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Global Game Jam welcomes new members to board of directors

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April 11th, 2024 - International nonprofit organization, Global Game Jam, Inc® announced today that it is welcoming two new members to its board of directors, Martine Spaans and Olasunkanmi James. In what is a regular director turnover event, with individuals serving two year terms, the organization also bids a fond farewell to retiring board members Ariella Lehrer and Margaret Wallace.


“Ariella Lehrer brought a strong acumen to the board during challenging discussions, her meticulous attention to detail, and insightful perspective grounded in years of business experience served as invaluable guides as we navigated the complexities of the games industry, especially during the past year,” said Sabrina Culyba, GGJ Board President. “Similarly, Margaret Wallace was a pleasure to collaborate with; her innovative problem-solving and extensive community connections facilitated a number of fruitful collaborations and initiatives. Both Ariella and Margaret will be greatly missed on the board, and we are grateful for their generous dedication and impactful contributions.”

 

Martine Spaans, Global Game Jam Board of Directors
Martine Spaans

 

“At the same time, we are thrilled to welcome Martine Spaans and Olasunkanmi James to the board. Martine brings a wealth of experience from both the development and publishing sides of the gaming industry, and a commitment to the support of indie developers. Olasunkanmi brings a unique blend of technical expertise in software development and project management, coupled with a passion for gaming. As GGJ continues its mission to cultivate industry growth and empower game creation worldwide, Martine’s and Olasunkanmi’s voices on the board will serve as invaluable assets.”


Martine Spaans has worked in the games industry since 2006 and joined the Dutch Games Association as General Manager in 2022. Olasunkanmi James is a distinguished cybersecurity expert who has transformed eir evo’s Cyber Risk Services from inception to a benchmark of excellence, embedding resilient processes into the company’s fabric and advising the Irish government on security improvements.

 

Olasunkanmi James, Global Game Jam Board of Directors
Olasunkanmi James

 

As of 1 April, the departing GGJ board members have officially passed the torch to the incoming group of industry veterans. The GGJ board is responsible for helping the organization maintain financial stability and supporting the Executive Director’s mission to forge new strategic partnerships and build relationships with current and future sponsors. As a non-profit organization, the GGJ also supports its community through local site grants and through its accessibility fund to enable more people to participate around the world and eliminate any barriers to developing and uploading their creations to the global GGJ network.


The GGJ is the world's largest game creation event taking place around the globe boasting tens of thousands of participants (jammers) at hundreds of physical and virtual sites in over one hundred countries around the world. In January 2024, GGJ had a great year with over 34,000 jammers at 796 locations in 102 countries creating over 9,900 games in one weekend! 2024 also was also the first year with game jams on all continents around the world, including the first game jam ever held in Antarctica.


The GGJ is known for helping foster new friendships, increase confidence and opportunities within the community and is always an intellectual challenge. It encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to the global spread of game development and creativity through new technology tools and testing their skills to do something that requires them to design, develop, create, test and make a new game in a limited time span. It has been the starting point for countless game developers who have turned a moment of bravery to join their first GGJ event into a successful and sustainable career in game development.


The GGJ is rooted in the idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we can come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using the universal language of video games.