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Crafting a Crushin' Career

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Say Hej to Anna, Head of Technology Strategy and Operations, and continuously crushin' it. Most offices catch up over coffee, but we caught up on the sun-lit terrace in our London Kingdom over some delicious sweet treats, a must if you ask us when it comes to getting to know each other.

So, Anna, set the scene a little for us... Please tell us all about you!

I’m originally from New Zealand and have been living in London for nine years now. Outside of work, I try to balance my love of food and wine with a bit of exercise and have grand plans for transforming our new roof terrace into a garden.

My role at King is leading the Strategy & Operations team in Shared Tech. This includes long-term strategy, annual planning, communications and reporting, organisational change projects and supporting leadership meetings, on-sites and events like KingfoMarket. I also oversee the PMO team, which manages complex projects across Shared Tech (like the Google Cloud migration and our new Generative AI programme) and the Service Delivery team, who support outsourcing across all of King’s game teams and Development Services. I’m lucky to work alongside an incredible team and have support from fantastic partners in HR, Talent Acquisition & Finance.

Before this role, I’d spent my whole working life as a lawyer – I qualified straight out of uni, spent my first four years in law firms and then moved in-house as I wanted to use my legal knowledge in a business environment instead of just working with other lawyers. I remember that first week in-house, meeting my new colleagues and realising for the first time how many different jobs existed than I’d ever heard of – that’s what first planted the seed in my mind of doing something else eventually. I ended up spending another 10 years in legal roles across the energy, retail, and drinks manufacturing industries before making my way to King.

Love it. When did you first join King and what role did you start in?

I first joined King in 2018, as Senior Counsel, Commercial (Director) in the Legal team. I was a contractor initially and became a permanent Kingster in 2019.

Talk us through your career journey at King.

I spent three and a half years in the King Legal team, working on a real range of commercial work – platform agreements, publishing deals, marketing and creative services, outsourcing, software licences, office leases – you name it. Over time, I also took on primary legal support for the advertising business, worked with different game teams (special shout out to Farm!) and on the Royalty programme. I was open with my then-manager that I didn’t see myself ending up as a lawyer and eventually wanted to move into an operational role, so he was able to help me spot projects and opportunities where I could build my internal network and my non-legal skills – often this meant solving something complicated like the sunset of our Royal Games website.

As I approached the three-year mark at King, I’d learned a lot and sought a new challenge. My old pattern had always been to change jobs and move industries when I was ready to learn something new, but I didn’t want to leave King and it felt like the right time to make that long-anticipated career change. I started talking to colleagues across different teams about what other roles my skills could be a fit for, and then in late 2021, my predecessor in my current role left and the role got advertised. I almost didn’t apply but one of those colleagues put me in touch with Steve (Collins, King CTO) for an initial chat and the rest is history!

So what’s made you stay here so long?

It’s a cliché, but I’ve stayed at King longer than any other employer and it’s because of the people and culture. To be more specific – I love the open-mindedness Kingsters have towards trying new things, learning and experimenting, and I’m inspired by the huge range of talent and experience we have and the fun we create for our players every day.

Staying at King made my career transition much less daunting. It was (and is) still a learning curve, but because I already knew people, the business and how things worked, I could focus on learning the new parts of my role. Also, because people knew me and that I was making a big change, I got a lot of positive encouragement and support.

What's the best piece of professional advice you've ever received?

Keep your eyes/mind open to opportunities! You never know what’s going to spark your interest. When thinking about changing career, I also found the advice to think about the skills and tasks you enjoy the most and use those as the basis for pivoting really helpful.

What are you most excited about for the future at King?

I’m excited to see us keep pushing the boundaries of what people think is possible for casual games, and to help keep evolving our organisation and ways of working to support an even better experience for our players and for our teams. And, of course, KingfoMarket 2024!

KingfoMarket 2024 is going to be epic! What piece of advice would you give yourself five or 10 years ago?

Ask the people whose roles you think sound interesting more questions about the skills they use day-to-day – you might be surprised how many of the skills are transferable between roles. And when applying for a role that's not like anything you've done before – focus on what you can do, not the couple of points you aren’t 100% sure about in the job description!

Inspired by Anna’s epic journey as a Kingster? Grab a slice of the action for yourself! Swipe, switch and match your next opportunity here in the Kingdom and head over to the jobs section to see our sweet open roles.