@MollyEisenback, 32 – FUNDED

“If any person — not just necessarily a woman — tells me that they think ‘gaming’ is not for them, I always remind them that video games are like music… nobody dislikes music, but everyone has musical genres that they prefer over others,” says @MollyEisenback, a JBL Quantum Grant winner who you can find on Twitter and Instagram. “Perhaps it’s not video games that they dislike; maybe they just haven’t found the right game or the right genre!” Here’s what Molly loves about gaming.

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

I would love to use all that I’ve learned while working on my master’s degree in Game Design to enter the world of professional systems design and production — or just general game design. One day, I also want to be able to publish at least one of my own independently designed games.

How will this award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? 

When it comes to improving and finishing my master’s capstone game or another independently designed game, the funds will allow me to obtain superior assets, provide training for me to make my own improved assets, and/or pay a talented artist to collaborate with me.

What does being a 1,000 Dreams Fund – JBL Quantum Grant recipient mean to you? 

It’s a huge honor, and it has given me an extra boost of motivation to continue working towards being the best aspiring game designer I can be — especially during a time in which I’ve started to think that I may never be able to get there.

Women are underrepresented in gaming and esports. What can we do to change this? 

As far as bringing more women into this industry, we need strong mentors. If you’re qualified to mentor someone and you know a talented woman with an interest in gaming or esports, offer to mentor her. If you’re a woman who wants to advance, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and ask someone to mentor you!

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way? 

Most of my challenges have come from starting a family, trying to earn a master’s degree, and trying to jump-start a career in a brand-new industry all at the same time. My daughter was born in April 2021 after a physically difficult, high-risk pregnancy. It has been chaotic taking care of a tiny human, trying to finish school, and preparing for a future career at the same time — but it has all been very much worth it.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the gaming or esports industry? 

Anecdotally, I’ve found that a lot of professional women struggle with intense feelings of self-doubt. Stop letting feelings of inadequacy keep you from becoming the best version of yourself that you can be. Never stop looking for ways to improve yourself. Keep finding avenues through which you can learn new skills. Finally (and maybe most importantly), SELF-ADVOCATE! Even when you have people in your life who love you and want the best for you, nobody will ever look out for YOU the way that YOU can.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

I think about the example I want to set for my now four-month-old daughter. I want her to know that even when life throws you major curveballs that may complicate your goals, they never have to ruin those goals. They do not have to force you to give up on a dream.