Riot Games has taken a major step towards improving its internal diversity circumstances. The company is bringing in Angela Roseboro to spearhead those efforts. Roseboro is the former Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Dropbox, the world’s premier cloud storage provider.
The Diversity Controversy
Riot has been at the center of a diversity controversy for the better part of six months over this issue. An in-depth investigation by Kotaku resulted in this lengthy and scathing article from last August. The article detailed problems with Riot’s culture at nearly every level and on nearly every team. That said, the company has made some changes. Employees were required to participate in anti-harassment and anti-bias training. The teams had to complete 12,000 hours of training collectively between September 2018 and January 2019.
For her part, Roseboro has the chops and experience to get Riot where it needs to be. From 1999 to 2017, she held several high-level positions related to diversity for major financial firms, including T. Rowe Price. While Riot has been, I’m sure, taking huge positive strides, they now have someone with a strong history of success in this kind of work.
In an interview with Forbes in April 2018, Roseboro said that being an effective agent of change requires challenging the norms. For a gaming company that is trying to improve its diversity, this is no small task. Gaming culture has always been somewhat of a “boys club,” where any women with a serious love for gaming are doubted simply because they’re of their gender. And let’s not even start on the whole “e-girl” subculture that has developed in the past few years. Roseboro also noted that millennials are a very mission-driven generation. Luckily for Roseboro, diversity and inclusion are very high on the list for millennials. Given the right mission, her job could go very smoothly.
Roseboro's Potential Impact
This hire is a big deal for Riot. It is a huge step for the company, and for the gaming industry as a whole. The hire may even impact gaming culture. Hopefully, Riot taking charge will move us into a world where people no longer feel the need to interrogate women about their gaming knowledge.
Emily Winkle, Riot’s Chief People Officer, said in Riot’s official release, “I know I speak for the entire Riot leadership team when I say that we can’t wait for her to start. She brings with her experience and expertise that will allow us to truly blossom in our D&I efforts.” This could not be more true, and as someone who wants to see more prominent women in gaming, I wish Angela the best of luck.