Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Sophie Baker, Head of Operations at Lessmore. Sophie discusses how global experiences shaped her management approach, emphasizes empathy and communication for diverse teams, highlights the inclusive environment at Lessmore, and advises aspiring talents to align career choices with personal goals. Read more about Sophie in this interview:
Hi Sophie! Your career has led you to diverse locations, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the US. How have these international experiences influenced your perspective on the gaming industry, and have they shaped your approach to managing diverse teams in a global setting?

Getting the chance to working with teams all over the world definitely had an impact on how I view the games industry. There are many differences between work ethics, expectations and requirements per country. In Germany, most people (not all) try to have clear boundaries between job and private life. This means they are happy to do their hours, but then aim to spend quality time with their families and friends when done. The labour laws do support this approach and thus it’s a vital part of understanding how to manage teams in Germany. In other countries, e.g. the social security systems might not be made to allow this idea, therefore employees may be more dependent on their jobs, or a certain proficiency level has to be reached to ensure a good reputation within the village. I’d say in order to manage diverse teams globally, empathy for the person’s/team’s individual circumstances and communication are main factors for success. Once you got the information on how things tick, and what motivational motives and goals are, you can manage more efficiently.

As a Mental Health First Aider and an advocate for diversity in the gaming industry, how do you incorporate these aspects into your leadership style in your current position, fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment?

The team at Lessmore is very diverse in itself, a broad variety of experience levels and cultures, and we’re based in many different countries. So it’s not one or two people, who are trying to support an inclusion program, it’s everyone creating a safe environment together. This is one of the aspects I personally value a lot about this job, being treated with respect and being given an equally worthy voice as everyone else. Day-to-day we all do listen to each others thoughts and feedback, and openly speak about any topics. As part of my role, I have additional regular chats with the team members and ask if they have everything they need, open questions, or require any support. This also includes visa and paperwork help, or talking through personal struggles.

Based on your rich and varied experience, what advice would you offer to aspiring talents looking to build a successful career in the gaming industry, especially those aiming for roles in operations, project leadership, or game evaluation?

As general advice, start thinking about where you’d like to go, what you need, what you can accept. Would you like to work in a company that gives you a solid safe job where you do nine to five and focus on potentially having a family? Do you want the crazy adventure and take risks or travel? Do you aim to go big on money and status? All approaches are perfectly valid and might change over time, it really depends what you’re looking for. Every employer has its pros and cons and only you can find out what works for you and what doesn’t. 

A good start to determining the role/area of profession is always to look at your personal interests. If you like organising things and juggling a lot of different tasks around, maybe operations or project work could be great for you. If that’s not your thing but you love testing games and providing feedback, maybe game eval or quality assurance are worth checking out. My personal take on this question is to find what you’re passionate about and which path feels right for you. It makes every day at work more interesting and fun, than getting stuck in a job you don’t enjoy. 

Do feel free to reach out via Linkedin or Booster Space if you don’t know where to start or would like to have a chat 🙂

Thanks for this interview, Sophie!

Sophie’s links: LinkedIn

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Madeleine Egger