Being part of the WIGI Mentorship Program
"You need to be brave; not perfect."
Women in Games International (WIGI) is a nonprofit with a mission to cultivate resources to advance economic equality and diversity in the global games industry. Through knowledge sharing, access to technology, professional development workshops, and mentorship programs, WIGI works to normalize women, non-binary, and femme-identifying professionals in the gaming industry by eliminating barriers and increasing access and opportunities for all.
I saw the call for applications in November when I was at a point in my life where I was unsure what my next career steps could look like. It really was the perfect timing to then be accepted for the cohort in February when I had just ended my former job and was getting ready to start my new one in March.
The mentorship program consists of nine sessions (2 hours each) over the course of two weeks, a mentorship workbook, and three additional sessions with a mentor one is being paired with based on the info given in the application form. The whole thing is completely free and even the additional fees for shipping the mentorship kit all the way to Germany were reimbursed.
I did apply as a mentee and was paired with Taylor (Director, Business Development & Strategy at Paramount.) In our 1:1s, we talk about strategy, negotiation, and business/finance. It is incredibly useful to get her insights on what a director role entails and what her day-to-day looks like.
My main takeaways from the general mentorship sessions were:
Meeting people from the international game industry all over the world, I hardly get the chance to meet devs outside the German game industry, and love getting out of this bubble
It’s wiser to focus mostly on your strengths and cater to them instead of always putting energy into “fixing” your weaknesses (I’ll talk a bit more about the Clifton Strengths session below)
How to best prepare for a negotiation by giving different solutions plus which option you’d recommend and why
Asking for feedback to be documented if you only received it verbally (and making a list of your accomplishments regularly)
Inspiration for supporting the #FemDevsMeetup community with mentorship opportunities
Those who know me might know that the Clifton Strengths Workshop was the one I looked forward to the most since I always strive to find ways to get to know the people on my team and how to best support them in their growth. I’m also a big believer in investing in team building and creating a common understanding and vocabulary around what we need and how to support each other.
Strengths and Weaknesses - Clifton Strengths Workshop
We had to do an exercise where we first needed to write a phrase on a notepad with a pen three times and then we had to do the same thing BUT with the other hand. It was an easy and effective way to bring more awareness of where you put your energy regarding your strengths and weakness.
It also made me laugh because when using the keyboard I’m not able to type using ten fingers. Never learned it and I’m generally not a fast typer. So I made the decision to practice typing with ten fingers. It’s painful and slow and I wonder if it is the best use of my energy since my current typing style did the job just fine for the majority of my life.
Before the session, we got access to the Clifton Strengths survey which showed us our five themes. Mine are:
Empathy - People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' lives or others' situations.
Harmony - People who are especially talented in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.
Developer - People who are especially talented in the Developer theme recognise and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.
Relator - People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.
Positivity - People who are especially talented in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.
Funnily enough, all of them are under the “Relationship Building” area. I had done similar surveys before which made the results not that big of a surprise but it helped me reflect on why certain activities related to my job drain so much of my energy and for my next job I want to set a better focus on what I’m good at and gives me energy.
I’m sad the two weeks flew by so fast and grateful for being part of it. The WIGI team does an incredible job.
If you are interested in taking part you can apply as either a mentee or mentor here! You can also support WIGI during the March fundraiser by donating here.
If you are curious about more details on what we did learn in the two weeks, this is what the different sessions were about.
Monday, Feb 6th: Program Kick-off! During this guided introduction, we’ll walk through the program workbook, answer questions, set expectations, and introduce our incredible team.
Wednesday, Feb 8th: Dreams, Fears, & Mentorship: Setting Goals & Accountability Setting clearly defined goals is the best way to create accountability and determine the path necessary to achieve big things! It's normal to be nervous, uncomfortable, or even fearful when defining goals because there's no guarantee of success. Maybe you or someone you respect has failed in the past. Maybe you didn't have the tools or guidance necessary to succeed. Learn from a panel of industry experts who have carved their own pathways to reach incredible career heights in new and innovative ways. Panelists: Megan McDuffee, Jesyca Durchin Schnepp & Karla Reyes
Friday, Feb 10th: Burn Out & Boundary Setting One of the best ways to combat burnout is to set boundaries around your time, space, and well-being. But how do you effectively communicate boundaries and self-advocate if they are crossed? This panel will explore the best approach to establishing boundaries at every stage of your career. Panelists: Karina Lomelí, Krystal Cooper, & Crystal Au
Saturday, Feb 11th: Recognizing & Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Imposter Syndrome is constantly doubting your accomplishments, abilities, and self-worth. Join an open AMA session with Athena Peters, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rainbow Unicorn Games, for tips and tricks on how to recognize, combat, and overcome imposter syndrome as you navigate your gaming career. Speaker: Athena Peters
Monday, Feb 13th: Main Character Energy: Accomplishments & Affirmations Many underrepresented individuals are taught to blend into the background to avoid standing out. In fact, most of us are taught to avoid being boastful or confident as it may come across as arrogant and shallow. But the truth is that there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements. And no one knows your accomplishments better than you; not even your direct supervisor. Join this interactive AMA session, to discuss how to own your wins, celebrate your victories, and create lasting affirmations to guide you to the next level of your career. Speaker: Sofia Mohammed
Wednesday, Feb 15th: Negotiation: An Interactive Workshop on Challenges, Opportunities, and Strategies for Success Harvard Negotiation Clinic's Sara Budish Del Nido delivers a workshop on using negotiation techniques to successfully navigate everything from salary discussions to day-to-day activities. Workshop led by: Sara Del Nido Budish
Friday, Feb 17th: Leveling Up Your Resume: Creating Opportunities Through Networking Join us for an interactive conversation that concentrates on the do's and don'ts of resume crafting, a practical discussion on how to effectively prepare for an interview, and explore how networking can help you land the job of your dreams. Panelists: Tolu Lola Adesina & Megan Clarke
Saturday, Feb 18th: Clifton Strengths Workshop "Take a deep dive into the Clifton Strengths assessment to discover what you naturally do best, learn how to develop your greatest talents into strengths, and use your personalized results and reports to maximize your potential. During this interactive, two-hour workshop, certified expert Mike Knox will guide participants to use the customized Clifton Strengths reports will leave you inspired and empowered with a newfound self-awareness." Workshop led by: Mike Knox
Monday, Feb 20th: Inspiring the Next Generation of Leaders Join us for a final session of WIGI's Mentorship Program as we recap our learnings and takeaways from the program. We are proud to have Moonlit Beshimov, Global Head of Google Gaming Industry Strategy & Solutions and Career Coach, as our commencement speaker to share her growth philosophy.
📺 Recommendation: How to build (and rebuild) trust
Trust is the foundation for everything we do. But what do we do when it's broken? In an eye-opening talk, Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei gives a crash course in trust: how to build it, maintain it, and rebuild it.
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