Curious, energetic and sociable

In this article of our ‘Women of the Sector’ cycle, you’ll have the chance to know more about a wonderful person and hard-working executive: Annalisa Zia (Espresso Games). G&M News invites you to read and learn about her story and her life experiences.

She thinks every company should respect and commit to upholding responsible gaming principles.
She thinks every company should respect and commit to upholding responsible gaming principles.

A motivated and energetic woman who knows how important details are, Annalisa Zia is best described by friends and colleagues as a caring and outgoing human being. She usually tries to create a positive and pleasant work environment, spreading an optimistic vibe throughout the workplace. “The result is that we became like a big family and everyone is more productive. My best friends define me as a ‘social animal’, always ready to share new adventures and special memories with them and to be by their side when they need me the most,” she highlights.

Her education was focused on words: linguistics and translation related to economy. Then, during her career, she gained experience and knowledge on issues such as sales, marketing and customer service. She has been also a traveller, working in different regions such as Europe and Oceania. If Annalisa had to describe herself professionally, she would underline her ability to work on different projects at the same time, and her goal oriented approach. She is enthusiastic on facing new challenges every day. This is what keeps her going and motivates her. About this issue, she recalls: “When I started working as a sales and marketing manager in 2015, I already knew how important working with people was to me. Since I’ve always lived and worked in international environments, I’ve come to realize how interesting it is to collaborate with people coming from different countries and with diverse backgrounds. There is always so much to learn.”

HER DAILY TASKS AND HER PASSION FOR GAMING

As an International Business Manager at Espresso Games, she loves the diversity of her tasks. She is in charge of both researching new customers and managing existing contracts. Together with her team, she also oversees the company’s marketing activity, including planning advertising and promotional activities, and organizing shows, meetings and events. Since at Espresso they develop casino games, creativity is the core of the company. Every day, she exchanges opinions and ideas with the product team, a tight-knit group of people she is proud of being part of.

In terms of the gaming industry, she states she is attracted by its dynamism and its progressive characteristics. When she was living in Malta, she met many people who were working in this sector and saw they were highly motivated about their job. “This is what made me curious about the business. I must say that the professionals I’ve met so far make the difference: they always come up with innovative fresh ideas, they bring progress to our technology and it is nice to work in a field that is constantly growing and where meritocracy is at the base,” she admits. Responsible gaming is another relevant issue on which she reflects. In regards to this key subject, she thinks every company should respect and commit to upholding responsible gaming principles. She also believes industry parties should collaborate closely to optimize the responsible gaming regulatory framework with a synergy that safeguards players, and, at the same time, allows gaming operations and time-to-market. On Espresso’s RG policies, she specifies: “Our aim as a game provider is to support operators to deliver a fair and safe gaming experience to players,s by equipping our products with comprehensive and customizable responsible gaming and reality check mechanisms to keep up with the ever-changing regulations.”

ON GENDER EQUALITY AND WORKING AS A TEAM

This executive considers there is evidence to support the idea that gender diverse companies have better performance than those that aren’t. Thanks to their differences and as a team, men and women can achieve greater results. In this sense, she declares: “I have always believed in gender equality and I see that the iGaming business has gotten better over the years. Statistics say that parity at entry level positions was achieved, but as regards executive positions, the gender split widens out and this means that there is still a battle to fight. By working hard and showing what we can achieve, both individually and as a team, I am sure we will get there soon. I just hope that one day we won’t have to discuss this subject any more: when the discussion about gender equality is no more, hopefully, it will mean that we achieved it.”

ABOUT PEOPLE, NATURE AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

When asked about how she splits her time between her job and other occupations, she replies: “There are days when I focus more on work and days when I have more time and energy to pursue my hobbies and spend time with my friends and family. I try to analyze when I am most productive at work in order to set the right goals and priorities and to structure my week accordingly. What I learnt over the years is that I will never get my best work done if I am not satisfied with my personal life. This is why I try to live every moment to the fullest.” About hobbies, she considers herself a tireless traveler or even a ‘wanderer.’ In the last years, she has lived in Australia, New Zealand, Malta and Sweden, and has visited over 40 countries! However, she wouldn’t define herself as a ‘tourist,’ because when she travels she doesn’t look for comfort, but for intense experiences. She even likes to meet the locals and understand their lifestyle and the way they think. This has made her have a special love for South East Asia and their food. She hopes the pandemic is over soon, so she can be on the road again. Annalisa discovered other interests during the quarantine due to COVID-19. “I realized I enjoy painting and, even if I am still learning, I am hanging my creations on the walls. They are quite good, indeed! However, my greatest passion is hiking and I love getting lost in the mountains both in summer and in winter with a pair a snowshoes on. Whenever I have some free time, I just want to be close to nature. Without a doubt, mountains are the place where I find peace and reconnect with myself,” she says with a relaxed tone.

The article ends with her views on future perspectives and main goals. “At a professional level, my goal is to grow in my position, learning from my amazing mentors and not to lose sight of the big picture of what the team is working towards. We should never forget our final objective. Just the fact of having a professional goal also provides an important boost to personal development. Since I am pretty new in the industry, I wish we’ll soon be allowed to travel and attend shows and conferences to make new contacts and networking. This is an essential part of my job and I miss it a lot. When it comes to my personal life, in the next five years, I hope I’ll have the chance to keep on traveling and exploring this amazing planet. I’d love to go meet all the friends that I made in the past years that are scattered around the word. I like to think I’ll stay curious and adventurous and I hope I’ll never stop looking for those moments that make me happy,” expresses with a big smile on her face.

In one line

A book: “Shantaram” (Gregory David Roberts, 2003)

A movie: “Inception” (Christopher Nolan, 2010)

Favorite music: Indie Folk (my favorite bands are Mumford & Sons and Bon Iver). I must say I like listening to all kinds of music, as long as it moves me.

A perfume: Bvlgari Omnia Coral (tropical hibiscus and pomegranate)

A place to live: Porto (Portugal)

A place for the summer: Sicily (Italy)

A place to eat: my favorite place is in the mountains, close to where I live. It’s a family-run restaurant called ‘Cascina La Noce’, where they serve typical food from Piedmont and most of the products they use are grown locally.

A meal: if they would ask me to choose one dish to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose spaghetti with tomato sauce and a lot of Parmesan cheese on top!

A drink: Aperol Spritz (an Italian drink made with Prosecco, Soda water and Aperol liqueur)

A sport: hiking, ice skating and cross-country skiing

A teacher/mentor: my mom. She taught me to never give up on my dreams and not to be afraid of change, because I may end up losing something good, but I will probably end up gaining something better.