NOTE: Speaker list with introductions will be updated throughout August and September 2021.
Nacho Lasheras / Supercell
Nacho is a programmer at Supercell. Since joining 6 years ago, he has spent most of his time working on Hay Day, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2022. Native of Barcelona, he started in the games industry working on a game for the N-Gage at Digital Legends, where he spent many years working on a good deal of different platforms, before coming to Finland to work at Remedy, seduced by the cabins and the excellent heavy metal.
Marina Díez (she/her) is a Spanish award-winning game designer based in London, UK. She's the CEO and Creative Director at Three of Cups Games, a games studio based in London; and works for different games studios around the world: currently part of Dordogne as their lead game designer. Marina is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree and a BAFTA Crew member.
Wanda O Rly / Psyon Games
Wanda O Rly a.k.a. Valtteri Lahti is the COO of Psyon Games Oy, the chairman of the game business cooperative EXPA, IDGA hub lead of Jyväskylä, and a passionate drag artist and science communicator. For the past 5 years Wanda has been at Psyon Games working on a new line of business fusing together the game industry and the life science industry by creating digital health awareness strategies based on gamified information.
Zsuzsa is the Special Advisor for video games & esports at the Consulate General of Finland in LA and is responsible for trade promotion activities on the West Coast of the US. As part of the Team Finland network, she advises Finnish companies on their market entry efforts and promote the Finnish video games & esports industries in the US.
Prior to moving to LA, she worked in the games industry (Digital Chocolate/Sumea Studio, Mindfield Games), edu tech and advertising spaces in Finland in roles ranging from design, project management and marketing. She has spoken at several industry events including Pocket Gamer Connects, Gamesbeat, GDC, the Esports Business Summit, and the Nordic Oscar Weekend, and is also the co-vice chair of an IGDA Special Interest Group.
Amandine Flachs / WildMeta
Amandine founded WildMeta in late 2019 after supporting startup founders for more than 10 years in France, the USA and the UK.
Over the years, she has helped transform technical solutions into understandable commercial offers, launch new innovative products, build communities, and bring technical & non-technical teams together to kickstart new projects and approach new markets.
Amandine is very much involved in the startup ecosystem as a mentor for a number of initiatives, a VC scout for the London-based seed fund Backed VC, as well as through her series of live AMAs with early-stage founders. For her contribution to the UK startup scene and her work today as an entrepreneur, Amandine has been nominated for several awards. In 2021, she won the Entrepreneur Rising Star award by We Are The City (WATC) and was nominated for Venture Beat's Transform 2021 Women in AI award.
Henri Lindgren / Lightneer
Team leader with over 10 years of game industry experience.
Currently leading the hyper awesome Lightneer as their CEO. Previously Head of Studio at Veikkaus Game Studio, before that worked as an Executive Producer at Nitro Games.
Henri believes in empowering people and self-organized teams. By growing our people we grow our business.
Milica Todorovic / Women in Games
Milica Todorović has been working in the game dev industry for almost ten years across different genres and different roles. Starting off as a graphic designer, she also worked as a UI artist, digital painter and creative director at one point. The beginning of her career was mostly focused on art, until she discovered the production and leadership aspect of the industry.
She is currently employed by Ubisoft Belgrade as Associate Producer and is loving it every single day. In 2019, she became a Women in Games ambassador, which gave her more wind in the sails. She continues to fight for diversity in the industry, and creating a more welcoming environment for all. She also thrives on pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo while creating amazing experiences for the players.
Nickie Harper Williams & Chris Goodyear / Many Cats Studios
Nickie is a Community Manager from the UK, enjoys painting and music with a side of accessibility in gaming. Chris is a Producer, passionate about supporting disabled and neurodiverse people in the games industry.
Together at Many Cats Studios they champion inclusive spaces for disabilities, representation and making games accessible.
Marja Konttinen / Lockwood publishing
Marja Konttinen is mobile games marketing professional from Finland with 10+ years of experience in games and advertising industries. She works from early concept testing to liveops marketing, from user research driven ideation to multi-channel campaign execution. She has worked with major IPs such as Angry Birds Star Wars to cloud gaming for kids, and lately, at UK based Lockwood Publishing on Avakin Life, the mobile metaverse of millions of virtual 3D avatars.
Toiya Kristen Finley / Game Narrative Designer
Nashville native Toiya Kristen Finley is a writer, editor, game designer, and narrative designer/game writer. She holds a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. With nearly 70 published works, she has over 20 years of experience writing in a range of genres. She leads workshops and speaks at conferences like GDC, ECGC, PAX Dev, PAX West, and Gen Con. In 2011, she co-founded the Game Writing Tutorial at GDC Online with Tobias Heussner and served as an instructor in 2011 and 2012. She has worked as a game designer, narrative designer, game writer, diversity consultant, and editor (or some combination of the five) on several AAA, indie, social, and mobile games for children and general audiences. Some of these projects shall stay locked away in dungeons for eternity (hey, that's the game industry for ya). Some published games include Academagia: The Making of Mages (Black Chicken Studios), Fat Chicken (Relevant Games), Verdant Skies (Howling Moon Software), and Siren Song (Stardust Works). She co-authored The Game Narrative Toolbox (Focal Press, 2015) with Jennifer Brandes Hepler, Ann Lemay, and Tobias Heussner. Most recently, she edited and contributed to Narrative Tactics for Mobile and Social Games: Pocket-Sized Storytelling (CRC Press, 2018). Work in the past year includes writing and editing for various interactive fiction projects like NBCUniversal's Series and Lunaris Games's visual novels, and writing for Destruction AllStars. She is currently a member of the IGDA Game Writing Special Interest Group's Executive Board, and her current book project is on freelancing. Oh, and she's finally working on her own demo!
Relja Bobic / SGA
Relja Bobic is a Program Director at Serbian Games Association (SGA), a non-profit organization focused on developing the Serbian national gaming industry, and the ecosystem at large. The members of SGA are teams, companies, and individuals from Serbia that develop video games or other content and services for the currently most developed entertainment industry in the world.
The goal is to enhance their ability to compete globally, to create the best possible conditions to make amazing video games in Serbia, as well as develop the talent and creativity of everyone in the sector. All this with the help and support of our partners and friends, paired with coordinated activities and initiatives wit, other businesses and nonprofits, the education sector or government representatives, as well as other international associations of the entertainment industry.
Taina Myöhänen / We in Games Finland
A researcher who has worked in project, people and business management in the ICT industry since 1999, and in the games industry since 2006. In We in Games Finland, my ultimate goal is to make the gaming industry the best place to work for everyone.
Kristina Janković / SGA
Kristina is the Executive Manager of the Serbian Games Association. She is in charge of member relations, ecosystem building, programs, as well as events and initiatives. Kris is there to network with relevant stakeholders and provide all information about Serbia's growing gaming ecosystem.
With a strong background in journalism, communications, project management, and dozens of trophies on her PS4 profile, she is always in the mood to talk about gaming and find a way to support young creatives and new projects. She has been with SGA since the very founding of the association, dedicated to developing the Serbian gaming industry and the visibility of Serbian teams, companies, and games locally, but also globally.
Avinash Kumar / Quicksand Design
Avinash is a media artist, researcher and entrepreneur based in India. He is a co-founder of Quicksand Design, a pioneering innovation consultancy operating since 2004; Antariksha Studio - a video game studio focused on cultural games from India; and UnBox Festival - an interdisciplinary arts platform that produces global festivals and residencies. He has also explored life as a visual artist in the electronic music scene - performing and creating media arts installations across India and the globe since 2007. Avinash’s passion for cultural heritage and electronic arts led him to video gaming through his ongoing and acclaimed project Antariksha. Avinash lives in the beach town of Goa, India with his wife and dogs, with a vision to create a rural location for nextgen gaming in India.
Lassi Puolakka / BitByByte Creations
Lassi Puolakka is a serious game and gamification professional who has worked in the field for five years. He has worked with a great deal of different things in game development including design, project management, sales and marketing. Being able to create meaningful apps and services that do good is what drives and motivates him in the field. Currently he is working with this goal at BitByByte Creations and MiTale, a Turku based games companies.
Outside of work, Lassi’s life revolves a lot around games as well. A gamer since a wee boy, Lassi likes to enjoy a wide variety of games and stay in the loop of the latest gaming news. For him, games are a way to kick back as well as a chance to see what the medium can do and accomplish.
Zoja Stojković / Nordeus
Zoja is a passionate HR person who thinks providing an amazing and unique employee experience is critical for attracting and retaining top global talent. She is a part of an amazing HR team at Nordeus that partners with leads across the organization to support the business needs, our employees, and their growth with a personalized approach. When she's not giving the world more champions at Nordeus, Zoja is a foodie and bakes every chance she gets. Plus, she's the proud owner of two cats 🙂
Vesa Raudasoja / City of Helsinki
Vesa is a game industry consultant and ecosystem developer based in Finland. He works for the City of Helsinki as a Business Advisor supporting game companies. He has over a decade of experience in the industry in various positions, from startups to AAA. He has been a leader with IGDA Finland for almost 15 years and an enthusiastic Game Jam organizer at Finnish Game Jam scene since 2010. He was elected to the IGDA Board of Directors in 2016 and was the first person outside of North America to serve as Chairman. He speaks highly of international collaboration and is a familiar face at conferences around the globe.
Elena Zaffaroni / Lingonerds
Elena is a co-founder of the Lingonerds translation team that has over 10 years of experience in the videogames localization industry. She particularly enjoys translating the creative bits, like dialogues, and loves the challenge of a game set in a different era! Elena fuels her work with a Master’s Degree in Translation obtained from the University of Genova, and inexhaustible love for languages (taken to the extreme when she learnt Finnish!).
She discovered her passion for translation at a very early age, when she found out that she simply couldn’t stand not knowing what the lyrics of Mariah Carey’s song “All I Want For Christmas” meant. Her mom had to get her an English-Italian pocket dictionary to solve the problem, but that was just the beginning. Many years later, we find a happy freelance translator who managed to transform a passion into a profession.
Fabricio Leotti / Sigma Designs
Fabricio Leotti is a game designer with main goal to always bring a great experience to his players. In 2001 he created his first board game and since then he has crafted more than a handful of them. He moved to Sweden in 2015. Living in a different country he found himself able to meet and gather new friends through his creations and that's when he realized he could create a great gaming experience for people he hasn't met before.
Eevi Korhonen / Housemarque
After ten years of experience from mobile, Facebook and AAA games, Eevi has an expansive view of what game design can be, but her heart has always belonged to the narrative side of games. As a narrative designer, her main area of interest lies in the intersection of mechanics and storytelling. Her latest work includes CONTROL and Returnal.
Joni Finne / Finnish Game Jam
Joni Finne is game industry active who has been volunteering in almost every possible junction. Currently works as a teacher in Kouvola Area Vocational School and guides youngsters closer to games industry. Does volunteer mainly with Finnish Game Jam and IGDA Finland.
Tanya X. Short / KitFox Games
A hardworking, self-motivated designer that produces only the highest-quality results on demanding schedules. Learns tools, scripting languages, and content creation pipelines quickly and independently. A true team player with a passion for fun gameplay and memorable experiences through inspired world creation and creative scripting.
Gregory Pellechi / Critical Charm
Gregory Pellechi is a freelance game writer and narrative designer based in Helsinki, Finland. He was a cofounder of the VR game studio Critical Charm. He's been a journalist, communications consultant and aid worker before getting into games. He's also a third culture kid, rugby player, and a Swedish-speaking Finnish American. Try to grok that.
Felicia Prehn / Next games
In this talk, real-life blind person and accessibility expert Licia Prehn will discuss best practices and pro-tips for making sure that your team is being as inclusive as possible in your recruitment process, and that new joiners and new hires feel comfortable and valued in your team.
Licia Prehn is a blind, non-binary PX Specialist and accessibility advocate from Finland. They have held various roles in the Finnish game industry over the last six years, but currently do Player Experience at Next Games.
Marija Ilic / SGA
Marija Ilić is one of the co-founders of Two Desperados, a mobile video games development studio based in Belgrade. Video games are her passion and important part of her life since Commodore 64, so being in the game dev and working with great people is what drives her forward. Marija is an experienced game producer and project leader with 15+ years of experience in management/leadership roles in IT, as well as and 10+ years of experience in games development.
The Serbian game dev ecosystem can boast more than 30% of female employees among its companies, and this is in big part due to Two Desperados and Marija's determination to involve more ladies into the industry. In 2018, she and her company were among the co-founders of the Serbian Games Association, a non-profit, non-government organization, with the goal of supporting growth of the video games sector in Serbia. Since 2021, Marija is as the President of the Board of SGA.
Emilia Machuca / We in Games Finland
Emilia is the Co-Founder of We in Games Finland and currently runs the projects for the NGO. She first joined this amazing community of the Finnish games industry six years ago when she worked at Neogames Finland. She is currently working at Rovio in comms and with the internal community.
Aino Hiltunen / National Council of Women of Finland
Aino works as a Project Coordinator at the National Council of Women of Finland, where her desk is filled with projects where gender equality, technology, media and leadership intertwine. She holds a Master’s degree in World Politics from University of Helsinki. Aino gets excited about kickboxing, spending time with her rescue puppy and working towards a more just world one step at a time.
Miia Seppänen / Harhama Games
Miia Seppänen is an indie producer, with previous experience in academic research as well as arts and culture projects. She has a Ph.D. in psychology, and a doctoral training in cognitive neuroscience, and she has been working as a psychologist.
Lea Kalenius / Harhama games
Lea Kalenius is a lead narrative designer with a MA in Literature. She has published two poetry books, worked in various artistic writing collectives, as an publishing editor and directed theatre plays.