Christina Seelye

Inspirational Woman: Christina Seelye | Founder and CEO, Maximum Games & CEO, Zordix

Christina Seelye

Christina Seelye is a skilled and experienced technology expert as well as a valuable resource regarding global products, digital transformation and advancing startups.

Seelye is based in Walnut Creek, California and graduated with a B.A. in fine arts from Sonoma State University in 1992.

Seelye began her career in technology by joining Click Action in 1999. She guided the company through significant industry changes, including electronic software distribution, subscription revenue models and direct consumer marketing. Seelye leveraged a buyout to raise the funds necessary to purchase and spin off the company as an independent entity, leading to its eventual acquisition by Avanquest Software in 2004.

Originally a division of ClickAction (formally MySoftware), Elibrium provided small business professionals with effective Web-based solutions, and offered access to state-of-the-art Internet business services with up to 200 percent more value than services previously available only via the Internet. As CEO and president of Avanquest Publishing USA, Christina led the international software company through a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions to establish it as the premier publisher of consumer technology, ultimately growing revenues from $8 million to $65 million.

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

My name is Christina Seelye. I’m CEO of Zordix, as well as founder/CEO of global video game publisher Maximum Games, and its independent label, Modus Games. I am passionate about all things tech and am thankful to have been in the industry for over 20 years. I’m currently on the board of directors for two organizations dedicated to elevating and empowering women—the Women Presidents’ Organization and Women In Games International. A project close to my heart is Games Giving Back. Modus launched the initiative in 2020 to raise money for a series of charities. We’ve been able to raise funds for the Exceptional Women Awardees Foundation as well as Save the Children, Colombia. I look forward to continuing to use gaming to leverage resources for communities in need through the program.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Well, once upon a time I was a music major and thought I’d be a rock star. That clearly didn’t work out, haha. It can be difficult to map out a specific career plan or to know exactly where you might find yourself in the future. I know people who knew what they wanted to do from a young age and set out to do it. But I probably know a lot more people that didn’t know exactly where they’d land, tried a few things, and ended up finding a successful career doing something altogether different from what they envisioned at a young age. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. For me, establishing my career plan had everything to do with finding a place where I could do my highest, best work. Career planning is about being intentional, not necessarily moving up the ranks of an organization. People can have successful careers being individual contributors or leading a department or leading a company. Establishing goals that promote personal growth, whatever that means to an individual, is one of the best things a person can do planning their career.

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

I chose to lead in a male-dominated industry. And it wasn’t too long ago that I quite literally was the only female in the room during pitch meetings and business events. Even today, I’m one of two female CEOs of public gaming groups in the world. There just aren’t many female leaders in video games, but that, thankfully, is changing. So yes, that has been a challenge, but it also contributed to my drive to do what I do. Of course, I experience challenges on a regular basis. Like everyone, Covid was a challenge for our business and the culture of our business. Challenges never stop presenting themselves. The wins wouldn’t be as powerful without overcoming these barriers and roadblocks.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m grateful to lead such a talented global team. Propelling Maximum Games from what it was in 2009, operating from my home, into the rankings as a top 20 publisher is something I’m humbled to reflect on regularly. We had a vision that grew into a reality and developed from there— our capabilities as a company increased, we learned along the way, and we’re not afraid to try new things.

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

My ability to learn from failure and find motivation in challenges. Surrounding myself with people that are as passionate and excited about the industry as I am and that care about what we’re accomplishing is a major factor of success. It’s never just about what you bring to the table, it’s about finding the people out there that are confident in what they bring to the table.

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

Be an avid learner. Stay as up to date as possible on industry trends, pay attention to what others in the industry are doing, and take every opportunity to hone your skills or foster your creativity. Find a mentor in the industry and learn from their experiences. To the women, specifically, remember that you belong at the table; so don’t shy away from being present. Learn your strengths and what you can contribute that is unique to you– where your power lies. Understand and develop those skills.

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

I do. And of course, those barriers are different depending on where you work, who you work for, etc. As women, we should never underestimate ourselves and our abilities. The key to overcoming stereotypes is to never sell yourself short. Have the confidence to go for what you want, not settle for what you can get. Speak up when you see inequalities. Even in women-run companies, there can be toxicity and sexism. It’s everyone’s duty to change this.

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

Help open up career paths for women, especially in leadership roles. Hire qualified women and offer mentorship programs. Be an example. It’s vital for women to see other women doing what they hope to do one day.

There are currently only 21 per cent 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?

At Maximum Games, 40% of our leadership is women. I think it’s crucial to encourage women to apply for the roles they aspire to within the tech industry. Essentially, normalize women’s place in tech.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, eg. Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

Get involved with female-centric organizations like Women In Games International and the Women Presidents’ Organization. Involve yourself with groups that promote women. These organizations do incredible work, and it’s a great way to be a part of a support network of women striving to bring awareness and combat assumptions about women in the gaming industry.