IGDA Foundation Next Gen Leaders Program

Focused on improving the inclusivity of game development by addressing the retention of under-represented minorities in the industry, the IGDA Foundation Next Gen Leaders program is a multi-year program that supports participants with personal and professional development opportunities, coaching, and mentorship.

The Next Gen Leaders program is book-ended by two GDC experiences, and includes an initial GDC pass and travel stipend, two days of workshops and special events specifically designed to help the participants stay in the games industry, an individual mentor, post-GDC discussions, and ongoing networking.  Participants are invited back to GDC the following year, provided with an all-access GDC pass and travel stipend and additional workshops, and are offered the opportunity to share their experiences as mentors and leaders with participants in other IGDA Foundation programs, including IGDA Scholars, Women in Games Ambassadors, and the incoming Next Gen Leaders cohort.

The program, which is open to developers with 3-10 years of professional game development experience and who identify as an under-represented minority, is designed to provide a range of knowledge, experience, and tools to keep the participants in the industry.


The IGDA Foundation Next Gen Leaders program would not be possible without the generous support of Xbox. Its focus on Gaming for Everyone–making Xbox a place everyone has fun–provides an outstanding example of how inclusivity helps build stronger teams and better gaming experiences. Xbox’s financial, logistical, and volunteer support has been truly invaluable.


Additionally, we are very grateful to UBM Game Network for their generous donation of the All-Access GDC passes that help make the Next Gen Leaders program so professionally rewarding for the participants.

Applications for IGDA Foundation Next Gen Leaders at GDC 2018 are now closed.




About the Program:

  • Workshops: The program includes two days of workshops, focusing on topics related to career development and retention as well as supporting inclusivity in game development as a profession and in the products created by the participants.
  • Mentors: Program participants will be matched with individual mentors, specifically chosen for the participant, who will provide coaching throughout the program.
  • Special Events: Participants will be invited to join select social gatherings and networking opportunities at GDC 2018.
  • Ongoing Networking: The Next Gen Leaders program is included in an ongoing initiative to create a network of IGDA Foundation program participants, volunteers, staff, and Board members.
  • Second GDC Experience:  Participants are invited back to GDC the following year, provided with an All-Access pass and travel stipend, and given the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership to other IGDA Foundation program participants.

Participant Information:

  • Qualifications
    • Successful applicants will have 3-10 years of professional game development experience, and will demonstrate a passion for game development.
    • Priority is given to applicants in an under-represented community who are at greater risk of leaving the industry, including women, people of color (including Latino ethnicities), people who identify as LGBTQIA, and people with disabilities.
    • Secondary considerations include a diverse collection of experience and backgrounds, and representation of multiple companies and sectors.
  • Expectations
    • Participants are required to attend and actively participate in all mandatory events, maintain a relationship with their mentor for at least 12 months, write a blog post about their experience, and respond to follow-up quantitative and qualitative surveys about their program experience and ongoing impact. Support for program participant from the participant’s manager is recommended but not required.