Say hello to Anisa
Anisa is an advocate for diversity in technology, a public speaker in the gaming world, video games user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) expert, and all-round legend. She’s big on developing inclusive communities within the world of tech, and on offering advice to students and tech enthusiasts, looking to get their foot into the technology or gaming worlds.
She’s just the kind of person we love having as a member. So, we jumped at the chance to work with her on our latest giffgaff Community Projects campaign.
Breaking stereotypes in the gaming industry
Anisa is a video game expert. A female smashing it, in what is traditionally a male-dominated industry. She works as a UX and UI Designer. What does that mean? Well, on a typical day she spends her time working closely with creators of games, making sure the games they’re creating are easy to understand, and to pick up and play. Her work is 50% visual design, 50% experience design.
Anisa started off working on games for Playstation, then switched to PC games and moved to London; the hub of mobile gaming. Now, she works for Hutch Games, creating various free-to-play mobile games.
You might have noticed her on our social media channels previously. We looked at awesome people in the video gaming industry and gave you a sneak peek into their world.
When she’s not busy in the office, Anisa spends a fair bit of time giving talks on UI and UX design. But recently, she’s taken on a more active representation role, providing support for women, and people of colour in the gaming industry. Her hope is to encourage more minority groups to join the technology and gaming industries.
Setting up her own micro community
Recently, Anisa set up a mentor programme Limit Break for underrepresented people in the games industry, such as gender minorities: SIS women, non-binary and trans people. She also helps pair up senior and highly skilled women in tech, with people who are new to the industry. Second year students, for example.
She told giffgaff that the idea came about in March/April 2019 and a month later it had launched. So far, she has had around 120 applications – who are all on the programme.
Right now, the project is London-based. The applicants and the mentors meet up once a month, to have a 1-to-1 chat and check on their progress. It’s a 6-month programme, where applicants are free to talk about any problems they might be having and to help them in these industries.
Aside from the 1-to-1 meetings with students and mentors, Anisa also arranges 1 or 2 larger events within the 6-month period.
She admits that she’s surprised at the response Limit Break received.
“I thought I’d end up with 1 or 2 applicants. But it ended up blowing up! Probably because we have a really nice logo!”
Or, because it’s such an amazing cause, with a teriffic leader behind it. Legend.
Taking our community one step further
Last month, Anisa was 1 of 6 on a panel of community advocates that helped us kick off our Community Projects campaign. Where giffgaff is working to help fund and support local community heroes and initiatives.
We’ve always been a community-run business. And supporting communities is super important to us and to a lot of our members. So, we encouraged as many of them as possible, to nominate a cause local to them, which they felt we should get behind.
We’d have loved to be able to pick them all. But, as that wasn’t possible, our panel voted on 4 terrific causes of the bunch, which together represent a great cross-selection of communities across the UK. Tackling different issues and making a positive change.
“It was a long day, but eye opening, to all the different things going on. Because of my background in video games I think I can look at things a bit more creatively.”
Reacting to community needs
Anisa hopes that she was able to represent the value in all the serious things when you’re trying to build something - but also the value in play. She said: “You can still help and have fun, and I see that!”
Being a techy person, Anisa sees the role that technology plays, especially in spreading the word. Social media has a big influence in how we interact with technology every day and she can see the value it can bring to these projects; how best to reach people and optimise the various channels.
Because of her involvement in here own micro community, Anisa understands how hard it is to get support from people, such as financially, man hours, or all the things that one person can’t handle alone:
“The idea that a bigger entity like giffgaff is willing to give back to the community - I really like that. Without companies like this - a lot of companies would struggle, missing out on help or a lot of other things they might need. I’m all for bigger companies like this that help out!”
She added: “And I’m extremely proud of the winning entries – they’re doing great things.”
Collaborating for the greater good
Anisa likes to have clarity on the people that will actually benefit from projects she works on. To make sure she helps make a difference to the right people, in the right ways. She loves that we give the decision-making power to the giffgaff community. In everything we’ve done over the last 10 years, but even moreso now, as we move forward with projects such as The Community Projects.
“It’s not just guessing what people want. It’s getting feedback and actually actioning it – which is the best thing that you could do. It’s a lot like my line of work. In the gaming industry you run a test, see how the players react and then respond accordingly. And that’s exactly what giffgaff is doing right now. Really listening, helping out in the best ways; and making a true impact”
To Anisa, run by you means giving members the control, and freedom to get involved with different projects that make a big impact, on a lot of people. A true difference, in a variety of ways. “Every person I’ve met at a giffgaff event, either directly or indirectly involved with a project, has been incredibly nice and welcoming.
“You’re all really into what you’re doing and it’s admirable to see so much energy being put into this project. It gives us the energy to work harder at our end. It’s really quite amazing!”
And we think you’re pretty amazing too, Anisa. You’re a true run by you hero, because you embody everything that we stand for. Collaboration, inclusivity, open opportunities. And a beating heart for the community. Working to make a real difference, for the right reasons, in the right ways. Top job, Anisa. Keep on smashing it. We can’t wait to watch how The Community Project unfolds, alongside you.
We’re taking the giffgaff community further in 2020, so join us on the next part of our journey. Find out more about The Community Projects campaign and get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved, in your own way.