GBi Most Influential Women: Last Year’s List


As the nominations for iGB’s Most Powerful Women 2022 open, iGB talks to some of those who made last year’s list about how their lives have changed since then and who they think deserves to be presented this year.

In the year since the 2021 Most Powerful Women campaign, the conversation around diversity and inclusion has only grown. More companies have begun to address the ongoing impact on women of issues such as menopause and the Covid-19 pandemic, in hopes of providing a more balanced workplace for all.

Maria Naveira Sund, senior vice president of engineering at Kambi, says Kambi has addressed key issues presented over the past year to understand how the workplace has changed.

“The pandemic means that as a leader you need to understand how the drivers for employees may have changed, and also how to keep our company culture – which we are very proud of – in a hybrid setup.”

She thinks there has been an improvement in how companies deal with gender imbalances, but admits there is still a long way to go.

“The outlook for diversity and inclusion has certainly improved since I’ve been in the industry, with more women than ever in leadership positions,” she continues. “There’s definitely still a long way to go, but it’s great to see that as an industry we’re moving in the right direction.”

Melanie Gross, Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Golden Heart Games, says the road to diversity and inclusion has been difficult and stresses that attitudes towards diversity and inclusion need to change.

“As with most areas that need change, improvements come and go,” she says. “There are still unconscious biases. I still hear about women being passed over for jobs that should have been a slam dunk.

From the perspective of Sarah Blackburn, Director of GameOn Marketing, discussions about diversity and inclusion are ongoing. However, she says those discussions have not resulted in any concrete changes.

“I think there’s a lot of talk about diversity and inclusion, but I’m not sure how much real action has been taken to empower women in business outside of recruitment, pay gaps between gender and social gatherings,” says Blackburn.

“I’m in public relations and I understand its power. However, it is crucial that they are not just talking for public relations purposes, but that they really make a difference in helping to shape our industry for the better when it comes to diversity and inclusion – and I’m not just talking about gender equality.

Professional impact

For many of last year’s Most Powerful Women nominees, making the 2021 list has had a lasting impact on their career development.

Dr Sally Gainsbury, director of the Gambling Research and Treatment Clinic at the University of Sydney, said being nominated in 2021 has helped her advance her academic career.

“In December 2021, I was promoted to Associate Professor, which was a major achievement as this happened just 11 years after I obtained my PhD, which is a rapid progression to this highest level. brought up in academia,” she says. “I was able to include this recognition in my application for promotion, which was tremendous evidence to support the influence of my research and work on a wider field internationally.”

For Charmaine Mabuza, chief executive of South African lottery company Ithuba, her appearance on the 2021 list sparked a greater sense of drive and motivation – and developed not only her career, but also Ithuba’s trajectory. .

“Being featured in Most Influential Women 2021 influenced my career from a motivational standpoint,” she says. “It has fueled the drive to excel even more, and to do more, to continue to grow not just in the games business, but in the broader socio-economic sphere.

“However, more importantly, the Most Influential Women feature has also opened doors for me to represent Ithuba at international conferences and to be part of a team of gaming industry experts on panels to discuss conversations. relevant based on the lottery; therefore, international recognition has definitely opened many doors.

Wider influence

Being featured as one of the most influential women in gaming allowed last year’s nominees to see the extent of influence it brings to others. Laura McAllister Cox, chief compliance officer at Rush Street Gaming, says the recognition has had an impact on the women around her.

“I would say more than influencing my own career, being selected as one of the most influential women of 2021 made me realize how much my career influences other women,” she says. “So many female colleagues have reached out to congratulate me and say how inspiring it has been to see what I have achieved in an industry dominated by male leadership.”

While those presented last year felt the positive impact of the most influential women on their lives and careers, it will soon be time to announce the 2022 nominees.

In the spirit of passing the baton, McAllister Cox has two women in the lead for the 2022 list of most influential women.

“Tammi Barlow, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Rush Street Interactive, and Lauren Seiler, Associate Vice President of Investor Relations and Development, Rush Street Interactive,” she says.

“I have tremendous respect for these two women, not only for the wealth of experience and knowledge they bring to RSI, but also for their strong leadership skills.”

Like McAllister Cox, Gross had a similar experience after being nominated as a candidate.

“It was a joy to see the outreach from my family, friends and professional network who wanted to celebrate and share the achievement,” she said. “They have supported my igaming journey for 20 years and have all played a part in the journey to where we are today.”

In turn, Gross names FanDuel CEO Amy Howe as his top pick for the 2022 Most Powerful Women.

“I was impressed with Amy and her focus on the path to profitability, responsible gaming and improving diversity in gaming,” she says. “This diversity initiative extends to hiring, equality for female athletes and encouraging women to participate in sports betting.”

Claire Osborne, VP of Interactive at Inspired, agrees that being on Most Influential Women has been beneficial for both her career and her personal development.

“It’s been great for rekindling relationships with old contacts as well as introducing me to a whole range of new people who may not have heard of me or Inspired before,” she says. “I’ve also had more opportunities to engage with people who generally promote women in tech industries.”

As to whether the conversation surrounding diversity and inclusion has improved since 2021, Osborne sees incremental improvement, which she says will have positive outcomes for the industry.

“I think it continues to progress gradually. There are more and more women at the top, which will always be beneficial, especially for those who aspire to emulate their success.

Nominations for the 2022 iGB Most Influential Women close on October 14. Name someone here.


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