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How Women Are Driving the Gaming Industry Forward

#sxsw #womendevs

The largest demographic of online game players are women over 35. And, this demographic is more social than ever; they’re willing to purchase virtual goods and boosters, while spending more time playing across multiple devices and platforms.
Get an insider’s view of this fun and dynamic industry with a focus on how women are driving the gaming space forward, as the business and creative talent behind the games and as consumers of games. Hiring women in the games industry leads to successful, fun games with a loyal following. An all-star panel of women executives and game developers from top game companies will share their experiences as females working in the game industry, what they’ve learned from making games designed for both men and women and offer tips for landing your dream gaming job.



AJ Glasser Managing Editor Inside Network

Allison Rynak VP, Mktg Comm GSN Digital

Allison oversees marketing communications for GSN Digital. She manages the company’s PR, advertising, branding and cause marketing efforts across its online destination sites, and, as well as its mobile and social apps. Previously, Allison was VP, marketing communications for WorldWinner, GSN’s tournament games site.

Prior to joining WorldWinner in 2004, Allison was a vice president at Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading public relations firms, where she oversaw PR programs for Monster, Avid Technology and WorldWinner. During her 10-year tenure at Weber Shandwick, she worked with numerous global brands, including Gateway, SAP, AT&T Capital Leasing Services and KPMG Consulting, to help them achieve their business and marketing communications goals.

Allison serves as an advisory board member of Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Interactive Media and Game Development program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Tulane University.

Her heart still races every time she hears the start-up theme music to Ms. Pac-man.

Cara Ely Creative Dir Zynga

Cara Ely is a Creative Director at Zynga Inc. based in both Seattle and San Francisco. She led the creative team for the launch of Zynga’s first social hidden object game, Hidden Chronicles, which peaked at over seven million DAU. She is currently working on a (top secret) new title.

Cara has been making casual games since 2000, and has shipped more than 60 titles as a Creative Director, Designer, or Producer. Prior to joining Zynga, she was a Creative Director at I-play Games; in addition to launching a variety of arcade and puzzle games, she created the Dream Day hidden object series, which has generated more than 60 million downloads to date. Cara also worked on the best-selling You Don’t Know Jack and Hoyle Games series at Sierra Online.

Cara was previously named as one of the 100 top women in Seattle tech, and has appeared in USA Today, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, Inside Social Games, Gamezebo, The Seattle Times, and Seattle Magazine. When she’s not playing hidden object or puzzle games, she is always up for a round of Yahtzee.

Rachel Bernstein Exec Producer Maxis Studio

Rachel Bernstein is an Executive Producer at EA, currently working on an unannounced new game. Previously at EA, she led development of The Sims Medieval and MySims Agents (Wii).

Rachel started her career in software engineering, writing video drivers and color image processing applications. After getting a taste of the exciting world of color calibration software, she decided to make games.
She co-founded Frog City and ran it for nine years, writing code, managing schedules, running the business and assembling the furniture. The independent studio developed strategy and city-building games for the PC including Imperialism and Tropico 2: Pirate Cove.

In 2003 Rachel sold the studio to Take-Two Interactive and then ran it for three years as a Take-Two subsidiary, thus enabling the team to sit on fancier chairs. After that, she founded a new company, Sidecar Studios, to make Xbox Live Arcade games. She joined EA a year later, lured by the huge collection of talented and passionate game makers congregated there (chairs were the same).

Rachel has a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University. She lives in San Francisco. She likes hiking, exploring cities, playing Ultimate Frisbee, and yes, dare we say it, watching her kid play soccer.