The fast-paced and innovative video game industry is an exciting world to be apart of, both virtually and in real life. We spoke with Natali Altshuler, Vice President and Head of Operations for EA SPORTS, about her STEM career path and how she’s pushing to continue growing women’s involvement in the industry.
Tell us about yourself and your role with Electronic Arts (EA)?
I joined EA 17 years ago as a junior project manager after graduating from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Before that, I had never considered a career in the gaming industry, but I’m glad I did! During my time at EA, I’ve held various roles — building my career at EA and learning all aspects of game development. I currently oversee the development of all EA SPORTS franchises as the Vice President and Head of Operations for EA SPORTS.
The EA SPORTS organization is a global team with more than 1,200 passionate developers. In my role, I lead EA SPORTS groups located in Vancouver, BC; Orlando, FL; Bucharest, Romania; and Madrid, Spain, where I bring a strategic and operational focus to optimize EA SPORTS product development.
I’m passionate about diversity and inclusion, including being a strong advocate for women in the workplace. As an active mentor at EA and throughout the tech industry, it’s important for me to help support and promote women in tech and leadership roles. Additionally, I’m part of the UBC Computer Science mentoring program and the Leaders of Tomorrow program through the Vancouver Board of Trade. Outside of work, I love spending time with my family enjoying the great outdoors of beautiful British Columbia!
Why is it important to consider diversity and inclusion in the gaming industry?
With 2.6 billion gamers around the world, the global player community represents a wide diversity of demographics with players in nearly every country. EA’s players hail from more than 200 countries and speak 40 languages. To create games and experiences that resonate with all players, it’s important to cultivate a workforce that reflects our diverse player community.
At EA, we believe games have the power to transcend society, and that the characters we create and stories we tell have a real impact on the world around us. Having an inclusive and diverse workforce is critical — it fuels our creative process and enables us to deliver amazing games and experiences for our players. We want to create a company culture where people bring their whole, best selves to work and we’re committed to investing in our people and their development.
What’s your favourite part about working at EA and in the gaming industry as a whole?
It’s hard to pick just one thing! If I had to narrow it down, it would be the people. I love the team and the individuals I get to work with. It’s an incredible experience to be working with so many passionate, inventive, and intelligent people. I also truly enjoy solving challenging problems and innovating in our field. Overall, I love knowing my work contributes to amazing games and experiences that millions of people around the world get to play and enjoy.
What advice do you have for youth looking to pursue a career in the gaming industry?
The gaming industry is an amazing place to build your career. There are so many different paths to explore, from engineering and project management to product design — the opportunities are endless. If you’re looking to learn and make an impact in a fast-paced environment, while working with passionate, creative team members, I would encourage you to consider a career in the gaming industry!