Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Deborah Woznicki, CEO of REACH OUT AGENCY. She speaks about her experiences and insights regarding various aspects of her career, including gaming influencer management, marketing and leadership, her entrepreneurship, along with personal reflections on finding balance and fulfillment. Read more about Deborah in this interview:
Hi Deborah! Your current role as CEO of Reach Out Agency focuses on gaming influencer management. How do you see the intersection of gaming, influencer marketing, and social impact evolving in the coming years, and what role does Reach Out Agency play in this landscape?

This might be the worst possible time to admit that I probably say “I hate gaming” at least once a week, only to then pour myself a fifth decaffeinated coffee because my doctor has banned caffeine. But what gives me new grey hairs and coffee withdrawal every month is also what makes gaming and its communities so special. It’s where a parasocial bond with your favorite influencer meets an equal passion and poof, you have a target group that isn’t just passionate about one thing, no, gaming communities like to go the extra mile. Which of course doesn’t always turn out positively, but that’s what makes it exciting. However, what can be realized with so much passion and loyalty are of course campaigns that go beyond simple consumption. I’m a big sucker for multi-level campaigns that don’t just do the bare minimum, but awaken real emotions in you and create a lasting connection. Take classical music with a pinch of gaming, for example, and you have a “campaign” that touches people of all ages and brings generations together, such as the live Let’s Play concert by Lost Ember and Journey we had the pleasure to work on at the Elbphilharmonie on 13 February 2024. With REACH OUT, we want to create more of these opportunities for brands outside of gaming, which is why we have long ceased to be a pure gaming influencer management agency and have been a 360-degree marketing agency for a while now. 

With an extensive career in online marketing and growth strategy for notable brands, what pivotal moments or challenges have shaped your approach to marketing and leadership?

I think there was a moment in my career that was the spark I needed to get the whole fire going. I had my first 1:1 after my promotion and the Vice President had asked me to spend the next two weeks just thinking about what we could be doing wrong or trying differently in user acquisition. “Ok cool, so what do I do during work hours?” I asked and he told me to well surprise … think during work hours. I was perplexed, I’d never experienced anything like that before, so I asked again what I should do apart from thinking and he said nothing. He ended the 1:1 with “I like your brain, Deborah.” That was the day I learned to not see performing tasks as the only way to measure work and I hope it reflects in my “leadership”. 

As the founder of Brain Trading Company, what motivated you to establish your venture, and what lessons have you learned about entrepreneurship reflecting on your journey, what do you wish you had known when starting your career?

I’m currently reading a lot of Kurt Tucholsky on the recommendation of my lawyer and have discovered, among other things, that he had several pseudonyms for different topics because he had so much to say. That sums it up quite well, except that I probably don’t have that many clever things to say. I needed a place where I could spontaneously realize things without a lot of frills, alone or with others, and that is Brain Trading Company for me. The impetus for this came from the aforementioned Vice President, who has been regularly checking in with “Can I pick your brain?” ever since he left the company.

The biggest challenge is simply that I can’t clone myself. I had and still have to learn to give things away but also to accept that some things cannot be realized as quickly as I imagined in my head. And what I wish I knew? That there will be a man who doesn’t think I’m boring because I spend most of my time working or realizing projects, but loves exactly THAT about me. It took a while, I’m sure you get a bit weird when you’re mostly alone, but I eventually married my biggest cheerleader. Grumpy-Dog-Lady was not the plan for this dimension I guess. 

Thanks for this interview, Deborah!

Deborah’s links: LinkedIn

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Madeleine Egger