MEET THE WOMEN BEHIND WOMEN IN GAMES: LUCY RISSIK, DIRECTOR OF PARTNERSHIPS
The Women in Games team is a small, but passionate and driven group of individuals who all share the same goal – to promote, support and elevate women, and those identifying as women, in games and esports around the world.
We’re throwing the spotlight on the brilliant women behind Women in Games, highlighting all of them over the coming months.
Here we talk to Lucy Rissik, our Director Partnerships, about her route into the games industry, her work outside of Women in Games and more…
How did you come to join the games industry? And tell us a little about your career in games to today.
I’ve had a non-standard way in, and actually have a law degree. I was looking for a career in sports law, but then met my husband who was working for EA. We moved to the US before my career had really got going, and then moved to Switzerland with EA. I had my children and then really started to look at my career opportunities.
I was fortunate to meet Claudine Harris who had set up her own partnerships agency, Miai Brand Partnerships. She saw potential in me and initially I started working with her four hours a week on partnerships across Square Enix, Jagex and more. There I discovered a passion for partnerships and also video games.
Tell us about your work outside of Women in Games.
I like to say I look at culture inside and outside games. I create partnerships/collaborations with cool companies that are looking to get into the industry.
My main principles are relevance to the audience, whilst keeping authenticity and not alienating the existing audience. I also have the mantra that the best partnerships look like friendships and I have no interest in trying to shoehorn brands together. Generally, I work with streetwear brands, and street artists.
I like creating partnerships that are outside the norm and make noise outside the games industry.
I basically follow trends and can often see the potential of how brands can work together and create something great for their audiences
How did you get involved with Women in Games?
I knew our Director of Ambassadors and Women in Games Director Gemma Johnson-Brown beforehand and she suggested I applied for a role that was initially as Marketing Director. The role expanded to include partnerships and now this is my main focus – which is great as I’m much more suited to this and it really plays to my skillset.
Why work for Women in Games? What’s important about the work you do in the organisation?
On a very basic level, Women in Games is a not-for-profit organisation, and many of our events and initiatives are free to those in our community and beyond. A large part of my role involves garnering support from the industry that allows us to fund those initiatives and events.
But our partnerships with studios and other organisations goes way beyond ‘sponsorship’. Corporate Ambassadors who join our Programme are asked to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation, which sees them pledge to act in a way that aligns with our principles, and to support our purpose, vision and mission. They work with us in our collective ambition to bring greater equality and diversity to games, for the good of the whole industry.
We currently have over 40 Corporate Ambassadors around the world who are actively collaborating with us to support women in games and esports everywhere. We also have a number of Education Ambassadors – colleges and universities which again support our values, and provide encouragement and guidance to young women who are seeking a career in games and esports.
And, of course, we have our Individual Ambassador programme – headed up by our Ambassador Director Gemma Johnson-Brown – which is supported by our partners Keywords Studio.
Beyond this, I’m really excited that we are currently talking to brands outside of games who have seen the work that we do and are keen to collaborate with us to allow us to further broaden our activities and initiatives. Some of the projects we are working on will have a big impact on women working in games, but also on the millions of women and girls around the world who play games. We can’t wait to tell you more about it!
What are your ambitions and desires for Women in Games – and women in games – over the next couple of years?
Ultimately, it would be great if there was no need Women in Games, but I can’t see that happening in the near future.
But, for now, I want to work with more brands outside the industry who realise the potential of working with women in the industry. I’d also like to see more work being done in schools and aimed at young girls. They need to discover that the video games industry is a viable career option.
Who are the women who inspire you – in games and beyond?
I have to say Claudine Harris to start with. She gave me my first break in the industry and really inspired me to move forward with my career.
I loved working with Tabitha Hayes at EA and she is very inspirational. She’s really pushed at such a senior level.
Kelly Vero is an amazing woman in the industry. I have regular chats and she is doing some amazing things and really inspires me now – she makes me think, and continually reminds me not to doubt myself.