mentoring in the games industry

Interview with Helen Churchill, Green Man Gaming (Incubator Partner)

About Helen

Mentoring in the games industry has become increasingly important in the last decade and is a key feature of the Tentacle Zone incubator programme. With the support of a mentor, mentees can gain practical advice and guidance which can help them develop their careers in games.

We spoke with Helen Churchill, SVP of Publishing at Green Man Gaming, about the importance of mentoring and what it means to be a mentor.

Why is mentoring important, particularly in the games industry?

Mentoring in the games industry is invaluable, as like any fast-paced industry it can be difficult to navigate both when starting out and at various stages along the way. I think it is particularly important for those in underrepresented groups to find mentors from those groups that have succeeded.

While the games industry has come a long way in the last decade, there is still work to be done to drive diversity, especially in leadership roles. 

It can be particularly complex to work in environments when you are not represented. Mentors can help in a number of ways from opening up their network to sharing perspective and expertise. 

Most importantly from my experience, it is the support and guidance that helps build the confidence to thrive and sense someone has your back that is most valuable in this industry.

How has your own career benefitted from mentoring?

It would have helped me greatly if I’d had a mentor, especially early on in my career. I think that’s why I really enjoy the experience of being a mentor, because I can see how valuable it is for people to build confidence, be supported and navigate potential minefields!

How should mentees best make use of having a mentor?

I think remembering that their mentor is a resource so they should be open about what they are hoping to gain from the experience and be the one driving the relationship forward – no mentor should be chasing you! 

I think the key to getting the most out of the experience is to be honest about what they want to achieve and be open to feedback and opportunities. If they go into the experience anticipating a specific outcome they may close themselves off to hearing advice or seeing an alternative pathway.

Why should people sign up to be mentors to others?

I find being a mentor incredibly rewarding but it is also a great learning experience..

Not only does it help develop and hone leadership skills but also can give you fresh perspectives and ideas that you may not hear otherwise. It is an opportunity to help shape the next generation of talent and in doing so allows you to reflect on your own personal development with a fresh viewpoint.

Now this year’s Tentacle Zone incubator programme is coming to an end, what’s one piece of advice you would like to leave the cohort with?

Think about your game’s proposition and routes to market from the beginning of the development process and continue to check-in on this.

Thank you, Helen!

The 2021 Tentacle Zone incubator programme is drawing to a close but you can get the latest information on 2022’s programme by signing up to our newsletter. Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with everything that’s happening at Tentacle Zone.