GGW Voices: You’re only as good as the company you keep

March 20, 2024 9:33 PM
  • Lauren Bates
March 20, 2024 9:33 PM
  • Lauren Bates

GGW Voices is an ongoing collaboration between CDC Gaming Reports and Global Gaming Women featuring commentary and insight from women in the gaming industry.

The gaming industry has long been dominated by male voices and perspectives, but in recent years there has been a significant push for diversity and inclusion. Women’s initiatives within the gaming industry have gained traction, aiming to empower and support female gamers, developers, and professionals. I am honored to kick off Global Gaming Women’s partnership with CDC Gaming in celebration of Women’s History Month, and to be the first author in the monthly series “GGW Voices.”

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“You’re only as good as the company you keep”

Surrounding yourself with strong, supportive individuals is vital for career development and growth. Whether facing setbacks or striving for ambitious goals, having a circle of people who believe in your abilities can significantly impact your perspective, motivation, and resilience. Learning from those who have navigated similar career paths can help you avoid pitfalls, capitalize on opportunities, and gain a broader perspective on your professional journey.

This support network can provide valuable feedback and constructive criticism which allows you to refine your skills and how you approach challenges. These individuals will also create a sense of accountability and be your biggest cheerleaders when celebrating your success.

Mentorship, sponsorship, and having a personal board of directors are three distinct, yet interconnected concepts that play a critical role in one’s career development and advancement. Each serves a unique purpose in supporting individuals as they navigate their professional journey providing different forms of guidance, advocacy, and support.

Mentorship is a relationship between an experienced individual (the mentor) and a less experienced individual (the mentee) in which the mentor provides guidance, advice, and support. This relationship can be formally established but is most often organically formed through networking and professional connections.

Mentors offer insights based on their own experiences, provide feedback, and serve as sounding boards for their mentees’ ideas and aspirations. The importance of mentorship lies in its ability to accelerate learning, foster personal growth, and expand professional networks. And, while many of the benefits in this relationship are for the mentee, mentors can also gain valuable knowledge from fresh perspectives, learn new skill sets, and further their personal and professional growth.

Sponsorship is a more proactive form of support where an influential individual (the sponsor) actively advocates for and promotes the career advancement of another person (the protege). Sponsors use their influence, credibility, and networks to create opportunities for their proteges, such as recommending them for projects, promotions, or introductions to key stakeholders.

Unlike mentors who primarily offer guidance and advice, sponsors actively work to elevate their proteges’ visibility and credibility within their organization or industry. The importance of sponsorship cannot be overstated, as it can significantly impact an individual’s access to career-enhancing opportunities and advancement into leadership positions.

A Personal Board of Directors is a diverse group of individuals who provide you with guidance and support pertaining to your personal and professional life. This small group is typically made up of friends, colleagues, family members, mentors, and sponsors. They are your most “trusted advisors.” These individuals will support you, challenge your way of thinking, provide honest/critical feedback, and be your greatest advocates when you’re “not in the room.”

Each of these forms of support is essential for career development and reinforces one another, but if you were/are like me, entering the gaming industry with no industry experience, no family/friend “connections,” and have a full-time home life assembling this group of superheroes may seem like a daunting task. This is one of the industry challenges that Global Gaming Women is tackling in our 2024 Initiatives, and as the President, an initiative that is a personal passion for me.

GGW is an international non-profit organization that supports, inspires, and influences the development of women in the gaming industry with a FREE membership offering. Thanks to the generous partnerships with our sponsors, we can offer extensive programming at no cost to our members who create, facilitate, and cultivate these types of relationships.

Whether it’s through our Leadership Development Programs, Trade-Show Programming, Lean In Circles, or Membership Mixers we pride ourselves on creating connection opportunities for all our members. I am also extremely excited to announce we will be launching our One Up One Down Mentorship program that will allow our members to connect and build these meaningful relationships with women around the world.

Being part of a network that celebrates success and encourages growth instills a mindset of excellence and continuous improvement. The people we surround ourselves with profoundly influence our personal and professional trajectories so, be mindful of the people in your life and where you spend your time.

Lauren Bates has nearly 20 years of experience in gaming and is currently the President & Board Chair of Global Gaming Women, a non-profit organization that supports, inspires, and influences the development of women in the gaming industry. She can be reached at lbates[aat]globalgamingwomen[doot]org.