The gaming industry is often perceived as male dominated and tough for women to kick start their career in, however Libby Simon has had an altogether different experience.
For her, the gaming industry is one that champions women.
Libby is the Communications and Content Manager at Morpheus Games – an iGaming company based in the bourgeoning tech hub of Tel Aviv – and she plays an integral role in the development and growth of the company’s new global lottery platform Lottoz, which launched in the UK this winter.
Personally, Libby has found that the focus in the gaming industry is on talent rather than gender. “Gender equality, at its best, creates an environment where you’re not even thinking about gender equality and that’s in the DNA of our company culture”, she explains, “At Morpheus Games the marketing team is lead entirely by women, and there are also women in the creative and development teams. There’s room for you to be a leader, to debate and affirm projects you believe in.”
Though not as exclusively masculine as it is often perceived, gaming is still a very competitive and a fast-paced industry. It is demanding and has strong leaders. “I think all too often women feel that if they stand their ground, or show assertiveness that it will come across as aggressive or bitchy”, says Libby, “but in gaming you need to make yourself heard and not be afraid to push your agenda, and sadly for a lot of women, in many industries, that is still a daunting task”.
Libby, who welcomed her first child in 2016, has also felt the pressures that working life has on new parents. “Even though I work for a company that completely and utterly champions parents it doesn’t change the fact that as a mother having a demanding job in a fast-moving field means you’re constantly performing a balancing act. The work-life balance is delicate, and it’s maintained with the help and understanding of your team and manager. I do feel, as a mother myself, we tend to overcompensate for every sick day or early finish, it’s a habit that is still prevalent and I wish it wasn’t!”
Libby’s working life started at cultural website Nana10, where after studying media studies and English literature she kicked off her illustrious journalism career. There she was in charge of the entertainment content, interviewing the likes of Bryan Cranston – best known for playing Walter White in Breaking Bad – before she jumped ship to work with City Mouse Daily, part of Israel’s leading newspaper group Haaretz, who boast an impressive 600-strong editorial team.
From there Libby moved to Gostyle magazine, the country’s premier glossy title. Here she interviewed Israel’s own Gal Gadot for a cover story – just months before it was announced she would step into the iconic role of Wonder Woman – before finally going back to school in 2010 to get a PHD in Jane Austen studies.
Yes, you read that right, not only is Libby an accomplished journalist, marketing professional and gaming virtuoso but she is also a Jane Austen expert. “After hurrying to realise my journalism dreams, five years on I had an itch. There was another passion I needed to pursue, and that passion was Jane Austen! I needed to turn my infatuation into something more serious than a fandom”. Libby did a masters and doctorate back-to-back in four years. This experience gave her incredible tools to use in the professional world. “I not only got to write an entire book about Jane Austen, but I was able to take away time management and research skills and sheer thoroughness.”
The move away from journalism and into marketing was more than a transition for Libby, it was a reinvention. Marketing demanding a different mind-set and a more technical approach. After kicking off her marketing credentials at 24 Option and Calypso Arion, Libby now has full ownership of the content and communications for Morpheus Games, which is an incredible challenge she rises to everyday. “I create the message and dictate the tone and language our customers encounter with at every touch point. It’s really exciting and also scary, but the best kind of scary there is, the kind that drives you to do better and be better”. Libby’s eclectic background certainly helps bring something different to her role – creativity, flexibility and a tremendous capacity for criticism, last minute changes and short deadlines!
The gaming industry has so many appealing benefits for young women. Gaming is well-known for cultivating careers and allowing people to grow internally, as well as offering impressive salaries. After giving her heart and soul to jobs that paid next-to-nothing, it was this opportunity to progress ‘up the ladder’ and the satisfying compensation, as well as a passion for and curiosity around disruptive technology that attracted Libby to her current role at Morpheus Games.
So what advice would Libby impart to young women looking to join the gaming industry? “You need to believe in yourself 100%. Acknowledge your awesomeness and whatever you bring to the table and own it!” And she offers some very wise final words – don’t be a people pleaser, “never shy away from offering your true and honest opinion when it’s asked or needed, let your voice be heard.”