The Microgaming contingent at May's Women in Gaming Awards in London, including Jeriel Bacani (second from left)

CasinoBeats talks to Jeriel Bacani, PR co-ordinator in Microgaming‘s marketing team and recently named Hidden Talent of the Year at the 2018 Women in Gaming Awards

HIDDEN talent doesn’t remain under wraps for long, especially when said talent has been celebrated with an award at a glittering London bash.

Jeriel Bacani, part of Microgaming’s Isle of Man-based marketing team, is one of this year’s discoveries, anointed Hidden Talent of the Year at May’s Women in Gaming Awards. Hoping to find out what makes her tick and what the future holds for the 23 year old, CasinoBeats spoke to Bacani following her award win.

Congratulations, you’re Women in Gaming’s 2018 Hidden Talent of the Year. How does that make you feel?

“I know that everybody says it, but I didn’t really expect to win. There were some amazing and very talented nominees this year – I was very humbled to be recognised alongside them.”

How did the nomination come about?

“I was nominated by colleagues, then later found out I made it as a finalist when I got some very enthusiastic congratulations from my team (admittedly, I had no idea what they were congratulating me for at the time).”

“Perhaps my involvement with the Microgaming Idea Factory stood out in particular.”

What do you think the judges saw in the work that you do?

“Hopefully talent! I’ve been involved in some significant projects in the past year that have helped me showcase skills that I’ve been able to develop even further at the company.

“Perhaps my involvement with the Microgaming Idea Factory stood out in particular. It’s the
company’s award-winning innovation initiative that empowers staff to develop ideas that could benefit the business.

“The process opened up opportunities for me to design and co-create ideas with people I would never have worked with normally, and to present them to the executive team. The ideas I helped to create and pitch are currently in development. More importantly, the process exposed my design skills, which weren’t part of my job at the time. That led to interest from the Marketing team, who offered me the chance to help design presentations for ICE.

“Soon after, I joined the team and got to work on big projects, from game launches and branding work to PR.

“There is a great culture of recognition at Microgaming, and there are plenty of platforms and opportunities open to staff to be recognised, even for the hidden talents!”

What do you think the recognition will mean for your career?

“It has given me new-found confidence, but also the push to see where I can develop further. Most of all, the recognition underpins the amazing support I have at Microgaming. I’ve been fortunate to start my career at a company with no shortage of inspiring mentors and role models at the top of their game to learn from.”

“…there are plenty of exceptional women making outstanding contributions within their organisations.”

How important is it for the gaming industry to celebrate the achievements of women?

“The industry is often seen as being very male-dominated but awards like these confirm that there are plenty of exceptional women making outstanding contributions within their organisations.

“It’s important to celebrate these achievements to not only identify brilliant individuals, but also to highlight that diversity is present within the industry – and that doesn’t just mean gender but diversity of thought and talent too.”

Can we do more, as a sector, to deliver true gender equality – will there come a time when the WiGs are not needed?

“I think we can always do more. We know that this issue is not unique to the industry but we can start by identifying the specific barriers that exist in our sector. It is promising to see that the All-in Diversity Project is promoting this through a targeted, industry-driven approach. Microgaming became a founding member this year to help steer the progress and it is encouraging that more and more companies are getting involved to create a more inclusive industry where everyone can flourish.

“The end goal would, of course, be to see a level playing field but I think that events like the Women in Gaming Diversity Awards create an invaluable network for like-minded people to meet, and for women to see other female role models in the industry – that’s empowering.”

So what’s next for Hidden Talent of the Year – what projects are you working on?

“There is never a dull day, especially within the Marketing team here at Microgaming. With new game releases every month and exciting announcements coming later this year, I will be going back in (voluntary) hiding to work behind the scenes on upcoming launches.

“As for what I can reveal, we have Fortunium launching on June 20, a steampunk-themed online slot that we announced at ICE earlier this year. It is a very exciting project to work on from a marketing perspective as the game has some unique features and the characters and artwork are stunning. The studio team have done an amazing job and we have been working closely with them to plan a launch that will continue the excitement from ICE.

“I’m also working on supporting Microgaming’s involvement with the All-in Diversity Project. As a founding member, the company has set out to help steer progress as the initiative begins to build an industry standard index to better inform the sector. It is a unique and very rewarding project, because aside from contributing our insight to help bring about positive change in the industry, it highlights the rich diversity of people behind Microgaming that is driving the business forward.

“There are of course a few other projects in the pipeline but we can’t reveal those just yet. All I can say is to keep an eye out because we will be unveiling some exciting announcements in the next few months.”

Jeriel Bacani was speaking to Stewart Darkin.