IGDA: Game industry Mentor Network for women

Story and photos: Emma Kiiski
The event was organized in Digital Chocolate’s premises in Helsinki Tuesday evening this week. The point was that all the women interested in game industry in Finland gathered to there and the organizers talked about the industry. About 16% of workers in the Finnish game industry are women and this activity was arranged that the percent would grow. There were a lot of students but also some people from work life. The event was unbelievably popular; about 50 women came there, some of whom as far away as Pori, Tampere, Ikaalinen and Portugal.

Sonja Kangas having her introduction speech

The introduction was held by Sonja Kangas, the lead coordinator of IGDA Finland.
After the intro speech, there were two presentations about game design in amount and how the speakers had actually got into the positions of CEO and Lead Game Designer in their companies. All this talk had interesting tips about the game industry for the listener.
Tiina Zilliacus talking about how to proceed in your career

We were divided into smaller groups based on the name card colors we had chosen. The colors indicated the field of interest each of us had, like game design, game art or producing. It was a hard choice; all of the groups must have had interesting information and talks! There were surprisingly many female game designers and the second largest group was the artists.

I went to the “art club”, since I want to be a game artist. First the mentors/tutors introduced themselves, where they come from and how they landed in Digital Chocolate. It was quite surprising that so many people actually come from various places: someone had studied dress making and someone was an animation student; someone had just decided to become a game artist.

The event was really inspiring. If you have had your eyes open you have noticed that the game industry has grown quite a lot in Finland lately. Many companies have been (and still are) hiring new people in and Rovio will even open a new office in Tampere. So this is the time to throw your applications at the game companies! It’s a good chance.

The best thing is that the women activity is not ending here. The organizers will keep us informed about new events and happenings! Facebook groups are running actively; I already got really nice links to art / digital painting pages I had never heard of before! Really useful.

Emma Kiiski is running Score Game Development Community, also a student of our Media Programme.

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