May 21, 2021

AAPI Employee Spotlight: Jackie Fong

To celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Zynga is spotlighting some of our incredible AAPI-identifying employees throughout May. We recognize the important influence that the AAPI community has had on the history, culture, and achievements of our organization and the world, and we are excited to share our employees’ stories.

We are continuing our celebration with a spotlight on Jackie Fong, a senior experience designer based in Toronto, Canada. In addition to building a magical player journey through our Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells game, Jackie is passionate about fostering community and support through different Zynga’s Employee Resource Groups. 

Continue reading to learn more about Jackie, what AAPI Heritage Month means to her, who inspires her, what the best advice she has ever received is, and more! 

Tell us a little bit about your background, culture, and career.

My heritage is Chinese-Canadian (Hoi Ping and Hong Kong), and I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Though I studied traditional graphic design, the world of interactive and game design has drawn me in and shaped much of my career.

What is your current role and responsibilities at Zynga?

I’m a Ravenclaw senior experience designer on Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells. I work with many muggles and magical folks to build player journeys through our game and incorporating the Wizarding World into our game’s visual design.

My extracurriculars include being a co-lead for zPride, Zynga’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group, and a board member for Women at Zynga.

Tell us about joining ZAPI (Zynga Asians & Pacific Islanders) and what the employee resource group means to you?

I was fortunate to be able to assist with the foundation of ZAPI through brand design. ZAPI, along with our other Zynga Employee Resource Groups (ZERGs), is important to affirm our existence in these spaces and foster community. ZAPI has also been a source of comfort amidst attacks on Asian people.

What does Asian Heritage Month mean to you?

This and other heritage months are a way of humanizing people and cultures. It’s a reminder that we are not costumes, caricatures, or fetishes and that our rich histories (the good and the bad) have value.

Do you have an inspirational figure in your life? Who are they and how have they helped you along on your journey?

My mom, Christina. She is a shining example of dignity and thoughtfulness in my life. She is also the primary caregiver to my younger autistic and epileptic brother, Matthew. Though she came to Toronto as a teen, she’s still fluent in Cantonese, with Toisan and Mandarin in her skillset. She reminds me to be kind, empathetic, and unapologetic when I need to stand up for myself.

What was the best advice you ever received in life or career?

When overwhelmed or hesitating to get started on something, it helps to look towards what’s at the core of the feeling. Is it worry over safety? Failure? How likely is it to actually happen? What is within my power? This “line of questioning” helps break down what seems insurmountable and makes it understandable. Often it’s well-intended anxious thoughts or perfectionism standing in our way.

In short: don’t be afraid to sit with and work with the worry, and then balance the catastrophizing with imagining what the best outcome could be.  

Looking back at previous experiences, what makes Zynga stand out the most?

Zynga carries its commitment to community and diversity into action (e.g., mentorship, outreach programs), whereas other companies may limit themselves to a mission statement or performative social media post. It’s refreshing, and I’m grateful.

What a personal favorite of yours that you wish to share with the world? (This could be a game, book, food, quote, or more)

Lore Olympus, by Rachel Smythe! It’s a book based on Greek Mythology and beautifully illustrated.

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

A side passion of mine is building costumes for Halloween and conventions.

Also, I can’t wait until it’s safe to hug people again. I miss hugs!