All of the finalists in each of the Women in Games award categories should be celebrated, thanks to the contribution these inspirational individuals make to the UK industry.
But the Campaigner award also recognises the work being carried out for charities and other worthy initiatives.
The Women in Games Awards take place on Thursday May 19th at the Hamyard Hotel, London. Tickets cost just 49 and are available by simply clicking here. The awards, held in conjunction with the Women in Games (WIGJ) body and sponsored by Facebook, will shine the spotlight on the most influential and inspirational women in the UK games industry.
These are the women shortlisted in the Campaigner category:
Emily Britt – Senior PR Manager, The Pokmon Company
Not only is Emily the Senior PR manager at Pokmon, she also found time to head up industry charity GamesAid as its Chair before stepping down at the start of the 2016. In the last year 564,000 has been raised by the UK games business, an increase of 29 per cent over previous years.
Fluent in French and Spanish, Britt began her career as a QA technician at GT Interactive in 1997 and has since taken in PR roles at Konami, SCi, Eidos, 2K Games and Square Enix. She joined the Pokemon Company in 2013.
Cat Channon – Director of PR, WB Games
One of the most popular PRs in the business, Channon began her career working at an independent games exchange retailer. There she was scouted by Sky's Games World TV show and then moved on to work on Future's Official PlayStation Magazine. From there Channon's career path headed into PR, as she took up roles at Bam! Entertainment and moving onto Take-Two, Vivendi and Blizzard, NCSoft and now Warner Bros. But it's Channon's charity work, particularly for GamesAid, that's been highlighted by those who nominated for the Awards. Just a few of her achievements include starting and running the Gamescom to Brighton bike ride; swimming to Africa (twice); running the London Marathon; baking cakes. Indeed, we're told that Channon is GamesAid's single biggest fundraiser. She also finds time to mentor two young programmers as part of the WB Creative Talent programme.
Anna Harakopoulos –Founder, NinetySix Games
Having worked for Headstrong Games, SEGA and Somethin' Else Digital, Harakopoulos started writing the story for ‘Swim' – the game she is currently developing. Her aim is to create new role models for girls to look up to because I don't want a single girl in this world to believe they can't do what they want to do”. She has been devoting her time to developing a game set in the Caribbean with a dark skin female as the protagonist - this kind of character, she says, especially as a positive female role model is almost non-existent in games. She wants to influence future generations of girls whose races or backgrounds are currently under-represented by writing stories and providing experiences that will inspire and impact their lives and improve their ideas of themselves. Earlier this year, Harakopoulos was picked by the Diversity in Games Alliance to fly out to San Francisco and attend GDC and the ‘Amplifying New Voices Bootcamp'.
Gina Jackson – MD, Next Gen Skills Academy
Jackson has been the managing director at NextGen Skills Academy since Sept 2014. Since taking the reins, she has delivered a significant amount of tangible activity, including: the creation of an industry taskforce, which defines the vital skills that are missing in the industry; the creation of a brand new Level 3 qualification which is already being taught at four colleges in England (with more colleges to come on board in 2016); three short courses for young people wanting to start careers in games, animation and VFX; three higher apprenticeships in games and VFX.
She is on the frontline daily, encouraging and enabling young people to become the next generation of creators, not only by giving them the skills they need to enter companies with relevant experience for the workplace, but also by giving talks to young people of all backgrounds so that they can realise their potential and turn their passions into careers. Jackson also tirelessly promotes diversity throughout the industry, in particular championing women in games.In 2015, she launched NextGen Aspiring Women, an in-depth mentoring and professional development programme for women in games, animation and VFX.
Lynne Kilpatrick – DCMS
Lynne Kilpatrick received an OBE for her services to the video games sector in 2014. She works behind-the-scenes promoting the games industry to Government. She was also instrumental in putting together a plan for video games tax relief.
Kirsty Payne – VP, Special Effect
Kirsty Payne has been a passionate campaigner for SpecialEffect since 2007 and in her position as Vice President has been committed to the charity's goal of helping severely disabled young people to play games,engage and helplevel the playing field in a technicalenvironment, vastlyimproving the quality of life for young people with disabilities. She's tirelessly promoted the SpecialEffect Games for Good message and engaged with major publishers and developers to campaignto include accessible elements at development stage of a game's design, aiming toachieve a future with fully accessible games for all!A major initiative of Payne's was the UK's first Games Art Exhibition, a high profile Ukieevent to promote the UK Games Industry and SpecialEffect, raising vital funds and National awareness. Payne has a games industry background spanning 27 years including stints at Codemasters, Mindscape, Activision and Mastertronic before setting up specialist agency Rocket Media.