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Women in Esports

Our Mission

Together, with teamwork, we will overcome the challenges facing women in gaming. So we’ve joined forces with PNC Bank to create Build Your Empire that champions women in the esports industry who are leading the charge as well as fostering lasting change.

Through our Empowering Women in Esports Podcast series, discover how these inspiring leaders have made an impact and achieved success while influencing other like-minded women, girls, and allies who’re looking to build their own futures. A future that’s more diverse, inclusive to all—and bright!

Join the conversation. Be a part of the solution.

CHECK OUT THE LATEST EPISODE

SEASON 2: EPISODE 2
The Modern-Day Plight of the "Gamer Girl"

Guest: Dr. Jenna Drenten, Associate Professor of Marketing at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business

To understand how to solve a problem, one must identify the underlying issues and contributing factors that create the problem. In this episode with Dr. Jenna Drenten, Associate Professor of Marketing at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business, we will explore the history and academic research on what it means to be a woman in gaming, and how toxic and unaccepting environments in casual gaming lead to a lack of female representation in esports.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
-It is not the responsibility of women or women gamers to change the dynamics of the community, it is the responsibility of everyone involved to culturally shift our mindsets towards empowerment and equity.
-Women don’t go into game stores to buy games for their brothers, fathers, or male partners, they go in to buy games for themselves.

-"It’s not about creating games for women, it's about creating really creative, dynamic, interesting games that might appeal to a vast audience of people." - Dr. Jenna Drenten

PAST EPISODES

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SEASON 2: EPISODE 1

In this episode, we talk about where esports has been, where it's lacking, and the money the industry is losing by not taking diversity seriously.

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SEASON 1: EPISODE 5

Building collaboration and connection is an essential aspect in gaming. Explore what collegiate esports experts have to say about the close-knit community that gaming provides.

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SEASON 1: EPISODE 4

Learn how to stay ahead of the curve. Uncover key insights for supporting diverse teams from leading experts in traditional sports, government, and technology.


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SEASON 1: EPISODE 3

Find out what it takes to become a pro athlete. Discover the importance of having allies and developing mental toughness aka grit. Take a deep dive into understanding toxicity.

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SEASON 1: EPISODE 2

Tackle the complex topic of women’s leagues. Featuring special guest speakers: Aerial Powers (Washington Mystics, WNBA), Dr. Lindsey Darvin (SUNY Cortland), Armand Buzzelli (Robert Morris University), and Jasper Ko (Pittsburgh Knights).

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SEASON 1: EPISODE 1

Explore the current landscape for women in the gaming and esports industry. Learn about the history of women in traditional sports. Discover the best practices other industries have employed to support women. Learn ideas and solutions for increased inclusivity.

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EPISODE RELEASE SCHEDULE

New episodes of the Women in Esports Podcast will be released monthly.

Follow our social media profiles below to catch when the latest episode drops.

     

MEET OUR HOST

Kat De Shields-Moon

Kat De Shields-Moon’s first taste of gaming came from watching her parents play Myst after they got home from work. Ever since she’s been an avid gamer with a deep love for eccentric and story-driven indie games. 

 

A former games journalist with deep roots in the industry, she served as a Communications Manager for Launch Media Network, the parent company of GameSkinny, where she also worked as an editor and teacher. Kat then took on the role of Marketing Specialist at the full-service gaming agency, Novy Unlimited. In late 2018, she worked as a Senior Esports Community Specialist at Hi-Rez Studios and was quickly promoted to PR and Partnerships Manager at Skillshot Media, a former esports-focused subsidiary of Hi-Rez Studios. 

 

Currently, she is PR Manager at Schell Games, an education and entertainment focused gaming studio in Pittsburgh that specializes in virtual and augmented reality, and Co-Founder of Divertega Co. a startup focused on advancing diversity and inclusion in the gaming and esports industry. She is also the host for Season Two of the Women in Esports Podcast produced by the Pittsburgh Knights and PNC Bank. 

 

Prior to her work in the gaming industry, she began her career in public relations and marketing working with a variety of companies including the Star Democrat Newspaper, The Institute of Reading Development, Camp Twin Lakes, and Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc. 

 

Kat has a BA in Journalism from Hampton University, an MFA in Writing from SCAD, a certificate in Women's Entrepreneurship from Cornell University, and a certificate in Inclusive Leadership and Workplace Diversity from the University of Colorado.



 

GUEST PANELIST

Marcus Howard Headshot

Marcus Howard

MetArena

Marcus is the CEO of MetArena ,the social media app for indie game studios and fans worldwide!

Anu Jain Headshot

Anupama Jain

Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission

Anupama Jain, Ph.D., is the inaugural Executive Director of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission.

Aerial Powers Headshot

Aerial Powers

Minnesota Lynx

Aerial Power is a is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx of te WNBA.

Sonia Rueff Headshot

Sonia Rueff

Pittsburgh Steelers

Sonia Ruef is in her tenth season as an assistant athletic trainer for the Steelers.

Dr. Michelle Bates King Headshot

Dr. Michelle Bates King

William & Mary

Dr. Michele Bates King is a lecturer in speech at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Emmalee “EMUHLEET” Garrido Headshot

Emmalee “EMUHLEET” Garrido

Dignitas

“EMUHLEET” is the Team Captain of one of the most successful Women's esports teams in the world, Dignitas.

Yugina Yun Headshot

Yugina Yun

Leyline

Yugina Yun is a collegiate esports program expert.

Carolyn “artStar” Noquez Headshot

Carolyn “artStar” Noquez

Professional Gamer

As a professional gamer, artStar has competed in tournaments across the globe including Denmark, France, China and Poland.

Armand Buzzelli Headshot

Armand Buzzelli

Robert Morris University

Armand Buzzelli has served as the Director of Campus Recreation since joining RMU in 2009.

Auverin Morrow Headshot

Auverin Morrow

Hi-Rez Studios

Auverin Morrow is the lead esports community manager at Hi-Rez Studios.

Alexis “alexis” Guarassi Headshot

Alexis “alexis” Guarassi

Cloud9

Alexis is a professional Valorant Player for Cloud9.

Sarah Klos Headshot

Sarah Klos

PNC Bank

Sarah works as a Business Systems Analyst supporting Legacy C&IB Applications at PNC Bank.

Jasper Ko Headshot

Jasper Ko

Pittsburgh Knights

Jasper Ko has been involved in the esports scene since 2000.

Garett “grt” Bambrough Headshot

Garett “grt” Bambrough

Pittsburgh Knights

Garett Bambrough is a former pro Counter Strike player with over a decade’s experience in esports.

Dr. Lindsey Darvin Headshot

Dr. Lindsey Darvin

SUNY Cortland

Lindsey Darvin is an Assistant Professor in the Sport Management Department at SUNY Cortland.

GUEST Drenten_Jenna

Dr. Jenna Drenten

 Loyola University

Associate Professor of Marketing at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business

 

UPCOMING & PAST EVENTS

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KNIGHTS SAKURA CUP #3

The Knights are thrilled to host another women's only Valorant tournament for the women of esports. For more information, check the Knights event page.


EVENT DATE: JULY 17-18 PRIZE POOL: $2,000

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KNIGHTS SAKURA CUP #2

Inspired by the onna-musha of japan – ancient female warriors who fought alongside samurai – we’ve created an arena for modern female warriors to compete. The Knights will host the Sakura Cup – a women’s only Valorant tournament for top players to showcase their skills and compete for cash prizes.

EVENT DATE: MAY 22-23   PRIZE POOL: $2,000