As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, it’s been a moment of reflection for the Women & Non-Binary Employee Resource Group at Ubisoft Toronto.
The past two years have been challenging for the ERG, from building community to finding those spontaneous moments of connection with colleagues at the studio especially. A video call isn’t the same as a coffee run to Wallace Espresso, or accidentally stumbling in on the Tea Club on a Thursday afternoon.
As our studio enters the next phase of reopening, there’s a renewed focus from the Women & Non-Binary ERG to grow and connect with each other and allies at our studio – starting with a chat.
Grab a warm beverage and pull up a chair
This month, the Women & Non-Binary ERG is launching At the table with…, a new podcast series for employees at Ubisoft. Co-hosted by Ubisoft Toronto’s Heli Kennedy, Lead Writer, and Stephanie Brenham, 3D Team Lead Programmer, they’ll be connecting with guests at our studio and the broader video game industry to share their personal stories, experiences and thoughts relating to success in games.
“We want it to feel like we’re having a cup of coffee together,” said Heli, who also co-leads the Women & Non-Binary ERG. “There are so many new people that have started during the pandemic and colleagues we’ve never met in person. We want to emphasize that we’re here, and we’re ready talk about anything.”
🌠How do you turn failure into a success?
🎙️In the first episode of our internal podcast “at the table with,” we unpack how learning from failure is an essential part of #gamedev.
💬 Find out what Andy Schmoll had to say: https://t.co/uOgtMtGYJi pic.twitter.com/f9R4zNkR7U
— Ubisoft Toronto (@UbisoftToronto) March 26, 2022
The first 45-minute episode of the podcast is a conversation on learning from failure, with guests Anne Farmer, Associate Producer at Ubisoft Montreal, and Andy Schmoll, Game Designer at Ubisoft Toronto. They’ll discuss their experiences with failure and what they learned as a result.
“We’re centering on women and their point-of-views in the conversations, but the topics are universal to everyone at the studio,” said Heli.
The remaining episodes will be focused on:
- Episode 2: Imposter Syndrome with Dr. Rachel Kowert from Take This.
- Episode 3: Creative Destruction with Tanya DePass, founder and Director of I Need Diverse Games.
- Episode 4: Defining Success with Keltie Wright, Narrative Designer at Ubisoft Toronto, & Shaked Brosh, Gameplay Programmer at Ubisoft Toronto.
Diversity, inclusion and video games
While International Women’s Day is dedicated moment in time to celebrate women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias, and encouraging all people to take action for gender equality should be a focus year-round.
At the table with… aims to elevate voices – from familiar faces to newcomers – within and outside the studio. It’s just the latest initiative from Ubisoft Toronto’s Women & Non-Binary ERG. Co-led by Product Manager Bonnie Lim, Team Lead Artist Sandra Parling, Communications Coordinator Meghan Lowery, Stephanie Brenham and Heli Kennedy, the ERG:
- Encourages professional development through networking, education, mentorship and other focused initiatives
- Advocates for thoughtful, deliberate representation of women and non-binary characters in our games
- Continues to promote an inclusive environment at Ubisoft Toronto, from culture to programs, and
- Acts as a social connector for Ubisoft employees.
The group continues their commitment to education, sharing information and building a safe space to have a voice. But beyond tackling the professional challenges, they also want to create a community alongside other ERGs at the studio where team members can get together, hangout and talk about their day.
As in-person get togethers become possible, the ERG is eager to go back to hosting live events.
Breaking the bias
This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias, inviting people of all genders to share how they smash gender stereotypes, call out discrimination and promote gender equality in their daily lives.
Elsewhere, team members from around the world are coming together to show how they’re breaking the bias at Ubisoft. Check it out below: