Michelle Sandford is a Tedx Speaker, Tech Girl Superhero, Microsoftie and now one of MCV’s Most Influential Women in Games.
Michelle is a Technology Evangelist who acts as an API between technology and the world. She is the Vice Chair of the Australian Computer Society in WA. She advocates for STEM, the Games Industry and Developers. Michelle has presented at around fifty conferences and events around the world on Technology, Inclusive Design, Diversity and Gaming in the past twelve months. She tries to stay one jump ahead of the Game(boy) by thinking outside the (X)box. She surfs both waves and webs. And her motto is “Change the World or Go home!”
It has been a very busy year for Michelle – In the past 12 months she has set-up her social enterprise “TechOutsiders” which aims to raise the profile of people working in Tech outside the industry defaults. She has been the Vice Chair for Australian Computer Society WA and Lead, organised, chaired, MC’d ten Diversity and Inclusion Events per year on behalf of ACS as a volunteer. She influences and guides the Branch Executive to be more diversity-minded, and more inclusive of all members of the industry. She partners with other women’s organisations to run joint events and share information of those events and all others with the community. She suggested a greater Diversity of Speakers for the ACS WA Conference and there was absolute parity – 50% women and 50% men. She was part of the inaugural Governors Roundtable for Women in STEM at Government House. She spoke at GCAP on the topic of Diversity and Inclusive Design. She is a Tech Girl Superhero – encouraging countless school girls to build Apps and follow a career in STEM. As well as being part of Team Microsoft, Michelle has been the face of TGAS in WA for the past 2 years, speaking at many schools and events in her flowing red cape (Red cape for formal occasions, blue for casual appearances). Speaking at Microsoft Ignite this year Michelle still found time to plug the Indie Games Community in her video interview with @meetdux which is currently more popular on YouTube than the Locknote Speakers interview was.
Speaking with MCV Pacific, Michelle said, “The highlight of the previous 12 months had to be speaking at GCAP on the topic of Inclusive Design during Melbourne International Games Week.”
“A few people from the audience came up and congratulated me on being able to cram so much inclusivity into one short talk. I definitely tried to go far wider than just ‘Women in Tech’. It made it way more interesting for me to research and prepare the talk. I was so delighted to be selected to speak, and gratified that the Games Community thought I brought something of value to the Conference.”
Continuing, Michelle reflected on her inclusion in this year’s Women In Games List, The Game Changers, “I feel privileged to be part of this year’s list – there are so many amazing people who I am reduced to fan-girl worship when I am near them because of their sheer gloriousness, to be there amongst them, and even instead of them – well I am breathless with the honour. The stuff I do to highlight, support and raise up the Games Industry and the people within it is easy to do because of the people that make up the community – it’s a real pleasure to showcase the work being done because it is all so damn good!”