New Position at G4C: Full-Time Festival Director

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Update (December 11, 2013): We are no long accepting applications for this position. Thank you to everyone who applied!

Games for Change is seeking a Managing Director to lead its flagship program: The Games for Change Annual Festival. The Festival is the largest gaming event in New York City and is the leading international event for those interested in leveraging the positive impact of games for social change and learning.

The Managing Director will assume full responsibility for the logistics of the Festival and will work collaboratively with the organization’s President in selecting and inviting keynote presenters, setting the program’s format and related events leading into and following the festival, and designing and conceptualizing the Games for Change Awards program and presentation of winners. S/he will serve as an ongoing ambassador to the program and a primary point of contact for a diverse sector of stakeholders within the gaming and social innovation communities. The successful candidate will have a strong interest in games (including social impact games) actively engaging in such as part of their personal enjoyment and consumption of media.

This full-time, year-round position is both tactical and strategic, and calls for a highly organized, creative, entrepreneurial thinker who has the skills to manage both budgets and people sensitively and with great attention to detail. Please see below for the full position description.

Organizational Overview

Founded in 2004, Games for Change’s mission is to facilitate the creation and distribution of digital games that serve as powerful tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. Approximately 165 million people in America alone (70% of the population) play digital games across multiple platforms — web, tablet, mobile, social networks. Games are increasingly accepted as an effective medium to promote social change and learning, with the potential to reach audiences that might not be reached by other forms of media. We sit uniquely at the intersection of social innovation, gaming, technology, and education leveraging our vast networks by convening multiple stakeholders, highlighting best practices, incubating games, and helping create and direct investment into meaningful new projects.

Most recently, in partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (“Half the Sky”) and gaming giant Zynga, G4C has executive produced a series of social impact games around women and girls’ empowerment, reaching over a million people and generating $450,000 in individual and sponsored donations through gameplay.

The Festival

The Games for Change Annual Festival is the organization’s flagship program. It defines the gaming beyond entertainment sector and has received significant press attention from the New York Times, Wired, Forbes, CNN, and others around the globe. It is the largest gaming event in New York City and the leading international event for those interested in exploring the positive impact of games: social change and learning. Past keynotes include Vice President Al Gore, Sandra Day O’Connor, Jane McGonigal, and Nicholas Kristof. Bringing together leading developers in the gaming industry with strategic thinkers from multiple industries, the Festival is attended by over 800 people on site and approximately 10,000 viewers on Livestream. The organization and the Festival have led the explosion of mainstream awareness of games for positive social impact and learning. Here, attendees discover the newest games currently in development, learn about global trends and opportunities, network with leading developers and funders and, perhaps best of all, have the opportunity to play award-winning games for change.

The 11th annual edition will be held at New World Stages in midtown Manhattan June 16/17, 2014.

Position Overview

This is a full-time, year-round staff position and includes benefits. The primary responsibility of the Festival’s Managing Director is to oversee the planning, design, and execution of all aspects of the event. Additionally, the Managing Director oversees all communications strategies, staffing, production, marketing, strategic partnerships (including in-kind donations), and outreach to the independent game community and the commercial gaming industry.

Candidate Attributes

While the ideal candidate does not necessarily need to come from a professional game background (e.g., a game designer or developer), it will be important that s/he have a passion for all types of games, in particular digital games. As the Festival’s sole year-round, full-time staff member, s/he serves as an ongoing ambassador to the program and a primary point of contact for a diverse sector of stakeholders within the gaming and social innovation communities. The Managing Director will have a strong interest in games (including social impact games) actively engaging in such as part of their personal enjoyment and consumption of media. They will need to be conversant in current games and trends.

Core Responsibilities

Even while working in close collaboration with G4C’s President, the Managing Director will “own” the Festival, including developing the vision and a strategy for communicating that vision to staff, volunteers, outside contractors, the independent developer communities, the gaming industry, and the general public. The Managing Director must, therefore, have strong communication skills both written and verbal, be highly organized, and demonstrate the ability to set and meet deadlines that outline key deliverables from sponsors to call for submissions, to registration, and wrap-up reports. The Managing Director will also set measurement standards for gauging success, accountability and evaluation of the event as a whole each year. Strong leadership skills and a mature nature are critical. The ability to lead by influence and show a motivational demeanor are imperative.

This position is largely managerial and less curatorial. The Managing Director, will, however, assume direct responsibility for collaborating with the President and other advisors on the selection and invitation of all keynote presenters and other participants. The Managing Director will also be responsible for setting the program’s format and related events leading into and following the Festival, as well as design and conceptualization of the Games for Change Awards program and presentation of winners.

Responsibilities

  • Produce the Festival within the approved budget, overseeing all related revenue and expenses.
  • Develop and manage the critical path of events, activities and deliverables leading into and following the Festival:
    -Hire and manage the Festival’s staff of contractors (PR, event production companies, graphic and web designers), seasonal staff, and volunteers.
    -Produce and manage all MOUs, contracts, releases, and employment engagements.
  • Build and maintain outreach and relationships with game industry and social impact leaders.
  • Work with fundraising team to properly pitch and fulfill all sponsorship commitments at the Festival.
  • Determine key success factors for Festival, measure those success factors and communicate them to management.
  • Maintain relationships with developers, publishers, and others working in the games for change sector.
  • Define methods to increase attendance by broadening marketing appeal to businesses with a social responsibility component and to the general public.
  • Participate in fundraising pitch meetings as needed and/or advise on opportunities the fundraising team might pursue.
  • Act as a representative for the Festival and Games for Change at various festivals, conferences and other convenings locally, nationally and/or internationally (as requested).

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree preferred; 5+ years of managerial experience producing festivals or high-profile events in related fields.
  • Exceptional project management skills; attention to detail and ability to lead others toward the larger vision while managing the logistical and personnel details required to ensure success.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, personal presence, and maturity to collaborate with staff and external stakeholders.
  • Fiscal expertise managing to tight budgets.
  • Sophisticated manager who can empower and equip a talented and committed volunteer base.
  • Collaborative leader and creative strategic partner who capitalizes on new opportunities for community partnerships.
  • Technological savvy to utilize and direct social media and web-based activities to build awareness and affinity.
  • Self-directed working style; flexibility and good humor required to manage multiple projects and deadlines in partnership with dispersed teams and partners.
  • Grace under pressure: an innate problem solver who stays calm and has the ability to reason out solutions quickly and in real time.
  • Passion for the transformative power of games and digital media.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, particularly Excel; familiarity with Raiser’s Edge or other fundraising, prospecting, and cultivation database systems highly desired.

To Apply

Send your resume (Word format) and cover letter outlining why you are interested in this role to jobs@gamesforchange.org. Be sure to put your name and a one-word descriptor in the subject line, e.g., Joanne Smith, collaborator.


Games for Change provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veterans in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

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