WHM Spotlights – Milica Denic
Zynga is continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month by spotlighting some of the magnificent women who work in all divisions of our business at our studios around the world. This week we spoke with Milica Denic, a Senior Producer on the CSR Racing team based out of Zynga’s Natural Motion studio in London.
Milica has experience working in various roles within the gaming industry since 2012. Having witnessed industry gender bias in the past, Milica was thrilled to join the Women at Zynga (WAZ) group when she started at Zynga in 2019. Milica is a WAZ Ambassador for our UK chapter and in addition to the sense of community and support that the group provides, Milica feels passionate about planning WAZ events, workshops, and fostering opportunities for other women within the organization.
Continue reading below to learn more about Milica’s career journey, advice that she would give to her younger self, and why she is #ChoosingtoChallenge through leading by example this Women’s History Month.
Tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to Zynga.
I never thought I’d been working in the gaming industry but I have been a part of this amazing space since 2012. In university, I studied the English language and literature, and fresh out of school, I began my journey at a startup in Serbia. It was my first job and I thought it would be cool to gain some new skills while doing my master’s in cognitive science. I did not imagine that I would enjoy being part of something as creative as making games as much as I did.
I ended up spending five and half years at Peaksel, the company where I really had an opportunity to try different roles in mobile gaming; from SEO and marketing with bits and pieces of design and product management, all the way through to production where I found myself and have been pretty happy for the last six and a half years.
Before joining Zynga, I spent almost 2 years at a game development company in Munich working on a really interesting online multiplayer game that unfortunately didn’t go further after the soft launch. I was missing working on a game that is live to players, which was one of the reasons I applied for a job opening at Zynga — and since December 2019, I’ve been a part of NaturalMotion and Zynga.
What is your current role and responsibilities at Zynga?
I am a Senior Producer running the LiveOps team for the CSR2 Racing game. My main responsibilities are ensuring efficient production progression, maintaining clear communication among multiple stakeholders and improving old and establishing new processes that will help the team be better at what they do. I am also part of the NM social squad as well as a WAZ UK ambassador.
Being a producer for the LiveOps team on a game such as CSR2 means that no two days will ever be the same. The part I enjoy the most about my job is making sure that we are providing the best quality game to our players as we possibly can and receiving positive feedback and sentiment makes it worth all the effort.
Tell us about joining WAZ (Women at Zynga) and what the group has brought to you & your career.
Having personally witnessed gender bias numerous times in gaming and in many other industries, I was over the moon when I joined Zynga and became part of the WAZ group!! I believe having a group such as WAZ is helping empower women to succeed and become leaders in their careers and communities. It is important for women to have a safe space to talk about different workplace issues, but also a place where we can support each other and build a network. For me personally, it feels great to have all the support I need, and being an ambassador, I am excited that I can help organize events, workshops or just create opportunities and encourage other women to do more and better.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more adventurous, keep playing, laughing, and whatever you do, don’t say you’re lucky to be where you are! I’ve heard many people saying to themselves, “I’m lucky to have this job,” or, “I got lucky and got promoted.” Luck is important but much more important is our effort, hard work, and everything we give to be better every day to succeed in our endeavors. We need to appreciate ourselves more for everything we do.
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?
I have always found great inspiration from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What she did during her career and life to support and fight for gender equality and women’s rights is astonishing. She always led by example and when she said, “women belong in all places where decisions are being made,” she chose to challenge the norms at the time and made her place in the Supreme Court. Inspired by this, I believe we should all try to lead by example – even in the smallest things.
What is your favorite Zynga game (past or present) and why?
It’s a tough choice between FarmVille and Texas Hold’em Poker! If I had to go for one I’d say FarmVille though, mostly because I cannot seem to forget how back in university, I used to set my alarm clock to wake up and collect my crop! 🙂
Tell us a surprising fact about yourself.
I have watched every episode of Friends at least 3 times. There are some episodes that I have watched as many as 10 times. It’s just one of those things that can always put a smile on my face no matter if I am in a good or a bad mood.