Xbox has announced the official kick-off for its Xbox Mentoring Program, designed to enable ‘aspiring talent’ to enter the video games industry at all levels. The initiative was announced as part of the company’s International Women’s Day celebrations, and is planned to take place across a number of regions including Australia and New Zealand in 2022.
Registrations of interest will open across the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, and Korea from 6 April 2022, with anyone looking to enter the games industry encouraged to register interest with their assigned country mentee here.
While the mentorship program is led by women, anyone is able to apply.
Mentors announced hail from a range of disciplines, including social marketing, game production, business, esports and communications.
- Hailey Geller (US) is an Xbox Social Marketing Manager who specialises in creative marketing and campaigns.
- Louise O’Connor (UK) is the Executive Producer of Everwild and has over 20 years experience working in the games industry.
- Venessa Nyarko (Canada) is a Producer at The Coalition, and works to bring teams together to develop fresh narratives, cinematics and gameplay sequences.
- Tania Chee (Australia and New Zealand) is the Xbox Business Lead for Australia & New Zealand, and is responsible for driving business growth across the region. She has over 20 years experience working across gaming and tech, and has worked for Xbox across a number of global offices.
- Ina Gelbert (France) is the Director of Xbox France and works to make gaming a diverse, inclusive space for everyone.
- Melek Balgün (Germany, Austria & Switzerland) works across esports, web, TV and events as a host, and is a former professional gamer.
- Mie Koshimizu (Japan) is the Xbox Category Manager and currently works to advocate for women in games across Asia. Her specialisation lies in consumer and market research, as well as user experience and customer needs.
All mentors will be paired with promising candidates looking to break into the industry, and will take part in 1:1 mentoring sessions designed to help individuals skill up.
Those in Australia and New Zealand will be paired with Tania Chee, who specialises in business-focussed skills.
While the program is operating on an individual basis, it will likely be expanded in future as Xbox works to encourage diverse voices to enter the games industry. With only 24% of games industry workers identifying as women, there’s certainly a lot more work to do.
Mentorship plays an essential role in fostering individual skills and behaviours, and programs like this are important to creating a more diverse and accessible gaming industry. Having women play such a prominent role in these mentorship opportunities is also key to highlighting women’s contributions to the global games industry.
The Xbox Mentoring Program is accepting submissions from 6 April 2022. Those interested in applying for mentorship in Australia and New Zealand should head to the program hub here.