Employee Profile – Esther Sodeke
Zynga concludes its celebration of Black History Month this week with a profile on Esther Sodeke, a Product Marketing Coordinator in Zynga UK. Esther recently graduated from De Montfort University and joined Zynga studios within the NaturalMotion team, focusing on work with the CSR2 team. She is a part of the employee resource group, Black Zynga Union (BZU), and hosted a Lunch & Learn event for Black History Month.
What is your role within Zynga and how did you get here?
Just out of university, I was recruited into my role as Product Marketing Coordinator working on the racing franchises coming out of the NaturalMotion studio in London. I support the strategic planning of marketing activities and execute on the day to day communication of CSR2. Essentially, I am the middle piece between the publishing and games team that helps ensure understanding and alignment of business goals.
Tell me how the company supported your growth?
I feel very lucky to have the level of support I do this early in my career. Seeing the investment and trust my manager has in me with the various projects I get to work on has been motivational to say the least. Through the autonomy I have been provided, I have grown on a personal level and continuously encouraged to run initiatives like the NaturalMotion Education Outreach programme. Also, my team is an amazing network of mentors that I’ve learned so much from.
How does it feel when you see your work in a real life setting?
It is slightly surreal. I feel a sense of pride like “damn, I really did that.” Then, the imposter syndrome creeps in and I start to question if I really did that. Questions like “am I the best person to be in this space” or “do I deserve to be here” start to float around my mind. However, seeing my work is a good reminder of the fact that I am here. I am doing that and I’ve worked hard to be here. Especially on the days I might forget.
What is it like being diverse in gaming?
In most spaces, I notice myself because I am the minority. Seeing that inspires me to make a change and try to get more diverse talented people in the industry to reflect the society we live in.
What is Zynga doing to empower persons of color in the workplace?
At NM, I was empowered to host the first Black History Month event in the form of a Lunch & Learn. This was a workshop open to the whole studio where the accomplishments of Black Britons could be highlighted whilst having a vulnerable conversation on race. Facilitating events like this that feel safe for people of colour and encourage mutual learning has been a great way for us to feel seen, heard and celebrated.
What is a common misconception your industry faces and what is the reality?
You don’t have to be into games to work in the gaming industry. With the variety of roles available, anyone can make that jump into the industry and if you think about it, it’s another form of entertainment that makes a cultural impact.
What would someone be surprised to learn about your company or profession?
If it is one of those days, you can absolutely wear a tracksuit to work. But, that might just be me.