA and San Francisco on Wednesday March 20th.

Both David Smith founder of WIGJ, and Marie-Claire Isaaman CEO, will be present, and Marie-Claire will be speaking to kick things off. 2K is proud to sponsor this event to celebrate this major anniversary with WIGJ, and the accomplishments of the many talented women across the games industry at large.

There will be a photobooth, open bar, prizes and giveaways including signed copies of the fabulous book “Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play” by Megan Marie.

With over 28000 game developers attending GDC, this event will be sold out in hours but, up to the event, you can try this link. But look out for more 10 year anniversary events in 2019 including the Develop Conference in Brighton, UK in July and the European Women in Games Conference in London, UK September.

Women in Games appoints Executive Board and seeks to hire a Marketing Director and Events Manager.

Women in Games WIGJ is pleased to announce the creation of an Executive Board that will meet monthly to manage strategically the day-to-day activities of this not-for-profit group as well as a newly revitalised Advisory Board which will meet quarterly. An organisational review has identified two vacancies and Women in Games will be hiring a Marketing Director and an Events Manager.

Gemma Johnson-Brown

Gemma Johnson Brown, Chief People Officer, Dovetail Games is promoted to the Executive Board and is appointed as the new Ambassador Director. She will be leading on both the Individual and Corporate Ambassadors programme. Dovetail Games have been a supporter and sponsor of our Women in Games events for the last three years. Gemma has been given full support and backing from Dovetail Games in her role.

Ruth Falconer

Professor Ruth Falconer, Head of Division (Computing and Mathematics), School of Design and Informatics, Abertay University is also promoted to the Executive Board. She will contribute her outstanding expertise in the areas of education, research and public relations. Ruth has the full support of Abertay University, which has been ranked the best in Europe for undergraduate level games courses in the prestigious annual Princeton Review.

Women in Games was founded in 2009 by David Smith who joins the Executive Board as COO. This year the organisation will be celebrating a ’10 Year Anniversary’. The European Women in Games Conference 2019 will be a very special event, celebrating the achievements of Women in Games, and looking forward to how the organisation continues to make impactful positive change.

 

Together with CEO, Marie-Claire Isaaman, the four person Executive Board now seek a Marketing Director and Events Manager to join the team. The Marketing Director will set and implement the Marketing and PR strategy and framework for the organisation and set the marketing plan for the European Women in Games Conference and other programme and events. The Events Manager will manage the organisation of regular, monthly events for members in London and the South East of the UK and advise on events all over the UK and in Europe, liaising with the WIGJ Ambassador network. Both are part-time, paid roles. Anyone interested in the Marketing Director or Events Manager role should click though on the links. WIGJ looks forward to hearing from you.

The Women in Games Advisory Board consists of Christine Bigelow, 2K; Dan Wood, Ukie; Kish Hirani, BAME in Games; Marine Cabour, Russells; Michelle Tilley, Sony Interactive Entertainment; Nick Ferguson, Amazon; Rachael Gregg-Smythe, Cubic Motion; Rachel Moss, J Walter Thompson; Rosemary Ball, Chucklefish; Rupert Whitehead, Google; Simon Smith, Thumbfood & Gameopolis; Siobhan Thomas, IGDA London; and Vanessa Joyce, Renwick Management.

Marie-Claire Isaaman

Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO Women in Games, commented “Women in Games has been a grassroots organisation relying on goodwill, ad hoc sponsorship donations and the tireless efforts of volunteers who believe in our cause and want to help. I personally want to thank everyone who has supported us and contributed so much over the years. But you can only get so far on goodwill alone. Therefore we are focused on building an organisation capable of delivering deeds as well as words and the creation of the Executive Board and revised Advisory Board is one of the many steps the organisation is taking to achieve this”.

2019, WIGJ’s 10th anniversary year, is going to be a transformative one for Women in Games with so many exciting events and meaningful initiatives underway and planned. Women in Games is dedicated to supporting the game industries in creating an equal, diverse and inclusive sector for everyone.

 

Women in Games launch 3rd year of Ambassador programme with 16 new Ambassadors

Women in Games is pleased to announce that Antonella Sciarrilo, Bethany White, Caoimhe Roddy, Emma Cowling, Jessica Harris, Kaliegh Branham, Kevin, Agwaze, Laura de Castro, Louise Jackson, Marina Diez Pereiro, Megan Zoe Garrett, Natalie Winter, Robin Milton, Scarlet Fu and Searra Dodds have joined the WIGJ Ambassador programme. All the new Ambassadors attended the last European Women in Games Conference in September to hear presentations on events organised by our existing Ambassadors. This new tranche of 16 individual was approved by the WIGJ Board in December.

Ambassadors volunteer to support girls and women in understanding the game industries and the opportunities there are within it. They also help Women in Games increase the reach and scale of its programmes and help it achieve the strategic goal of doubling the number of women in games over 10 years.

Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of Women in Games commented, “We are delighted to welcome our 16 new Ambassadors to the programme. Our Ambassadors enable Women in Games to reach out to enable many more girls and women to learn about the many exciting jobs and careers that exist within games. We are already discussing some innovative projects and events with Ambassadors for 2019. Ambassadors are encouraged to reach out to their companies and local communities all over the UK and in parts of Europe.”

Women in Games is also pleased to announce that Gemma Johnson-Brown, Chief People Officer at Dovetail Games, has been appointed WIGJ Ambassador Director. Gemma will be the main point of contact for all Ambassadors moving forward. We thank Martine Spaans for all the work she has done as Ambassador Coordinator for the last year.

See our full list of 67 Ambassadors on our Ambassador page. This tells you more about the programme and how to reach out to all of our Ambassadors.

Women in Games Extraordinary Board Meeting October 2018.

Our mission at Women in Games is to achieve full equality of opportunity and treatment for all women working, or wanting to work, in the games and esports industries. And we’ve been striving towards this goal for 9 years – raising awareness and implementing initiatives that seek to change attitudes, deliver impact and create the conditions for women in our sector to achieve their full potential.

Women in Games has been a grassroots organization relying on goodwill, ad hoc sponsorship donations and the tireless efforts of volunteers who believe in our cause and want to help. I personally want to thank everyone who has supported us and contributed so much over the years. But you can only get so far on goodwill alone. So 18 months ago, in my first presentation to our board as CEO, I outlined a strategy to grow and professionalise Women in Games. I understood that if we were really serious about achieving our goals, we needed to build an organization capable of delivering deeds as well as words.

But growing an organization to do good deeds and bring lasting change requires time and money. Although my strategy was warmly received by the board, it quickly proved challenging to deliver due to the lack of organizational bandwidth, particularly in terms of the human and economic capital available. So we decided to focus on developing more sustainable sponsorship and fundraising models that would enable us to grow. As a result, we’ve forged new relationships with sponsors – such as 2K/Hangar 13, Facebook, Dovetail Games, King, AIM Awards, Ukie, Improbable, Jagex, Epic Games, Big Pixel, The Trailer Farm, Nerial, Norwich University of the Arts and more – and recently launched a Patreon campaign. And it was the amazing generosity of both our sponsors and patrons that empowered us to deliver what was generally agreed to have been the best ever European Women in Games Conference in London last month.

Women in Games received some negative press and online comments regarding an award being given to a man, James Banks, to recognise his promotion of women in esports. Experience has taught us that to effect meaningful and lasting change, women need good allies in positions of influence. And due to historic inequality in our sector, this means men who see the real cultural, creative, organizational, societal and economic benefits of an equal, diverse and inclusive workforce. That’s why Women in Games celebrates men who work to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in our industry. That’s why our advocacy awards also recognised Steven Taarland for his amazing Rainbow Game Jam. And that’s why Kish Hirani and Adam Campbell were recognised for their essential work with BAME in Games.

As CEO, I take any criticism of Women in Games extremely seriously. Particularly when an element of that criticism comes from an anonymous board member. I believe we only get better by listening to our critics and their concerns, learning from them, then responding proactively and positively. So earlier this month, I called an Extraordinary Board Meeting to review the recent events. This was part of a process that was necessary to openly discuss and agree actions resulting from these events. It ensured all board members were given the opportunity to communicate their perspectives and contribute fully to the future direction of Women in Games.

The outcome of the Extraordinary Board Meeting was broad agreement that Women in Games must now prioritise professionalising and scaling as an organization. And that we should aim to set the standard for good governance, democratic process and transparency within the sector as we do so. We agreed the recent criticism had emerged from – and helped illuminate – the ‘growing pains’ that so often occur when a very small organization with a legacy grassroots structure attempts to deliver large scale, labour intensive and professional outputs. And we all agreed this was both an opportunity and catalyst for change. Failure occurs only when we don’t learn.

Consequently, I will be working with the board to revisit and update our organizational strategy, overhaul our organizational governance and structure, ensure better communication of our aims and activities, continue to forge new relationships and partnerships at home and abroad, plus clarify and standardise our awards process for 2019. This work has already started. And although all these changes cannot happen overnight, I believe it is now essential to start evolving Women in Games from its grassroots origins into an effective, resilient and sustainable organization. Only then can we become fully capable of achieving our stated mission: to ensure lasting equality and freedom from discrimination for all women working in our industry.

Marie-Claire Isaaman
CEO, Women in Games

Become a member of Women in Games WIGJ – Hear from our CEO and Founder.

Our network has grown massively since its foundation in 2009 reaching over 10000 globally but is still run by volunteers giving their time freely and willingly.  To meet the demands on the organisation which helps add skills and provides opportunities to thousands of game developers, we are now reaching out to individual and corporate patrons with a membership scheme where subscribers will receive additional, exclusive information and advice for as little as $1 a month. More information on benefits.

Marie-Claire Isaaman CEO of Women in Games WIGJ, “We are proud to offer Patreon membership to our supporters. Patreon is a modern way to reward subscribers that are prepared to pay a small amount more for additional, exclusive information and advice that WIGJ will make available each month. WIGJ will benefit from a regular income that will allow the organisation to provide more services in the future. Please subscribe to Patreon today at whatever level you can afford.

Margot James, UK Minister for Creative Industries, supports the Women in Games Conference.

WIGJ was delighted to receive this message of support from Margot James, UK Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries. This video was played at the start of the European Women in Games Conference on Wednesday, 12 September. For full details of the 2018 conference including programme and speakers see https://www.womeningamesconference.com/

 

Tanya Laird and Christine Burgess-Quémard join 14 in the European Women in Games Hall of Fame.

Women in Games WIGJ welcomes Tanya Laird, Founder Digital Jam and Christine Burgess-Quémard, Executive Director, Worldwide Studios, UbiSoft in to the European Women in Games Hall of Fame. This year’s awards were presented by Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of WIGJ and Aoife Brodigan, Head of Gaming Marketing, EMEA at sponsor Facebook.

Tanya Laird is a veteran of the digital industries having worked at Disney, Mind Candy, and Jagex, before setting up her own company, Digital Jam Ltd. She’s worked across platforms; films, TV, immersive content, AR, VR, games. She sits as a Vice Chair of BAME in Games, Co-Chair of the Immerse U.K. Sub group for content; is the creator of the VR Writers Room and the co-organiser for the VR & AR focused meetup group “Augmenting Reality”.

Christine Burgess-Quémard is Executive Director of UbiSoft’s worldwide studios, a role she has had since 1987. Ubisoft have 26 studios with the Ubisoft name and they have acquired 11 which keep their original name. Ubisoft has the second-largest in-house development team in the world, with more than 13,000 staff members working in over 30 countries

Congratulations to Tanya and Christine! Runners up were Gisela Vaquero, Jodie Azhar and Simay Dinc.

See the full list of 16 women inducted into the European Women in Games Hall of Fame.

Women in Games WIGJ celebrates the winners of our inaugural esports awards

Marie-Claire and Lisa Brightman

Marie-Claire and Lisa Brightman

Marie-Claire and Cordelia Chui

Congratulations to Lisa Blackman, James Banks, Riot Gaming UK and Cordelia ‘Scarakye’ Chui, the winners of our inaugural Women in Games UK Esports Awards.

These new awards have been introduced to recognise prominent and talented women in esports and also allies who understand the diversity challenges the sector faces and who are proactively engaged in supporting the development of a more equal and inclusive esports environment.

Globally the UK is “coming from behind” and these awards seek to celebrate the talent that is from or based in the UK, in order to inspire more talent to rise up and take their place on the world stage. We also seek to recognise all individuals who want to support equality, inclusion, diversity in a challenging environment.

Our first ever awards were selected from European Women in Games Conference speakers by our WIGJ esports leads and were approved by the WIGJ Board prior to the conference. They reflect our commitment to work proactively with all stakeholders in the sector to champion esports as a welcoming place for women and to drive important initiatives and changes to create a truly equal sector.

 

Streamer Award
The inaugural Women in Games Presenter Award goes to Twitch Streamer and Charity Campaigner, Lisa Brightman, also better known by her Streaming Tag LieseinWonderland!. She became ill with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in October 2015 and had to give up her career as a history teacher. After realising she could no longer teach and be active in educating the way she used to, she discovered Twitch. Initially, it was a way to make contact with other humans in a safe environment which could be managed around her symptoms, but she rapidly realised it was a platform she could use to push for positive change! She is an active collaborator with the charity M.E. Action giving 20% of her streaming revenues to the Charity, and since October 2017, she has been working to educate and fund-raise one stream at a time. She was the first Twitch streamer to stream though the Women in Games Twitch account and we are delighted that she managed to make it down to London with her partner.
Presenter Award
The inaugural Women in Games Presenter Award goes to James Banks, a journalist, commentator, manager, and most recently a host very prominent in both the Open and Women’s Tournament CS:GO and 1v1 games circuit. In the Open tournament world, recent events include ESL One: Belo Horizonte in Brazil, the Bets.net Masters in Kiev, Ukraine and VSFighting in Birmingham.
Now there are not many Women-only tournaments but this presenter hosted the Intel Challenge for CS Go Katowice — 2018, this year’s womens tournament at the Copenhagen Games 2018 and the WESG Women’s’ Finals in 2017. James wins for his good nature, his ease at working with all talent. His own experience and knowledge is growing as is his support for Women in Games and his desire to challenge inequality in esports.
Team Award
The inaugural Women in Games Team Award goes to a team based in Manchester, Riot Gaming UK, an org which strives to be “the world’s leading organisation in female eSports across numerous titles and platforms. Management, players and creators all share one common ground — proving that females can keep up with the best of the best”. They are “the first and only organisation to be run successfully by five passionate and driven women”. They are “a tight-knit organisation who thrive from the loyalty of their members and followers, and see themselves as one big family. In only a short time they have gained a respectable fan-base and reputation online and offline.” Their current, most successful teams in both North America and Europe play Call of Duty.
Player Award
The inaugural Women in Games Player Award goes to Cordelia “Scarakye” Chui. The citation for her award has been written by Cordelia’s former Managing Director who sadly could not be at this year’s conference. “During her time with Barrage Esports, the person has had some incredible achievements including finishing 4th in the world at the World Electronic Sports Games. She has attended numerous Hearthstone events in the UK and abroad where she has proved time and time again that gender has no bearing on results. Most importantly she has been professional, kind and caring for those around her the entire time. She has worked extremely hard with and for the other members of the team and has been a fantastic example of what an esports professional should be. She is an inspiration to young women and I’ve been blessed to be part of her journey.”

WIGJ believes strongly that women and men should ultimately compete together in open tournaments, but that the esports sector as a whole need to do more to break down the barriers that exist to prevent many women reaching the highest levels of competition. To do this, it is important for both women and men to work together to tackle the under-representation of women that exists in all areas of esports. Our esports awards exist to celebrate the achievements of both women and men campaigning to make esports more welcoming and inclusive.

Women in Games WIGJ is a not for profit organisation run largely by volunteers. Next year our awards and what the judges will be looking for will be published well in advance so that more nominations can be considered. In our first year, it has been most important to get these awards off the ground alongside the 3 other sets of awards on offer at the European Women in Games Conference.

Congratulations once again to all our winners and we look forward to many more streaming and esports professionals being considered next year.

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