My Career: Game on in fast-paced role

In our weekly My Career, we feature Holly Macintosh, Chief of Staff at Technology 2K
My Career: Game on in fast-paced role

Holly Macintosh Chief of Staff at Technology 2K

Name: Holly Macintosh 

Age: 44 

Lives: Cork City; however, I am originally from beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Job title: Chief of Staff, Technology, 2K, a global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment for video games consoles, personal computers, and mobile devices Salary bracket: Competitive compensation and employee benefits.

Education background: Diploma (Honours) in Marketing Management, Public Relations from British Columbia Institute of Technology Leaders of Impact from American Chamber of Commerce Supervisory Management (FETAC Level 6) from QQI Office Management from IIR Management Development Hobbies: Gaming, of course! On my computer, mobile, and on tabletop. I play a lot of Hearthstone, a multiplayer card strategy game, and love smashing my opponents on Twitch! I ❤ everything tech!

Also running, travelling with my amazing husband, watching horror/sci-fi films, spoiling my niece and nephews, and socialising with my friends. When I have spare time, I also volunteer as an ambassador for Women in Games. It’s a not-for-profit organisation for all those who identify as female, non-binary, and their allies. It helps them understand the games industry and the opportunities within and at any stage in their careers or life journeys.

Describe yourself in five words: Authentic. Humble. Industrious. Visionary. Ambitious.

Describe your job in five words: Meaningful. Fast-paced. Empowering. Collaborative. Evolving.

Personality for this kind of work? Interpersonal skills are a fundamental part of my role. I’m a strategic thought partner, so having high emotional quotient (EQ) and diplomacy skills are essential for influencing decisions on behalf of the leadership team and across the Technology space. A strong voice is necessary when communicating up and down the organisation. Natural, empathetic leadership, synthesising ideas, and navigating through many personalities and points of view is indispensable.

How long are you doing this job? My 20+ years in various roles in corporate, not-for-profit, and gaming industries within Canada and Ireland catapulted me into the Chief of Staff role. I’ve just celebrated my one-year anniversary with 2K, where I’m proud to have successfully cultivated and fostered relationships entirely remote while over Zoom. It’s a huge victory knowing you have developed deep trust of your teams without being able to meet in person.

Flexibility with my working hours ensures I’m available for staff on the West Coast of the US, as well as our European teams. Straddling time zones, introductions over Zoom, and virtual Happy Hours have become second nature. 

That said, I am excited to meet my North American colleagues face to face when travel opens up! I’m also counting down the days until I meet colleagues in 2K’s new office in Dublin city centre.

How did you get this job? Call it fortuitous! A former colleague and senior leader in our previous company reached out and asked if I would mentor someone on his team. When we reconnected after the mentorship, he spoke about the desire for a Chief of Staff within his Technology organisation. The role would partner with his role as Vice President, the leadership team, and the global Technology org. It’s humbling to know that kindness and offering to help counts for something. Always pay it forward.

We spoke about the value I could bring to the team along with my leadership and people management experience, as well as my point of view. I was seeking a role where I could make a positive impact, help shape the direction of the organisation, and provide value to all employees. Overall, I wanted a meaningful experience for both me and my employer. 

From there, I shared my recommendations, remote integration, and what I hoped to accomplish in my first 90 days. Earnest in our conversations, we spoke about how our partnership would be successful to the team and the organisation.

He was eager for me to meet his leadership team and, before I knew it, I was interviewing with the Head of Technical Infrastructure, Security, Software Engineering, Program Management, and Global Support. The rest is history!

Do you need a particular qualification or experience? While every employer will have its own requirements, my story has been binary - life experience and training. I’m not ashamed to say I don’t hold a degree. I was always a studious pupil, and I’ll never stop learning or asking questions. Hard skills in technology can be learned through troubleshooting, practice, and training. In my opinion, soft skills like changing behaviours, communicating effectively, and encompassing emotional intelligence are best learned through feedback and mentorship. In my experience, these are quite often the most difficult for people to grasp.

Describe a day at work: In the gaming industry and particularly in the Technology organisation, change is inevitable. This means my day-to-day is always changing!

My role is focused on three areas:

1. People 2. Strategic Planning 3. Global Initiatives 

The people part is where I harness my EQ and advocate for all employees within the Tech organisation, help cultivate the leadership team, and nurture relationships with our studios, labels, and customers. As a company, we’re currently hiring a lot of new staff, so I interview a lot of candidates for our open roles in Technology. This ensures we’re finding the right talent to make our 2K family even better.

Speaking of which, check out our current open roles in Dublin and reach out if you want a referral - Some days, I’m on Zoom lending an empathetic ear and offering advice; other days, I’m providing guidance to senior leaders on how to increase their reach in the organisation. Sometimes I deliver All-Hands strategy meetings to our Technology department.

Each day is different, but one thing remains constant and true: Zoom!

Strategic planning is where I leverage my pragmatism, organisational skills, and focus to help craft and execute the Vice President’s goals and ensure they are aligned to the overarching company mission. Defining my team’s goals and ensuring they are communicated to the wider audience is top of mind, but I am equally ready to pivot and reprioritise when needed.

I often need to understand how stakeholders outside tech operate and bridge the gap between our tech functions. Herding cats, keeping timelines on point, and getting stuck in the trenches is all part of the job. Getting over the finish line always feels really good!

Our global initiatives define our company’s success, boost employee morale, and provide a competitive edge. Employee engagement is at the centre of all that, and it’s near and dear to my heart. I’m the co-lead of a newly launched Women in Gaming Employee Resource Group (ERG) at 2K. I recently met every tech employee face-to-face to gather earnest feedback. I helped define and execute a Technology hiring process. And, right now, we’re in the middle of revamping our communications strategy to keep our employees and customers informed and involved. All of these important initiatives weave into my day-to-day, and hopefully they help retain talent and keep the staff better connected.

What do you wear to work? 2K is a fun, flexible company, so your wardrobe is entirely a personal choice. You might see me sporting it up in our NBA 2K22 hoodie or just casual wear with lots of accessories! As an inclusive organisation with a core value of ‘come as you are’, the fashion choices are endless.

Is your industry male or female dominated? Historically, the computer and video games industry has been male-dominated, but we are seeing improvements along the way. As an example, 2K is committed to several global diversity and inclusion initiatives, including employee resource groups. I am proud to co-lead the 2K Women in Gaming ERG, which has launched successful global events, tripled its internal membership, and is helping to shape the gaming industry to be more supportive and inclusive for women.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10. My role is fast-paced and requires efficiency to keep everything moving in the right direction. This role is suited for someone who is high-octane, a strong multi-tasker, and a flexible navigator who can empower, harmonise, and assert authority when appropriate.

Do you work with others or on your own? The pandemic has changed how we work with others, so this is an interesting question. Since joining 2K, I’ve worked remotely from Cork City and share space with my husband. He’s also been working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be challenging at times, but mostly it’s been great. 

We’re able to go walking together, make meals, and eat together. Plus, I know there’s always someone home to accept the endless Amazon purchases!

From a work standpoint, I am really lucky to have one of my team members based in Cork who is also working remotely, plus an amazing team waiting to meet us when the Dublin office reopens. Zoom has kept us all connected, so I continue to have one-to-one meetings with my immediate team and other leaders in North America. I’m never lonely. ;) When do you plan to retire or give up working? Retirement has become a topical conversation in my home during the pandemic, including all the travel restrictions. I like to say I’m Canadian by birth, Irish by choice, and French by marriage! With that setup, we hope to be in a position to retire early and spend half our time on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the other half in the South of France where my husband was raised. I’m a firm believer in having goals, so working toward that keeps me excited for my ‘golden’ years!

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