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Honoring Bonnie Ross Resignation


ADM S Osman
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Please be respectful. 

Bonnie Ross is a leader to me, a role model to me and pushed diversity and always pushing boundaries at 343 Industries and Xbox. She is the epitome of a career women many others look up too for generations to come. I’ve had the chance to work in her philanthropic venture with Microsoft Women in gaming community and saw her generosity through others helping each other and inspiring young women to follow into gaming, technology and science careers. 

I myself work in the STEM field after playing Halo being curious since Halo 4 of the art design and UI direction from artists she employed tactfully. To me, I owe my inspirations to her and she will continue to be one of my heroes regardless of what anyone says. I really wish her the best in her future endeavors and am excited to follow whatever next ventures she finds in the gaming industry or beyond it. 

I wanted to share this here, because I want everyone else to really look back and see all the good she has done here. Having filled the shoes of a role that is now split between 3 people, she pioneered a new model being the first innovative leaders for women and helping diversity both in the story of Halo and its studios internally.

 

Her history and career

In 2005, Ross was a general manager for Microsoft Game Studios (now Xbox Game Studios). When Halo developer Bungie split from Microsoft in 2007, Microsoft created a new internal team to oversee the franchise. Ross recalled that her colleagues felt Halo was a waning property and looked at contracting an outside company to produce new games, but she argued differently.  Ross had first become acquainted with the franchise through the tie-in novel Halo: The Fall of Reach. The deep backstory and universe in the novel appealed to her. Ross' pitch won over Microsoft Game Studios general manager Shane Kim, and she was put in charge of the new studio, 343 Industries.

Beginning in late 2007, 343 Industries started with a staff of roughly a dozen people. Bungie staffer Frank O'Connor assisted in the transition, and expected Ross would be an executive with no knowledge of Halo or its appeal. Instead, Ross impressed O'Connor with her deep knowledge of the franchise, and O'Connor quit Bungie to join 343 Industries as franchise director. Ross' vision for Halo also impressed art director Kiki Wolfkill, who joined the team as a studio head. During the transition, Ross worked with the company Starlight Runner to interview Bungie staff and compile a centralized story bible for the universe. 343 Industries also worked with Bungie on their last Halo projects, Halo 3: ODST (2009) and Reach (2010). 343 Industries has also collaborated with other studios to produce Halo games, such as Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo: Spartan Assault, and Halo Wars 2.

Noticing how few women attended gaming events like E3, Ross helped found a networking group that evolved into the Microsoft Women in Gaming community and a yearly event. She believes gaming can serve as a way to get young people interested in STEM careers by relating it to something they enjoy. Ross has worked to hire more female game developers so more women can find role models within the industry, and worked with the Ad Council's #SheCanSTEM campaign. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said Ross' profile helped attract female talent to the company. Ross told 60 Minutes she believes more diverse teams result in more innovation and creative output.

Pierre Hintze is a product of that. 

Bonnie Ross has led 343 Industries and the Halo franchise at Microsoft for 15 years, having worked for the company for the past 27 in and around Xbox. 

Bonnie Ross worked within Microsoft's games business for the best part of three decades, working on franchises like Gears of War, Alan Wake, and even third-party publishing deals on titles like Jade Empire and Mass Effect. Most famously, she took the reins at 343 Industries after pitching her vision for Halo, against a Microsoft corporate climate that felt as though the franchise was in decline. Both before and after the creation of 343i, Ross and her team collaborated to ship several acclaimed Halo products, including Halo 3: ODST, Halo Reach, Halo Anniversary, Halo Spartan Assault/Strike, and Halo Wars 2. 

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