We’re kicking off Latinx Heritage Month at Skillz by featuring Latinx leaders in gaming and esports. As we reflect on the importance of cultivating diversity and inclusion in this thriving industry, it’s important to recognize the influence of language, culture and traditions that have played a formative role in the lives of our leaders. This month and every month, please join us in celebrating the cultural and professional contributions of Hispanic and Latin American communities to our lives.
At age five, Miriam Aguirre emigrated from Tijuana, Mexico to South Central Los Angeles. She spent most Saturday mornings learning English from cartoons or playing video games with her cousins (sharing one Atari system). Aguirre gravitated toward math because it was a language she could understand, and it became the vehicle through which she communicated with teachers. As she grew up, she aspired to study aerospace engineering because she was fascinated with spacecraft.
Aguirre went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), becoming the first person in her family to attend college. During her first week of classes, the aerospace department heads suggested students consider computer science instead, because the aerospace industry wasn’t as lucrative and held limited job prospects upon graduation. Aguirre took their advice seriously and signed up for a computer science course. She fell in love with software engineering after just one class – due in no small part to her love of video games from an early age.
Through perseverance in a particularly competitive industry, Aguirre found a way to combine her love of games and passion for engineering to land her current role at Skillz. Joining the company in 2013 as the 11th employee, she has been instrumental in supporting diversity and inclusion efforts at Skillz, along with serving as an ambassador for Skillz in the Bay Area, Portland, and beyond.
Aguirre has been featured in publications including VentureBeat and CIO Magazine for her passion and efforts to bring diversity to gaming and technology and spoken at numerous industry conferences, including Tech Inclusion, TwitchCon, Anita Borg’s Hopper x1 Seattle, and Lesbians Who Tech. She was also named to The Alumni Society’s Class of 2018, received the mBolden Champion of Women Award, and won the 2018 Timmy Award for Best Tech Manager.
Recently promoted as Skillz CTO, Aguirre is responsible for outlining the company’s technological vision, implementing technology strategies, and ensuring that our technological resources are aligned with our most pressing business needs. Skillz empowers anyone to embrace their inner champion by providing fair competition in an increasingly digital world. Game makers of all backgrounds need a better way to monetize, and with Aguirre’s leadership, the Skillz platform changed the paradigm by aligning the game maker revenue model with the player experience, so creators can build sustainable businesses doing what they love.
The gaming industry will continue to thrive as a result of the unique individuals that work each day to create diverse content and build inclusive communities. At Skillz, we hope to lead by example through promoting diversity and inclusion in our hiring practices, helping game makers of all backgrounds establish sustainable businesses, and connecting players worldwide to embrace their inner champion.
If you’re interested in joining a passionate, diverse team that is defining the future of digital competition, head to our careers page and check out the open roles.