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Alannah Mernagh

Product Manager, Scopely

Andressa Valadares

Technical Team Lead, Scopely

Two women in STEM share what drove them to pursue a career in the gaming industry and why community is important to build an inclusive work environment.

Product Manager Alannah Mernagh and Technical Team Lead Andressa Valadares from Scopely share their thoughts on what inspired them to join the gaming industry and what community means to them. 

How did you get into STEM? 

Alannah: Pure passion drove me here. All my life, I’ve loved games. My goal was to try and get into the game industry, so I studied multimedia applications development. My final project was about games to help build my portfolio. I feel like even though my course was broad, it gave me different skills, which ended up being an advantage because I got into the games industry and it helped me understand different disciplines.  

Andressa: When I was a kid, I was good at maths, so I looked for career possibilities and study options in engineering. I ended up doing computer engineering at university, even though I didn’t even know what a computer engineer did before applying for college. I joined the Pyladies (a Python code group for women), and I came to understand how it’s important to have women around me that do the same things and have similar interests. 

What’s it like being a woman in the tech industry? 

Alannah: Even before starting in the industry, my course was mainly male-dominated. I’ve been in the company for six years, and I have seen the growth of women in the company. More needs to be done, but I feel, community-wise, having more women has helped build our women’s community in the ERGs (Employee Resource Groups). I’ve also always felt I’ve been listened to in any department that I’ve been in. 

Andressa: I need to feel that a workplace is a safe place for me as a woman, and I look for this when thinking about jobs. I definitely have this at Scopely. This was one of my main concerns when thinking about joining the gaming industry, but it has been a positive surprise.  

When you find people that have a similar background to you, it helps you to feel more confident in your work.

Andressa Valadares

What’s the best thing about your work? 

Alannah: I love being able to work in the industry that I wanted to work in since I was young. The people I work with here are amazing. I’ve seen different people come and go, but it’s always that same vibe that you get from everybody. We’ve also been successful with the products we work on, and there’s a certain pride with that as well.  

Andressa: I like the challenge. I feel that every day has something different. You always have room to learn from other people but also teach other people, so I think that’s really rewarding. I don’t see myself leaving the game industry.  

Why is community important to you? 

Alannah: In the Scopely ERGs, there was a big push to make sure that we have a regular meetup and to build that community. It’s nice to have a group of people who are passionate about the same things. The goal of the group is to bring women in the company who want to be involved together to talk about different things — from books to future events or even anything going on in your department.  

Andressa: Community can be life-changing. When you find people that have a similar background to you, it helps you to feel more confident in your work. Knowing that there are other women like me with the same struggles and challenges, but they keep pushing on, makes me keep going because I want to be this person for the younger ones. I want people to look at me and think: ‘Okay, if she’s doing it, I can do it as well.’ 

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