More Than Just a Game: Besh Part of Pokémon Go Craze

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After graduating from Northwood in 2007, management major Linda Besh started her traditional career as a financial analyst for a conventional Japanese company. But, it didn’t stick. Today, developing events for the reality game Ingress and planning future Pokémon Go events for game developer Niantic, Inc., 54-year-old Besh is anything but traditional. In her spare time, Besh began playing the geospatial reality game Ingress. “I saw Ingress as a big sandbox where I could try different approaches to motivating people, so I started playing. A lot.”

By the time she left her day-job in 2013, Besh’s international reputation as an Ingress leader and community-builder had grown and she was named to the “Elite V,” one of the top five players in the world. Her prize? A trip to Google headquarters where she presented her leadership approach and community building ideas, and two months later, received a job offer.

Besh now has the kind of job many people just dream about. When she’s not out meeting fellow community-builders or exploring a new city, she works from her home in Plymouth, Mich., connecting to coworkers and planning upwards of 1,000 local and global events for gamers each year.

“I’ve heard people say that if you’re not a Stanford or UC Berkeley graduate, you won’t get a job in the gaming industry,” Besh said, “but I’m living proof that a Michigan college graduate can compete. The Northwood Idea taught me about creating community. I apply it every day when I deal with people, on the job and off.”