WHM Employee Spotlight: Amy Oka-Shek
To celebrate Women’s History Month, Zynga is showcasing a number of our female employees from our studios all over the world throughout the month of March.
We are kicking off our celebration with an introduction to Amy Oka-Shek, a Senior Manager on the Publishing team’s Demand Planning division. Based in Los Angeles, California, Amy has been with Zynga for 4 years. In addition to being an active member of our WAZ (Women at Zynga) community, Amy is a board member of our ZAPI (Zynga’s Asian and Pacific Islander) group. Through her participation in these networks and the folks she has connected with along the way, Amy has gained a strong sense of community, support and inspiration.
Continue reading to learn more about Amy’s journey to the mobile gaming industry, how the company and WAZ supported her during her transition to motherhood, her favorite pastime and more!
Tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to Zynga.
Funny story… When I graduated college with an accounting degree, I actually did not want to land a job in the accounting field but instead wanted to pursue a career in marketing. Luckily, I landed a job at a pharmaceutical company managing relationships with Asian clients and then moved into product marketing. It was during this time that I realized my strengths and passions were actually in analysis and working with numbers. That led me to find a job in the mobile gaming industry in a business planning/PM role and 12 years later, 4 of which have been with Zynga, I still love working in this ever-changing industry.
What is your current role and responsibilities at Zynga?
I work for the Publishing team’s Demand Planning division as a Senior Manager. My main role is to partner up with game teams to understand their road maps and future bold beats as well as collaborate with PMs to ensure our revenue forecast is as accurate as possible.
Tell us about joining WAZ (Women at Zynga) and what the group has brought to you & your career.
I joined WAZ because I love the concept of a group of women sharing their stories and uplifting one another. I’ve never worked in an organization that offered this kind of dynamic. Through WAZ, I’ve met some of the most inspiring women I have encountered in my life. It makes me feel as though I have a community to reach out to when I need guidance. It is definitely a safe place for me to talk about my struggles.
How have mentors/leaders helped or inspired you throughout your career?
While at Zynga, I experienced motherhood for the very first time. This was truly a life-changing experience for me and my career and at the time, I felt lost and unsure about how to handle it (plus, it took place during the pandemic!). The group offered wise advice and helped me realize that it’s okay to breathe and take a moment to pause when needed. We have many working parents who are in senior positions here at Zynga and as of lately, they have been a source of inspiration!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take a break. Don’t overwork. Enjoy life outside of work, too.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) is #ChooseToChallenge (collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. We can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge). How have you chosen to challenge? Or have you been inspired by a leader or mentor in your life who has chosen to challenge?
In addition to being a member of WAZ, I also sit proudly on the board of another zERG, ZAPI (Zynga’s Asian and Pacific Islander group). For me personally, having our Chief Legal Officer, Phuong Phillips, sit among the executive team is an incredibly proud moment and equally as inspirational. She encourages others to lift up other women in the organization which I think makes such an impact.
What is your favorite Zynga game (past or present) and why?
It’s a toss-up between Farmville series and Slots games. I have always been mesmerized by our community members’ creativity with the items we introduce for decorations. Also the satisfaction you get from finishing tasks or events to see your village grow is captivating, too.
Tell us a surprising fact about yourself.
I enjoy rock climbing during my free time! Rock climbing to me is similar to how we create a mobile game and continue to improve it. When you run into a difficult problem, you try different betas. One day, you will find the right one and make it to the end. It’s not always an overnight success; it’s persistence and a never-give-up-attitude that help get you there.