Our General Manager: Q&A with Jessamyn Acebes
Meet our new General Manager Jessamyn Acebes! As General Manager, Jessamyn oversees our operations and development platform at GameChanger Charity.
We sat down with Jessamyn to discuss her origins in gaming at UCI, her new role as our General Manager, and whats coming up for the future of GameChanger Charity.
Where are you from?
My mom and I immigrated to the states from the Philippines in my younger years. Shortly after we settled my dad followed, along with my grandmother who currently lives with my mom here.
When I first moved to the US, I lived in the downtown LA area, attended high school in LA and Long Beach, then attended the University of California Irvine for my undergraduate degree.
How did you get involved in the Gaming industry?
My dad was an avid gamer in the early 90s and late 80s. I was influenced by this quite a bit and went on to play classics such as the Diablo and StarCraft franchises. Because of this influence I spent a lot of time in middle school hosting and organizing tournaments for games like Smash Bros Melee, Goldeneye and Super Monkey Ball. During this time I was also very active in the online communities for these games and other titles, and also attended conventions and other local gaming-related events.
During my undergrad at UCI, I was able to gain a lot of experience because of my heavy involvement in their esports program. I joined right when it launched, and went from being a regular arena staff member to a core program intern. I spearheaded projects like the program’s stream team, the first undergraduate UCI streaming class, Girls in Gaming Camps, the International Collegiate Competition stream for CLOL and more.
Shortly after graduating, I was hired to build and run the league operations of NASEF, which is a non-profit scholastic esports group created by UCI, the Samueli Foundation and the Orange County Dept of Ed. Most of my operations and management experience comes from this — the program had above 7,000 students involved, with unique gaming and scholastic offerings at no cost to students.
I didn’t think my gaming path could turn into a career, but it sorta worked itself out.
What’s your favorite thing about working for GameChanger Charity (GCC)?
My favorite thing about working at GameChanger Charity is that we work towards a goal that feels positive and good for all ages. Everyone is aligned about our mission of bringing joy to the isolated and disadvantaged. It also seems like everyone we end up working with also aligns with our goals – It’s a great place to work!
What does it mean to you to get to support kids during such tough times?
I’m fortunate to work in a place that champions such a good cause. It’s very important to me since I’ve been in the same situation before, both as an adult and as a child. Being sick and isolated can do a lot of harm to one’s body and mind. I’m thankful that this organization can ease that harm and spread joy, especially during these tough times where isolation is at an all-time high.
Who has had a positive impact on your career to date?
My colleagues at my previous position at the UCI Esports program have made a huge impact on my career. Without their guidance and support, I would not be where I am today in my professional journey.
What do you want to accomplish for GCC by the end of 2021? Next three years?
Our goal is to have GameChanger Charity up and running in over 250+ children’s hospitals by the end of 2021, helping to improve the daily lives of children facing life-threatening illnesses. I also hope to have GCC be at the top of mind for social impact teams in the streaming and video game space. GCC had lots of great connections in the space before we regrouped during the 2020 pandemic – I hope we can restore those connections and go beyond what we’ve done before and bring joy and relief to kids everywhere.
As for the next three years, I’m still working on that plan, but hopefully GCC will become a staple name in the gaming fundraising community!
Can you describe GameChanger Charity in your own words?
The great thing about GameChanger Charity is that it is one of those rare places where everyone is aligned on the same core mission and values. Everyone has their own personal story and reason for why we dedicate ourselves to our cause. The team is full of passionate people all sharing a similar vision of bringing joy and relief to the children and people we are working with. We are all so excited for everything GameChanger has on the horizons.