Professional Success as a PoC in Games

Date: Oct 23, 2021 1:10 pm (PST)
Duration: 0:50
Ajit George, Surena Marie, Justice Arman, Mario Ortegon Castillo, Jabari Weathers, Whitney "Strix" Beltrán
Speaker headshots
This panel will offer practical and actionable guidance for PoCs breaking into the games industry and building their careers as either freelance or full-time professionals. The assembled panelists have worked with a number of gaming companies including Beadle & Grimm's, Bully Pulpit, Critical Role, Evil Hat, Harebrained Schemes, Hidden Path Entertainment, MCDM Productions, Monte Cook Games, Paradox Interactive, Wizards of Coast, and more. Designed for those interested in both tabletop rpgs and video games as beginners or early career.

  • Ajit George (he/him) is Director of Operations for the international non-profit the Shanti Bhavan Children's Project. He has spoken at numerous events including TEDx, the International Monetary Fund, and NPR on the topics of education, gender equality, community development, and poverty alleviation. He is featured in the original Netflix Documentary Series, Daughters of Destiny. In the field of games, he has written for a variety of indie companies including Bully Pulpit, Thorny Games and Monte Cook Games, has organized international collaborative larp events, is a diversity consultant, speaker, and activist. He has most recently written for D&D's Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft.

  • Jabari Weathers (they/them) cannot confirm or deny their suspected status as an exiled goblin regent seeking refuge beyond the veil. They presently reside in Baltimore, Maryland, making fantasy and sci-fi illustrations and spinning worlds and fictions for roleplaying games and other interactive projects out of words to keep up their glamour. Other things that they enjoy are strange films, stranger music, singing in public places, and the thoroughly uncanny.

  • Justice Arman (he/him) is an Iranian American game designer based in Central Texas. In addition to penning best-selling DMs Guild supplements and writing for companies like MCDM Productions and Wizards of the Coast, Justice is a full-time Producer Goblin—yes, that’s a real title—at Beadle & Grimm’s. You can find him on Twitter (@justicearman) or at

  • Mario OrtegĂłn (he/him) is a writer and designer from Monterrey, Mexico who grew up fascinated by the epic fantasy and folk tales his abuelo shared with him, and has been fusing the two in his storytelling ever since. He initially gained notoriety as the DM of one of the first actual play shows in Latin America, creating a world that fused traditional Mexican folklore with high fantasy. This eventually became Ixalba, his debut project and one that he continues to develop as a passion. He has written for a variety of gaming companies since then, including Wizards of the Coast, MCDM, Paradox Interactive, Guildhall Studios, and Harebrained Schemes. You can find him on Twitter and Twitch as @elwarius.

  • Surena Marie (she/her) is the Marketing/Community Manager for Critical Role. She has worked within the gaming space for over six years, wearing many assorted hats (voice talent, writer, illustrator) before making her way to sunny Los Angeles. Previously, she was a cast member on the official D&D Twitch stream Rivals of Waterdeep (where she played a very buff ranger) and The Dungeon Rats podcast (where she played a very small bird). Equipped with a background in HR and organizational leadership, Surena has a strong passion for advocacy, both online and within her community.

  • Whitney "Strix" Beltrán (she/her) is a multiple award winning narrative designer for both tabletop RPGs and videogames. She has designed/written on Bluebeard's Bride, ‎Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft (Dungeons & Dragons), State of Decay 2, Beyond Blue, HoloVista, and many more projects. She is currently the Project Narrative Director at Hidden Path Entertainment where they are making a AAA Dungeons & Dragons video game. Strix has a master's degree in mythology, and has published academic papers on the relationship between myth and play. She's done research with Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and written chapters in university level RPG studies textbooks. She is an active diversity and inclusion advocate in the industry, and together with her husband Ajit George, runs a private high potential mentoring program for game developers of color.

Panel Video

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