2021 Speakers

Dr. Kristopher Alexander

Dr. Kristopher Alexander, the Video Games Prof, has passion for connecting education with video games and esports, in a way that connects humans with their personal passion.

As a two time globally ranked video game player (Street Fighter 3: Third Strike & Lightseekers), a Red Bull supported scholar, a host for Wisecrack, and a professor at The Creative School in Toronto, Dr. Alexander is no stranger to the video games industry.

Regarding video game development, Dr. Alexander is currently working on two flagship titles, which combine his work in the field of education into an on-rails shooter, and a walking simulator.

Lucie Prunier

With 9 years of experience in the games industry behind her, Lucie started in Japan as a Localization Manager and French Translator, before working as an Assistant Manager. She then moved to London in 2015 to become a Producer, where she led projects at small, indie studios on PC, mobile, AR, VR and web games for a variety of commercial clients. She moved back to her native France in late 2019 to work at DONTNOD Entertainment as a Senior Associate Producer in the production team of the award-winning game Tell Me Why, published by Microsoft Game Studios and released on Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. She currently works with cross-project teams at DONTNOD Entertainment.

Jason Della Rocca

Jason Della Rocca is a game industry entrepreneur, funding advisor, and cluster expert. He specializes in business/partnership development, pitching/funding, and ecosystem/cluster development. As the co-founder of Executions Labs, he was a hands-on early stage investor to over 20 independent game studios from North America and Europe. Between 2000-09 he served as the executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and was honored for his industry building efforts with the inaugural Ambassador Award at the Game Developers Conference. In 2009, Jason was named to Game Developer Magazine’s “Power50,” a list which profiles 50 of the most important contributors to the state of the game industry. As a sought after expert on the game industry, Jason has lectured at conferences and universities worldwide.

Jean Leggett

Jean Leggett is the CEO and co-founder of One More Story Games, a games & edtech startup helping non-coding storytellers as young as 8 create and publish narrative games. A Jean of All Trades, she is a certified coach, stand-up comedian, international speaker, and professor of narrative design. She’s the lead writer on a game adaptation of #1 NYT bestselling author Charlaine Harris’ Lily Bard mystery series about a sexual trauma survivor coping with PTSD. Since 2018, Jean has coached 350+ game developers in leadership and career growth.

Mohsen Manjoobnia

Josh Nilson

With over 20 years in games and tech, the East Side Games (ESG) co-founder and GM is continuing to drive the business and culture at ESG. Under his leadership, ESG was one of Pocket Gamers’ 2020 Top 50 Mobile Game Makers, Globe and Mail Top 400 Canada’s Top Growing Companies, and the winner in the first ever BC Business “Business of Good Awards” in the Indigenous Prosperity category. ESG has launched several highly successful games including Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money; It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Gang Goes Mobile; Dragon Up: Idle Adventure, The Goldbergs: Back to the 80s; and Archer: Danger Phone! ESG has also just announced RuPaul’s Drag Race: The Mobile Game launching in 2021. In 2021, ESG also joined the LEAF mobile inc group (TSX:LEAF), Canada’s largest mobile game studio listed.

Bethan Sayer

Bethan is the Lead 2D artist on Assassins Creed Rebellion at Ubisoft Halifax and has been 3 years in the games industry. She creates the visuals that the players see in the game and provide visual development for characters’ environments and effects within the game. She also has experience with marketing art used for promotion and social media.

Before working for Ubisoft, Bethan was in art direction for 14 years, animated kids shows both in both 2D and 3D, as well as stop motion. Her experience branches to comics and feature films in a variety of art styles and for different age demographics.

Samantha Butler

Samantha Butler is the head Product Owner at Modest Tree, where she leads the design implementation and development of multiple software products that enable the company to build digital twins for the fulfillment enterprise initiatives. Responsible for setting, prioritizing, and evaluating the work generated by the development team, Samantha ensures the development of impeccable features and product functionality.
A graduate of the Computer Science program at Dalhousie University, Samantha has overseen the successful launch and improvement of Modest Tree’s five core products, including the launch of virtual event platform Distantly, and the launches of XR creation software Xplorer 1.0 and 2.0.

With a passion for all things video game, Samantha’s technical background, her close attention to the details that impact users the most, and her unique leadership talents are a driving force behind Modest Tree’s innovation success.

Jenny Richardson

Dr. Jenny Richardson is a Community Developer at Ubisoft Halifax currently working on the mobile game Assassin’s Creed Rebellion. After completing her PhD in Applied Psychology from Western University, Jenny took a leap and decided to pursue a career in video games. She started out as a Community Manager at Tiny Titan Studios where she quickly developed a passion for mobile game development and live operations. After a weekend visit to Halifax, Jenny and her husband Josh fell in love with the city and were thrilled to discover a thriving game dev scene here in Nova Scotia! Jenny is excited to move into their new home in Dartmouth with their bunny Marshmallow this fall.

Hamza Ayaz

Hamza Ayaz is a Business Development Executive at Modest Tree, a software development company that enables OEM and Defense leaders in Canada, United States, and Europe to transform their training using immersive digital technologies.

Hamza’s has a background in Computer Science and has a deep passion for enabling business transformation using emerging technologies. Hamza is a member of the VRARA’s Defense and Intelligence Committee and has seen first-hand the benefits which immersive technologies bring to Defense.

Bagel + Balloon

Kai Mcgilligan Oliver (aka BAGEL) is a video game designer who loves theatre. Francine Dulong (aka BALLOON) is a theatre maker who delights in games. As artistic humans and romantic partners, we strive to create performances that open up possibility and play, challenging audiences to question and dream. We value highly the combined power of theatre and games as art forms that support change and potential repatterning, making a more sustainable, equal and just planet for all.

Our past pieces include: CLOSER TIES, a VR / browser-based recreation of a London UK park exploring proximity during COVID and Acouscous, an interactive spatial audio project where audiences play with memory, balloons, giant inflatables and the sound of rain. We humbly arrived to Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki in 2020 and are slowly finding ways to be responsive art makers by, with and for our community.

Josh Richardson

Josh Richardson is a sound designer and music composer with 5 years of experience in the games industry and 6 shipped mobile game titles including Dash Quest Heroes and Kung Fu Z (Tiny Titan Studios). He is currently employed at Alpha Dog Games working on an exciting new project. He has a Master of Music Composition from Western University and lives in Halifax with his wife Jenny, who is also employed in the games industry.