When Alisa Mirabal joined Aristocrat Gaming in 2022, she encountered a people-first work environment unlike any other she had experienced during her 20 years in the gaming industry.
“Every day, I am astonished by the kind-hearted culture here,” she said. “The approach here is one hundred percent, ‘If we can’t go as a team, then we aren’t going to go.’”
“The approach here is one hundred percent, ‘If we can’t go as a team, then we aren’t going to go.’”
Director of Product Strategy for APAC Jessica Morse has seen the same culture in action over her nine years at the company.
“Everyone has a seat at the table here,” she said. “When I came to the company from a competitor, I didn’t anticipate joining a team that wanted my opinion — but that is always the case here at Aristocrat.”
That inclusive culture has created room for Morse to advance, alongside trailblazers like Director of Operations for Oz Group of Studios Claire Mileto, who recently celebrated 15 years with Aristocrat.
Mirabal, Morse and Mileto shared their journeys with Aristocrat Gaming, insights into the company’s equitable culture and how collaboration and expertise powers the product life cycle from ideation all the way to celebrating a release.
After 20 years in the gaming industry, Alisa Mirabal has seen it all. Now at Aristocrat Gaming, Mirabal can draw on her knowledge and experience with everything from managing casino floors to consulting on profit and loss analysis to help move Aristocrat’s product into the future. Whether focused on capturing a new generation of players or considering the ecological impacts of the technology used to build the games, her eye is on the future of Aristocrat’s role as a leader in gaming.
“I am living and breathing strategy,” Mirabal said. “I am laying the five-year product strategies together with our advanced product teams — what’s next, what’s coming, what are the trends, where should we be in and outside the industry.”
Her journey to gaming: “I ended up in gaming because I wanted to run track. I went to the University of Nevada, Reno, and I found my path to majoring in casino management. It was brilliant because I got to learn a little bit about every part of running a business — a casino is essentially an entire city in one building, and I love knowing how it all comes together. I found gaming before I even turned 21, and soon I was dealing cards on the side so I could learn how the floor works.”
Her product focus: “We’re focused on exploring how different games come together. Technology advancements are resulting in players asking for and expecting different things, including the choice to be on multiple screens at the same time. For those who choose to engage, we want to create a seamless experience in this new digital world.”
“We want to create a seamless experience in this new digital world.”
On being a woman in leadership: “At Aristocrat, our culture very much values every voice, so on a daily basis, everybody has a say. Individuals are asked to speak from their experiences and are given respect for their input. I am grateful to the female trailblazers who have led the way at the company before me, and I benefit from the hard work people have done to build an inclusive environment where every opinion is valued.”
Jessica Morse fell into gaming by accident. After working in a sales job as a young adult, she was looking for something new and landed a marketing role in the gaming industry. A year later, Aristocrat Gaming approached her about an open position at the company.
“I was so impressed by the culture and opportunities that I took the job with the commercial team in the Sydney office — and that was almost nine years ago,” she said.
In the time since, Morse has grown across departments and in Aristocrat offices on three continents. After working in Sydney and London, she moved to the Las Vegas office in 2019, where she now leads a product management team.
“I grew up at Aristocrat,” Morse said. “I was very young when I started, and I have learned to believe in myself and have confidence in my abilities. I don’t have to be someone else to be successful — our leaders want us to embrace our abilities and stay true to ourselves.”
Aristocrat’s creative edge: “Our studio system is Aristocrat’s competitive edge because we don’t rely on one creative head — we have twelve. Each studio runs almost like an independent business within the Aristocrat team. It can be competitive amongst the studios, and I think that makes us successful. Each studio operates so differently — how long they take to make games, their art styles and even their approaches to mechanics are different.
“We decide who will take on which project based on the studios’ different strengths and then plan what is best for our product roadmap. When you’re working with people, it’s important to stay flexible through change. But that’s what makes it fun. You’ve got to like what you do, right?”
“When you’re working with people, it’s important to stay flexible through change. But that’s what makes it fun. You’ve got to like what you do, right?”
Celebrating success at Aristocrat: “Every time we launch a new game, particularly a big game, our teams take a trip to see them in the field. It’s a great moment to celebrate together as a team, take photos, and see players’ real-life engagement with a product that we worked so hard to make.”
In her 15 years at Aristocrat Gaming, Claire Mileto has taken on many new challenges, each with its own opportunities for growth — and the company’s collaborative and open culture has supported her along the way.
“Moving from a technical design role to a more dynamic operations role has been an adjustment,” Mileto said. “I’m now dealing with different teams in new ways and helping to facilitate their changing needs. As I learned, I found it helpful to be up front and open about what I didn’t know.”
For Mileto, those conversations often begin with one central question: “Tell me what is going on and what you need from me.”
As the teams she works with share their roadblocks and opportunities, Mileto sees new ways she can make an impact for the business — and doesn’t see a ceiling to those possibilities.
Her journey to Aristocrat: “I joined Aristocrat 15 years ago as a graduate game designer. I studied mathematics at university, and the concept of combining my area of study with a creative role was really appealing. Since then, I have grown as a game designer and eventually moved into a role leading a team of designers. My current role is a recent change where I’m now responsible for operations for our studio, encompassing project management, game design, art and software functions.”
On collaboration at Aristocrat: “To promote cross-functional engagement, we strive to make connections with our partners on a regular basis, whether it be technology teams, product marketing, sales or compliance. We have both formal and informal processes in place to make sure we are all on the same page. We utilize technology via dashboards, Sharepoint, Microsoft Teams and other technology, but found that the most effective way to collaborate is always getting together and talking through any concerns. Relationships are really key.”
“The most effective way to collaborate is always getting together and talking through any concerns. Relationships are really key.”
What sets Aristocrat apart: “At Aristocrat, we are fortunate enough to have a lot of trust from our customers. When we release new products, we have a strong pedigree of previous games which makes it easier to compare new products against older ones and allow for the best positioning. As a company we don’t take this for granted, as we know that we need to continue to provide quality games to maintain this position in the market.”