Joanna Seymenarova, an Executive Producer at Imperia Online JSC, believes that anything is possible if we are always there – in the right place. Joanna shared that being a producer in a game company is a triple role. She thinks that the problem with gender inequality is still relevant globally not only in the tech industry. 

Joanna is an Executive Producer at Imperia Online JSC who entered the IT industry at the age of 21 as a Community Manager (game support and translation). She went through being a Теch Writer, Business Analyst, Project Manager, Product Owner, meanwhile having two kids, evolved into a Senior Producer, leading multiple teams, heading multiple products. Joanna thinks that аnything is possible if we are always there- not missing any chance, grabbing all work opportunities and proactively taking responsibilities bigger than our current role. She shared with us that the milestones in her career that she would define as achievements are, on one hand, the moments when her role scaled successfully and on the other, the big releases that bring to life the hard work of the team. Joanna tells us that the most rewarding side of her work is to see how their product is being used by the end-users on a daily basis. She told us that there has never been gender discrimination in any aspect at Imperia Online. However, there have been several difficulties that Joanna has encountered along her way that mostly originated from two factors:

1) the fact that she doesn’t have a technical background. Her product expertise and her leadership skills granted her the opportunity to compensate for this through hands-on experience heading cross-functional and development teams.

2) the fact that she decided to have kids, thus pushing those two roles independently.

In order to catch up with her male colleagues in the same role and be competitive with them, Joanna has to constantly compensate for the time physically dedicated to her family through intensive working hours and a lot of overtime. According to her, the game industry is male-dominated. Imperia Online is working in various ways to create a more gender-equal workplace. Women developers, QAs, Middle Managers, C-levels stand firmly equal to their colleagues at Imperia Online JSC in terms of influence, opportunities and remuneration. Joanna suggests that in her role the correlation between men and women is 65:35 and thinks that, without a shadow of a doubt, the problem of gender inequality is still relevant in Bulgaria and globally not only in the tech industry. Joanna shares with us that the producer role in most game companies is a triple role – PM + PO + TL. Her daily routine mostly includes meetings, discussions, analysis, brainstorming, syncs, planning, demos etc. with both teams and executive stakeholders. One of her biggest intellectual passions is the field of Cosmology and Astrophysics. A good deal of the books she has been reading in the past years is authored by physicists.

“The Game Industry is male-dominated and we are working in various ways to create a more gender-equal workplace.”

Favourite clothes?

Dresses at demos. Jeans at stand-ups. Sweatpants working from home. Smart shirts over sweatpants on Zoom calls.

High heels or flat shoes?

Heels at demos. Flats at daily stand-ups. Socks for when working from home.

Which typical female quality or household responsibility does not apply to you?

I am not a share-a-thing person. Not a TV person. Not an iron person.

What is THE thing that you must have in your bag when going out?

At least one device with an internet connection.

Favourite lipstick colour?

Nude.

Can you share something specific about you that we can’t find on LinkedIn?

One of my biggest intellectual passions is the field of Cosmology and Astrophysics. A good deal of the books I’ve been reading in the past years is authored by physicists. Now with the kids (at the age of 4 and 6, + my husband at 37 :D) my biggest challenge is to explain complex concepts with simple wording and help them develop scalable thinking, which would hopefully evolve into critical thinking someday.

“There has never been a gender discrimination in any aspect at Imperia – women developers, QAS, Middle Managers, C-levels stand firmly equal to their colleagues”

Have you encountered any challenges in your career in connection to being a woman?

I’m a lucky person – I started my career at Imperia Online JSC at the age of 21 as a Community Manager (game support and translation). There has never been gender discrimination in any aspect at Imperia Online JSC – women developers, QAs, Middle Managers, C-levels stand firmly equal to their colleagues. The difficulties I’ve encountered along my way have mostly originated from two factors. On one hand, the fact that I don’t have a technical background. Fortunately, my product expertise and my leadership skills granted me the opportunity to compensate for this through hands-on experience heading cross-functional and development teams. On the other hand, the fact that I decided to have kids means that I have to push those two roles independently. In order to catch up with my male colleagues in the same position and be competitive with them, I have to constantly compensate for the time physically dedicated to my kids (maternity, sick leaves etc.) through intensive working hours and a lot of overtime.

Read More Inspiring Stories for Women in Tech in WRTech here.

Do you know how many women work in your position?

Honestly, not have a clue. I would suggest men: women – 65:35.

Do you think that the problem of gender inequality is still relevant in Bulgaria and globally?

Taking in mind all industries, not only ours, yes, it is, without a shadow of a doubt.

Which policies does your company encourage regarding gender diversity?

The game industry is male-dominated and we are working in various ways to create a more gender-equal workplace. Women developers, QAs, Middle Managers, C-levels stand firmly equal to their colleagues at Imperia Online JSC in terms of influence, opportunities and remuneration.

Do your male colleagues treat you differently?

No.

Do you think that a woman’s vision and charm affect their professional success? (example: does it make communication easier?)

No. Real professional success does not correlate to looks. If it appears to do so, then it is neither real nor professional.

How do you combine personal and professional life? Do you have any rules that you follow?

I’m a producer and a mother. I don’t have a choice but to push both roles simultaneously 24/7. I take care of the juniors in my teams as if they were my own kids. I look after my two little kids as if they were my top priority double project with heavy releases and constant hotfixes.

“Real Professional success does not correlate to looks. If it appears to do so, then is neither real, nor professional”

Which sources do you follow and can you recommend some of them to our audience? (example: podcasts, pages, influencers, vloggers, etc.)

Tech Insider, Business Insider, HiComm. The giant tech YouTubers MKBHD, Unbox Therapy, Everything Apple Pro. Science channels on Youtube – Vsauce, Kurtzgesagt. Kaldata, Science and Critical Thinking on Facebook.

If You Want to Read More Inspiring Stories for Success and Professional Growth Join the DevStyleR #Tech Influencers Community and Get Access to our Special Editions here.

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