Women’s History Month Spotlight — Gemma Doyle
For Women’s History Month in March, Zynga is celebrating female employees who are helping forge a more gender equal world. In keeping with the theme for International Women’s Day, “Will You Help #BreakTheBias,” the women — from diverse positions around the world — are sharing ways in which they’re combating bias, stereotypes and discrimination in gaming.
Gemma Doyle, Vice President of Player Success at Zynga in Chicago, Illinois, is passionate about having women designing, building and supporting games. Read on below for more.
How can we change the narrative around gaming/tech being perceived as a male-dominated industry?
The most important mindset that we, as women, have control over is how we perceive each other. Every day at Zynga we have the pleasure of working alongside talented, brilliant women — from accomplished engineers, to artists, developers, lawyers and marketers — to mention but a few. Occasionally we make the choice between seeing our female colleagues as competition or as allies. We need to stop feeling competitive and start spotlighting the work of the bright women around us. Embracing your female teammates for their knowledge and power makes us all stronger.
Why is it important to have women working on games in addition to appearing in them (i.e., avatars)?
Zynga’s games are enjoyed by everyone, but if you have ever been lucky enough to attend a VIP player focus group or a session with the insights team, you will find that a large portion of our most loyal players are strong-minded, career-driven women.
Through my role at Zynga I have had the joy of spending a lot of time with our players. I once had the honor of lunching with a revered graphic designer, a school principal and a head ICU nurse. All of these incredible women used our games to disconnect at the end of their days, to relax and unwind. We need like minded women designing, building and supporting these games.
What positive changes have you seen at Zynga, or within your career, that help promote equity?
The most significant change I have seen over the years has been Zynga’s investment in the women that work here through the Women at Zynga (WAZ) employee resource group (ERG). Leadership at all levels participates in and supports the programs that WAZ creates. The depth of work and effort put in by WAZ members is inspirational.
What are your favorite games?
Right now I am playing Family Feud, Text or Die, High Heels and Words With Friends.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite books tend to be leadership books like “Essentialism.” The book deals with time management on a higher level. It helps with becoming systematically disciplined and making decisions on what projects to work on based on their highest possible contribution to you, your team or the business. I am currently reading “You Are Braver Than You Think,” which is a fictional book. I do not usually read fiction but my son bought it for me because he is a gem and always knows what I need even before I know I need it.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am obsessed with documentaries that give you an insight into new cultures — even if it is a subject matter I am afraid to uncover more about. I appreciate the education and the new perception it teaches me. I also enjoy feeding my true crime obsession and begrudgingly work out.