October 27, 2023

UK Black History Month Employee Spotlight — Meet Kodwo

Meet Kodwo, the NaturalMotion studios (UK), Workplace Manager.

Drawing on a wealth of expertise, Kodwo shares insights into his role in managing employee workplace experiences. 

Read more to learn about his experience in gaming and his take on “Saluting our Sisters,” the theme for this year’s Black History Month in the UK.

  1. Tell us about what you do in Workplace Services and how you got here?          
    1. I am the Workplace Manager for NaturalMotion studios in the UK and am responsible for our studios in London, Brighton, Birmingham, and Gram Games London. I have worked in various facilities and workplace management positions since 2007. Prior to NaturalMotion, I spent the last 7 years as a facilities and workplace management contractor working with the Amazon Corporate R&D Campus in Cambridge. I then led JLL’s facilities and workplace management for Palantir Technologies’ EMEA offices.
  2. What surprises people the most when you tell them you work in gaming? 
    1. About 18% of the workforce in gaming identify as neurodiverse. We take that into account when we design new studios and retrofit existing studios to ensure our spaces are welcoming and supportive of the vast spectrum of our workforce.
  3. How would you describe the culture at NaturalMotion?
    1. Dynamic, collaborative, and fun. 
  4. October is Black History Month in the UK. How important is it to you and why do you feel it is still relevant in 2023?
    1. Although awareness of Black heritage and culture has grown over the years, we can continue to make a positive impact by promoting diversity in this space. 
  5. The theme for Black History Month this year is “Saluting our Sisters.” When you see this statement, what does it mean to you?
    1. This quote from Joyce Banda, the former President of Malawi, resonates with me: “The seeds of success in every national earth are best planted in women and children.” I’ve been extremely lucky to be surrounded by inspirational Black women, ranging from my maternal grandmother, who was a market trader, to my mother, who was one of the pioneering female scientists in Ghana, to my older sister, who is the head of legal and governance for a global bank’s Ghana operations, to my nieces, some of who have set up small businesses or social events ventures. Through their experiences, I’ve had a front seat to the ways in which they’ve overcome struggles and challenges.
  6. What are your hopes for the future of gaming in terms of representation and diversity? 
    1. According to a 2020 UK Interactive and Entertainment census, only 10% of the workforce working in games identify as Black, Asian, or other persons of colorTo increase diversity, I would love to see more  minority characters in games and more gaming companies  actively engaging and recruiting young talent.
  7. What one action would you advise people to take to ensure that we see change?
    1.  Set up a mentorship program and continue to support groups for Black voices such as the BZU.
  8. What made you interested in Workplace Services
    1. It was a gradual progression throughout my career, which initially started with an interest in building commercial and corporate real estate and finding solutions for creating  workspaces. I get excited when users of spaces I manage create groundbreaking commercial technology such as Alexa Echo Studio, Ring, and, currently, “making games that wow people.” I love to find the balance between workforce satisfaction and business efficiency.