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Diversity: Be the change

| By Hannah Gannage-Stewart | Reading Time: 2 minutes
Eva Goel on the company attributes required to build a more diverse and effective workforce

Eva Goel explains why gaming appealed to her and what company attributes are required to build a more diverse and effective workforce

There is a lot of discussion today about how to achieve greater representation for women, as well as other minorities, in the gaming industry. 

A lot of this is focused on what’s wrong, from the blatantly obvious (scantily clad models on conference stands) to the slightly more subtle (failure to take a stance against harassment and discrimination). 

But the tone largely remains defensive and reactive. Reflecting on my own experience as a relative newcomer to the industry, I am a strong proponent of giving more air time to the good reasons for choosing gaming as a career path and how it happened for those of us who are already here. So this is my ‘how-to’ guide for under-represented candidates, as well as the organisations that want to attract them.

Getting  into  it
As with all things, in my case it took some luck. I was not specifically after a career in gaming, but rather a high growth opportunity in an early-stage company,  where I could apply the commercial skills I had acquired working for several years in financial and information services. 

The opportunity presented itself  in the form of a start-up that aspired to create a Bloomberg-style platform for sports betting. 

Although things didn’t quite work out, the time I spent with the company was formative. 

What I learnt:
•  For  candidates: Don’t  hesitate to define your ‘value-add’ in entirely  new contexts.
•  For  organisations: Promote the fact that  gaming is a dynamic global industry with strong growth  potential  —  commercial  growth  potential   translates  into  the  personal  growth  potential. 

Choosing to stay
Opting  to  remain  in  the  industry  was  a  deliberate  decision  and  largely   due  to  Colossus  giving  me  the  opportunity  to  become  part   of  what  I  see  as  the  most  exciting  story  in  gaming  today.  This was  no  typical  recruitment  process — there was no formal  job spec or project definition.

But  there was an open-minded invitation by the management to come on board, get acquainted with the business and potentially carve out a role for myself. 

Think of it as a form of ‘professional  dating’  that worked for both sides and ultimately translated into me formally  coming on board as chief of staff. 

What I learnt:
For candidates: Target companies before roles. Especially in early- stage  environments, there is little time for job specs, but there is a high need for people who can demonstrate their value.
For organisations: Target people before roles. Create roles for people 
you know to be valuable – in the long  term, it is the highest-return recruitment strategy. 

Looking towards the future
Just a few  weeks ago, I was promoted to CCO. I am one of the many examples of our strong culture of promoting from within. And with a partner network that first doubled, then tripled in size in three short years, there it lots to look forward to. Is there a blueprint for everyone? Here? Probably not, but I hope there is enough to demonstrate that by being a bit  unconventional, both people and organisations can go a long  way.

Eva Karagianni-Goel is chief commercial officer at Colossus Bets, where she is responsible for the company’s B2B partner network and commercial strategy.  She spent her early career in maritime shipping in her native Greece.  Before joining the gaming industry, she held leadership positions with global information services provider Dun & Bradstreet in the US and the UK.

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