In honor of black history month, I decided to feature an interview with Dominique Grinnell, a games industry marketing consultant who I met while editing the WIGI newsletter two years ago. When I moved to LA, I met her in real life, and she has always made me feel welcome at any industry event I attended. Dominique is one half of the duo that runs Girls on Games, a company that provides business development and marketing consulting for the video game industry.
1.) What do you do at Girls on Games?
I work with small developers and designers from the product development phase to sales. I find the best way to bring their apps to market and monetize them.
2.) What is your favorite game of all time?
Crackdown (Xbox 360) – It came out in 2006/7 and I actually started playing it again this week. Join me online – you can pick it up for less than $5 now.
3.) What influenced your decision to work with games?
I started playing games when the first Atari system came out, but what influenced me was playing a game online in 2006. I was talking to people from all over the world, and realized that games were not just games, they were meeting places, and enabled communication blended with entertainment. I saw a potential there that is just now beginning to be realized. There are some very exciting changes happening, and more to come, I am sure.
4.) Growing up, who was your role model?
My mom and dad were my role models. They showed me the value of lifelong learning and finding creative solutions.
5.) Studies have shown that blacks and Hispanics are actually the largest ethnic groups consuming games. However, looking around the industry, we seem to be a minority. What are your thoughts on the lack of minorities in the games industry?
There is a dearth of minorities in STEM education. Unless we encourage our children to study STEM, we are likely to continue to be underrepresented in industries that are based on STEM.
6.) Has your race or gender ever been an issue within the gaming industry or community?
I don’t know if my race and gender have been an issue per se, but sometimes people are surprised that I am a hardcore rather than casual gamer, and that I really understand other gaming markets. That can be a plus though, because their surprise leads to me telling my story. Mainly, I can’t worry about what goes on in other people’s heads – I work hard, stay positive, and focus on what’s important.
7.) What advice would you have for other young women interested in getting into the games industry?
Figure out where you fit in (marketing, development, coding, testing, whatever), find out what skills you need to be the best, find a mentor/get help, and go for it!
I am passionate about gaming and look forward to the new vanguard of storytellers and technology innovators. Nobody should let their fear about what someone thinks of them hold them back from pursuing their dreams.
To reach Dominique for more information, email her at dominique@goGirlsOnGames.com. Check out Girls on Games on Facebook and Twitter.