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View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, topic, format and viewing experience. Use the experience filter to view sessions and roundtables that will be available on the virtual GDC event platform. Virtual sessions will be available to watch on-demand through April 1st, 2022 at 5pm PT. All days/times are displayed in Pacific Time.

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Leaders Working at the Heart of the Team 2022

Grant Shonkwiler  (Commander & Shonk, Shonkventures)

Zoë Curnoe  (Studio Production Director & Co-Founder , Timbre Games)

Anne Blondel Jouin  (VP Open Innovation Accelerator, Ubisoft)

Location: Room 2001, West Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 23

Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, All Access Online Only Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Viewing Experience: In-Person/Virtual

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Yes

Project management methodologies and processes in the video game industry have been analyzed ad nauseum, often sold as production cure-alls. While these mechanics of game production are indeed important, there's another critical facet that has been explored far less: the emotional and elusive feel of being a great leader/producer/project manager. Once processes are in place, in order to maintain the health of a project the leader must have their finger firmly on the pulse of the team and be able to diagnose situations that often call for drastically different solutions. In this session we will investigate facets of soft skills and share specific situations that we have encountered throughout our careers and how soft skills have saved the team and shipped awesome games. Topics include: Learnings from overcoming our first major challenge while building a new team, game, studio, and culture completely remotely. What it's like to create a brand new studio and form a brand new team during a pandemic when you don't have all the answers.
How admitting you don't know can be the most terrifying and empowering leadership change you can make. What to think about when making games in a foreign country during a pandemic. Empowering indies through the pandemic and "The Great Resignation"


Attendees will gain an increased knowledge and understanding of how to use the soft skills a leader has, and how focusing on their team will make their games more successful. This will be covered through practical examples and discussion.

How adversity can fuel and strengthen culture, and galvanize a team.
"Small is beautiful" and other points raised by the differences between production, management and creativity.
Those new to leading or established leaders will hear about how humility and team empowerment can feel destabilizing at first as a leader and as a team member, but leaning into that discomfort and coaching rather than directing can lead to incredible things.
The importance of empathy, cultural awareness, and introspection.

Intended Audience

The target audience is leaders with 4+ years experience in the games industry. It will also be valuable for new leaders/producers/project managers and disciplinary leads.