This Gamer Is Breaking Barriers in the Fast-Growing World of Esports

Arwina Mogul on how she made it happen

Arwina Mogul
(Photo: Arvin Parreno)

Name: Arwina Mogul

Job title: Co-founder and CEO, Beam

Age: 30

From: Hong Kong

Lives: Toronto

Education: Diploma in social work, Sheridan College

First job out of school: Social worker

Arwina Mogul is used to being the only woman in the room. As a gamer and entrepreneur in the world of esports—which, essentially, is watching other people play video games—she’s constantly encountering men who are surprised by her presence and then proceed to mansplain esports, an arena she knows inside and out. “For some reason, even though they know my biography, they still assume that I have no idea about anything because I’m a woman,” she says.

But Mogul has been enmeshed in the gaming world for almost two decades, having cut her teeth on a Gameboy and the family computer at a young age and become skilled enough to compete on a small scale by her teens. When she embarked on her college education, a notion that she should have a sensible, safe career led her to pursue social work, but she never stopped gaming as both a spectator and a competitor in online and live tournaments. Realizing she was capable of creating a better experience, she started organizing her own gaming events about six years ago as a side hustle to her social work job. “I felt there was a lot more that could happen during the event to make sure people enjoyed attending,” she says. This ultimately led to her founding her own company, Beam, in 2017, which is a platform for users to find esports events they’re interested in and for organizers to create event pages.

It was a smart move: Right now, there are more people who watch esports than HBO, Netflix and ESPN combined. “It’s a billion-dollar industry,” says Mogul. “It’s growing at a rate of 35% year on year across all revenue streams. I believe it’s the future of entertainment because it’s so accessible—you don’t have to be six-foot-five and very athletic to be at the top of your game.”

As for all those mansplainers, being a woman in a male-dominated industry has given her a thick skin. “By this point, I’ve heard everything,” she says. “I can join a game online, and as soon as I talk on the microphone, I’ll be told to go back to the kitchen and make them a sandwich. But I don’t even flinch anymore.” She also employs strategies to fight any imposter syndrome feelings that surface as a result: “I focus on the data and the results and remind myself that I deserve to be here because I did this and I did that and I’m capable,” she explains. “I do a pep talk in my head!”

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