Who We Are
Belinda Van Sickle
Noelle Hunt Bennett
Sheri Graner Ray
Mary Margaret Walker
WIGI WAM Night Committee Chair
Belinda Van Sickle is the president/CEO of GameDocs, a game industry service provider specializing in strategic and marketing consulting, packaging, localizations, web promotion and B-to-B materials. She started her video game career in 1997 at Activision, working as a writer, copy editor, designer and layout artist in charge of all game manual copy.
In 1999, she was one of the founding members of Ignited Minds, an ad agency that specialized in the game industry. At ATVI and IM, Belinda worked on manuals for all of Activision's releases from 1997 through 2005.
She left IM in 2005 to start her own company. GameDocs has since worked on packaging, promotions, and strategy for Blizzard, Vivendi, Disney Interactive Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Konami, Midway and many other AAA and independent publishers and developers.
Belinda started volunteering for Women in Games International in 2006 by spearheading the WIGI Linkedin group and the Community Mixer series. Since then, she has become CEO of the organization, leading WIGI's efforts to promote and encourage women's achievement in the video game industry.
Belinda has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Women's Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master's in English with a focus in Creative Writing from Sonoma State University. She has spoken at industry conferences such as GDC, Casual Connect, NAB and others. Belinda has been interviewed for several articles on the game industry for publications like Wired, GameSpot, GameCareerGuide, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. She has lectured at the University of Southern California, California State University-Fullerton, the Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, Westwood College and the Laguna College of Art and Design. She's been a hardcore casual gamer for more than 20 years and loves hidden object games on the Macintosh, social games and mobile arcade titles.
WIGI Chapters Committee Chair
Krissie Franco is Co-founder and Exe. V.P. of Production at Hydrogen Whiskey Studios. Founding, promoting, and overseeing day-to-day management of an art, animation and audio production studio for 15 years, Krissie has a broad perspective and understanding of the ever-changing demands in the game industry. As WIGI Chapter Chair, Krissie strives to reach into communities and build sustainable groups of motivated and outstanding individuals to offer community networking, support and education.
WIGI Sponsorship Committee Chair
Taking imagination and innovation to new levels combined with entrepreneurship has been a driving passion for Asra Rasheed throughout her career. As CEO of RRKidz; Home of Reading Rainbow, Asra’s vision is about making a meaningful and positive impact on today’s digital children through experiences they will grow to remember, love, and learn from. Asra brings over 16 years of entrepreneurial leadership and interactive experience to RRKidz. Previously Asra was Co-Founder and President of Thumb Media Group; content publishing platform for mobile and tablet devices. She was also Founder and President of NextRental, an online videogame rental service, later acquired by Gottaplay. Asra also served as Business Advisor for Peanut Labs Media (acquired by E-Rewards). She currently serves as Advisor for The Los Angeles Film School Game Production Degree Program, Yetizen (a game start-up accelerator), and is an Executive Board Member for Women in Games International (WIGI) where she continues to advocate and promote the inclusion and advancement of women in the global games industry. Asra holds a B.A. in Finance from California State University-Fullerton. When Asra’s not “geeking” out over technology, she loves to travel the world, explore different cultures, food, and music.
WIGI D-L-C Committee Chair
Amy Allison is the VP of Games at Fat Droid, a boutique production/post-production creative agency. Fat Droid has 30 collective years in video game advertising, broadcast promotion, and music video production. One of the company goals is to make ad agency services available and affordable to Indie Game Developers and Interactive Entertainment Start-ups.
Along with her publisher (Vivendi Games) and large ad agency (mOcean) background, Amy brings her partnership and branding experience to multiple non-profits.
As a VP on the executive board for Women in Games International, she has found great success working on game industry lecture series (D-L-C events), mixers, and conference events. She is currently spearheading the creation of a Video Game Design Patch Program for Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.
Amy is also the chair for INDIECADE's Strategic Partnerships and Marketing, she hopes to make INDIECADE the must-attend event of the year for independent studios and conference partners.
Additionally, as "Angry Nirds", she is a partnership representative for her roller derby league, Angel City Derby Girls.
Tracy is a seasoned marketer with a background in consumer product management and advertising. She's held leadership roles at Motorola, THQ, Activision, and Warner Bros. At THQ, she profitably oversaw the company's largest video game franchises, WWE & UFC. At Activision, she launched new IP Prototype and with WBIE, she managed the indie hit Bastion, The Lord of the Rings and The Witcher 2 releases. Tracy has consulted gaming companies, creative agencies, and financial institutions, while also serving on the Board of Directors for Women in Games International (WIGI). Tracy's current role is the Head of Marketing & PR, Americas for CD Projekt Red, makers of The Witcher series and Cyberpunk.
It's a pleasure and an honor for Nathalie Sparks, working as Sales Operations Manager at Crytek since February 2009, to be part of WIGI’s mixer committee. She has fifteen years of experience in the fields of Sales, Event management and Marketing.
Before joining the German game developer and being responsible for selling their AAA game development solution, CryENGINE 3, Nathalie has served as a Sales Program Manager and as Developer Relations Manager at Emergent Game Technologies for around 2 ½ years.
In 2006 she was the Senior Conference Manager of Austin Game Developers’ Conference. She has assisted in the formation and creation of this world renowned video game conference. Previously, Nathalie has worked in the field of Channel Development Marketing at Neverfail Inc. and was responsible for creating and implementing marketing initiatives for their technology partners.
Before coming to Criterion Software, a division of Electronic Arts, and working there as Sales Operations Manager, Nathalie served sales at Traq Wireless. Her career itself began as Business Sales Representative of Dell Inc., after having earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with focus on Europe from the St. Edward’s University, Austin.
Sheri Graner Ray is author of the book, Gender Inclusive Game Design-Expanding the Market. She has served as the co-chair for the Women in Game Development SIG of the IGDA for 4 years and has been a spokesperson for the female game player for many years. In 2004 she was the Chair of the Women’s Game Conference, the first game conference to specifically address the issues of women and games held in the U.S. Sheri has served as a design consultant to Cartoon Network and as Sr. Game Designer with Sony Online Entertainment. Before coming to Sony, she served as President of her own studio, Sirenia Software, and before that as Director of Product Development for Her Interactive, where she began her research into females and computer games. She has also worked for Origin Systems as a writer and designer on the Ultima PC series.
Sande Chen is a writer and game designer whose game credits span 10 years in the industry. Her writing credits include 1999 Independent Games Festival winner Terminus and the PC RPG of the Year, The Witcher, for which she was nominated for a 2007 Writers Guild Award in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing. A prolific writer and community advocate, Sande Chen is the co-author of the book, Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform and a contributor to Writing for Video Game Genres, Professional Techniques for Video Game Writing, and Secrets of the Game Business. In 2006, she was profiled as one of the Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women for her work as Director of the non-profit, Girls in Games. She has spoken about games at conferences around the globe, including the Game Developers Conference, Women's Game Conference, and the Serious Games Summit D.C. She also has a Grammy nomination.
Karen entered the gaming industry in 2005 as Development Program Manager at Linden Lab, makers of Second Life. Since, she has served in project management roles at GarageGames/InstantAction.com, BioWare/EA, and Playdom. As Director of Studio Operations at Loot Drop, she works with a team of industry veterans developing high-quality social games for Facebook.
Karen holds a Masters of Science degree in Project Management. She is a Certified Scrum Master and advocate of agile methodologies. Her passion for video games and their development is matched only by her desire to aid women in their professional advancement into and within the industry. As Mentor Program Chair for Women in Games International, she introduced the mentoring mailing list in 2007 and launched GameMentorOnline as a co-sponsored program with IGDA Women in Games SIG in 2008. Today, she manages GameMentorOnline as a wholly owned WIGI initiative.
As CEO, Mary-Margaret leads the recruitment strategies and new business endeavors for Mary-Margaret Network. She brings to the role 15 years of experience in recruiting and 6 years of experience in video game development.
Prior to moving to recruiting in 1996, Mary-Margaret was Manager of Studio Services for The 3DO Company managing the milestones and development process of all projects in production and the hiring of over 200 employees. Previously, she was at Origin Systems where she created the company's Human Resources department and contributed to titles in development as a Design Manager.
Mary-Margaret is a regular speaker at international trade shows and has authored numerous articles. She was a contributing author to Ernest Adams' popular book, Break Into The Game Industry: How to Get a Job Making Video Games.
A founding member of the IGDA, Mary-Margaret holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Christian University and an M.B.A. from Sacred Heart University.
My Task, My Vocation, My Beloved Work. – Abraham Maslow
Sheri Rubin is president and CEO of Design, Direct, Deliver, a company that provides independent contract and consulting services to businesses both in and outside the game industry. An avid and life-long game lover, she began participating in tournaments during high school and volunteered for a collectable card game company while in college. That experience ultimately inspired her to leave the accounting field for the thrilling world of video games.
Sheri was elected to the International Game Developers Association's Programs and Membership Committee in 2007 and is also the founder and current chair of the Quality Assurance Special Interest Group. She has appeared on two G4TV shows and was one of only three volunteers highlighted in the 2005 IGDA Annual Report. Though she has more than 30 game credits under her belt, Sheri's greatest professional pride came from showing her father her name on the Golden Tee machine in their local Chicago pizzeria.
Her company's website can be found at www.designdirectdeliver.com.
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