Volunteers make the IGDA Foundation’s work possible, and nowhere is this more true than in our IGDA Scholars, Women in Games Ambassadors, and Next Gen Leaders programs. So while I’m thrilled to announce new volunteers joining the IGDA Foundation team today, it’s also a bittersweet occasion, as we recognize the outstanding contributions of our retiring volunteers.
Molly Proffitt has led the IGDA Scholars volunteer team of Justin Lara and Erich Schuler for three years, delivering a consistently outstanding IGDA Scholars experience for conferences around the world, introducing literally hundred of aspiring game developers to mentors, supporters, and career possibilities. It’s impossible to overstate the impact of Molly and her team to the IGDA Scholars program, the IGDA Foundation, and our game development community. We are very fortunate to have received so much of their time, effort, and passion over the past three years, and we give Molly, Erich, and Justin our heartfelt thanks and very best wishes.
While replacing Molly and team is an almost-impossible task, we think we’ve made a great start. Oleg Brodskiy, our new Program Director for the IGDA Scholars, is an IGDA Scholar alumnus, COO & Festival Chair of the Boston Festival of Indie Games, and combines both his experiences supporting the game developer community with extensive experience in managing projects and programs. Joining Oleg as one of our IGDA Scholars Program Coordinators is Sarah Spiers, also an IGDA Scholars alumna and experienced game developer and community volunteer. Welcome, Oleg and Sarah-we know the IGDA Scholars program is in great hands!
I’m also thrilled to announce a new Program Director for our Next Gen Leaders program, Patricia Beckmann Wells. In addition to her work as a tenured professor at Irvine Valley College, and her creative endeavors as a game developer and film director and producer, Patricia has also led training and development programs at Walt Disney Animation and Dreamworks.
I would be remiss if I failed to recognize the contributions of our returning Program Director for the Women in Games Ambassadors program, Cat Wendt. Cat built the WiGAm program from scratch, supporting a more diverse and inclusive game development community and introducing women from around the world to careers in game development. We’re absolutely delighted that Cat is returning to lead the WiGAm program again this year.
And, last but certainly not least, please join me in welcoming the IGDA Foundation’s new Operations Manager, Brie Wendt, who will be helping us provide better programs, support our volunteers to make a bigger impact on their communities, and grow our funding. Brie is a long-time IGDA and IGDA Foundation volunteer with extensive experience in operations management, and she’s already made a huge impact on the function of the IGDA Foundation.
We’ve already started our planning for GDC 2018, and we’re getting ready for a great show! You’ll be hearing from Oleg, Cat, Patricia, Brie, and me over the upcoming months with exciting news and announcements. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or feedback you may have.
-Jen MacLean, Managing Director, IGDA Foundation