8 March 2024

6 mins de lecture

inside ubisoftwomen of ubisoft

Inspiring Inclusion on International Women’s Day

Every year on March 8, Ubisoft joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Women's Day. This year, Ubisoft is taking part by joining the Women in Games Careers Development and Networking Expo. Four Ubisoft employees: Senior Game Designer Miriam Popescu, Online Programmer Laora Heintz, Senior Director of Global Brand Management Leslie Capillon, and Director of Diversity and Inclusion Theoria Cason hosted a virtual panel centered on this year's theme, "Inspire Inclusion."

We asked each panelist what that theme means to them and what advice they have for women looking to enter the games industry.   

What does this year's theme of IWD, "Inspire Inclusion," mean to you?

Miriam Popescu - Senior Game Designer

[UN] IWD Interview - Miriam

To me, inspiring inclusion starts with the small things in my work life. Taking the time to check in with my colleagues, relating to them on a personal level, and showing understanding when life trips them up. I realize I'm surrounded by incredibly talented individuals with diverse experiences and voices. A climate of trust and openness helps surface the stories they have to tell, in private and in the games we create.

I truly believe games and their interactive nature can help us understand other points of view more easily and help us grow closer. 

Laora Heintz - Online Programmer

[UN] IWD Interview - LaoraHeintz

"Inspire Inclusion" has been a topic of meaningful discussion within our women's group at Ubisoft Annecy. To embody this theme, we're organizing a studio exhibition to highlight media, actions, and individuals that can encourage a more inclusive mindset. Additionally, we recognize the importance of extending our focus beyond gender to include other minorities in the videogame industry, such as individuals of diverse ethnic backgrounds and varying sexual orientations. It's crucial for us to create an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and included.

Personally, I think the theme is also a reminder to be an ally and actively contribute to positive change. Acting as an ally has the potential to inspire others to do the same, fostering a more inclusive environment for everyone.

Leslie Capillon - Senior Director, Global Brand Management

[UN] IWD Interview - Leslie

"Inspire Inclusion" encapsulates the idea of fostering an environment where all individuals, regardless of their background, identity, or differences, feel valued, respected, and fully involved. It's all about celebrating differences and creating a sense of belonging.

At a more personal level, "Inspire Inclusion" reminds me of my experience as a co-founder and co-leader of one of the French chapters of the Women for Equity ERG. Interacting regularly with many women from different jobs, origins, ages, or aspirations is very fruitful and inspiring. I'm trying to leverage those insights in my everyday life - in my decisions as a manager, as a marketing director, as a friend, as a mom!

Sometimes inclusion relies on simple, easy words or actions: Debating about feminism with my friends; being vocal in my work to guarantee gender parity in our teams or female representation in our campaigns; or even doing marketing courses in high schools and universities to showcase the importance of having women in leadership positions!

Theoria Cason - Director, Diversity and Inclusion

[UN] IWD Interview - TheoriaCason

"Inspire Inclusion" signifies the importance of intentionally creating environments where everyone feels valued and included, irrespective of gender. It also means creating well-rounded gender-diverse characters and telling honest, intersectional stories that are informed by people with lived experiences.

What advice would you give to women who aspire to pursue careers in gaming?

Miriam Popescu - Senior Game Designer

I'd advise them to stay resilient. With the current challenges facing our industry and many companies not hiring as much as they were a few years ago, it can be really difficult to get your start right now. If you have the opportunity, become as knowledgeable as you can! Build concrete projects and learn about the different fields in game development. This will help you collaborate more easily but also figure out your passion. Do you want to program? Work in marketing? Are you an artist or a designer? Maybe it's a mix of all the above.

Laora Heintz - Online Programmer

For women interested in entering the gaming industry, my first advice is to get hands-on experience by participating in game jams. They're an excellent opportunity to learn, collaborate with others, and connect with people in the field. Networking is crucial, and platforms like Women in Games can also facilitate those connections.

Consider joining mentorship programs, such as Develop at Ubisoft, specifically designed for women and gender minorities. This provides a chance to seek advice from successful women in the gaming industry, benefiting from their experiences as you navigate your own path.

Importantly, don't limit yourself, even if you don't perfectly match recruitment criteria. Take the initiative and allow the recruiter to assess your suitability for the position; they are typically more objective in this matter than you might be.

Leslie Capillon - Senior Director, Global Brand Management

For women in gaming, navigating the industry can sometimes present unique challenges. Of course, everyone should start with developing skills and expertise. Building a strong foundation of knowledge and experience will always help you stand out. To do so, be curious and open-minded. Find time to develop yourself: read, watch videos, or even have regular lunch or coffee breaks with your colleagues. Identify the key trending topics in the industry and work with your manager to get the right trainings.

Women in gaming, as in every industry, also need to learn how to stay true to themselves while strengthening their confidence and resilience. They should not be afraid to speak up and assert themselves. Whether it's advocating for yourself in professional settings, calling out toxic behaviors, or sharing opinions and ideas, their voice matters! Of course, this becomes easier with experience, but the most important thing is building a support network of peers who understand your experiences and can provide valuable advice and encouragement. Connect with other women in gaming through ERGs, online communities, forums, and social-media groups. The solidarity between women and support of allies is key. We all have a role to play, and sisterhood should be taught to little girls very early!

Theoria Cason - Director, Diversity and Inclusion

To women aspiring to gaming careers, my advice is to hone your skills, seek mentorship, and confidently pursue your passion. Be curious. Challenge yourself to stretch beyond your comfort zone, take up space, contribute your unique perspectives, and always ask for more: money, time, and respect.

For more on Ubisoft's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, be sure to visit Inside Ubisoft.

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