Jaime Pearse

Jaime Pearse is the game design lead at fast-growing mobile game development studio, Clipwire Games.

Jaime has been working in the gaming sector for five years after initially working in healthcare. At Clipwire games she designs features for Bingo Story, the top grossing game in the app stores by a Canadian developer.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role.

I’m Jaime Pearse, Game Design Lead at the fast-growing mobile game development studio, Clipwire Games. I kicked off a career in games after leaving the healthcare sector in 2015. At Clipwire Games, I design features for Bingo Story, the top grossing game in the app stores by a Canadian developer. Our audience is primarily women, and I’m very proud to have the opportunity to share my love of games and advocate for women who play games.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

Definitely no plans here. When I was younger I wanted to be a nurse, so I set off down a path in healthcare but eventually realized it wasn’t for me. Prior to joining Clipwire Games I was in a customer service role and saw an opportunity to improve our marketing and event content, which led me to connect with the content team manager. I asked for extra work from that team whenever it was available. Soon enough, a position was created and I jumped into it and it took off.

I feel especially lucky with synchronicity and that things happened at the time they needed to happen. I didn’t go to school for game design but I knew that I had an ability and talent. I was looking for something else and it felt like my creative potential was being underutilized and so I started looking for open doors.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

When I started in games, I started at “zero”. I came from a different sector, work environment, and I hadn’t worked in an office before. There was a steep learning curve in my first job for both soft and technical skills and without mentorship, I was left to figure stuff out on my own.

I approach challenges as part of my own growth. I’m learning things along the way, and recognize where I have an opportunity to grow, which in some cases means learning to get out of my own way. I’m also very fortunate that I work in an environment where it is possible to be successful. I am so very grateful to the amazing leadership team at Clipwire Games. They are supportive in not only my professional development, but my personal development as well.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

The journey itself and totality of my career is an achievement. I am especially proud to work at Clipwire Games, I’m very proud of my team and the work that we do. We have a really great atmosphere of collaboration and creation and to be a part of this rapidly growing team is part of my achievement. Working at Clipwire Games has produced a real feeling of accomplishment. The work that my team and I do makes a real impact and at the end of the day I am a necessary component to this operation. Our main title Bingo Story has climbed up the top grossing charts by leaps and bounds since I started with the company, and the climb is only just beginning.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?  

There’s definitely an element of synchronicity involved, but taking the time to be aware of my successes and areas of growth as they arise has been essential in my success. Perseverance on the path through the challenges is the way for me. As cliche as it may be, really recognizing and deeply understanding that there is no final destination. There’s no finish line to cross, no “Ahh, finally I’m there” moment, it’s all about the experiences and lessons on the journey. There is no there, there’s just an ever changing now.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology? Game Development? 

My top tip is to embrace change. Don’t be afraid of it. In tech (and in all things) it’s definitely going to happen, and sometimes pretty frequently. Be brave in the face of discomfort, embrace it and learn from it. There are lessons to be learned in everything you do.

And, take on roles when you’re interested in them and don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves. My career in games has been very fluid and experiential. There’s been several pivots into different positions and that’s okay…welcome it.

What advice would you share for finding the right culture fit? 

To be able to find a place that encourages the personal and professional development plus offer the company/office perks and benefits is a bonus. I knew Clipwire Games was the right place for me because I really felt heard, valued and there was no ceiling — it’s actually encouraged here not to see one. For me, culture is not just about company perks and benefits but about the development and learning of the one thing that you work on everyday…YOU. The development and constant iteration of every individual’s learning, adds to the company’s culture.

What overall lessons are you sharing with direct reports and/or people on your team? 

I’ve learned lessons the hard way, sometimes learning the same lesson a few times. Games are an ever changing landscape, so being quick to change is important. Being an ever cautious over-planner and synthesizing multiple viewpoints was not a particularly ingrained skill of mine, so it took some shifting to be able to allow and welcome that flow. The role of a designer includes listening to feedback, welcoming ideas and suggestions and then being able to take all those ideas and the meaning behind it and bring it all together. It’s tough to know how to do that when you’re still learning and gaining experience.

What have you learned from working with other women?

In my experience here at Clipwire Games, women are seen as absolutely equal to men. I recognize that while game design and development can typically look like a boys’ club, Clipwire Games is leading the way with a more diversified team. Women here have total equality, we are talented people and that’s all that really matters.

I’m fortunate that I work and can learn from other females and from their experience.  My manager has been in the industry for the last 15+ years and her discipline has also been in design — she’s been extremely instrumental for me. My direct report is also female and a wonderful talent who is newer to the industry. Together we are proud to be working on our top games and have a fair amount of influence in the games we work on and in the studio.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

I think there’s still a little bit of catch up for women working in games. The games we create are played by women and we need women who play the games to make the games. Companies should hire women as there’s magic that happens when the “audience” who plays the game influences the creation of it. Ultimately, the real enchantment happens when you’re making the game that you love to play.

What resources do you recommend for people working in tech? 

I highly recommend Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear as it has helped me improve my own time management, and building better habits overall. PocketGamer.biz covers our industry and is another good source for news and upcoming events for those who are in mobile gaming development. I’ll also listen to “Deconstructor of Fun” from time to time because the hosts cover a wide range of gaming topics and companies on the show.

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