Dr Jo Twist (Chair)
Jo is CEO of Ukie, the trade body for UK games and interactive entertainment, making the UK the best place in the world to make, sell and play games. She is also Deputy Chair of the British Screen Advisory Council, London Tech Ambassador, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, an Ambassador on the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, and Creative Industries Council member. In 2016 she was awarded an OBE for services to the creative industries and won the MCV 30 Women in Games award for Outstanding Contribution. She is a Vice President for games and accessibility charity, SpecialEffect and the government’s Sector Champion for Disabilities. Previously, Jo was Channel 4 Education Commissioning Editor where she commissioned Digital Emmy-winning Battlefront II, free to play browser and iOS games and social media projects. Jo was Multiplatform Commissioner for BBC Entertainment & Switch, BBC Three Multiplatform Channel Editor, and technology reporter for BBC News. Her doctorate in the late 1990s was an ethnography exploring identity and concepts of difference in place based and virtual communities.
Games Producer/Writer and Studio Manager at JUMPSHIP
Claire has been at the forefront of games development for nearly 20 years, working across production, design and narrative to deliver innovative and award-winning games. She has worked at several major studios including Kuju Entertainment, Media Molecule and PlayStation London Studio, where her responsibilities included leading the creative relationship with J.K Rowling on the BAFTA nominated Wonderbook: Book of Spells and its sequel Book of Potions.
Claire is currently Studio Manager at JUMPSHIP. As an elected member of the BAFTA Games Committee and the Vice Chair of the BGI, she’s a keen advocate for diversity and inclusion within the games industry.
Nick Button Brown
Nick has worked in senior positions across the tech and games industry for more than 20 years. As well as serving as Chair at Outright Games, he is a Board member at Coherence, a Cloud-platform company and Loveshark, an Augmented Reality based start-up; he works as an Advisor at Ori, an edge-computing company, Gameye, a multiplayer technology company, and at Payload Studios, developers of Terratech. Nick also makes investments within the games and technology space and advises VCs on their games and technology investments. He helped grow Improbable, a tech start-up that most recently raised more than $600m, and helped take Sensible Object, through 3 equity rounds leading to a sale to Niantic, makers of Pokemon Go.
He is a founder trustee at OKRE, a charity focussed on sharing knowledge across Research and Entertainment, was formerly Chair of the Games Committee at BAFTA, serves on the Advisory Board at Games London, helping to run the London Games Festival. Before that, he worked for 5 years at Crytek in Germany, managing teams across the world, including development of games such as 'Crysis 3', 'Ryse', and 'Warface'. He also spent 9 years at Electronic Arts, working on games such as 'Battlefield' and 'Timesplitters 3'.
Des is the founder and producer of Altered Gene, a remote games studio currently working on their next title, The Analyst.
Before starting his own development studio, Des built up a wealth of experience on both the publishing and development sides of making video games having got started over 20 years ago. He has worked with a number of the games industry's leading products: at Microsoft he worked on the launch of the original Xbox, he helped EA for five years supporting their development teams, he managed R&D at Crytek’s European offices and was also the producer for Square Enix Collective. His breakout project was working on the first Life Is Strange series that won a BAFTA and other awards.
Des is a board member of the UK trade association for video games, UKIE. The chair of the umbrella charity, GamesAid and an ambassador for SpecialEffect. He was also recently elected to the BAFTA Games committee.
Des is passionate about inclusion and loves building and running effective, diverse teams. He is particularly interested in forging links between the games industry and education to inspire the next wave of game creators.
Leanne started making games over 16 years ago working on titles such as Scrabble, Risk and Magic the Gathering. After heading up a 3rd party publishing division in Japan for a couple of years she returned to the UK and joined Electronic Arts as Senior Producer. It was here that Leanne married her love for cars and games by heading up multiple Need for Speed titles including leading the transition to a community run live service. She is currently at Riot Games in Los Angeles, where she heads up Riot Forge - The 3rd party publishing division of Riot Games, making a variety of League of Legends games with multiple developers.
Leanne is a passionate ambassador for Women In Game and focuses on encouraging women to join the industry and strives to create more diversity in teams through mentorship and events where she can share her knowledge, experiences and advice.
Tara Saunders (Deputy Chair)
Head ot Studio Operations, PlayStation London Studio
Tara moved to London after growing up and studying on the South Coast of England. She has a background in Art & Design and studied a Masters of Art in Computer Animation at the National Centre for Computer Animation. Tara joined PlayStation London Studio in 2000 as an Animator on her first game, The Getaway. Passionate about all things Art and Animation, Tara has risen through the business, and is now a part of PlayStation London Studio’s senior management as Head of Studio Operations. In this role, she has established a team to develop the environment, culture, processes and people within the studio. In her free time, Tara supports the next generation of game developers through mentoring and contributing to a number of Academic and Advisory Boards. She loves to escape the capital at the weekends to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.
Catherine is a Designer at Media Molecule working on the PS4 game, Dreams.
She has been working as a Designer in the games industry for over 10 years now, previously having worked at The Chinese Room, and on BAFTA Award-winning Alien: Isolation while at Creative Assembly. Prior to Creative Assembly, Catherine worked at Electronic Arts Bright Light where she started her career in games working on interactive books for children on the Nintendo DS.
Catherine enjoys encouraging children, students, and adults into getting into the games industry by helping as a STEM Ambassador, speaking at universities and events and helping wherever possible with BAFTA, especially the Young Game Designer competition as it’s one of her favourite areas to help support because children are the future of our industry.
Jodie is the CEO and Game Director at Teazelcat Games, a studio focused on story-driven games.
Prior to this she spent a decade working as a technical artist at various game development studios across the UK, most recently as the Technical Art Director for the Total War franchise at Creative Assembly.
She’s an award winning developer; was one of BAFTA's Breakthrough Brits of 2016; and is a
founding member of POC in Play, an independent organisation aiming to increase the visibility and representation of People of Colour in the video games industry.
David’s Passion for Games and Games Culture was ignited by the bedroom developers programming for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. He joined the Games industry in 1995 and has worked at Sierra, Blizzard, Eidos and for the last 10 Years has been at Take Two as Snr Director of Sales for UK and Export representing the Rockstar Games, 2K and Private Division Labels.
A board member and Vice Chair of Ukie, the trade body for the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry.
Take Twos labels have Studios in Leeds, Lincoln, London, Edinburgh and Brighton.
Head of Candy Crush Saga
Todd has spent the past eight years at King, one of the world’s leading game developers.
He has held a variety of leadership roles in King’s key games and franchises, and is currently Head of Candy Crush Saga.
Todd started out in radio (working as a Researcher at the BBC World Service whilst still at school), and then moved into television (joining the first ever graduate scheme at Fremantle).
At Fremantle, he was part of a small R&D team that created the world’s first interactive online gameshow, the first combined game+show on Facebook, and the first TV gameshow to use a mobile app for live interaction. He also led the digital strategy team that advised 100+ productions of Pop Idol, The X Factor, and Got Talent all around the world.
Todd has given >100 hours of university teaching on media, has co-authored an academic paper on interactivity in the European Journal of Media Management, and has delivered multiple conference talks on the overlaps and relationships between different branches of media and entertainment.
Matt Jeffery - biography to follow
Elle Osili-Wood is a video games presenter and journalist, and has been named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of the most influential women in gaming. Seen on screen for a huge range of brands, including PlayStation, Ubisoft, BAFTA, and the BBC, Elle is one of the most recognisable faces in gaming, with over a decade of experience in the industry. Having started her career as a political reporter for the BBC, Elle quickly gravitated towards her lifelong passion for games - whether interviewing game designers for BAFTA, investigating the science of games for BBC Sounds, or presenting from E3 for PlayStation, Elle is a passionate advocate for the industry, and the talent it represents.
CEO, Dream Reality Interactive
Dave set up Dream Reality Interactive in September 2016. The team have a rich history in developing VR, AR and singing games, and a number worked with Dave at Sony's London Studio. DRi have released a number of VR & AR titles on mobile & high end platforms.
Prior to Dream Reality Interactive, Dave was the Director of Sony's London Studio, the home of multi-million selling game franchise SingStar, DanceStar, Wonderbook and PlayStation VR Worlds.
Before heading up London Studio he was a programmer, Audio Manager, Creative Services Manager, Executive Producer on games including SingStar and Wonderbook.
Dave is also an active member of the game development industry, holding positions on the BAFTA Games Committee, the Game Developers Conference (San Francisco), XR Developers Conference, and Immerse UK.
Game Scout, Team 17
Simon has over 20 years experience in the games industry as a designer and producer, at Codemasters, Blitz, & Sony, and then ran his own independent production company, thumbfood. He is now a Game Scout at Team 17 where he sources and signs new games for the Indie Publishing Label. As co-founder and Chair of Gameopolis - the games industry network for Greater Manchester - he organises regular events in conjunction with BAFTA, UKIE and others. A passionate equality campaigner, Simon spent 5 years as a volunteer board member of the Gay Football Supporters Network where he was part of the team that launched the national "Rainbow Laces" LGBT+ football campaign.
Karl Stewart - biography to follow
MCV 30 under 30 and GI.Biz 100 Future Talent recipient Callum Underwood is Head of Games for Caffeine.tv. He heads up scouting for Publisher Raw Fury, and handles Special Projects for SUPERHOT.
Callum led Oculus VR's European Developer Strategy efforts for 4 years, and worked in Developer Relations at Intel prior to that. Callum is on the board of Diversi, a non-profit aimed at encouraging and promoting diversity within the games industry
Callum has a lifelong passion for video games, and cares deeply about developer success, having built his career around this priority. Callum also runs a 1300+ member community for UK Games Industry professionals, is a vociferous champion for mental health. and mentors multiple up-and-coming game developers.