Ashley Zeldin for IGDA LA Board of Directors 2017!

 

Candidate Statement

My work here isn't done.

During my first term on the IGDA LA board, I endeavored to instill value in IGDA membership and increase the organization's visibility in Los Angeles.

IGDA LA established itself as a source of quality professional development opportunities, and as a result saw the largest gains in membership amongst all chapters during the 2015 membership drive.

Potential for further engagement exists. The IGDA LA board must sustain momentum through commitment and collaboration.

I have a proven record of coordinating events that promote sharing with and learning from each other.

The logical progression is outreach to form lasting partnerships that benefit the Los Angeles game development community.

I have identified organizational goals to advance the mission of the IGDA on the local level:

  • Build a website to act as a central resource for the Los Angeles game development community. IGDA LA should compile an event calendar, a job board and other features, including a current database of development studios, university departments, professional organizations, educational programs throughout Los Angeles.
  • Seek new venues to give all Los Angeles developers the benefit of community. IGDA LA should forge contacts with development studios and event spaces throughout the Westside and Culver City, Hollywood and Downtown, the Valley and Foothills.
  • Cultivate relationships with AAA and indie developers to present postmortems, panels and other programming. IGDA LA should promote the contributions to the games industry by local studios, providing opportunities for imparting insights.
  • Implement a code of conduct and inclusion. IGDA LA should advocate for the interests of all game developers by fostering a welcoming, respectful community.

Los Angeles deserves an IGDA chapter that is greater than the sum of its parts. I can make it happen. As a project manager, I build not only games but also relationships.

I became a Lifetime member of the IGDA last year, five years after I got involved contributing to the IGDA Perspectives newsletter and volunteering at IGDA events. Directing the IGDA Scholars program in 2012 awakened a passion for games education that I continue to pursue by leading video game design workshops with Women in Games International for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.

The IGDA's mission is "To advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers." The IGDA has advanced my career and enhanced my life. I would like to continue helping IGDA LA advance and enhance yours.

Candidate Q&A

1. How does the IGDA enhance the lives and careers of the Los Angeles gaming community?

The mission of the IGDA is "To advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers"; indeed the IGDA has advanced careers and enhanced lives around the world and close to home.

In an industry known for its deficiencies in quality of life, the IGDA has been a leader in promoting better workplace practices, conducting its annual Developer Satisfaction Survey to highlight areas of particular concern, popular interest and potential growth. IGDA LA should apply these results to focus our advocacy efforts locally.

The IGDA has demonstrated a commitment to providing opportunities for emerging game developers through the IGDA Foundation's scholarship programs, including the IGDA Scholars, and more recently the Women in Games Ambassadors and Next Gen Leaders, to encourage diversity amongst game developers. Many game developers from Los Angeles have benefited, and going forward IGDA LA should further promote these programs and develop its own.

The strategic partnerships forged by the IGDA offer members benefits, conference discounts and software incentives among them. IGDA LA should uphold a commitment to professional development by facilitating connections amongst and opportunities for game developers throughout Los Angeles.

2. What are the best ways to increase the membership of IGDA Los Angeles?

IGDA LA must continue to demonstrate value to the Los Angeles game development community.

In February 2013, a survey of Los Angeles game developers conducted by IGDA LA revealed--strikingly though unsurprisingly--that less than half of respondents were IGDA members.

The practice of holding events open to non-IGDA members comes with a troubling consequence, contributing to the view that IGDA membership is unnecessary: why join if anyone can enjoy the benefits for free?

IGDA LA experimented with paid events in 2014, proving that game developers in Los Angeles are willing to support good content. However, IGDA LA should reward members without being exclusionary by offering tiered event admission.

Despite the IGDA's international reach, there are still many game developers throughout Los Angeles who are unaware of the organization or unclear of its mission. IGDA LA must conduct outreach to large and independent studios to devise other local member benefits to incentivize joining.

In the past IGDA LA has partnered with the LA Unity3D User Group and the LA chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH to bring quality programming to members. More collaborations should be sought amongst local organizations with similar goals while maintaining existing associations.

3. How much time can you commit to volunteering for IGDA Los Angeles?

I am willing to dedicate 10 hours each week to IGDA LA for meetings, planning, research and events.

In addition to my efforts for IGDA LA, I volunteer with Women in Games International leading video game design workshops for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. I would like to explore the intersection of these organizations, as I believe they share similar goals for the betterment of the video game industry.

I consider my volunteer efforts a priority, and I hope to instill that belief in IGDA LA throughout the Los Angeles game development community.

4. What are three (3) specific things you would like to see IGDA Los Angeles achieve in the next year?

My goals to optimize the value of IGDA membership and LA chapter participation span the entirety of the three-year term.

I would like to see IGDA LA work with the Los Angeles game development community to more effectively represent their interests. As the findings of the 2013 IGDA LA survey were not fully implemented, I recommend the incoming board again survey Los Angeles game developers to determine how to better fulfill their interests, and then follow through on the recommendations.

I am proud of the events I organized throughout 2014 and 2015, but I have learnt that coordinating IGDA LA events, like game development, must be collaborative. Leveraging the resources of our membership to coordinate meaningful engagements is essential for sustainable success, enabling a return to the trend of monthly IGDA LA events.

While determining the direction of the organization, the IGDA LA board must be accessible and accountable to members, so I propose quarterly general meetings for transparency. Ideally, these interactions would form the basis for committees to address the needs of the Los Angeles game development community. Game developers are willing and able to devote time and effort, so their contributions should be encouraged.