Women in Games Ambassadors at Keywords Studios: Margarita Toporkova
Ahead of Women in Games’ annual Ambassador Only Networking Event on 27th April, we caught up with Margarita Toporkova, Global Engagement and Well-being Specialist at Keywords, to discuss the challenges facing women in the video gaming industry today as well as her role as a Women in Games Ambassador.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Keywords?
I’ve been at Keywords for more than 6 years now across a variety of roles. I’m now part of our global communications and engagement team, taking care of employee engagement and wellbeing.
My role focuses on the retention phase of the employee lifecycle where we seek to engage, motivate, and recognise our people. I like to think of my role as People Ambassador.
What first inspired you towards a career in the video gaming industry?
I’ve always loved video games. I played my first PC game with my father aged 4 and fell in love with video gaming from there. Growing up, I always knew that I would forge a career in this industry. I love the fact that video games are very immersive, they consist of incredible worlds that we can explore and absolutely anyone can find a game they will enjoy. Video gaming is and always has been a place where creativity thrives.
You are a Women in Games Ambassador, what motivated you to take up this role?
I’ve always felt very passionate about helping other women succeed and creating a more diverse and inclusive future for gaming. The underrepresentation of women in the industry once meant a lack of female role models and mentors, which made it more difficult for women to advance in their careers. I have met so many wonderful women throughout my career and becoming a WiG ambassador was a no brainer for me.
I love seeing more women creating their own games, working in the industry, and sharing their personal and professional journeys. One of the most important things to me is to work on normalising video gaming as an art and a career for everyone.
I want to keep sharing my experience and knowledge to inspire and support other women who are interested in pursuing careers in gaming, as well as advocating for greater representation and inclusivity in the industry as a whole.
What Women in Games Ambassador projects or activities have you been involved in?
I am very passionate about wellbeing and mental health. So, among multiple activities, I hosted an event called ‘Women’s Wellbeing: Am I Enough?’ last year and will also be hosting a series of webinars with a similar focus this year to bring more awareness to becoming a WiG Ambassador. I’ve also contributed to the WiG newsletter on the topic of wellbeing, you can read my article here.
What advice would you give to other women considering a career in video gaming?
Pursue your passion, advocate for yourself, and never give up. Build your skills, network with like-minded individuals, and seek out mentors who can offer guidance and support. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Instead, learn from them and keep pushing forward. The gaming industry is rapidly growing and evolving, and your unique perspective and contributions are so valuable!
Most important is to believe in yourself and your abilities! As more and more women enter this field, we can expect to see even greater innovation and creativity in video games, as well as a greater focus on inclusivity and accessibility. Keep playing, keep creating, and keep pushing for greater diversity in gaming. The future of video gaming is yours to shape!
About Women in Games:
Keywords Studios is proud to partner with Women in Games. The purpose of Women in Games is to advance a fair, equal and safe environment that empowers girls and women in the global gaming ecosystem.
Its vision is to create an environment which enables full equity of opportunity, treatment and conditions, empowering all girls and women – of any ethnicity, orientation and background – to achieve their full potential in games and esports. By investing in women and girls, Women in Games believes it will be instrumental in influencing positive societal change – with significant benefits for the games industry around the world.
Women in Games is a not-for-profit organisation with a global community.