2019 Speakers

Jacinda Chew

Jacinda Chew has been in the video game industry for nearly 20 years—starting, as she says, when people could still learn modeling on the job and VHS portfolios were still a thing. Currently, Chew serves as the Studio Art Director at Insomniac Games in Burbank, California. She enjoys working in both stylized and realistic styles, and is particularly proud of art directing for games including Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, Sunset Overdrive, and Marvel’s Spider-Man. With more people than ever playing video games, Chew believes strongly in promoting diversity and inclusion in both games and the workplaces.

Emily Greer

Emily Greer is the founder & CEO of Double Loop Games, a new mobile game studio. Previously she was the co-founder & CEO of Kongregate, leading its rapid rise as a free-to-play web destination before expanding into mobile publishing and launching more than 50 mobile games, including hits such as AdVenture Capitalist and Animation Throwdown. A self-proclaimed data geek at heart, Greer is well-known in the game industry for her presentations on the economics and psychology of free-to-play games.

Robin Hunicke

A programmer and artist by training, Robin Hunicke left her PhD research in Robotics and AI to pursue a career in game design. She joined Electronic Arts in 2005 where she worked on The Sims2, MySims, and Steven Spielberg's Boom Blox series. In 2009 she joined thatgamecompany (TGC) as Executive Producer for the award-winning Playstation3 title Journey.

In 2012, Hunicke and TGC teammate Martin Middleton founded of independent San Francisco game studio Funomena with the explicit goal of building a diverse and inclusive studio that pushes the boundaries of game design and emerging technologies. Hunicke is widely recognized for her innovation and creativity, listed as one of PC Gamer’s Top 10 Women in Games and Fast Company's 1000 Most Creative People in Business. She appeared on Bravo’s Project Runway last April to promote careers in gaming to girls and other traditionally underserved and underrepresented groups. She also serves as a mentor and organizer for creative diversity programs including Google's Made with Code initiative, Amplifying New Voices, and the Experimental Gameplay Workshop at GDC.

Elizabeth LaPensée

Currently Assistant Professor of Media and Information and Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University, Elizabeth LaPensée is an award-winning designer, writer, artist, and researcher who creates and studies Indigenous-led media such as games and comics. As Anishinaabe—a group of culturally related indigenous peoples in what is now Canada and the United States—from Baawaating, she collaborates closely with Indigenous communities to pass on teachings which honor the past, reflect the present, and resonate with the future.

She designed and created art for Thunderbird Strike (2017), a lightning-searing side-scroller game which won Best Digital Media at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Most recently, she was named 2017 Human of the Year by Motherboard for her work building a better future through science and technology and was a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow.

Nathalie Lubensky

Nathalie Lubensky is dedicated to telling a story, reaching and captivating audiences, and keeping them forever. Whether it’s entertainment, sports, automotive or gaming, they all have one thing in common: impactful brands. She worked her way up to Vice President at MTV Networks, and senior management positions at Disney, ESPN, and SONY Pictures, where she ran global sales and marketing. After SONY, she served as CMO at Edmunds.com, where in less than 18 months, she transformed and revitalized the company and brand. She’s now making her mark in the $150 billion video game industry as GM & CMO of Xsolla, a B2B technology company serving thousands of video game developers, publishers and platforms, with tools and services to help operate and sell more games globally.

Ann H. McCormick

Ann H. McCormick, founder of The Learning Company (TLC), a children's educational software company, has served as Chairman of the Board and Lead Designer, shaping the design of the company's first 16 products, including Reader Rabbit and Rocky’s Boots.

McCormick has also served as an advisor to education and technology leaders in 15 countries and consulted with Apple Computer, IBM, Northern Telecom, and many other technology, publishing, research, and telecommunications companies. She served as Vice President of VPL, a virtual reality company, and founded Learning Friends. She developed prototype literacy software for urban African American teen boys and consulted for Gravity, Inc., Tiny Planets, KidSource, and other start-ups. McCormick earned a doctorate in Education at the University of California at Berkeley, where she was invited to deliver the 100th Anniversary Commencement Address.

Jennifer Oneal

Jennifer Oneal serves as Studio Head for Vicarious Visions, a video game developer in Albany, New York. She has guided the studio to success with the multi-platinum hit Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and E3’s 2017 Best PC Game Destiny 2. Over the last 15 years, Oneal has also held a variety of roles in at Activision and Vicarious Visions, serving as the publishing producer on the Tony Hawk franchise, executive producer on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, and multiple titles within the Guitar Hero and Skylanders franchises. In 2018 she was awarded the All Leadership Award by Great Place to Work.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. She is also a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization.

Ryh-Ming Poon

Ryh-Ming Poon is a communications executive and brand builder, is an expert at telling stories, connecting with audiences, creating immersive events, and raising profiles in the interactive entertainment industry. Over the past 20+ years, she built PR teams from the ground up at Activision and led them from strategy to launch for multi-billion dollar franchises including Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Spider-Man. After a short but impactful stint at Machinima, where content was king, she then went on to spearhead public relations for GameFly and Jam City (with their blockbuster Cookie Jam game), helping to make them household names while successfully transitioning to new verticals within the gaming industry. Poon’s breadth of experience and passion for making connections have led to building a diverse network beyond games into music, sports, and film/TV, as well as made it possible to secure stories with top-tier media including the New York Times, VentureBeat, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and NPR. She’s now making her mark as the Head of Communications of Xsolla, a B2B technology company serving thousands of video game developers, publishers, and platforms, with tools and services that help them to operate and sell more games globally.

Kellee Santiago

Kellee Santiago, is s former president and co-founder of thatgamecompany, that has developed one of the most prominent brands in independent and innovative game development, pushing the communicative possibilities of video games as a medium. Among their Playstation 3 and 4 games, “Journey” was declared “Game of the Year,” and “Flower” became one of the first two video games to be installed in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is currently at Niantic, as Head of Developer Relations. She is also Co-Founder and Partner of the angel investment fund, Indie Fund.

Kellee is passionate about innovation in games, entrepreneurship, games as art and better methods for video game development. In 2010, she became a TED Fellow and was recognized as one of The Ten Most Influential Women in Games of the Past Decade. Kellee has also received the 2011 Microsoft Top Women in Gaming award for Business.

Meggan Scavio

Meggan Scavio brings her experience in conference organization, technology, and video games to her position as President at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS), an organization which promotes, advances, and recognizes the outstanding achievements in the interactive entertainment industry worldwide. Scavio oversees the AIAS’ initiatives in the video games industry including the D.I.C.E. Summit—the industry’s premier gathering of creative and business leaders—as well as the AIAS member-voted D.I.C.E. Awards show, the European-centric D.I.C.E. Europe conference, and the AIAS Foundation.

Previously Scavio spent 18 years at UBM, where she served as General Manager of the Game Developers Conference (GDC). During her tenure Scavio was responsible for overseeing GDC’s domestic and international conferences including GDC Europe, GDC China, GDC Online, and VRDC.

Jen Taylor

Jen Taylor is an American stage, television, and voice actress best known as the voices of Cortana and Dr. Halsey in the Halo video game series. Taylor has also voiced Princess Peach and Toad in the Super Mario video game series; Zoey in the Left 4 Dead games; Lina, Medusa, Puck, and Windranger in the online game Dota 2; Atomic Wonder Woman in the Infinite Crisis comic book series; Salem in the RWBY animated series; and many other characters. Additionally, Taylor does radio, television, and audiobook work. She appeared in Penny Arcade’s online web series, Automata, and Netflix’s Everything Sucks.

Kiki Wolfkill

Currently Head of Halo Transmedia and Entertainment at 343 Industries, Kiki Wolfkill has been in the video game industry for 20 years. Before joining 343 Industries, Wolfkill was the Director of Art at Microsoft Studios, leading a team focused on publishing support for all of Microsoft’s first-party Xbox and PC titles. Wolfkill’s past game credits include the Project Gotham Racing and Forza Motorsport franchises, as well as video game series such as Fable, Crackdown, Gears of War, and Mass Effect.

When she joined 343 Industries in 2009 as Executive Producer, she was responsible for building the internal Halo 4 production team. She also served as Executive Producer on the digital series Halo: The Fall of Reach and Halo: Nightfall. Currently she is working on the upcoming Halo television series in development with showtime and Amblin Entertainment.

In 2013 Wolfkill was named one of the 10 Most Powerful Women in Gaming by Fortune magazine and was also part of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2017 list.

Keisha Howard, Moderator

Entrepreneur, futurist, Video game enthusiast Keisha Howard founded Sugar Gamers in 2009 to be solution-oriented as it pertained to diversifying the tech space. What began as a women's advocacy and networking group for consumers and professionals eventually blossomed into an organization that advocates for people who were under-served or unrepresented in video games and geek culture.

While her work with Sugar Gamers has taken her all over the country, she has never lost sight of home. A Chicago native, Howard utilizes the skills and the contacts she's made through Sugar Gamers to empower women, minorities, and students as a mentor, speaker, and influencer