Hispanic Heritage Month Employee Spotlight: Nubia Mora
Nubia Mora, Vice President of Art and AMIGOZ member, shares how a shy art kid from La Conquista, Nicaragua came to work at Zynga, using her unique perspective and experience to create characters that felt familiar and real. She talks about how she supports those who have a passion for gaming development, and how her mindset is focused on how she can help.
What is your role within Zynga and how did you get here?
I first heard of Zynga through a close friend of mine 8 years ago — she referred me, and I’ve been on an incredible journey ever since. I started as a Sr. Concept Artist, and currently, I am a Vice President of Art. I work closely with our Art teams to ensure we are operating smoothly from different angles — like upkeeping team health, delivering high-quality art, and ensuring our internal Art community is strong.
Since starting with Zynga, how has your own growth and development progressed?
My growth and development has been well supported at Zynga. I am very appreciative of the level of support I’ve been given while working here, from my manager to my team. Zynga provides a strong network of mentors and learning opportunities to take advantage of. Early on, as a young Latina artist barely starting her career, I knew there was plenty to learn — but I also brought a new perspective to the table. From my culture to my experiences, I’ve been empowered to make changes and have a direct impact on my teams throughout the years.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to Zynga.
I’m originally from a small town called La Conquista, Nicaragua. My family and I moved in ‘94 to Chicago, and I’ve been there ever since. Growing up, I had always been the art kid in school. Shy, awkward, and an immigrant kid, I managed to get through it all. While there were many tough moments, every moment was a lesson. Being the youngest of the bunch, I learned that no matter how small you may be, you’re never too small to make a difference. I went to college and graduated with a BFA in Game Art and Design. As soon as I graduated, I took every opportunity presented to me, and I did my best to learn and invest in whatever project I was on. My first opportunity to get into the industry was through CG Cookie, where I contributed to a project called Eat Sheep. After that, doors started to open up, and I got my FT job at a startup in Real Money Gambling where my career took off. My mindset has always been how can I help? While my contributions were heavily focused on art, I was included in other conversations in planning and execution that ended up being of value later in my career.
How do you support the game development community?
We are increasing our partnerships with colleges and universities, and we take part in different events to encourage students to partake and learn about the industry. This year, I was involved at the Get In The Game Event for The Strong Museum of Play, where I was a keynote speaker and hosted several brainstorming sessions with the students. All with the goal to encourage and educate students about their future in games.
What does it mean to you to be a woman of color in technology and gaming?
It means that I’m able to bring more perspective to our games. When I was an Art Director on several games, it was my nature to bring characters that better represented our players and gave depth to the stories we were telling. Not only was it my nature to do that, but I felt like it was my responsibility to do so. One of the characters I helped bring to the forefront was Rose, our Host from Zynga Poker. We re-imagined her into a smart, witty, poker extraordinaire Latina who guides you through the game. Her personality was definitely inspired by a lot of women I came to know in my career. She was an example of what I want to see more in the entertainment industry – fewer stereotypes and more archetypes! More real-world representation of people. I hope to continue influencing our approach to character development as we develop games at Zynga.