How did you find your start in the industry and how did you arrive at your current position?
Believe it or not, it was a LinkedIn message and a phone call by a talented recruiter at Aristocrat that started my journey in the gaming industry. I’d never considered working in gaming and it wasn’t until I started doing my research that I realised it was time to dip my toes into the water and do something completely different. Side note – Queen of the Nile was the first game I ever played at the club when I turned 18, so choosing Aristocrat made a whole lot of sense!
Once I found my feet at Aristocrat and had a good understanding of the industry, it was all upwards from there on in. I honestly believe I got to where I am today through hard work, passion and enthusiasm for communications, whilst always holding myself accountable to deliver to a high standard. Building relationships, taking on stretch opportunities, getting involved in industry projects – such as the establishment of WGA, has all helped carve out a wonderful career for me. I genuinely love getting up and going to work each day and I get to work with incredible people that genuinely care about the success of the people around them.
My next position? I’m going to be taking some time off to be a Mum for the first time in early 2019, which I’m sure will be just as challenging and rewarding!
What do you consider to be the biggest achievement of your career, so far?
Personally and professionally, packing up my suitcase and heading over to Princeton, New Jersey was the biggest career challenge of my life, but it also was one of my biggest achievements. I was given the opportunity to lead Corporate Internal Communications for a company that were newly listing on the New York Stock Exchange and I was responsible for mobilising our global teams, engaging with our employees and inspiring them to come on this journey with us. Those team efforts with our incredibly small but mighty communications team resulted in us being awarded the Prestigious Silver Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America. I also got to stand on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to live ‘yammer’ the event with our 30,000 staff members and interviewed the CEO and CFO right there under the bell. That experience was the stepping stone that got me to where I am today and taught me a lot about the importance of backing yourself, being confident, the importance of a team and it showed me the kind of leader that I wanted to be.
What do you think is the most significant barrier for women in the industry, today? How do you think this barrier can be overcome?
I think the biggest challenge for the industry is getting women in the door first and foremost and then cultivating that talent and providing opportunities for them to shine through. Working on how we recruit and the language we use is critically important to ensuring that we are inclusive in this process, especially considering that it’s a traditionally very male dominated industry. Also having a diverse pool of candidates and ensuring that the interview panel is diverse, all helps in opening doors and allowing the best talent to shine through.
The next thing is having a seat at the table. In many gaming organisations, the top tiers of leadership are male, so opening up the table to allow upcoming female talent to participate in these discussions is critical. It not only gives women a voice, it also provides a different way of thinking for the organisation that can only lead to positive things.
Let’s also not forget that the way we work now is so diverse, and to truly allow everyone to bring their best selves to work we need to create an environment where women and men alike can flourish. This might mean working remotely, starting and finishing at different times, condensed work weeks etc. Being open to different ways of working can really empower our teams to do their best work and it helps them feel like they don’t have to sacrifice their professional or personal lives. If we trust our employees to do what they need to do, everyone wins.
Who or what inspire you and why?
Over the course of my career I’ve had inspiring role models and leaders that have influenced and shaped me in some way. Nothing though compares to a team of truly talented and passionate professionals that can collectively work together to make the impossible happen. In a previous team I worked in, the way we supported each other, challenged each other and celebrated each other’s success was something I’ll never forget. Our leader at the time created such a sense of family and pride in what we did that we knew we had each other’s back and when someone had a moment of greatness, it was a collective sense of accomplishment.
I think seeing the power of ‘we’ in action inspires me. Alone we can do some great things, but together we can completely change the game. I think that’s what’s unique about the gaming industry and in particular about Aristocrat. We’re a unique community of dedicated and passionate people that love what we do. We genuinely care about the industry in which we work and want to see everyone succeed. We do work in a challenging industry at times and it’s inspiring to see just how passionate our employees are. We should be incredibly proud of what we do and how we contribute to the communities in which we live and work.
What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made professionally?
The best decision I ever made was to take that leap of faith, pack up my suitcase and head to the other side of the world. I constantly doubted myself and my ability (Imposter Syndrome in overdrive), but I took a deep breath, dived in and had one of the most incredible learning experiences of my life and met a team of incredible people that still pop into my head as I make decisions to this day….’would the wolf pack do that?’. My worst professional decision? It’s not just one instance, but I think it’s those missed opportunities where I didn’t put my hand up for some reach projects and as a result missed out on what should have been a great learning experience. My take away from that; you might not know everything, but you’re smart enough to find out so don’t let that stop you. Back yourself and ask for help along the way.