Over the past month, Ritual Motion has published a series of articles and interviews featuring the topic of women and the female experience in gaming and esports. We are proud to be part of the movement to shine a spotlight on the challenges women face in the gaming and esports world, but even more proud to showcase instances where women are finding success.
Last week we had a chance to catch up with Wendy Lecot, Head of Strategic Alliances and Digital Marketing Innovation at HyperX on her career and role with one of the leading brands in its space, best known for the high performance headsets preferred by many in the community.
Starting with her early days in the field, Wendy has evolved with the industry, using her tech background to move through school and work before finding a home at HyperX. In the following interview, she tells us more about her career journey.
Q: HyperX is one of the most well-known brands in gaming and esports. As the Head of Strategic Alliances, what exactly does your role involve? What’s your day-to-day like at HyperX?
Wendy Lecot: I wear a few hats, but they all center around putting together partnerships. I work with non-gaming brands, game developers and non-profits who want to strengthen their position or want to get engaged with gamers. Together we’re discussing new ways to bring value to gamers and expand the total addressable market. What’s especially exciting is when we pioneer new crossover audiences that have interests like music, sports or fashion and share the love of gaming. There are lots of exciting announcements in this regard that we hear everyday in gaming and we’ll continue to see exciting new brands connecting with this hard to reach audience. Let’s face it, gaming is mainstream; COVID helped to accelerate that realization to the world highlighting the good and positive force that gaming is to entertain, educate, and heal through understanding the “whole gamer.” It’s our goal to ensure this continues to be at the forefront of consumer awareness so that gamers are seen in a positive light and the opportunities it provides the next gen of workforce.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your background? How did you find your way into a career in the esports industry?
Lecot: I was independent at an early age – when I was 18 I moved to Mexico and took some university classes there then at 20 I moved to LA in the 80’s and jobs were plentiful. Ultimately, I landed in telecommunications and started working for IBM. Security and benefits were important to me and they paid for my MBA. My career was always in tech – started out in a technical sales role then moved into product management and marketing. I continued to keep my skills current while working, getting technical certificates, and Google and YouTube certificates.
I landed at Kingston Technology, parent of HyperX and started their internal digital marketing agency. We supported Kingston and HyperX brands. It was there that I got to know our gamer fanbase. With that knowledge I moved over to the HyperX team with unique digital marketing skills and analytics that we believed would be helpful in having conversations with brands looking at the gamer audience. But, without a doubt I had a lot to learn about the esports/gaming industry and how it was structured. Being a learning person it was the perfect challenge. So basically I leveraged my transferable marketing skills to enter the esports/gaming industry. We’re seeing similar talent entering the industry which will bring rich experience to a growing industry.
Q: What are a few of your favorite things HyperX has done in the community? Is there anything we should look forward to?
Lecot: I’m really excited about a new initiative we started just a few years ago at HyperX. Our goal is to make gaming more accessible to women and show them that reaching their dream job in gaming is possible.
We partnered with 1000 Dreams Fund, a non-profit focused on experience and opportunities for women and they were seeing lots of interest in gaming. So we helped bring the BroadcastHER Academy to life with our partner Allied Esports who has an arena that would help provide hands on experience.
The BroadcastHER Academy is a scholarship, mentoring and experience initiative that helps girls looking at careers in front of or behind the camera to help them achieve their dream.
We skew heavily toward women in Marketing positions at HyperX and we thought this would be a good start to our core team to share their experience and become session mentors to the scholarship recipients.
Q: What kind of challenges or barriers have you faced as a woman in the industry (if any)?
Lecot: Since early in my career I’ve been in positive culturally diverse environments that had female role models as well as men who were great mentors. I didn’t always approach their role as mentors with a formal relationship, but as either my manager or leadership within the organization, they were accessible and very supportive of advancing in my career.
As with any career journey, I was very focused on technical competency and continuing to be resourceful and a lifelong learner. I do believe women work harder to be heard still today, but I’m encouraged by the advancements and seat at the table women have, including my own experience with being able to have an adjacent career in esports at a later stage of my career. HyperX has always been about diverse and inclusive communities and they embrace that with its employees. It’s my personal goal to have young women looking at careers in gaming to see and talk with women in the industry to ensure that we improve the underrepresentation in gaming for females and ensure they can continue to have an impact on the growth of the industry.
Q: Do you have any advice for women trying to find a home in video games or esports?
Lecot: For students, find out what you are passionate about and seek out feedback about what you are good at. Are you a good storyteller, writer, sales, debater, community builder, math, entertainer, etc.?
Set up a Google news feed, join Discord channels, research women in gaming scholarships that help you attend conferences and mentorships. Talk to people in the industry. Seek and build out networks that open doors.
I believe in a formal education, but that requirement is changing. Google doesn’t require a degree. Find leadership roles starting in high school gaming clubs. For example, if game development is a direction you want to go, seek out informational interviews by researching positions and companies on LinkedIn, and then reach out for information interviews. Most will value your initiative and give you their time and insights. This is the start of networking.
Raise your hand and take on more responsibility. Over deliver and be agile and resourceful – continue to build your skillset. Don’t rely on one competency lane. Earlier in your career, be the note taker which forces you to listen, document and learn. This puts you at the center of communications.