New Chairperson for IGDA Women in Games Special Interest Group

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Monday, October 27, 2008---Austin, TX---The Women in Games Special Interest Group of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has announced their new Chairperson, Fiona Cherbak, a game industry marketing and human resources executive. Committed to supporting women in games, the IGDA Women in Games Special Interest Group is a sub-organization of the International Game Developers Association.

Cherbak is taking over the IGDA leadership role from accomplished game developer and writer Heather Kelley, who held the chairperson position for more than six years. Cherbak will continue to push the mandate of certain initiatives and awareness programs, including those that challenge the way women are portrayed in games; support women as professional game designers and developers; and explore the wants and needs of the female game player.

Cherbak is an accomplished recruiting executive in the games industry, expertly placing professionalsin key positions at leading games, mobile and Internet companies around the world while working with agencies such as GameRecruiter, Mary-Margaret and Enterprise Talent. Cherbak is also a co-founder and advisory board member of Women in Games International, and established as one of its major tasks the goal attracting more women to the industry. Presently VP of Marketing for GameRecruiter, she got her early start in entertainment recruiting and human resources at The Walt Disney Company, and joined the game business as a marketing consultant for Origin Systems ten years ago.

Kelley offers,“ It has been a great pleasure seeing the role of women in games grow over the past seven years, and see so many positive changes take place - but needless to say, there is definitely more that can be done. I am confident that under Fiona's leadership, IGDA Women in Games is going to expand and change in dynamic new ways to not only respond to, but also help direct the progress of our ever-changing industry. Fiona comes to us with extensive experience in leadership and advocacy from her professional work as a game industry business developer and recruiting specialist. I am excited by the enthusiasm and know-how that Fiona brings to the role of IGDA Women in Games Chair, and look forward to the years ahead under her guidance.”

Cherbak adds,“From a personal perspective, I have a real passion for a set of objectives that we hope to achieve over the long haul with IGDA Women in Games. These goals include encouraging young women to join the games industry, acknowledgement of women doing significant things in games, increased employment support and exposure opportunities for female game careerists, and ongoing development and implementation of activities that promote IGDA Women in Games membership. A big focus in 2009 is our development and launch of an online mentorship program for game students.”

Cherbak’s first public outing on behalf of the IGDA Women in Games Special Interest Group is production of a featured panel at the East Coast Games Summit, part of VGXPO in Philadelphia this November. Entitled“What’s Next?: Women in Games,” Cherbak will moderate this panel of esteemed industry experts, taking a close look at what women have accomplished in games and what happens next for female professionals and players alike. The panelist line-up includes Gano Haine, Principal, The ONAG Group; Amber Dalton, PMS Clan Leader; Kim Callery, Game Design Program Chair, IADT-Detroit; and Jill Duffy, Editor-in-Chief, GameCareerGuide.com and Senior Contributing Editor, Game Developer. More info at www.igda.org/women.

In addition to her new roles as Chair for the IGDA Women in Games Special Interest Group (SIG), Fiona is also on the advisory boards of Women in Games International, SXSW Screenburn 2009 and America’s Video Game Expo. Fiona has participated as a game career speaker at numerous industry and college events, including GDC and the Game Career Seminar. Fiona is an editorialist on hiring practices and diversity issues in the games industry, and is often interviewed by mainstream media on games career-related topics.

For more details regarding IGDA Women in Games Special Interest Group, contact women@igda.org, or contact Morgan Ogburn, ThemePark Studios, 512/916-9633 or morgan@themeparkstudios.com, for more information.

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