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Zynga gets first female director

Zynga gets first female director

Fri 20 Jul 2012 7:18am GMT / 3:18am EDT / 12:18am PDT
Online

Ellen Siminoff, ex-Yahoo exec, joins social gaming giant's board

Zynga's board of directors is no longer all about the boys; the social gaming giant has added its first female member in the form of Ellen Siminoff.

"There is something to be said for boards having people who are representative of their customers," Siminoff told Bloomberg.

"[Zynga's] core demographic right now is women who are middle-aged, and I fit into that demographic."

She spent 6 years with Yahoo working her way up to SVP of entertainment before departing in 2002. Siminoff also sits on the board of the Mozillia Corporation, and is the CEO of e-learning company Shmoop.

"They have a lot of users, they have high engagement, and they have figured out a revenue model. I think there's a huge opportunity for them."

Other members of the board included Mark Pincus, COO John Schappert, Reid Hoffman and Bing Gordon from the VC sector, Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta, FreeLoader founder Sunil Paul and LinkedIn director Stanley J. Meresman.

12 Comments

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
It is a sad indictment of our culture that a trade medium like this thinks that the gender of a new recruit is important.
In case I have missed something are not Marissa Mayer, Meg Whitman, Ursula Burns, Sheryl Sandberg, Ginni Rometty, Jade Raymond and very many other females very highly successful in technology companies?

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

278 1,053 3.8
Bruce, when she is the first ever female member on their board then yes, I think her gender is important. Men still outnumber women in executive positions in most industries by a huge margin, so when a new executive is appointed who happens to be female it's worth mentioning.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Jessica

Sure. But to have it as the headline and 3 paragraphs?

How about a mention of this stuff (non gender specific) from wikipedia:

She was former Chairman and former CEO of Efficient Frontier.[3] In her 4 years as CEO, Siminoff built Efficient Frontier into the largest buyer of search advertising keywords on Google [4] and one of the 25 most valuable privately-held companies in Silicon Valley, at an estimated $275 million valuation, according to Silicon Alley Insider.[5] Efficient Frontier was sold to Adobe for over $400 MM in 2012.

In 2005, Forbes Magazine named her one of their Masters of Information.[6]

Siminoff obtained a BA in Economics from Princeton University and an MBA from Stanford University.[11

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

278 1,053 3.8
'First anything' makes a more interesting headline, I guess. Two of those(very short) paragraphs are a quote from Siminoff herself regarding her move, which is more interesting in my opinion than a bunch of dry stats about her background.

The point is that this isn't just meant to be an update about another addition to Zynga's board of directors, this is drawing attention to the fact that hey - she's a lady too, isn't that great? Women can be directors of hugely profitable corporations too!

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
"Women can be directors of hugely profitable corporations too!"

Have you actually looked up these ladies? Marissa Mayer, Meg Whitman, Ursula Burns, Sheryl Sandberg, Ginni Rometty, Jade Raymond.

And what Ellen did at Efficient Frontier is a lot lot more than "dry stats". Making a few hundred million in just 4 years is spectacular.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

278 1,053 3.8
Besides Raymond I didn't know of any of those ladies, so thanks for the list. I love hearing about successful women.

...Which is *exactly* my point. Raising the visibility of successful women via articles like this is helpful to all women in tech industries who can often find themselves marginalised by a male-dominated culture.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Imagine if I issued a press release "Kwalee employ female". We would have to barricade ourselves into the building because of the (rightfully) angry feminists protesting at what we had done.
This article is no different.
If the headline had been "Serial technology entrepreneur joins Zynga" it would have been much more apt.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

278 1,053 3.8
The difference between that headline and this one is that Kwalee isn't a multi-billion dollar company who have been very much in the public eye lately due to floating on the stock market(also 'female' as a noun used to refer to a woman is dehumanising; as an adjective it's fine, so your headline is in that respect far more problematic than this one).

Having a woman in a position of power in such a powerful and important games company is a good thing for women in general and should be praised! Why do you not think it deserves recognition? When Obama was elected did you wonder what all the fuss over his race was about?

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
I do agree with Jessica; women in these positions is still quite rare, so it's fair to report on it when they might not do if it were a man.

However, if we're talking about important women in the industry, first and foremost for me is Amy Hennig from Naughty Dog. She is, in my opinion, at least as important a game director as Schafer, Braben and Molyneux.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

David Radd
Senior Editor

359 78 0.2
Top women executives are still a somewhat rare breed, especially when it comes to gaming. Things are getting slightly better as time goes on, and I'm hopefully that the appointment of a woman to such a position will just be an every day occurrence and not news itself sometime this decade.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Gary LaRochelle
Digital Artist/Game Designer

60 52 0.9
I wonder what games she plays.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

655 270 0.4
Because they wanted to change the change into a change they hold dear :)

Posted:2 years ago

#12

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