SBC News Rani Wynn: Disruption is welcome to develop Women in Gaming

Rani Wynn: Disruption is welcome to develop Women in Gaming

Rani Wynn, Executive Board Member of LiveScore Group, provides a c-level perspective on establishing ‘Women in Sport and Gaming’ as an Employee Resource Group within LiveScore Group

Though gambling believes it has made improvements on its gender % balance, Wynn states that it lags behind other sectors in undertaking initiatives and practices to improve outcomes on diversity and inclusion for the benefit of all employees.  

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SBC: As a board member of LiveScore Group, why did you choose to establish Women in Sport and Gaming (WiSG) as an employee resource group (ERG) for LiveScore Group?

Rani Wynn: In our business, women/womxn make up 22% of the employee group. Despite this low number, my view has always been ‘though we might be small, we are mighty!’, and I thought it was a good opportunity to bring together like-minded people, operating in the same environmental conditions to share experiences and focus on common goals.

LiveScore Group has other ERGs, established by different colleagues, that equally bring together individuals for dynamic thinking and communal support. These include our LGBTQI+ group and Working Parents and Carers group, which both also seek to provide resources on specific subject matters affecting those particular subsets of our employees.

We recognise that inclusiveness of people from all different walk of life and backgrounds is beneficial for our company and thought diversity enriches and benefits LiveScore Group as an employer.

SBC: The make-up of iGaming employment has changed in recent year and become more gender-balanced… is a directive such as WiSG required?

RW: I don’t think an 80/20 split (as it is in our organisation; or a 70/30 split which reflects the igaming and sports industries more generally) is particularly balanced. .  Women are still in the significant minority, and not only are we low in numbers, board seats and executive positions, the sports betting and iGaming space has also held a rather negative reputation in terms of inclusiveness and respect towards women at all levels of business until recently (it wasn’t so long ago that there was pole dancing and bikinis at ICE).

Even in the unlikely scenario that equality or parity was reached for women in our sector, there would still always be place for a company initiative like WiSG, which does not seek to exclude or deride men, but rather connect, unite, empower, and invest in women at all levels of the business.

SBC: How will the WiSG directive help LiveScoreGroup as an employer and its employees nurturing its in-house talent and how will success be measured?

RW: LiveScore Group’s WiSG is actively undertaking a number of activities that we hope will have the outcome of making the company more attractive to women candidates across all levels of seniority.  These include working with our People team and external advisors to make job postings gender neutral, review and feedback on possible improvements to our women-centric policies (such as our Menopause and Pregnancy Loss policies) and advocating for corporate investment in women’s health initiatives and women’s charities.

The WiSG group facilitates networking among our community of women regardless of role, being a safe space to discuss matters within the workplace that specifically affect our sex. We also have plans for guest speaker and social events. Overall, it is a solutions-oriented brains-trust and ideas-hub.

Having this type of active enterprise not only attracts new candidates to our company, but also ensures that our current employee group of women can have confidence that LiveScore Group is an employer with their best interests at heart and is motivated to be/do better as we grow in size and scale.

SBC: As a board member you have had a unique career experience, transferring from media to iGaming. How has this helped you establish the foundations of WiSG?

RW: Both the Media and iGaming industries are highly regulated and hugely competitive, so there are a lot of transferrable executive skills between the two.

Unlike TV, which has a lot more gender-balance and diversity in its workforce, sports and gaming are incredibly male-dominated.  I think coming from an industry where women leaders and colleagues were commonplace to an industry where they were rare was a shock to me and certainly, I felt as though I entered a Boys Club.

The LiveScore Group WiSG has humble aspirations, we are seeking to make small but impactful changes for our employee (and prospective employee) group that make it a better day-to-day experience as a woman in this industry and seek to correct some of the historically ingrained inequalities.

SBC: In some industries scepticism has grown on gender-focused directives that can become disruptive to a workplace. How will LiveScoreGroup avoid this dynamic?

RW: Why is workplace disruption a negative in this context?  Indeed, ‘disruptive’ has been a catch word in technology for at least a few years, and overall, I think it should be seen positively.

Challenging the norm takes energy and dedication, and if in the past few years “gender-focused directives” have forced industries such as ours to self-reflect upon unconscious (or conscious) biases, imbalanced leadership circles and male ‘group-think’, then I for one am very grateful for those directives.

In the words of Martin Luther King: ‘every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent’. I am sure some people would prefer nothing was done in respect of correcting the (im)balance, but unluckily for them I do not view either my executive role at LiveScore Group, nor the role of our WiSG group more generally, as an opportunity to sit back and accept without question the patriarchal practices of our industry in the interests of avoiding a disruptive ‘dynamic’.

Three weeks ago – yes, in 2023 – iGB published an article titled ‘Does gaming have a sexism problem’ which explored the types of sex-based abuse, harassment and bullying women in our industry are still facing every day in many organisations, and if that type of behaviour isn’t ripe for disruption, change and evolution – I am not sure what is.

SBC: Is ‘personal mentoring’ necessary for women working in gaming, or should leadership focus be on developing a more compassionate and trusted workplace environment?

RW: I am a huge fan of personal mentoring regardless of sex, age, or career trajectory.  I have had several different mentors throughout my career so far, some formal, some informal, and I have also been a mentor in both volunteer programmes and professional settings.  It has been very enriching for me on many levels.

I don’t think being a personal mentor to colleagues comes at the cost of working to develop a more compassionate and trusted workplace environment – the two concepts aren’t mutually exclusive and there is plenty of time in the day for both!

Individual 1:1 mentoring can be a great growth experience for both partners in the equation but tends to be micro-focussed on the specifics of the relationship dynamic, whereas a broader focus on matters affecting all colleagues generally such as wellbeing programmes and mental health support is important for collective growth.

SBC: Do you have any advice for colleagues in iGaming firms that want to establish ERGs, such as WiSG?

RW: Since inception, we have had the amazing support of our devoted People team who have helped to shout about our WiSG and encourage participation across every department in our company.  We also have stakeholder buy-in and encouragement from our C-Suite, including our CEO, which I think is critical if any grassroots business initiative is to be an ultimate success.

All you need is a Teams call among a group of colleagues with clear mutual goals, and you are off on your way!

If you do establish a similar women’s group at your iGaming/sports organisation, we would love to hear from you. We are looking for wider industry-level networking opportunities and the potential for larger-scale events, so please do get in touch at [email protected] if this resource has been at all interesting to you.

 

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