[UPDATED!] The Unsung (Female) Half of the D&D Team!

Now that Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes is no longer at WotC, the core D&D design team of eight people (Mike Mearls, Rodney Thompson, Jeremy Crawford, Greg Bilsland, Chris Perkins, Peter Lee, Matt Sernett, Adam Lee) is comprised solely of men. However, it's easy to overlook the other half of the team, which consists of those not so much in the limelight, and who are essential to the game's success - and who include a number of talented female staff. According to Mike Mearls, the following members of the D&D team are female.

This amounts to 9 hardworking, essential people. Mike lists them as follows:

  • all of our data collection, polling, research - done by a woman
  • our director of publishing, aka the person who decides what we make - a woman
  • our marketing senior manager - a woman
  • the four person team who created the look of 5e - women
  • our licensing director - a woman
  • our marketing art director - a woman
I don't know the names of all of them (I've listed the ones in the credits of the books below). I've dropped WotC's Jeremy Crawford a quick line, as he's been helpful with providing WotC staff names and positions before, and I'll update this if I hear back.

The books themselves mention Kate Irwin, Mari Kolkowsky, Melissa Rapier, Shauna Narciso (art directors), Liz Schuh, Shelly Mazzanoble, Hilary Ross, Laura Tommervik, Kim Lundstrom (brand and marketing), and Emi Tanji, Bree Heiss, and Trich Tochum (graphic designers), which is at least 12 women working on D&D!

UPDATE - Jeremy Crawford has responded with an awesome reply which lists many of the people involved with D&D:

We're putting the finishing touches on Princes of the Apocalypse, so I need to keep this short for now.

Many committed, talented people work on D&D products at Wizards of the Coast, both inside D&D R&D and outside it. The D&D team spans multiple departments, and it works on the roleplaying game, video games, licensed products, novels, and more. Regarding the RPG, which is my focus, the credits pages of the three core books show that many people had a hand in forming the new edition of the game.

EN World currently lists the following people being on the D&D team: Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, Greg Bilsland, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee, Matt Sernett, and Adam Lee.

That list should include Kate Irwin, Dan Gelon, and Shauna Narciso, the art directors who oversee the creation of all art for D&D. The list should also have Bree Heiss and Emi Tanji, who created the gorgeous interior designs of the core books and who worked tirelessly with me, Chris Perkins, and Kate Irwin to lay out those books. Most recently, Kate, Emi, Chris, and I have been collaborating to bring Princes of the Apocalypse to completion. The way we work, art affects text and vice versa.

The list is only complete with Richard Whitters, our amazing R&D concept artist and world builder, who works with Chris Perkins and Adam Lee in shaping the stories and worlds we plan to visit in the coming years. A fun fact: the fabulous condition sketches in the Player's Handbook are by Richard.

The list should name Chris Youngs, Ben Petrisor, Tom Olsen, and Chris Dupuis, members of D&D R&D who work with our video game partners; who work on board games, like the upcoming Temple of Elemental Evil; who review numerous licensed products, like the WizKids miniatures; and who are part of our internal testing of the RPG.

The list needs Nathan Stewart, Liz Schuh, Chris Lindsay, Shelly Mazzanoble, Hilary Ross, Laura Tommervik, Kim Lundstrom, and Trevor Kidd—all members of the D&D brand team. They collaborate with R&D on shaping product plans, creating future stories, gathering playtest data, working with freelancers and outside game studios, planning convention events, and dealing with innumerable other parts of the D&D business.

The list should mention Chris Tulach, who oversees the Adventurer's League and who has participated in many design meetings for the RPG over the years.

I could keep going and going. The core books wouldn't have made it out of the building without the D&D project managers—John Hay and Neil Shinkle—making sure all our departments were working in sync with each other. Our books would never see print without people like Jefferson Dunlap and Cynda Callaway working with our printers. Our gathering of playtest data and potential errata is always helped by Sam Simpson and the rest of our enthusiastic customer service team. We also get feedback and occasional loans of personnel from Magic R&D. For instance, James Wyatt did his final work on the Dungeon Master's Guide while on the Magic team.

And everything we do is in consultation with Bill Rose, the vice president of R&D, and with the rest of the company's executive team.

None of this begins to scratch the surface when it comes to our contractors. People like Michele Carter, Anita Williams, and Robert Schwalb aren't on our staff, but each of them played a key part in creating the fifth edition books. And currently, Dan Helmick is a full-time contractor working for us in-house.

Oh boy, I said was going to keep this short. It's easy for me to get enthusiastic when acknowledging the contributions of the diverse group of people who make D&D what it is today!


 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey







Iosue

Hero
Emi Tanji is one of graphic designers for the team. She was in the Starter Set live game, where they mentioned that she did the character sheet.
 


Phaide

First Post
Men, women, who cares. How about we all agree that regardless of gender all we want at the end of the day is the best product any game company can produce regardless of gender.
 



The four individuals in charge of the look of d&d should be given a medal.

A thank you will have to suffice from me, however.
That's actually one of my few areas complaint. Overall, 5E's got a good look, but why all the dark, dreary covers? (PH and DMG were fairly colourful.) Also, the artwork for dragonborns is unimpressive and looks copy-pasta'd over the background artwork. Finally, dem halflings.

...Yeah, okay, I'm griping about nothing.
 

JWO

First Post
Men, women, who cares. How about we all agree that regardless of gender all we want at the end of the day is the best product any game company can produce regardless of gender.

*Puts hand up, jumps up and down*

Me! I care! In an industry that's generally seen to be male dominated, with a product that many wrongly think is aimed solely at men, I think it's great that WotC are hiring women and pushing diversity.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
*Puts hand up, jumps up and down*

Me! I care! In an industry that's generally seen to be male dominated, with a product that many wrongly think is aimed solely at men, I think it's great that WotC are hiring women and pushing diversity.
The quality of the product means a lot more to me than the gender of the people working on it. I'm not gaming with any of them, so I don't really care. Now before someone accuses me of supporting a patriarchy, let me clarify: I don't care of the gender. It's not relevant to the quality of the job.

I really like 5e, so those women involved have clearly shown to be the best choices for that job, so it just sort of works out. But I don't care that they are women, men, or any mix of both. I would not want a lesser product because the company wanted to push some sort of minimum % diversity of staff.

Hire the best person for the job, be it woman or man.
 

Patrick McGill

First Post
*Puts hand up, jumps up and down*

Me! I care! In an industry that's generally seen to be male dominated, with a product that many wrongly think is aimed solely at men, I think it's great that WotC are hiring women and pushing diversity.

Exactamundo. It IS a big deal, whether an individual cares or not.
 

stinkomandx

First Post
The quality of the product means a lot more to me than the gender of the people working on it. I'm not gaming with any of them, so I don't really care. Now before someone accuses me of supporting a patriarchy, let me clarify: I don't care of the gender. It's not relevant to the quality of the job.

I really like 5e, so those women involved have clearly shown to be the best choices for that job, so it just sort of works out. But I don't care that they are women, men, or any mix of both. I would not want a lesser product because the company wanted to push some sort of minimum % diversity of staff.

Hire the best person for the job, be it woman or man.

Just a reminder that in a system that oppresses a specific group, taking a stance of "total neutrality" supports the status quo.

(also I definitely take the stance that voices of more diverse experiences benefit products, so a diverse team with "equal resumes" compared to a homogenous team is going to put out a better product anyway.)
 

Farland

Explorer
With the last name Rapier, she should work on D&D. haha!

That being said, there should absolutely be women producing content, so I don't think the listed women make up for it.
 


Frusticolus

First Post
Don't need or want artificial diversity. Meritocracy. The people hired to do a job should be the people qualified and capable to do a job, body parts should have nothing to do with it.

That assumes that all people are starting from a level playing field within an industry. Also body parts are not gender.
 

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