What sparked your interest in the IDM industry?

I have always had a fascination with how people interact with digital media throughout my career. There is a unique blend of creativity and technology to engage with an audience in a way that can leave a profound impact on the user. I believe that interactive media can also entertain and educate audiences in powerful ways, and being able to explore how brilliant individuals do that in my hometown is exciting.

Your role is quite big on relationship building. Can you share a story in your career where you were able to showcase this skill and what you hope our industry will be like in the next couple years?

In a past role, I had the opportunity to work with the local business community and additional stakeholders to launch the Alberta Esports Expo. As many non-profits encounter, when you don’t have very much money in the bank, the only way to succeed is to leverage your partnerships and network. Through careful relationship-building, I was able to connect them with key sponsors interested in the industry and engage our local and digital communities in a way to increased engagement and excitement for the event.

With our initial goal of reaching at least 400-700 people with our event, we were able to reach over 3000 by the end of the weekend and I always say that it was only because we were able to truly demonstrate collaboration and the strength of our relationships. Looking ahead, I envision the IDM industry in Edmonton growing into a collaborative ecosystem where established companies, startups, educational institutions, and local government work hand in hand. By being able to work together as a collective community, I believe we can help create a strong cohesion between partners and help fuel the narrative that Edmonton is a place for innovation, quality, and connection.

What excites you the most about this role and ESIO?

I think what excites me the most about my role in business development within the IDM industry is the opportunity to bridge the gap between creative minds and business realities. The intersection between humanities and business requires me to have an understanding of how we create space for creativity to thrive while ensuring that the end result develops outcomes that benefit our economy. Being able to nurture ideas from their inception and helping them evolve into successful endeavors with folks in my hometown is also a great responsibility I take with pride. 

The ever-evolving nature of technology and how we interact with it means that there’s always something new to explore, learn, and adapt to, which keeps the role dynamic and engaging so I feel like there is always something going on!

Have you ever thought about developing your own game? Why or why not?

Absolutely, the thought of developing my own game has crossed my mind. The creative freedom and ability to craft immersive experiences for people is incredibly appealing but, the more I learned about what goes into a game, the less I wanted to take the endeavor on myself. The level of dedication, teamwork, and expertise required to create a successful game is a story that people often miss as we, the consumers, often get to see the final product rather than the blood, sweat, and energy drinks needed to make these things come to life.

While I may not have the technical skills to code a game myself, I do believe that my business development role allows me to contribute to the industry by helping talented developers bring their visions to life and helping them with the business activities they don’t really like anyway. I always wanted to work in the video game industry and I think I found myself a pretty solid role!

What’s your favorite game ever, and why? What’s the first game you’ve ever played?

I think the very first game I ever played was Super Mario Brothers for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). That console had so many amazing titles and I definitely got hooked on Duck Hunt after I was done with Mario.

If you are asking about my favorite game ever, I would say it depends. If I just have to pick out of total hours played and replayed, I would say Final Fantasy 7 for the PlayStation. That game had the perfect blend of storytelling, exploration, and easy-to-pick-up gameplay mechanics which kept me drawn in for hours. The fact that the game had 4 disks to play through also made it so much of an experience as the trials and tribulations of the game would become more rewarding as I continued.