30 June 2017: On My Departure from the IGDA

Posted by on 4 July 2017 in Geogrify News | 0 comments

On My Departure from the IGDA

In September 2012, I interviewed for the role of Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and commenced the role in December 2012. It is now June 2017, and I’m announcing that I have stepped aside so that another can continue the mission. In my very first blog post in the E.D. role, I began with the quote: “I will take the ring to Mordor,” in recognition of the monumental and challenging task ahead of me. I think it’s only fitting to close with another Tolkien quote:

“We set out to save the Shire, Sam and it has been saved…but not for me.”

To many people, this may seem like a sudden decision. But the reality is that when I began in 2012, I decisively told the IGDA’s board of directors that this would likely be a 3- to 5-year mission for me. When I reached the end of my third year, it was clear that more work was to be done, and so I persisted along with my remarkable staff. As we’re nearing that 5-year milestone, I’m following through on my original intention. There’s never a perfect stopping point for a dynamic job like this, but now with GDC and E3 behind us, this was just as good a time as ever to move on.

What many may not realize is that I accepted the Executive Director role at the time because I wanted to alter and accelerate the direction of the IGDA. Being wholly committed to the organization since 2004 I felt it deserved to flourish and succeed, and I identified 3 immediate core goals for my service as Executive Director:

    1. 1. Reinvigorate the IGDA’s relevance.
    • 2. Reinstate the IGDA’s key role as an advocacy organization by being timely and vocal on key issues affecting developers.
    • 3. Remphasize the “International” aspect of the IGDA’s mission and do more to connect the global developer community.

I feel that I have accomplished all of these goals to varying degrees of success. In the process, I interjected much of my own style; as is natural for any advocacy organization, the person leading the charge often becomes synonymous with the organization and the causes they lead. I chose to embrace that role and be bold, even donning my Thor cosplay at times to explicitly symbolize my mission. In the end, I hope I exuded the qualities that I feel all game developers should embody about their profession: fearless, unapologetic, genuine, empathetic, and principled – to name just a few.

We must all realize that in any job we do, we each have great strengths as well as vulnerabilities. In my term as Executive Director, I applied my strengths in leadership and advocacy and yet always strove to remain self aware of limitations. I feel that my unique skill sets and approach to the role were the right ones at the right time for the IGDA, but that time has concluded. Now it will be time for someone else with a different array of skills to carry the same mission forward and they will do so in their own way. To that end, I wholeheartedly encourage my fellow game industry professionals to support the IGDA and its future Executive Director; this is an extremely challenging role.

I’ve been afforded a very rare opportunity to gain deep insight and perspective on the global game industry, garnered from world-wide chapter meetings, speaking at countless events and gatherings, and meeting literally thousands of game developers, thought leaders, students, teachers, non-profit leaders, government officials, and the public from a vast array of geographies, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. I aim to fully leverage this insight to continue helping the game industry better represent itself externally on the global stage as well as assisting it internally to fix its ongoing problems – the persistence of crunch, the imbalance of diversity, and so forth.

With the utmost sincerity, I thank you all for your support, encouragement, and camaraderie during my time as Executive Director of the IGDA. I hope I gave something back to you over the past 5 years as much as you’ve given to me. You are the reason the challenge was worth it.

Be mighty.

Kate Edwards

Media coverage of Kate’s departure: