Black History Month Employee Spotlight: Dianna Lora
To celebrate Black History Month, Zynga is exploring the theme of ‘inspiring change’ to uncover how every individual has the power to make a positive difference in their workplace and community. As part of this, we are excited to share some of our employees’ stories over the course of the month.
This week, we’re getting to know Dianna Lora, Licensing Production Manager for Star Wars based in Austin, Texas. Read on to learn more about Dianna’s passion for helping others, what she believes it means to be a person of color in the gaming industry and the names of different colors of plantains!
Tell us a little about your background and how you came to Zynga.
My family is from the Dominican Republic, so I identify as a proud Afro-Latina. I was born in Harlem, raised in the Bronx (Yerr), and recently relocated to Austin, Texas from Malmo, Sweden. Before joining the gaming industry, I was a professional performer. I went to Ithaca College and got a bachelor’s in fine arts in musical theater so I can sing, dance and act at the same time — and I have a degree to prove it!
I started my career back in the early days of justin.tv by producing a video game show called Gamer Reaction. In my 14 years in gaming, I’ve worked in production, licensing, partnerships, and marketing. I’ve worked at companies like Sony, Deep Silver, ASTRO Gaming, Ubisoft and now here at Zynga, where I’m the Licensing Production Manager for Star Wars.
What does it mean to you to be a person of color in technology and gaming?
Throughout my career, I didn’t see people who looked like me, and it made navigating my way harder. It made me feel like I was being watched and had to work double or triple time.
I owe the trajectory of my life to an amazing Black man who took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to move into the corporate world. He became a boss and mentor to me and my coworkers, constantly reminding us to advocate for each other and to fight for what we deserve. . Because of that, I have a deep and profound passion for helping others. I’ve made it my mission to reach back and help people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity. I believe in advocating for others, elevating voices and fighting for impactful change in gaming.
How do you inspire change?
I inspire change by leading by example, speaking up for those who have no voice and standing up when no one else will. We’re here because others did that for us, and we should honor that and continue it for the future.
How are you empowered to make a positive change in your role at Zynga?
I’m empowered to speak up when something comes up. The folks I work with at Zynga are amazing, and they give me the strength and power to speak up.
A fun part of cultural history months is celebrating what food means to culture. What is the food that best reflects you and your culture?
Plantains are the food of the gods, and I will scream it from the mountain top. I love a well-made platano – tostones (green plantains) or maduros (yellow). My favorite meal is mashed green plantains, a fried egg on top, topped with pickled sauteed onions. It brings me back to growing up and it was legit my staple food when I was a poor college student. Love it.
Zynga’s zCulinary team is also celebrating Black History Month by featuring some of their favorite recipes that emphasize ingredients in connection to African heritage. Check them out on the zCulinary blog.