It’s probably funny to joke that unicorns are just as rare as female leaders in the gaming industry. GeoComply, a woman-led unicorn company, is also a unicorn. GeoComplyhas become central in the operations of almost every major US online gaming company.
GeoComply’s SVP Compliance Lindsay Slader explained that “We are very aligned with women in gaming and women in tech when it comes to diversity, because we identify with values aligned with these themes.” “We have an excellent intern program.” “We have a really robust intern program.”
GeoComply develops women leaders for the future of gaming
When it comes to hiring, the company has a strict policy that requires teams to have 50% women. No one can make excuses for not meeting this standard. Slader, like Wondr Nation’s Anika Howard acknowledged that tech in general and gaming, specifically, can be dominated by men, but this is not a necessity. Slader believes that GeoComply’s commitment to building up women will not only make the company stronger, but also improve the industry as a whole.
“We hope the values they’ve learned will motivate them to start their own business one day. They’ve already realized that women can run tech companies better than men.”
Slader is frustrated by the limited search for this expertise. Online gaming companies claim that it’s hard to find good talent. She also feels conflicted about her conference participation, as she sometimes knows that she’s being included just to tick a box, rather than being the best person to speak on certain topics.
You’re looking for knowledge in the wrong places
When I think about the arguments for why conferences have an all-male panel, they always use the excuse that ‘we couldn’t find a woman so we pulled together expert knowledge and this is what was landed. Slader stated that there were five men on the panel. “Sounds as if you aren’t looking hard enough,” Slader said. It’s hard to count how many times I’ve been invited to a panel because I was the token girl. It’s insulting, but I would also love to be a token girl. Without her, there will always be an all-male panel. This helps change expectations in the future.
Slader, who has been gaming for over a decade now, can recall rooms where the women could be counted on one hand. It was an age when the idea of a token female player wasn’t a priority for most people. While it is frustrating, she knows how far women’s rights have progressed and wants to do everything she can to ensure their inclusion.
Some jurisdictions also use mandates from regulators to promote inclusivity. Slader says that the pushback by the industry is similar to the opposition against putting women on panels.
“I have the same feelings about the challenges of finding certain vendors and partners to work. There are industry-specific limitations on the number of companies that you can choose from if you’re looking for a particular type of company providing a narrow service or technology. But, again, this can’t be an excuse.
Online gaming growth is an opportunity for a more diverse community
Diversity is more than race, class and gender. Slader believes that the gambling industry can benefit from a greater diversity of experiences as it grows. Slader believes that the land-based gambling industry has been so dominated by men, and that the rapid growth of internet gambling and its new set of requirements can completely transform the industry.
If you’re looking for new people, find those who don’t yet represent our industry. She said that if you are already looking for new employees, find the people who don’t yet represent our industry. Maybe this isn’t just a case of gender diversity, but also a skill set issue. When we hire interns that have just graduated from college, a common theme is that “I never thought I could work in a tech firm because I am a lawyer, I studied sociology or whatever else it may be” and that they thought they had defined their careers to do something different.
DraftKings, for example, has already identified as a technology company and not a game company. This helps to create the impression that applicants must have gaming experience to be hired. Many organizations are working to attract new talent. However, it is difficult for the industry to recruit a new company that does not come from the gaming world.
Slader stated that the biggest barrier to entry for innovators is new technology. You have to understand what the integrity requirements and expectations are in the industry, or you won’t be able offer your services to the level that the government and industry will require.
It is difficult to start a business. In a highly-regulated industry, starting a business is even more difficult due to the licensing and compliance requirements. GeoComply is a great example of how putting in the work can pay off, not just from a profit perspective but also because you can become a financial unicorn as well as a leader for change when it comes to what a gaming business can be.