Holly Nadeau has worn many hats throughout her career journey. From Global Mobility, Talent Acquisition and HR Business Partner to becoming the Talent Acquisition Manager here at Ubisoft Toronto! She reflects on her career’s biggest learnings, what it means to be a woman in the video game industry, and shares advice for anyone looking to join UbiTO!
Hey Holly! What do you do as a Talent Acquisition Manager? And how long have you been with Ubisoft Toronto?
As Talent Acquisition Manager I lead a superstar team comprised of Talent Acquisition Specialists, the Campus and Early Career Programs team and a few of our awesome HR Interns.
Our goal is simple: Find amazing and diverse talent for the studio through internal or external recruitment.
We source, use data, and apply industry trends to inform our approach as we partner with the studio leadership to ensure a strategy that meets their needs. Although I have only been at UbiTO since July 2022, I’ve had a lot of different HR experiences in my career. The thing the draws me to Talent Acquisition is the magic that happens when you find the right person for a position and all the possibilities that are unlocked for the individual and the business. I love seeing teams come together and accomplish great things!
What drew you to Ubisoft Toronto?
The people and the culture! I wanted to work somewhere where I woke up excited about my day, energized to contribute and tackle challenges, and somewhere that was fun! Since joining, I can truly say that our strength is our people! The people we work with here at Ubisoft are fantastic, passionate and super talented.
Ok, let’s get to what everyone’s wondering — What are some of the key things people should keep in mind or prepare for in their job applications and interviews?
At Ubisoft we believe that skills and competencies show up in different forms and can be based on different experiences. Even if you feel like you might not have all the skills or experience listed in a job posting – don’t sell yourself short, take the chance! Review the responsibilities in the job posting, take note of your key skills, competencies, experiences and how those align with what we are looking for. Don’t bury game experience or a passion project at the bottom of your resume or application. When preparing for the interview, do a bit of research and spend some time on our website to learn about Ubisoft Toronto. Most importantly, we want you to be your authentic self and let us know what makes you unique!
For more information on our recruiting process, click here.
What did you do before working at Ubisoft Toronto? How did you break into the video game industry?
For about 15 years I worked for one of the world’s largest mining companies. I had all sorts of HR roles including Global Mobility, Talent Acquisition, Benefits & HRIS, and HR Partner. Throughout my career journey I was able to learn a lot and got the pleasure to work with some really great people. Although I am still learning, and have ways to go, I was able to transfer my previous skills into the role here at Ubisoft, and so the transition has been fairly smooth into a new chapter of my life here in the gaming industry. I’m excited to see what’s next!
What are some tips you’d give to someone hoping to land a similar role to yours?
I took a lot of chances with different roles in my career which gave me a variety of experiences and helped me realize what I love about HR (and what I don’t). I continue and push myself to say “yes” to opportunities even if they seem scary or difficult. There is no growth in comfort, and no comfort in growth. So, challenge yourself, be open to feedback, and always try to think about the bigger picture!
What is the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome in your career and how did you do it?
Firstly, confidence. Like many others, I struggle with imposter syndrome, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt 100% confident in any position I’ve had. Can’t say that I’ve overcome that entirely, but I have come a long way and I’m a work in progress!
Secondly, as a female working in traditionally male dominated industries, I had to work that much harder to have my voice heard, establish credibility and find my seat at the table. The biggest enabler for me has been having empathy, building connections and finding common ground with others.
Don’t be afraid to speak up, take chances, make mistakes and ask for help. Everyone is trying to figure things out as best they can, so help out others while you’re at it! I also try to take a positive and constructive approach to my work, it’s normal to feel frustrated or disappointed from time to time but try not to dwell on that.
What surprised you most when you joined Ubisoft Toronto?
In my first week we had a HR appreciation lunch and an “AFK Thursday” get-together, where all studio members were invited – I was blown away by it all. It is so wonderful to see a company take tangible actions like this to recognize and appreciate their people.
While March is Women’s History Month, gender diversity is a year-round priority at Ubisoft Toronto and a core focus for your team. Can you share why gender diversity at our studio is so important and what steps the studio is taking towards achieving our goals?
Teams that are gender diverse make better and faster decisions and solve problems more effectively. They bring different viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences that inform their thought process. Diverse teams also are more reflective of our players and in turn we will see more representation in our games. From a talent acquisition perspective, gender diversity helps us meet our resourcing needs by ensuring a broad talent pool to hire from. Ultimately, all these reasons ensure that Ubisoft is more successful at what we do!
All that said, it’s not an easy task to build gender diverse teams. There aren’t as many women in gaming, and sometimes, they are more junior than our current need requires which can be a barrier to leadership positions. This requires us to think differently and more creatively to meet our goals. Here are some steps that are being taken at the studio-level:
- Applying inclusive hiring guidelines to our recruitment, and rolling out tools to reduce unconscious bias
- Using inclusive language in job postings and ensuring diverse interview panels
- Ensuring a varied sourcing pipeline (eg: avoiding a disproportionate number of candidates received through referrals as people tend to refer those in the network who tend to be similar to them)
- Reviewing our recruitment practices in our Campus and Early Career programs such as NEXT and Develop at Ubisoft and updating where needed to promote diversity and inclusion.
- Ensuring equitable gender diversity in our newly launched internal mentorship program, which enables us to invest in and nurture our studio talents to support their development goals with local expertise and guidance.
What do you do to relax?
My husband and I have three children, that includes Jackson who is almost 7 and my twins Hayden and Dylan who are 3 ½, so not a whole lot of “relaxing” happens. That said, I do love to cook and make bread and you can usually find me listening to my favorite true crime podcast while I do it (where are my Murderinos at?)
What’s one game that’s left a lasting impact on you?
My water broke and I went into labour with my son Jackson while playing GTA 5. It’s hard to forget that moment and definitely one that has left a lasting impact haha!
People of Ubisoft Toronto is a series featuring studio members from a variety of projects and backgrounds as they share their experiences at our studio, perspective of the video game industry and, perhaps, even a sneak peek of what they’re working on!
Our studio values diversity and believes in embracing differences to build stronger and more creative teams. We welcome people who would like to join us and redefine the future of games. Visit our careers page for more information on open roles and how to apply. To know more about our studio members and culture, click here.