Square Enix team members talk Women’s History Month pt 2

Three more members of the Square Enix team share their experiences and inspirations for Women’s History Month.
By Square Enix

For Women’s History Month, members of the Square Enix team are sharing their experiences of working in the games industry - and the things that inspire them.

Yesterday, we heard from Flanna, Sam and Vanessa (https://square-enix-games.com/en_US/news/womens-history-month-2023). Today, three more people weigh in on Women’s History Month, the games industry, characters and role models they admire and more.

Maria Abesa, Senior Counsel

How did you get your start in the games industry?

Prior to Square Enix, I practiced in the mergers and acquisitions group in the Century City office of the law firm Sidley Austin. When Square Enix needed an attorney for a temporary engagement, they reached out to one the partners in Sidley’s intellectual property group.

I had previously helped said partner organize a conference about video game law, so he asked me if I was interested in a secondment at Square Enix. I said yes, loved the gig, and ended up staying for good.

Who are your favorite video game or movie characters?

I’m going say Daniel Kaffee, Tom Cruise’s character from A Few Good Men.

I first watched the film when I was ten years old, and it (along with John Grisham’s The Chamber) cemented my desire to become a lawyer. Kaffee is whip smart, articulate, stubborn, and burdened by shadow of his father Lionel Kaffee, a legal legend.

Kaffee evolves over the course of the movie from someone who shamelessly coasts on his natural talent into someone willing to risk his career to do right by his clients.

What do you find exciting about Women’s History Month?

Seeing women’s achievements and contributions highlighted.

Women have been overlooked for so long, so it’s nice to see them celebrated. I always learn something new about women in history as well as women in my professional and personal circles. How has Women’s History Month affected you?

The spirit behind Women’s History Month - the idea that women deserve equal dignity and opportunity - creates both benefits and obligations.

I have certainly benefited from people of all genders making a point to mitigate the unique challenges facing women - receiving mentorship opportunities, for example, and having my voice amplified when it would otherwise have been drowned out.

In turn, I try to pay it forward and offer the same help to others.

Who are your female role models?

My boss from my job before law school (I worked at the state trial courts) was an absolute godsend. She held her own in traditionally male-dominated spaces without being aggressive or alienating others.

As general counsel, she was excellent at giving advice without passion or prejudice; as a manager, she offered me great trust and equally great responsibility, allowing me so much room to grow. She taught me by example that it was okay to admit when I didn’t know something or when I made a mistake, and that one’s ego and fear should always be subjugated by one’s responsibility to do the right thing.

I learned a lot about fairness and leadership during our time together.

What advice would you give to women who want to get into the industry?

Network - and this is coming from someone who hates networking and isn’t any good at it!

For better or worse, the gaming industry is relatively small, and it takes either connections or enormous luck to break into it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other women in the industry. I think you’ll find that we’re more than willing to chat about our experiences and help connect you to others who might be able to help.

What can everyone do to support gender equality?

The threshold is simply accepting that there is a disparity in how women are treated - income gaps, glass ceilings, absence of glass floors, being overlooked or talked over, likelihood of being harassed in and out of the office, et cetera.

Understandably, it isn’t easy for people who have never experienced these disadvantages to believe they exist, much less to support programs intended to mitigate them. Step one is to simply to see, listen, and finally understand that a woman’s experience of the world can be vastly different from those of our counterparts.

Vickie Chung, Coordinator, Retail Marketing

How did you get your start in the games industry?

I was raised in a household that held a profound appreciation for video games. I have fond memories of watching my dad play on Nintendo 64 on weekend mornings. I’ve also attended numerous gaming events that left me admiring the art, music, and love people have for games.

My previous professional experience also was involved in the gaming industry, but I was never as immersed until I joined Square Enix.

Who are your favorite video game or movie characters?

Eowyn from Lord of the Rings has always captivated me, due to her remarkable traits of courage, empathy, and unwavering devotion towards her people. This amazing combination of qualities truly made an impact on me when I was younger and make her an unforgettable character.

What do you find exciting about Women’s History Month?

I love seeing different stories and experiences women across various industries and how they’re thriving. It’s inspiring to see the continued growth and success of countless women in several fields.

I’m excited to witness the incredible transformations that are still coming.

How has Women’s History Month affected you?

Women’s History Month is a reminder of the remarkable achievements and contributions of women throughout history. It pushes me to pursue my goals and aspiration with determination.

Who are your female role models?

All the women in my life serve as a constant source of inspiration to me. They show me their unwavering hard work, dedication, and drive. They’re there to hear my doubts and worries, and to lift me up when I’m feeling down. I am proud and grateful for their presence in my life.

What advice would you give to women who want to get into the industry?

I strongly encourage anyone to pursue what you want in this industry. By taking a proactive approach in your career you position yourself for success and unlock new doors of opportunity.

What can everyone do to support gender equality?

Encourage and empower one another to strive for excellence. We can inspire our peers to level up and achieve their goals.

Megan Pelt, Associate Digital Sales Manager

How did you get your start in the games industry?

My career in the gaming industry started with the QA Team at Square Enix. T

here’s not a day that goes by where I’m not grateful to the wonderful team for giving me this opportunity because it provided me with the structure of intense analysis that I use in my present role with the company.

Who are your favorite video game or movie characters?

My favorite character is Roxas from the KINGDOM HEARTS series.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Sora too, but Roxas has always been my favorite for the realism in his character identity. He is honest with himself about wanting simplicity in his life, but he is willing to put aside his own needs for the greater good. I’ve always really respected that element of his characterization in the series.

What do you find exciting about Women’s History Month?

To me, celebrating Women’s History Month is exciting because it provides a platform for women of differing backgrounds to be celebrated. Each year I learn about someone new and cool as their achievements are highlighted.

How has Women’s History Month affected you?

As a woman, I believe having role models is important. I always feel that when I have someone I view as a mentor or who I see working in a position I want to someday achieve in my career, it emboldens me to push myself further. It motivates me to keep striving for higher goals along the corporate ladder. Who are your female role models?

The easy answer here is my mother, who worked tirelessly as a single mom to keep myself and my older brother fed, happy, and educated in life.

However, I look to the women who inspire me daily in my career as well. The fantastic leaders among the brand teams, my co-leaders (Yoko, Maria, and Kumiko) who know I wouldn’t survive without their guidance and mentorship, and my dear friend Leah from QA, who guided me to interview with this company in the first place.

I owe so much to all the women at Square Enix who inspire and motivate me as colleagues and friends.

What advice would you give to women who want to get into the industry?

Never doubt yourself and never be afraid to take that chance by applying.

I recall one of my good friends, who recently celebrated her first year at Square Enix, started her journey by being brave enough to reach out and ask questions on LinkedIn. I was so happy to chat with someone who was genuinely interested in applying to our company, and I’m very glad she reached out.

Learn from her and don’t be afraid to take that chance - you might celebrate your one-year with your dream company someday too!

What can everyone do to support gender equality?

Support is critical, particularly among peer groups within a company.

I would say remembering to share the floor space with women is crucial, as it can sometimes be challenging to interject thoughts on a subject matter even as an expert if no one allows your voice to be heard.

Checking that your female colleagues are able to speak up and share their thoughts or opinions means a lot more than people sometimes realize.

Thanks to Maria, Vickie and Megan for their insight.

If you’d like to join them and work at Square Enix, be sure to check out our careers site for current opportunities: