Diversity: Be the change
Eva Goel explains why gaming appealed to her and what company attributes are required to build a more diverse and effective workforce
There is a lot of discussion today about how to achieve greater representation for women, as well as other minorities, in the gaming industry.
A lot of this is focused on what’s wrong, from the blatantly obvious (scantily clad models on conference stands) to the slightly more subtle (failure to take a stance against harassment and discrimination).
But the tone largely remains defensive and reactive. Reflecting on my own experience as a relative newcomer to the industry, I am a strong proponent of giving more air time to the good reasons for choosing gaming as a career path and how it happened for those of us who are already here. So this is my ‘how-to’ guide for under-represented candidates, as well as the organisations that want to attract them.
Getting into it
As with all things, in my case it took some luck. I was not specifically after a career in gaming, but rather a high growth opportunity in an early-stage company, where I could apply the commercial skills I had acquired working for several years in financial and information services.
The opportunity presented itself in the form of a start-up that aspired to create a Bloomberg-style platform for sports betting.
Although things didn’t quite work out, the time I spent with the company was formative.
What I learnt:
• For candidates: Don’t hesitate to define your ‘value-add’ in entirely new contexts.
• For organisations: Promote the fact that gaming is a dynamic global industry with strong growth potential — commercial growth potential translates into the personal growth potential.
Choosing to stay
Opting to remain in the industry was a deliberate decision and largely due to Colossus giving me the opportunity to become part of what I see as the most exciting story in gaming today. This was no typical recruitment process — there was no formal job spec or project definition.
But there was an open-minded invitation by the management to come on board, get acquainted with the business and potentially carve out a role for myself.
Think of it as a form of ‘professional dating’ that worked for both sides and ultimately translated into me formally coming on board as chief of staff.
What I learnt:
• For candidates: Target companies before roles. Especially in early- stage environments, there is little time for job specs, but there is a high need for people who can demonstrate their value.
• For organisations: Target people before roles. Create roles for people
you know to be valuable – in the long term, it is the highest-return recruitment strategy.
Looking towards the future
Just a few weeks ago, I was promoted to CCO. I am one of the many examples of our strong culture of promoting from within. And with a partner network that first doubled, then tripled in size in three short years, there it lots to look forward to. Is there a blueprint for everyone? Here? Probably not, but I hope there is enough to demonstrate that by being a bit unconventional, both people and organisations can go a long way.
Eva Karagianni-Goel is chief commercial officer at Colossus Bets, where she is responsible for the company’s B2B partner network and commercial strategy. She spent her early career in maritime shipping in her native Greece. Before joining the gaming industry, she held leadership positions with global information services provider Dun & Bradstreet in the US and the UK.