Square Enix team members talk Women’s History Month pt 3

In the final part of this series, three more members of the Square Enix team share their experiences and inspirations for Women’s History Month.
By Square Enix

For Women’s History Month, members of the Square Enix team have been sharing their experiences of working in the games industry - and the people that push them onwards.

As the month comes to a close, three more members of the team from across the business add their voices to the discussion.

Ana Horta, Associate Sales Analyst

How did you get your start in the games industry?

My journey into the gaming industry officially started just over a year ago when I saw that the Square Enix team was hiring on LinkedIn. I was nervous to apply, but I took that leap of faith.

This is my first real experience in the industry, and it’s been amazing! I get to work alongside so many wonderful people on a day-to-day basis.

Who are your favorite video game or movie characters?

Sora from the KINGDOM HEARTS series is my favorite character!

I truly admire his strength in his ability to connect with others through empathy and understanding. In addition to his loyalty for his friends, he puts in the work and effort to grow. Because of those characteristics, he inspires me to do my best as well!

What do you find exciting about Women’s History Month?

The most exciting part about celebrating Women History’s Month is that it gives space to empower women. We can spotlight and appreciate our various voices, backgrounds, and accomplishments.

How has Women’s History Month affected you?

The presence of women in high-level roles motivates me in my career goals. When I see other women in high-level roles within the company and industry, it energizes me to keep striving for more.

These women are role models and seeing that they’ve accomplished these feats demonstrates that I too can be in those roles someday.

Who are your female role models?

I always go to my resilient mother whenever I have concerns or worries. Her warmth and reassurance gives me strength to keep going even when things are tough.

In addition, my fantastic women colleagues here at Square Enix inspire me every day. Many share similar experiences and have become my mentors, teaching me how to navigate my role and the industry. I am so thankful to have all these amazing women in my life!

What advice would you give to women who want to get into the industry?

Please do not be afraid to connect with other industry professionals on LinkedIn. When you connect with others through shared interests, you can create meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime.

Before applying, I remember I reached out to someone from Square Enix who also loved the KINGDOM HEARTS series just like me. She gave me valuable advice and now she's a precious friend and colleague. Making those connections are powerful!

What can everyone do to support gender equality?

There are various ways we can uplift and support other women: aid their professional development, build their confidence, amplify their ideas with credit, and guide them through any systematic hurdles they might face as they advance in their careers.

Having that support will make an immense difference!

Hinano Akiyama, Project Communications & Events, Assistant Manager

How did you get your start in the games industry?

Working between languages (Japanese/English) has been a passion throughout my life, and later job roles, from tech to film.

Coincidentally, I was in grade school at the time a family member worked on the VFX for "FINAL FANTASY: The Spirits Within", and it was then that I was introduced to the fantastic world of FINAL FANTASY.

Everything from the delightful earwormy tune from Gold Saucer in FF7, Jungian themes in Xenogears, to raising the fastest chocobo in Chocobo Stallion all stuck with me as a core memory.

More than 20 years later, I was weeks away from moving 300+ miles to begin a Masters in Conference Interpretation when a position opened up within the Project Communications and Events department at Square Enix. I applied, and it all began from there!

Who are your favorite video game or movie characters?


Her introspective journey of resilience and self-discovery, leading to her triumphantly taking back the reigns of her life, as well as finding love in her own ways (as a mother and protector) make her an especially unforgettable female protagonist.

What do you find exciting about Women’s History Month?

Being able to hear and learn from other inspiring women, whose trials and tribulations have paved the way to shape a space that lets us flourish.

Taking agency of my womanhood and allowing myself the time to further reflect on what this means for me.

The societal impact of collectively acknowledging women's efforts and contributions to our industry. Having the opportunity to participate in posts like this, where future women in games could possibly be uplifted and inspired, too!

Who are your female role models?

My most direct female role models have been the women on my team and beyond that I work and interact with day to day.

As a newcomer to both the company and the gaming industry, there’s so much to gain and learn from my peers, and I find that my fellow female colleagues have been very influential in doing so. They give me the strength and motivation to keep learning and growing further in my role.

What advice would you give to women who want to get into the industry?

Be vocal! Take action. Look out for ways in which you can expand on your own skills and talents to match a need in the company.

Talk to staff at conventions and build relationships. Seek out women that are working at your dream companies on LinkedIn and send them a message to connect and chat. You will be surprised at how many of us are delighted to share our knowledge and help each other. Keep your dreams alive.

What can everyone do to support gender equality?

Listen to women. Learn from women. Lift women up.

Embrace the thought that diversifying perspectives and placing women in decision maker roles will make for the creation of even more relatable, more compelling titles with universal reach and impact.

Yoko Hashimoto - Regional Manager, Head of HR/Executive Office/Administration

How did you get your start in the games industry?

I grew up playing music, so I knew music from DRAGON QUEST and FINAL FANTASY, and the importance it has within those series.

I came to LA and worked at various industries before a recruiting agency introduced me to Square Enix as an executive assistant to the CEO. I went on to support other executives and eventually, took the role of head of HR, as Regional Manager in North America.

What do you find exciting about Women’s History Month?

It helps us as a company to think about how to cultivate a healthy workplace and develop goals that will support women in the company, as well as increase female employee satisfaction and engagement.

How has Women’s History Month affected you?

It reminds me that there are many potential mentors and resources around me, and I can learn many great things from the women (scientists, writers, athletes, designers etc) who helped shape the modern world and opened up more opportunities around the globe.

Who are your female role models?

Every single woman that I have met and worked with.

For example, co-workers in the LA office, my counterpart in the Japan and Europe offices, my friends, Moms at my kids’ schools, local community / PTA members… all have inspired me, helping me to be brave and get more out of my career.

It’s more important than ever for women to support each other. Utilizing the power of community is the catalyst that will evoke change and equality, and help women flourish in both our careers and personal development.

What advice would you give to women who want to get into the industry?

Don’t be afraid! There are many wonderful people in our company and industry who will support you!

What can everyone do to support gender equality?

In our company, it’s about creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions to each other.

Everyone is different, everyone is special.

Many thanks to Ana, Hinano and Yoko for their insight.

And thanks to all the amazing women who have previously shared their own experiences. Be sure to read the other parts of the series here:

Read part 1 Read part 2

if you’d like to join us, check our careers site for current opportunities - we’d love to hear from you!