The International Game Developers Association announced today that its executive director Kate Edwards is stepping down. An exact reason for Edwards' departure was not given, but the organization praised her "tireless work" on behalf of game developers. Edwards was the executive director for the last five years. Trent Oster, chair of the board of directors and CEO of Beamdog, will serve as the interim executive director while the IGDA searches for a replacement.
Edwards was instrumental in growing the IGDA across the globe, establishing new chapters in Bangladesh, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, and Tunisia, among other locations. She also signed over 300 peer advisory letters of recommendation for game developers trying to get work visas in the U.S. Importantly, Edwards also fought hard against the wave of hate and misogyny, which persists to this day but was especially noticeable at the peak of the GamerGate movement. Furthermore, Edwards has spoken out against the industry's still-too-common practice of crunch and she advocated on behalf of the game developer community when the Trump administration pushed its unconstitutional travel ban.
"It's been a great honor to help game developers from all walks of life, all over the world, succeed in our industry," says Edwards. "I want to thank the IGDA board, staff and all its members whose advocacy has made a difference for our community, and I look forward to following the association's continued success."
"Kate has been an important industry leader for the IGDA in this role, doing heroic work as an advocate for developers of all backgrounds. Her accomplishments have carried the IGDA through tough times and helped countless developers on their journeys," says Oster. "We look forward to seeing what Kate accomplishes in what is certain to continue to be a bright career."
Update: In a post on her personal blog, Edwards detailed some of the thinking that went into her decision to step down from the IGDA. As it turns out, she never really intended to stay on for more than a few years.
"To many people, this may seem like a sudden decision. But the reality is that when I began in 2012, I decisively told the IGDA's board of directors that this would likely be a 3- to 5-year mission for me," she wrote. "When I reached the end of my third year, it was clear that more work was to be done, and so I persisted along with my remarkable staff. As we're nearing that 5-year milestone, I'm following through on my original intention. There's never a perfect stopping point for a dynamic job like this, but now with GDC and E3 behind us, this was just as good a time as ever to move on."
In the rest of the blog post, Edwards discussed the three main goals she set for herself at IGDA that she feels she managed to accomplish: Reinvigorate the IGDA's relevance, reinstate the IGDA's key role as an advocacy organization by being timely and vocal on key issues affecting developers, and remphasize the International aspect of the IGDA's mission and do more to connect the global developer community.
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