We’ve pulled together a mix of creative experts across the industry for an inspiring discussion on the many ways to think about, and integrate, accessibility and inclusivity into the gaming experience. From design to the developmental process, they’ll share actionable ways to engage more players and build an impassioned fanbase.
Reaching More Players via Inclusive Game Design
Tara is currently the Xbox Game Studios Accessibility Lead. In this role, she conceptualizes strategic programs and spearheads development initiatives to establish and promote a superior yet accessible gaming experience across all Xbox Game Studios titles. She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Game Accessibility Conference (#GaConf), a two-day conference fully dedicated to accessibility in game development. She also has a passion for horror media and would love to see more accessible horror games in the market.
Osama is a Senior Game Designer at Warner Brothers Games Montreal. He's also a game design teacher at Dawson College and a co-host of the Habibis podcast. Osama loves to empower people in expressing themselves through game making. He especially loves to give a voice to marginalized people and causes. He has hosted game jams, workshops and other community activities to this end, which has culminated in co-founding the Montreal Independent Games Awards.
Laura Teclemariam brings over 17 years of high-tech experience working in product management, interactive media design, and software engineering to Netflix. She has hands-on experience leading consumer product development and has innovated strategic products from games to ad-tech platforms. At Netflix, Laura is currently responsible for Product Innovation for Animation. In addition to championing the product vision for a new world in animation, she is responsible for ensuring the studio organization establishes impactful objectives to showcase technological advancement and continued focus to entertain the world.
Before her Netflix journey, Laura has led at major gaming studios, including Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and Glu Mobile, where she led the strategy for the newest Disney Pixar RPG product, Disney Sorcerer’s Arena. Prior to Glu, Laura led Electronic Art’s Engagement, Targeting, and Advertising suite of enterprise products, the core technology for all EA games. Managing a portfolio of over $250 million across EA’s mobile platform, she works cross-functionally to scope, define, and deliver EA’s player’s experience. At EA, she also worked in studio development and has worked on several games, including Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, FIFA 16, Mirror Edge: Catalyst, Plants vs. Zombies 2, and Pogo.
Prior to EA, Laura led the developer tools efforts for a $100 million mobile advertising company, Tapjoy. She also founded and ran her marketing and advertising startup for seven years, which focused on the Sports and Entertainment industries. She has also worked for several Forbes Top 100 Companies, including Deloitte Consulting as an Oracle Consultant and Microsoft Corporation as a Partner Account Manager. At Microsoft, she led the technical and marketing analysis for Microsoft Business partners in the Southern California region. Early in her Microsoft career, she worked in the MS Office Excel group as a Software Engineer.
Laura received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine, and her Executive MBA at the Haas School of Business from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a regular speaker in gaming, diversity in tech, and mobile advertising.
Renee is the Executive Director of the IGDA, and a multi-disciplinary leader with expertise in software engineering and creative direction. She is a passionate advocate and connector for developers and diversity in the game industry, with a background that spans across engineering, design, and production. She is outspoken about initiatives to increase diversity both within the game industry and gaming overall to help the game industry grow and improve for everyone.