EA chief operating officer Laura Miele, who was recently named to Forbes CEO Next list of leaders likely to lead some of America’s largest companies, talks about AI, Gen Z and staying ahead of the game.
If Electronic Arts decided to one day model a gaming hero on one of its own, Laura Miele would a be strong contender. The chief operating officer of EA has been a vocal advocate of bringing more women into gaming—as developers, leaders and characters. She has also been a pivotal player in maintaining the video game giant’s leadership in an industry where new competitors come calling every day.
Miele, who grew up in Incline Village, a “census-designated place” on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, credits her curiosity and lifelong love of gaming as factors that have kept her committed to EA for the past 27 years.
“To be successful in the industry, you have to be almost a moth to the flame around chaos and change and innovation and really get energy from that,” says Miele. “The other really important component is being very connected to our players. I know that people use ‘the learning mindset’ a lot in business now, but people who think about reinventing games and showing up for our players are people that thrive.”
Much has changed since Miele started at EA. “We used to beg Hollywood to license their IP to make games out of their movies,” she notes, “Now Hollywood is interested in our characters, our worlds, our stories.”
More important, perhaps, the games are more likely to reflect the people who play them. “There are over 3 billion gamers in the world and half of them are women,” she says. “We knew we had to evolve who was creating content and make changes. Fast forward to today and 50% of my leadership team are women.”
Miele cites the actress Geena Davis as a significant mentor, arguing that “she has done a phenomenal job of creating frameworks” that she now uses at EA. From Davis, she learned that “when you’re the leader of a creative company, it’s not about being prescriptive. It’s about expanding awareness and intentionality around our content.”
The best advice she’s received from others? “Be more invested in other people’s success than your own.”
Miele also spoke with Forbes about how Gen Z players really are different from Millennials in their expectations and style of play, generative AI, her favorite video game character [hint: Megan Rapinoe] and — of course — her plans for world domination.