Women in Gaming: Maria Florides, GPWA

Maria Florides Women in Gaming Feature

Today, we’re kicking off a new series titled ‘Women in Gaming’. In this, we interview some of the most influential female figures from within the online gambling industry.

Starting proceedings is Maria Florides, Program Manager for GPWA. Maria has been in the industry for around a decade, primarily within affiliate marketing.

Maria discusses how she first got involved in the industry, as well as the most important traits that have helped her get to where she is – plus more.

And without further ado, we’ll let Maria take the spotlight.

AffiliateINSIDER: Was your entry into the iGaming/affiliate space planned, or did it happen unexpectedly?

Maria Florides: “My entry to the iGaming/affiliate/marketing environment was far from planned. In my late teens I started to study to be an agriculturalist.

“In my early 20s I moved to the UK and did lots of labour jobs, and in my late 20s I decided to study IT in order to be ready for our new life in Cyprus. From then on, my work life was like a puzzle that fell into place as I was making my way in.

“I felt like Alice in Wonderland at times. Though I always felt at ease helping people, so the process was very organic.”

AI: You’ve been in the gaming industry for quite a while… How has it changed over the past decade? 

MF: “I started a few years before we were not allowed to promote in the US market. That was a big change, which was like a chain reaction. Regulators started to set rules and boundaries which pushed operators to either get with the program or target grey areas.

“I have noticed a big change regarding the way affiliate managers are treated. I think in the past affiliate managers were better-taken care of by their employers. This probably was one of the reasons why when I got the opportunity to work with the GPWA, I took it. I knew the GPWA team very well. I was sure they would appreciate my work and I was right.
“Also, a massive change came when affiliates started to create networks. This made it increasingly difficult for smaller operators to get low revenue share deals. The power dynamic shifted. Back in the day there was more trust; you could close a deal just with a hand shake.

“Now, in 2020, COVID-19 turned everybody’s life upside down. Some companies in the industry have thrived while others like the land-based casinos have suffered a great hit. I think this has pushed us all to wake up and find ways to get our products out there on social media and networking events such as your Digital Marketing Mixer. We must get out of our comfort zone and find innovative ways to survive and prosper.”

AI: What do you think are the most important traits that have helped you get to where you are? 

MF: “I do not give up easily. But at the same time, I’m aware when I must stop pursuing a job, a client, or a deal. You must go beyond closing a deal; it is imperative to build up a relationship in order to eventually have a long-lasting partnership with your clients.

“I would say that I am extremely resourceful and love networking. I think this is the Aries in me. I am a true believer that helping your peers can bring you lots of rewards.
I am trustworthy. I always try my best to treat people the way I like to be treated, and I believe trust is the backbone of any partnership.
“I am a family-oriented person, so my family has been the driving force to get me where I am.”
AI: And finally… going forward, what are your ambitions within the industry?

MF: “I may sound unambitious, but that is far from the truth. I do avoid thinking too far ahead… I like to enjoy the moment.

“What is most important to me other than reaching for the sky, is to enjoy the roller-coaster ride and be appreciated. Who knows what the future will bring? The iGaming industry is amazing and has so many different areas to explore.”