Taina MalenI started my career in the music industry where I spent several years on both the live side as well as in record companies such as BMG (Sony) Music and EMI Australia.

I then moved into film, TV and Pay TV, working for CANAL+, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros Home Entertainment. After this I worked with setting up the Swedish e-sports start-up Esportal, before I moved on to Star Stable Entertainment where I’ve been for just over 7 years now.

There is a clear red thread in my career and I have always chosen my next move with my heart, it needs to feel right, fun and true to my values rather than look great on my career page on Linked In. I also want to challenge myself and learn new things. For example, moving into the digital space working with games was a new arena for me, but the red thread in my career has been to be a part of paradigm shifts such as industries going from EP to CD, VHS to DVD, DVD to Blu-ray, on to streaming as well as linear TV to streaming film and sports and then through to gaming.

I’ve worked in marketing, communications and PR, building brands, building teams, and building people and personas (artists for example), it has been my passion and what I feel I do best. I’ve been part of Star Stable Entertainment since we were a team of only 16 people with no marketing department. Being part of that journey which has seen us grow to almost 200 people, with a dedicated marketing division – what an exciting journey it has been.

My footprint at Star Stable is on the commercial side, I’ve been responsible for building out the marketing function with PR, social community management, User Acquisitions, Content creation, customer retention, customer service, through to the new business side, such as launching a short form animation, a music label, releasing books in 10 countries, a global licensing programme and much more.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I have not had a concrete plan but there are things that were important when choosing my work, as I have always followed my gut and stayed close to what I am passionate about, which has kept me in the entertainment industry. The couple of jobs I haven’t enjoyed throughout my career, I haven’t stayed in, there is no time to waste on being unhappy for work. I love to help people grow, it is especially a pleasure to work with enthusiastic and curious young people and see them develop, grow and find their career path. Finding keys to unlock superpowers  in teams and people is important to me. It might be my ‘fix it personality’, but it has given me my purpose as a leader.

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

I have definitely faced challenges which have often come down to leadership or falling through the cracks of not believing in myself. But I’ve always had people around me who’ve encouraged me to step up and keep moving. My mother is a great role model for me, she was an entrepreneur and very hard worker, she has always supported my choices in my career. Even when I as a very young girl told her I was considering taking the job as a PA to a rock band and travel around the world she said; “If you think you might regret not taking it, then go for it!”

She’s always said “follow your heart, never doubt your gut feeling, believe in what you know and be fair to others and good things will come to you”. Still to this date she is cheering me on, she is truly a woman to take inspiration from.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Overall, it is watching people grow, figure out their career paths and follow their dreams. Star Stable has been a fantastic journey and a great achievement too, building this platform for young women has been a major milestone for me, especially in this industry.

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

It depends on what you mean by success. Dare to take some risks, believe in people and make decisions. In general, I am curious and dare to be myself and somethimes that means standing my ground. I’ve worked with some amazing brands and people. But throughout I’ve always managed to be true to what I believe in and what feels right.

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

Ooh that would have to be, believe in you! Be prepared to work in a fast-changing industry and don’t forget the end user.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I work in a company where we’re 54% women, which is very unusual for the gaming industry. But there are certainly challenges for women and young people in general to build their careers and on equal terms, challenges to being who you are. I would say though that this goes for many industries.  I am privileged to be working at Star Stable where we work continuously to build an inclusive culture and work-place.

Companies need to walk the walk. We all need to work together to make the industry more inclusive. Stop talking and start doing.

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

Hire women! Work with your culture. Many gaming firms have been very male dominated for a long time, and those habits become very ingrained. To attract women, the culture is going to have to be very different. I love for women to be working in anything and everything that men do. The interest to work within tech is growing amongst women and young girls, the shift has already happened, and the companies in the industry need to consciously work to accommodate it, and encourage it.

There are currently only 17 percent of women working in tech. If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I would put this on the agenda of all board and investor meetings in this industry.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Women in Games Careers Expo – Star Stable are corporate ambassadors for Women In Games who organise this bi-annual networking event for the games industry which we highly recommend. We will have a booth there on March 10th 2022!