Board of Directors
Executive Director, GaymerX
Katie Kaitchuck is the Executive Director of GaymerX. She is a staunch proponent of incorporating more robust Diversity & Inclusion initiatives into the games industry. An AmeriCorps VISTA alumna, she is a seasoned nonprofit and gaming industry professional having honed her skills at Ubisoft, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and Feminist Frequency.
In her early days at GaymerX, she organized the –now yearly– GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program, sending LGBTQIA+ game developers to Game Developers Conference in San Francisco since 2018. Now as Executive Director she has traveled the country speaking at gaming conventions and advocating for more and better queer representation in games. In the coming years, she plans to expand the scholarship program to be a more holistic offering, ensuring that participants can travel and be housed safely while in San Francisco. She is also in the process of developing exciting new programs to add to GaymerX’s portfolio.
Founder and President, AbleGamers
Mark Barlet has 25 years of hands-on experience in the technology and assistive technology field. Widely regarded as one of the leaders of 508 accessibility, Mark manages a team of high-end accessibility experts through his veteran-founded business The Barlet Group, as well as the highly trained assistive technology experts at AbleGamers. In 2004, Mark founded AbleGamers after Multiple Sclerosis attacked his best friend, Stephanie Walker, nearly taking away her ability to interact and connect through video games. His vision was to ensure that no one with a disability would ever be without answers on how to conquer disabilities and continue enjoying one of the world’s largest past times.
From 2005-Present, Mark has traveled around the globe giving speeches about accessibility, assistive technology, and videogame adjacent disability topics for organizations such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and other Fortune 500 companies. He brings the inspirational message of his perseverance, bringing fun and returning joy to those in need. This vision for an inclusive world has won awards from AAPD, the mayor’s office of New York City, and many more for excellence in leadership. He has been interviewed by The Atlantic, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and dozens more. During the summer of 2016, Mark and his AbleGamers partner, Steven Spohn, were invited to the White House to discuss accessibility and technology. Mark has infused his passion into a global movement changing the way multibillion-dollar companies operate to stop ignoring accessibility.
Games Accessibility Specialist
Cherry Thompson is a games accessibility specialist/developer with a keen focus in systems design and user experience. They’ve worked on projects of various sizes from small indies like Gambrinous (Cardpocalypse), GlitchMN (HyperDot) to AAA such as Guerrilla Games (Horizon Zero Dawn), Media Molecule (Dreams), Crystal Dynamics (Marvel’s Avengers), Ubisoft and more.
Cherry is also a successful public speaker at conferences like GDC, Full Indie, PAX, a11yTO and internal to many studios. They’re bisexual and non-binary and have a passion for making both games and the industry inclusive of everyone. Their hobbies consist of cake eating, bird watching and adventuring with their one eyed cat, Odin.
Pronouns: He/Him or They/Them
James Nieves has been leading local gaming communities since a young age and has proudly attended every GaymerX convention held in North America. They led video game operations for GaymerX East, Flame Con’s gamer lounge and most recently organized events for Samsung 837 and local NYC gaming communities. James has a deep love for classic video games and enjoys retro-inspired indie titles.
JJ’s Bio coming soon.
Programming Coordinator & Diversity Liaison
Tanya is the Founder and Director of I Need Diverse Games, a not-for-profit foundation based in Chicago. She’s part of Rivals of Waterdeep, the programming coordinator for OrcaCon; and often speaks on issues of diversity, feminism, race, intersectionality & other topics at conventions. Her writing appears in Uncanny Magazine, Polygon, Vice Gaming, Mic, Waypoint, Wiscon Chronicles, Paste Games and other publications. She’s also the editor of Game Devs and Others: Tales from the Margins, an anthology featuring stories from marginalized game developers and others adjacent to the industry. The book released on June 13th, from CRC Press.
You can also support Tanya DePass on Patreon.
Culture & Operations Director
Brian Kunde is GaymerX’s Culture & Operations Director. He develops policies and training to make our events more inclusive and engaging. Brian also helps manage and train the Sprites, GaymerX’s volunteer corps, for our events and conventions. Brian has worked with GaymerX since their inaugural event in 2013, providing guidance on ways to foster dialogue and build culture that reflects GaymerX’s values.
In addition to his work with GaymerX, Brian has over a decade of experience in non-profit human services where he practices as a licensed social worker specializing in mental health, trauma, and LGBTQ+ issues.
Soraya Een Hajji
Soraya Een Hajji directs the Sprite Program, GaymerX’s event volunteer corps. She founded the volunteer program at the first GaymerX in 2013. Drawing from her years of experience staffing games industry events, she worked to create a volunteer program deeply rooted in principles of community, support, and care. Outside of GaymerX, she works as the Brand Manager for online virtual tabletop Roll20.
Social Media Coordinator
Steven Harmon is an independent game designer and artist from Denver, Colorado. Steven was originally one of GaymerX’s first year GDC scholars but now serves as GaymerX’s part time pixel pusher doing illustrations, posters, and social media when he’s not busy with his studies at USC.
Eugenio Vargas is the Tabletop Coordinator for GaymerX East. An actor and music director by trade, he came to the gaming industry relatively late in his career. Eugenio’s work in Dungeons and Dragons media can be found on iTunes on his podcast The Last Refuge and on various Twitch channels including Variant Roles and Encounter Roleplay.
In 2017, Eugenio brought tabletop gaming to GaymerX East. Now, as the coordinator, he hopes to continue to expand the tabletop offerings at GaymerX’s NYC conference with an eye specifically to finding LGBTQ+ designers and story tellers who can come showcase their work to a queer and queer-friendly audience.