Women make up just between 24% and 30% of the video game industry’s workforce, depending on the research source. However, year after year, from players to developers, female representation has been growing throughout games at all levels of experience.
Last week, Sarah Anderson, Head of Global Marketing and Partnerships at Amazon Games, joined other top female leaders for the career discussion, “If You Think Your Career is Going to be a Straight Line, Guess Again!” The panel, sponsored by Amazon Games, was the central feature of the 7th annual Women in Gaming Breakfast, part of GamesBeat NEXT, held October 24th in San Francisco.
Anderson was joined on stage, and in front of an engaged live audience, by Erica Larson, Head of Industry, Tech CE Gaming at Google, Perrin Kaplan, Principal at Zebra Partners, Monika Madrid, Vice President of Business Development at Magid Games, and moderator Rachel Kaser, Gaming and Technology Writer at GamesBeat.
The breakfast panel discussion began with speakers sharing their unique career paths, including the risks and challenges they experienced. Throughout the hour, panelists relayed valuable and inspiring advice to women pursuing and growing their careers in games.
One topline theme of the event was “the best career journey is filled with twists and turns, all of which come with many learnings that will help you grow – if you’re open to it.”
The panelists’ stories illustrated that point perfectly. Anderson had early designs on being an art director in New York, armed with her BFA from Art School. Kaplan initially pursued a career in News with an NBC affiliate in Seattle, while Larson first came out to San Francisco to become an Art teacher.
In addition to counseling the audience to embrace their career journey, and the importance of continuously nurturing their networks, they also spoke to pursuing a career in games with advice such as:
“Take risks. Have a growth mindset. Be open to feedback… Be ready to learn all of the time.” - Sarah Anderson
“Trust in your instincts about yourself. You don't have to do one thing. Have a little bit of a lot of knowledge...Raise your hand.” - Monika Madrid
“Never get too comfortable… Going back to the three Cs, curious, confident and connections. Really find those advocates. Know your superpowers and make sure other people know them too.” - Erica Larson
“Become the best expert you can at what you do. Speak when you have the knowledge, and when you don't have the knowledge, listen. Everyone has expertise at the table.” - Perrin Kaplan
To read more about this year’s Women in Gaming breakfast, check out this story over at GamesBeat.