Staff & Board of Directors

IGDA Staff

The IGDA executive director and core staff are responsible for executing the vision and directives of the board and, together with our operational partners, are the force behind the day-to-day running of the IGDA.

Dr. Jakin Vela
Executive Director

Dr. Jakin Vela is a sociologist and researcher focused on socio-technical cultures, minority stress, stigma, and diversity inclusion in tech (especially games and the games industry). His work highlights the effects of marginalization, group solidarity, and inclusion in virtual gaming spaces and organizational structures, especially among underrepresented groups. He integrates his professional background in law, non-profit leadership, film production, entrepreneurship, and higher education to support the professional and career development of others. Jakin is an avid gamer (mainly PC & Nintendo), an amateur vegan cook and baker, and has been a singer-songwriter for over 15 years. He leads an LGBTQIA+ online gaming community in Final Fantasy XIV with his partner, Jordan.

Suzanne Freyjadis
Manger of Global Development

Suzanne Freyjadis is the Manager of Global Development for the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).  She is a globalist and expert in diversity, inclusion and belonging. Suzanne has a BA in International Relations and an MA in Women’s & Gender Studies with a focus on women in video games. She gives talks around the world on how to create more diverse, thoughtful, and inclusive games.

Suzanne is an Associate Editor in game education for the soon to be released ACM Games journal. She was the Chair of the Game Education Special Interest Group for the IGDA for 10 years where she worked with global faculty on the design of an updated curriculum framework. She has extensive experience in conference & event planning in the video game industry beginning with the 2005 Women in Games Conference.

Board of Directors

The board of directors is the governing body of the IGDA. The board oversees every aspect of the association, always acting in the best interest of the game developer community. One of the main roles of the IGDA board of directors is to create and maintain the mission and vision of the organization, including long-term planning, financial oversight, determining and monitoring programs, providing services and staff, and advocating for the IGDA. IGDA board directors are all volunteers.

Feel free to email the board with questions, comments, or suggestions at board [at] igda [dot] org.

Natasha Skult
Chair, Appointed Term: 2020–2023

Natasha is the CEO & Creative Director of MiTale Ltd, a game development company from Finland focusing on narrative-driven experiences in mixed reality and gamification. She is an active member of the Finnish games industry as Chairperson of IGDA Finland and one of the founders of The Hive – Turku Game Hub (game business center in South-West Finland). Throughout her career she has been dedicated to empowering freedom of speech, equality and diversity, with belief that we all have our place in the gaming industry as our differences and uniqueness are shaping the industry into better and more united community. Some of the most recent programs she has been leading are IGDA Game Art SIG, IGDA Future and W Love Games Conference. Besides industry work, she is active in academic research and teaches courses in game design and game (digital) art production at the University of Turku.

Renee Gittins
Vice Chair, Appointed Term: 2022 – 2023

Renee is the previous Executive Director of the IGDA, and a multi-disciplinary leader with expertise in software engineering and creative direction. In addition to her current role as Phoenix Labs General Manager, she maintains her work as the CEO of Stumbling Cat, creator of Potions: A Curious Tale. Renee is a passionate advocate and connector for developers and diversity in the game industry. She is outspoken about initiatives to increase diversity both within the game industry and gaming overall, especially within virtual reality. In addition to IGDA initiatives to further support the growth of developers, she’s organized game-jams, panels, job fairs and other developer events, and mentored game development students and built education programs at Foundry10. Her goal is to help the game industry grow and improve for everyone.

Sonia Michaels
Elected Term: 2020–2023

Sonia is a Senior Lecturer at DigiPen Institute of Technology, working at the intersection of the Humanities and game development education to promote the importance of critical thinking, cultural literacy, diversity, and inclusion across the creative process. Sonia has taught professional communication, English (composition, literature, and science fiction/fantasy), and public speaking for 30+ years, and has also worked extensively as a career coach and admissions consultant. In 2018, she was selected for GameAdvocacy.org’s inaugural “50 Over 50” list. Sonia has presented at GDC (2015, 2017, 2019), PaxDev (2015, 2016, 2019), and the New Directions in the Humanities International Conference (2018, 2019); she also organizes an annual networking and career development event at GeekGirlCon. She recently published a chapter in Doctor Who: Twelfth Night, an academic study of the popular BBC SF series (IB Tauris, 2018), wrote multiple entries for the recently released Encyclopedia of Sexism in American Cinema (December 2019), and reviews books for the FemSpec literary journal.

Margaret Krohn
Appointed Term: 2021–2024

For the past 10+ years, Margaret has helped businesses and individuals create and market their brand presence to achieve their goals and grow their communities.

She’s currently the Community Marketing Lead for Intrepid Studios, Inc. who is making Ashes of Creation. She’s also the CMO of Roll4It, a tabletop role play broadcast production studio. Formerly, she was the Marketing Manager on the San Diego IGDA Board, and is excited to be joining the International Game Developers Association Board of Directors to continue helping support the game development industry worldwide.

Taha Rasouli
Elected Term: 2021–2024

Taha is co-founder and game development coach at Ava Games, one of Iran’s leading investment and publishing companies. Their goal is to help, support and empower local indie game developers to enter domestic and global markets. They have done this successfully many times and are trying to channel more funds from VCs to help indie groups.

Taha began his career in the game development scene in Iran from 2001 as a journalist and soon jumped in production as a game designer. Game development and sharing experience are his main passions and since 2014 he has led Iran’s IGDA chapter. Throughout each year apart from producing games and coaching different indie teams, he manages numerous gatherings and events and tries to be connected to the international community as much as he can. Taha has helped establish Iran’s first game school, co-founded an accelerator dedicated to help game startups, organized a dozen of game jam events and has taught game design and production in different institutions. He was chosen as one of IGDA Foundation’s Next Generation Leaders in 2018.

There are a couple of games Taha has worked on that he can not talk about because many publishers and platforms ban the games that are made by Iranians. This, among many other things, is what he deeply wishes to change.

Rami Ismail
Appointed Term: 2022–2023

Rami Ismail is a Dutch-Egyptian independent games & tool developer with over 20 titles across PC, console, web, and mobile. The co-founder of the influential now-retired indie games studio Vlambeer, Rami worked on award-winning and genre-defining games such as Ridiculous Fishing and Nuclear Throne. His development of tools like the industry-standard dopresskit.com, his prolific & popular public speaking, and highly-regarded consultancy and insights have helped shape industry opportunities for game communities & independent game developers worldwide. Rami continues to advocate the creation of a fairer and more equal industry for developers anywhere through his work at gamedev.world. His versatility and work resulted in him receiving a wide range of recognition, including the Game Developers Choice Ambassador Award, the IndieCade Gamechanger Award, and a Forbes 30 Under 30 nomination.

Tarja Porkka-Kontturi
Elected Term: 2022–2025

Working as Director of Communications at Global Game Jam and Business Development Manager at TIGS.ca, Tarja Porkka-Kontturi is a games, toys, and tech PR and marketing expert at PR Nordic, and Senior Account Manager at Games Branding. Embracing empathetic leadership, she also volunteers as Vice President at We in Games Finland, and serves as a mentor at IGDA and Women in Games.

Guy Blomberg
Appointed Term: 2022–2025

Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg has been working in games for over 20 years, overseeing global teams and building million-dollar commercial strategies. Previously the Global Gaming Content Director for Reedpop where he implemented strategy and content for PAX (USA & Australia), EGX (UK & Germany), GamesIndustry.biz, and launched events in France, Korea, and China. He has built up independent game media websites, marketed B2B publications in Asia Pacific, worked as a designer for SEGA Creative Assembly, and launched multiple gaming cocktail bars.

He is currently the Studio Director at RiffRaff Games, VP of Business Development at StridePR, Director of Events at Game Jolt, and Founder of the Games Industry Gathering, alongside advising various games industry groups. He’s also an amateur card magician, though don’t hold that against him.

Supporting Services


Brandon J. Huffman
General Counsel

Brandon is a lawyer at Odin Law and Media who helps game developers, game publishers, and tech and internet startups navigate the legal and regulatory side of their businesses. In addition to providing general counsel to the IGDA, he serves on the boards of the IGDA NC Triangle Chapter, Triangle ArtWorks, and the North Carolina Bar Association’s Sports and Entertainment Law section. He has presented to the American Bar Association (ABA) on topics such as regulation of business activity on the internet and the legal implications of Let’s Play videos, and he has written for both the ABA’s annual cyberspace law survey and the Media Law Resource Center’s privacy law updates. You can find him on Twitter @brandonjhuffman.

 

Redstone Agency

Redstone manages events and associations professionally, strategically, and globally. Its dedicated team of professionals provide financial services, membership services, board and executive director support, and marketing and communications services to the IGDA.

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Webster, Chamberlain & Bean

Hugh Webster with Webster, Chamberlain & Bean provides general counsel for the IGDA.

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Stride PR

Stride PR serves as the IGDA’s media and press contact.

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Paperback Studio

Paperback Studio is a game and narrative design consultancy and editorial service provider. Paperback Studio provides copywriting and editing services to the IGDA.

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Parapluie Creative

Parapluie Creative is a Canadian team providing Graphic Design Services to the IGDA.

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Board Meeting Minutes

In keeping with its goal of increased transparency to members, the IGDA board of directors has made its board meeting minutes available in a public archive starting with the 2005-06 term. Minutes of the executive committee are marked with (EC).

Below are links to the minute archives by year.