Global Gaming Women plans more outreach for international workers

November 11, 2022 11:51 AM
Photo: Photo composite CDC Gaming Reports
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
November 11, 2022 11:51 AM

Since its inception in 2011, Global Gaming Women has become the premier advocacy group for women in the gaming industry.

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Until now, the organization’s name has been a bit misleading. While Global Gaming Women offers resources, support, mentoring, and other tools to help its members reach and expand their potential, the non-profit group has focused on efforts in the United States.

At GGW’s recent quarterly board meeting and during a subsequent strategy session, the non-profit group developed plans to create an international committee to reach women in Europe, Australia, and Canada.

“We want to ensure we’re being true to our name, Global Gaming Women,” says GGW President Cassie Stratford, Boyd Gaming senior vice president legal operations and regulatory compliance, “and that we’re very strategic about that approach. We want to make sure that our offerings have consistency in terms of the value and quality of our content and events.”

The new initiative will be helmed by Entain Group Corporate Affairs Director Grainne Hurst, who is based in the U.K. Hurst will spearhead GGW’s initiatives in Europe at gaming tradeshows and conferences and through other programming.

Stratford notes that GGW has always included members from outside the U.S., “but we haven’t found good ways to stay consistently connected with those members,” she says.

“That’s where we’re trying to focus, and I feel like it’s a really good time to do that because we are now getting comfortable with the foundation we’ve laid and some of our core programming. At G2E this year, it felt to me more international than it ever has before and more inclusive of all sectors of the industry than it ever has before. We really feel like the time is right for us to make sure that we are reaching an audience that touches all the boundaries of what the gaming industry looks like.

“It’s not that the European market is this, the Canadian market is this, and the U.S. market is this. It’s really about what the industry is.”

For the initiative, GGW has created two international lean-in circles that foster development through education, mentorship, and networking opportunities. The non-profit also will increase its presence at overseas gaming industry events and heavily promote its online offerings, which include virtual master classes.

Sightline Payments Chief Administrative Officer and Chief of Staff Felicia Gassen, a GGW Board Member, notes the organization has historically leveraged executive talent to educate and prepare women for advancement. The focus on international markets will further promote that enterprise.

“Our goals are to create bridges—not just with women, but with allies throughout the gaming space,” Gassen says via email. “As gaming businesses continue to expand across the world, it’s essential that GGW expands in tandem to provide the connectivity, mentorship and leadership that helps drive our industry forward.”

Stratford says the new focus on foreign markets will also benefit the organization’s programming. Noting that there seems to be a more diverse leadership in politics and business outside the U.S., GGW will explore that overseas dynamic.

GGW also will focus more on diversity more broadly, not just in terms of gender. And its leadership team plans to develop programming that illustrates how men can be involved as both mentors and allies.

“I don’t want men to feel like they aren’t welcome at our events, or worse, that men aren’t welcome in this conversation,” Stratford says. “They are absolutely welcome, and more than that they’re absolutely crucial to us being able to make real progress. Their support and buy-in is absolutely what we’re trying to accomplish, and what we think companies more broadly are trying to accomplish from a DEI perspective.