Podcast Review: Gender Diversity and Allyship in the Gaming Industry

Sue Schneider, VP of Growth and Strategy for Americas at SBC, started her career in gaming in 1995, she also launched River City Group, which produced the largest iGaming events in the world. With Jessica Welman, the host of iGaming Daily podcast, she discussed a topic of equal importance – how to get more women involved in the gaming industry, particularly at the conference level.

The duo delve into the representation of women in senior positions throughout the gaming sector, calling for allies throughout the sector and the importance of education.

Recently SBC organized an event in Las Vegas that got together an incredible group of executive-level leadership women in gaming, and Sue was part of it. 

“I think I would need to preface it with how hard it is to have good representation. It really is difficult. That’s really kind of been one of my priorities with, you know, in the past and with SBC. Given the number of women that are in senior management positions and a variety of things and even startups, we still have a long way to go. So it makes getting a good representation in the conference, which I help with, the conference planning.”

We often hear individuals mention that gaming is simply a challenge for women to enter. It’s also notable that the sports betting aspect exacerbates this issue, particularly evident in trading rooms where, in many instances, the male presence is overwhelmingly dominant. While some progress is being made, it remains a gradual process. 

“Same with finance. Trying to find VCs that have women as part of it. Only 4% of VC money goes to women-owned startups, which I thought was pretty appalling. So it kind of cuts across all those different sectors that make up the gaming industry,” Schneider added.  

She continues, that to change the situation and attitudes towards women, it is important to have allies. 

“Part of that, I think, is seeing not only how women are moving up, but how our allies are really kind of pushing that on their side, too. So I think that looking at the allies, looking at how to build that set of allies and giving them some guidance on how they can help is really, really important.”

One effective way is to express support openly and ensure that the women within the company or organization have viable paths for advancement. “A lot of the women that were in the room we spoke with in Las Vegas were saying: “I won’t be on a DEI [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] panel anymore. I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about what it is I do every day and be valued in that regard in terms of my expertise in that”. 

This stance they’re taking emphasizes the importance of recognizing and valuing their contributions based on the merits of their work. 

For women who aspire to engage with conferences but may be uncertain about how to establish their presence, Schneider gave some bits of advice. Particularly, she mentioned LinkedIn which stands out as a prominent tool, particularly in the gaming industry. It’s essential to acquire proficiency in its usage and ensure a compelling representation of yourself. Additionally, she is a proponent of actively participating in industry associations or similar groups. 

“I really feel like personal brand building and getting involved as a volunteer in quotes with various groups and associations and efforts in the industry is really a good way to go.”

Jessica Welman agreed with this thesis and added, based on her own experience, that a significant component of personal brand emerged through engagement on Twitter [X]. Rather than solely reporting events, it is valuable to share a person’s perspectives openly. This entailed discussing emerging trends and providing insights beyond just factual information. 

“If I could make a suggestion on the brand-building side, there’s no right or wrong way to do it, but be yourself and don’t edit yourself too much on posts. Because I think especially on the conference side, we want people who are interesting and have something to say that’s different from what everyone else is saying,” Welman concluded. 

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