Emily Jacometti

Emily Jacometti

Co-Founder of Flavour Gamification

I love a challenge, that is why we use game mechanics and storytelling to help people learn, solve complicated problems and change behaviour.

Tell us about the venture/ business/ initiative you have started...

After back-packing through China with my best friend, I returned to a well thought out career and life path. I found neither very appealing nor the thought of just going through the motions with a man that wasn't the love of my life, working a job I wasn't thrilled about, gave me a sinking feeling. But as these things go, an opportunity (disguised as a lot of hard work) presented itself; what if I could be part of something small with the potential to have a positive impact on the world?

It only took one summer evening talking to Jain van Nigtevegt to completely turn my life around. I quit my job, broke up my relationship and moved back in with my parents; I was now officially an entrepreneur.

Years of bread with peanut butter followed while we looked for our voice, it turned out it was simple; we teach people things through gaming, we change behaviour and make sure that the change lasts. If we use fancier words, we talk about societal impact, or gamification.

The essence is always the same; we use gamification and storytelling with our own design method to create heroes. Because heroes will make sure we change big problems.

What is your definition of success? What advice would you give to your younger self about "success"?

Success is the freedom to change your path, and when you make it to the top, you reach behind you to give a hand to the ones following you up the mountain.

What challenges have you encountered on your journey and how have you overcome them? Is this a common challenge in your industry? How can we tackle it?

A journey to success is never a straight line, it has its ups and downs and along the way we lost some of our companions, some to stress, lack of faith in what we were trying to accomplish and some even to the call of dollars elsewhere.

I found that the people that are still here truly believe in the positive impact, (the children that can navigate the internet more safely because of something we have taught them, for example.)

The biggest challenge for me has been to find the motivation to get up every day, be with people and head a company on its travel while never seeing myself represented. Not in boardrooms, not in IT, not in trying to find capital and not in the Games industry. No young women in positions of power, no women of colour, no young mothers, no women at all.

Over the last decade, I've seen small changes, especially in-house. I see more diversity, more inclusiveness, more representation. But when I venture out into the real world, the change comes too slow.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? If so, are there any examples you can give and tips you can share with other women on how to overcome it?

Yes, we all feel like we are just faking it till we make it. But do we ever feel like we've made it? For years I struggled with Imposter syndrome, always being the youngest, always being the only woman and the mansplaining didn't help the situation either.

Until I realised, we're all just doing whatever. Nobody has the answer, why should we have all the answers? What happened to be learning from others, trial and error, experience and collaboration?

I don't need to have all the answers, I need to be open and honest about my abilities and have faith in my experience, it shows that whenever I ran into something I didn't know, I figured it out somehow. I need to trust that that will always happen in the future.

Are there women you look up to? Who are they and why are they inspirational to you?

I love looking at inspiring women, there are so many. Some very visible like Michelle Obama, Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Emma González, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jacinda Ardern, Gillian Tans, etc. They are all trailblazers in their field, politics, IT, education and life.

For every 1 that makes it, 100 have failed. As women we are held to much higher standards. We're expected to behave a certain way, dress, converse, raise a family, work and express ourselves.

These women have all had a positive impact and are responsible for changes in perception, society and instigated action in the others around them.

What are your thoughts on work-life balance? Do you apply any techniques to achieve work-life balance?

In modern society balance is an illusion, sorry to burst your bubble. Compared with going to the Ikea, stealing all the coloured balls from the ball-pit for kids, taking them home and dumping them out on the kitchen table. Now YOU try and keep them on the table, impossible.

Balance is an illusion, yes we can have it all, we just can't do it all (at once). Balance is acceptance that you can't do everything, you have to make choices. What has the highest priority? Is it checking your mail? Drinking a glass of wine with friends? Having a meal with your partner, running in the garden with the kids, closing a deal, going to the gym?

Every day, we accept that a few of those coloured balls are going to hit the floor. Leave them there I say, just make sure the ones that matter stay on the table.

How did you know it was the right time to start your own venture/ initiative? How would you advise someone who is just starting out with a project outside of their regular 9-5 job?

I didn't, I took a leap, without any financial security, experience or prospects. All I had was support from my family and friends and faith that I had nothing to lose.

Every birthday party, a person always asks me advice on the 'perfect time' to start. What you're really asking me is if there is a guarantee, there never is. The best way to do something is to do it (or accept that you don't do it).

What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?

Honestly, I am on my own journey, learning something new every day. The only thing I can do is communicate where I'm going and make sure there is room for others. As a woman I have some fierce beliefs that impact everything I do, impact the person that I am, impact my leadership.

One of the fundamental things I believe is that there is enough sun to shine on all of us. As women when we enter the boardroom we should not be fighting over the 1 seat assigned to us, we should unite in fighting for more seats.

As an entrepreneur, I want to work with amazing people, smarter than me, better than me, so I can learn something every day.

Everything I learn I give to others, I hope it offers them value. I share my success, but that's easy. I also share my failures, because if I show the challenges I run into and how I failed, someone else might choose a different path and succeed for all of us.

What mistakes do you see people make when they first start their own venture/ intiative/ business and what advice would you give to women so that they can avoid making these mistakes?

Starting is always trial and error, the assumption that there is a 'right way' to do it would mean the end of innovation. I believe that if you truly think you can accomplish something, you make mistakes until you get it right.

Are there any resources/ books you would like to recommend for the women who read your #AspiringWomen article?

Currently on my nightstand;
1. The scale up bible

2. Simon Sinek

3. Rutger Bergman - Utopia for realists

4. Conn Iggulden - Wolf of the Plains

Is there anything else you would like to share with other women on their journey to success?

You are amazing! Go for it! Be the best you can be! Girls run the world<3


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