Operations Director, HitPoint Studios; Age 33Growing up on Cape Cod, Christina Gay worked for a ferry company during her teenage years, and by age 19, she was handling a good deal of the company’s operations, from reservations to making handbooks to hiring and firing employees.
“I realized that’s what I needed to be doing — being that operational person who runs everything in the background,” she said. Later, a stint working for a website-design firm cultivated a love for the tech environment. “I liked working with engineers, people of a technical nature. We get along well. I’m a pretty straightforward person, and they tend to be straightforward people.”
Gay later took a job with Atalasoft and worked for Bill Bither, a 2007 Forty Under 40 honoree, for more than four years. But when that company was sold to a larger corporation, “it wasn’t fun for me anymore. I needed to be on the ground again, making stuff happen.”
She found such a role with Hitpoint Studios, a growing video-game design and development firm that recently moved from Amherst to downtown Springfield.
“I love it,” she said. “I like working in technology, and I’ve been playing games since I used to break into my brother’s bedroom and put up with his teenage boy smell to play his Nintendo and chase the princess. I love being able to work with people who make games.”
While she doesn’t handle the IT side of the business, Gay does oversee everything on the administrative side, from bookkeeping to financial reporting to human resources — skills she also brings to her community work, including her role with the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, where she serves as the resident HR expert and helps guide the organization’s fund-raising efforts.
In an industry notorious for being a boy’s club, Gay said she has found a welcoming home at HitPoint, one where she can advance — and balance — her career, her volunteerism, and family time with husband Neale and 3-year-old daughter, Clara.
“They’re grown-ups at HitPoint,” she said. “They get it. They know I’m going to get things done; there’s a mutual trust that’s built up there.”
That said, “we have a laid-back atmosphere. There are so many opportunities to make your own rules and have fun and play around with things — ‘what if we did it this way?’ There are very few boundaries, not this attitude of, ‘do it this way; we’ve always done it this way.’ Some of the best things come out of that environment. It’s just so much fun to be a part of.”
— Joseph Bednar