As gaming expands both domestically and internationally, the use and influence of third-party testing labs and solutions providers has become more prevalent than ever before, and one key player in the space is BMM Innovation Group (BIG) and its new chief operations officer, Kara Matthew.
BIG is the parent company of BMM Testlabs, BIG Cyber and RG24Seven, the formation of which was announced late last year. Matthew was introduced as COO in late September, along with a slew of other new upper management hirings around the same time.
Matthew’s career path before joining the fray at BIG was circuitous yet incredibly versatile—she can now lay claim to successful stints in both the casino and video game industries, having previously spent more than 15 years at Microsoft in various roles. One of the best experiences from that time, she says, was the development of the company’s legendary Xbox gaming console.
“This was in 2000, and the Xbox had not launched yet, and it was the exciting new area of the company that everyone wanted to join,” Matthew says. “Because I was in Microsoft Operations, the Xbox product team recruited me to be part of the Xbox Operations group, which would determine how we would launch the new product.”
She then spent five years as a vice president for IGT, which recruited Matthew because of her “experience with testing and certifying video games.” After an eight-year hiatus working in the health care industry, Matthew is happy to have returned to gaming, which she says has “been a part of my professional DNA for many years.”
With a career spanning multiple sectors, Matthew maintains that relationships are always vital to achieving one’s goals.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my career is to leverage connections, and likewise, don’t burn bridges,” she says. “Regardless of the industries I’ve worked in or the positions I’ve held, connections that I’ve made along the way have been one of the most important factors in moving forward in business and in my career.”
To those who may aspire for similar careers and leadership roles, Matthew’s biggest advice is to take chances along the way, if for no other reason than to challenge yourself and get a better sense of where you should be. She explains that “sometimes you learn about where you excel by taking on new challenges,” and those often come in the form of roles that you may not have considered previously.
As we close the book on 2023 and move into 2024, Matthew will be “primarily focusing on the globalization of several areas” of BIG, and is “looking forward to leading positive change and delivering results through global collaboration and innovation.”
When she’s not working, Matthew is most likely to be engrossed in a crime novel or self-improvement book, or traveling with her husband, “always to someplace new.”