March 6, 2020

12 Min Read

women of ubisoft

Celebrating International Women’s Day and the Next Generation of Women In Games

On International Women’s Day 2018, the Women of Ubisoft series premiered with the goal of highlighting the diverse and talented women at Ubisoft, while also spreading awareness about the challenges and opportunities for women working in games. In an effort to speak directly to the future women of the games industry, we’ve contacted past participants of Women of Ubisoft and asked them all to answer a single question: What advice or message would you like to share with the next generation of women in games?

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Elizabeth Loverso – Vice President of Product Development

“Surround yourself with brilliant people and absorb. Take advantage of opportunities. Never stand idle and wait for things to happen; make them happen. Fine-tune your skills and knowledge constantly. Encourage creativity, reward effort, try new things. Do what you love, and if you find yourself unhappy with the direction of your career, do something about it!”

Nuha Alkadi – Narrative Designer

“Don't be afraid to speak up and share the stories you want to tell. There are so many players out there who want to hear and experience them.”

Salomé Strappazzon – Lead Artist

“As a woman, you represent a different point of view, a different way of do things, and a different spirit in our domain. As a minority, you also represent the hope that others can make an impact on our industry and in our games. Remember that.

“Welcome the difference, treasure it, and celebrate it in your creations. As a game maker, love your job, love your tools, and enjoy a job well done.”

Lesley Phord-Toy – Corporate Affairs Director

“I always like to say that the videogame industry is the most diverse industry in the world when it comes to the variety of skills and crafts that need to come together to make games. We have artists, animators, programmers, scriptwriters, marketing and business experts, project managers, and designers of all kinds. Some people are left-brained, and some are more right-brained. Some are self-taught, whereas others come from years of formal training. Some are starting their careers, and others have been doing this their whole lives. Some people think in complete sentences, and others live in broad concepts. The magic happens when all these different types of people come together to solve a unique problem, in a way that none of them would have been able to tackle on their own. Wherever you come from, whatever your background, when you love what you do, and you work to bridge across your differences, you can make amazing videogame experiences for your players.”

“I’m looking forward to the day when we don’t feel the necessity to stress the importance of women in games, at any level, because what is important is that games are made by people, no matter what their gender and race is. - Cristina Nava”

Camille Chaine – Project Manager

“For women, but also for every person who is interested in working in the videogame industry, do not let the technical side of this industry scare you. There are a lot of jobs and talents to discover, and you will grow up with all the people involved in the projects you’ll be part of. There are many aspects of videogames that are unknown and that deserve attention in order for you to understand how everything is put together to become a great project.”

Andrée Cossette – Managing Director

“Feed off of the talent that surrounds you. Trust yourself, forge ahead, take your stand, all while respecting your values and convictions. Our world is one of creativity and innovation, and the opportunities are there in front of you. You can make a difference!”

Anne-Laure Condamine – Production Director

“Dream big, take a leap of faith, and seize your opportunities. Try, and if you fail, try again. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. Never have regrets, just lessons learned. Lastly, don’t let anything hold you back from following your dreams.”

Cristina Nava – Associate Producer

“Games are evolving and becoming deeper; more varied in genre, tone, and content; and more and more able to address a greater, more diverse audience. Development teams are growing, too; they are expressing different voices capable of reaching places games couldn’t reach before. To truly entertain on multiple levels, a game needs to provide people with a compelling world inhabited by characters who are relatable. And women’s voices are crucial to creating such a harmonic experience.

A close-knit team is made of people who share a passion and feel the urge to spread that passion among all players. I’m looking forward to the day when we don’t feel the necessity to stress the importance of women in games, at any level, because what is important is that games are made by people, no matter what their gender and race is.

Until that day, women constantly need to believe that they can rightly be one of the voices that make a game, any game, an adventure worth living. My wish is that the next generation of women in games will not need to address their next generation of women in games anymore, because any team – and the society in which that team grows and thrives – is simply made of talented human beings.”

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Maïmouna Brownrigg – UI Team Lead

“The industry is filled with great female developers who, at first, weren’t sure they were the right person for the position. Your voice matters. We need to hear it to make better games for everyone!”

Ellie Rhodes – Product Manager

“You are stronger than you think. Believe in your expertise and your knowledge, and have faith in your abilities. You are the future inspiration for women like yourselves, so try to be the person you needed in the industry. You’ve got this!”

Olivia Forni – Project Coordinator

“If you want to do it, do it! The videogame industry is a really nice way to have fun at work!”

Tiphaine Boulangé – Marketing Coordinator

“Perseverance! Don’t let bad job interviews, unemployment periods, or people’s critiques lower your ambitions. Stepping into a highly coveted industry takes time, so the key is really to be patient.”

Simei Yin – Gameplay Programmer

“Find out what is interesting to you and what you are good at. Focus on your goals, but be flexible at the same time.”

Astrid Pivot – Senior Business & Line Producer

“Diversity is strength. Stand up until being a women in games no longer just evokes the thought of in-game heroines!”

Vicky Lagarre – Producing Community Director

“The best advice that I could give is to always stay yourself and keep your authenticity alive. I also feel that in this fast-paced industry, we need to have people with a strong curiosity about what is happening inside and outside our industry. Take time looking everywhere, inspiring yourself by studying the others.”

“Don’t describe yourself as ’aspiring‘ when you’re already doing." - Taylor Epperly

Uyen-Anh Dang – Producer

“Take the leap and go for it! No position is too small, and you can always learn different skills that you can utilize along the way to your ultimate goal. Ask questions, take notes, and you'll find that the passion you have for the industry will help surround you with people who want to support you as you all reach for a common goal. If you're passionate about working in the industry, just go for it.”

Rebecka Coutaz – Managing Director

“It is often thought that women encounter many challenges, but in a way, they are not different than the challenges that men encounter. Being professional and credible and placing the game and players at the center is essential to anyone in this industry. Women should always place themselves as equal to men, they should trust themselves, their values, and stay humble because that is what others will perceive.

Never forget yourself and your needs. Listen to yourself so that you do things and learn things that will bring you up. Invest yourself in others and try to help other people grow: your companions, your children, your friends, your colleagues.

Your beliefs, your passion, your engagement, and your confidence will give your actions an impact!”

Taylor Epperly – Senior Game Designer

“Create things and be confident. If you design small games in your free time, you’re a game designer; if you make art for friends’ projects, you’re an artist. Don’t describe yourself as ’aspiring‘ when you’re already doing.”

Chella Remanan – Junior Narrative Designer

“There are many routes into narrative design, so just keep writing and make games to hone your craft, as much as you can. There are free tools and game jams and developer hubs out there, so use them to gain experience and meet fellow creatives. Or make your own thing. Even if it’s tiny. Just finish something to prove you can. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t, even on the days when that’s hard. We lose too many women from this industry because they feel isolated in their experiences, so find a mentor or ally who can offer you support and advice.

And to the next generation of women in games – it might not feel like it, but things are better than when my peers and I started. We tried, but we’ve got to keep trying. Hopefully, your journey will be easier, but reach out to us and we’ll help you, even if it’s just validating your experience over a coffee. Don’t give up hope, but also don’t let this industry take too much from you without giving you something in return because it can be rewarding and fun. And if you see me at an event and want to, always come and say ‘Hi.’”

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Anna Megill – Lead Writer

“It seems like the world’s on fire these days, doesn’t it? Looking around, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. That’s how I felt when I first started in the games industry. What am I doing here? Where do I fit in? Is there a place for my stories in games? I spent years struggling to find answers to these questions. I was often disheartened. But I gritted my teeth and hung in there. And I learned this secret: your network makes all the difference. I don’t mean the people you exchange business cards or share job posts with. I mean colleagues who value you. Leads who respect your work and your perspective. Studios that walk the walk of diversity and inclusion. Find people like you, who are also searching for their place in this industry, and stand by each other. Lift each other up. That’s how you succeed.”

Delphine Dosset – Brand Director

“We’re lucky to be working in an industry and in a company that are quite unique – whatever your gender or cultural background, remember that what fosters teams here is a shared passion, a commitment to excellence, and an entrepreneurship mindset. Join in, and this industry will provide you with many motivational drivers and opportunities for success!”

Raha Bouda – Senior PR Manager

“Work hard, know your worth, and make sure you communicate your worth. Be vocal about what you want. No one is going to hand you anything, nor can they read your mind. I think many times, as women, we're afraid to ask for what we want, or we don't feel like we deserve it. There have been so many studies showing that women won't go for a role unless they feel they're 100% qualified for it, while men will apply even if they feel they're only partially qualified for it. Go for what you want, the worst that can happen is they say ‘no.’

Embrace the Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they want to be treated. Different people learn in different ways, and teams that thrive have leaders who understand that.”

Caroline Hirbec – Senior Concept Artist

“Be patient. Don’t give up about the job you want to do. We can’t change the world in a blink, but step by step. In the meantime, some amazing people and teams are already waiting for you.”

Anne Blondel-Jouin – Vice President, Open Innovation Accelerator

“It feels strange to share a message with the next generation of women in games, simply because I never considered myself as a woman in games, but rather just as a videogame professional amongst other videogame professionals. Call me naïve or lucky (maybe a little bit of both), but I’ve never had to question my legitimacy in terms of gender, only in term of competencies.

Yes, it’s been hard work (and still is), and yes, I never gave up (even if from time to time I REALLY wanted to call it quits), but I never had the feeling that it was because I am a woman, nor that men were having an easier time.

So if I had something to share, it would be directed towards everyone: be considerate of others and of yourself, as it will enable you become the best team player possible. Constantly assess what you’re bringing to the table, because in the end creating videogames is a collective effort.”

Be sure to check out all of our Women of Ubisoft interviews.

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