Women of GlobalStep: Meet Elaine Soares, Director of HR in Montreal
In honor of Women’s History Month, in the following weeks we will be sharing stories of some of the amazing women who work at GlobalStep. Today, we are featuring Elaine Soares’ story, who joined in January 2022 as the Director of Human Resources in Montreal, Canada. What follows is a Q&A edited for clarity and length.
- Why did you choose to work in the video game industry?
Actually, it’s the first time for me working in the gaming industry. I have a lot of experience in the IT industry, in Services and Digital Marketing. It’s a very entertaining and fast-paced industry. Through my previous work, I had several contacts and opportunities to collaborate with the gaming industry, which is very strong in Montreal. We worked with some very talented people. My previous director was a former employee at GlobalStep, so when she knew that they were looking for someone, she introduced us. And I think that more than the gaming aspect, it was the approach at GlobalStep that drew me in.
- Can you tell me more about your background?
My background is not in gaming, though I really enjoy this industry and find it very dynamic.
Today, I’m in charge of HR in Montreal. My background is in psychology. I have an MBA in HR and I have been working in HR for the last 20 years.
- Do you play any video games?
Truth be told, I don’t. But I do have a big gamer at home: he loves hockey! He just loves playing hockey on the PlayStation.
- What would your advice be for women entering the video game industry?
I think that in order to enjoy working in this industry, you have to enjoy working in a very fast-speed environment. And, in an environment that requires a lot of confidentiality. It’s interesting, because while we’re working and collaborating with very big brands and hugely known franchises operating worldwide, we cannot publish that.
I think this is the perfect place for technical women who enjoy working in places where they feel comfortable preparing and organizing things ahead of time. If you want to be ahead of what’s going on, this is the place for you. For many employees, this is part of the motivation behind their work. When we are set to release something on the market in six months, many of our employees have already tested and are familiar with the game or product. It’s a very dynamic and exciting environment, and it’s very diverse, which is super interesting. In this industry, you have the opportunity to work with leading gaming industries worldwide, but you have to be conscious of confidentiality.
- Who inspires you in life?
I could go for the big names, celebrities that I resonate with and relate to. But I’d rather talk about someone I am very close to, my father. I got my values from his example in life. He taught me so much. I also had some amazing bosses and colleagues I worked with, and they became amazing coaches and mentors, leading by example. On a personal level, my father taught me a lot, and on a professional level, I had two former HR executives, who were incredibly knowledgeable but also so very humble. They are now my friends, and part of my personal life. They were my bosses, and now, we are friends. We give each other advice and support each other. Today, I see them at global conferences, and it feels surreal that they used to be my bosses and managers.
- What would you tell women who would like to explore a role or industry that is traditionally male dominated, like gaming?
Do not feel intimidated. It can be intimidating, stepping into an industry where the majority of employees are male. Don’t be intimidated. Forget everything that anyone might have told you. You are capable the same way as anyone else. So just go for it. And do not listen to the people who try to demotivate you.
- Why did you choose your role, specifically? And what is different about HR in the gaming industry versus the industries you were working in before?
I think that the most important thing is to understand what’s important in this industry and which elements you should become more familiar with in order to be successful.
For me, I keep asking what do I specifically need to understand in gaming? What is the best business acumen that I have to acquire in order to succeed with my expertise? If I do not understand the needs of my business partners, and if I cannot understand when a client has a last-minute request that arrives in my department, it’s just a cascade effect if it’s not handled properly.
I want to be able to adapt myself, my deliveries, my team, in order to respond to my business partners’ needs, and automatically, indirectly, we want to respond to our clients’ needs. Right now, we are talking about gaming, but before I worked for four years in a digital marketing industry, and I remember while being there, I knocked at the Deputy Director’s door, and asked to tell me about our industry. What do we do? What’s our challenges and who are our competitors? You know, just to contextualize our case. So that’s what’s important for us here.
I think that that’s the tip, bring the questions, knock on the technical doors and ask them. They are so generous, they love what they do. The same way that it is a pleasure for me to talk about HR, it is a pleasure for them to talk about gaming. Our deliveries, what we need, our challenges. The key, I think, is to bring the questions.
This piece is part of a series of interviews GlobalStep is conducting to showcase the talent and expertise of the wonderful women working at our organization.