Malika Jacobs

Founder and CEO




Malika founded Kingmakers as a brick-and-mortar game parlour in 2014, and today oversees day-to-day operations across all functional areas. 


Highly adaptable and naturally curious about designing high-functioning workplaces where employees love to work, Malika is proud of the team she’s built and the vibrant vision they have brought to life. She’s passionate about solving problems and bringing people together, something that often goes hand-in-hand. 


Malika understands that businesses thrive when their employees flourish autonomously and collaborate with ease – through Kingmakers, Malika fully embodies the sentiment that teamwork makes the dream work. 


✨ Malika’s favorite spice? Cumin

✨ Fun fact: Malika is Canadian by birth. Cool, eh?


Jessica Strauss

Director of Innovation and Experience




Jessica oversees the design, innovation and quality assurance of all Kingmakers offerings.


With a theatre background that has rooted her firmly in the transformative power of play (and a passion for inviting others to weave play into their day), Jessica crafts impactful events that effectively bond the groups she works with. 


Jessica is proud to be part of a team that believes deeply in each other and the value they bring to the world.


✨ Jessica’s favorite beve? A toasty chai latte

✨ Did you know that she is also a trapeze artist?? What?!


Adilson Graca

Director of Sales and Client Success




As the Director of Sales and Client Success, Adilson implements growth strategies that provide a consistently positive customer experience.


Known for his signature ability to boost project success by identifying needs and implementing impactful changes, Adilson is a natural leader who finds joy in achieving powerful results alongside his colleagues.


Adilson envisions a world rooted in meaningful conversations about the importance of individuality in all aspects of life and the magic that happens when individuals are brought together through a common language of compassion and empowerment.


✨ Adilson’s favorite herb? Quote from our arbiter of puns: “I’m just here for a good thyme.”

✨ His #1 hobby? Chores. Well, more specifically any lengthy household chore that allows him to listen to an audiobook.


Ash Gerlach

Director of Marketing and Communication




At Kingmakers, Ash develops marketing and communications strategies to help companies discover that more joyful, tight-knit teams are well within their reach – and only a few games away.

Ash loves the deep sense of trust shared by the team, and the anti-racist and anti-capitalist lens through which Kingmakers functions. Continually inspired by her colleagues’ thoughtfulness and tenacity, Ash cherishes harnessing the collective thought-power of the team as a whiplash of ever-evolving and caring interpersonal genius. 


Ash is excited to continue pushing Kingmakers to the front of the much-needed conversation surrounding radical employee care. 


✨ Ash thinks the best drinks have a lil kick – sprinkle that cayenne in your lattes, hot cocoa, beer…

✨ Fun fact: Ash is photographer! 


If you don’t want to spend the next 6 months hiring, use these 3 ideas to build stronger social connections at work and reduce frustration. – Veronica Combs, Tech Republic


Jessica Strauss, Kingmakers Director of Innovation and Experience, shares the Kingmakers perspective in Tech Republic’s “Why you have to care about employee experience and how to improve it.”



Make online socializing less awkward


It takes effort to accumulate and preserve social capital, but it can be done in virtual settings. People don’t have to work together in-person to be creative or collaborative. One way to accomplish this is to make online social events effective instead of awkward. Kingmakers can help with that via online board games and a host to guide these team bonding events.


Jessica Strauss, director of innovation and experience at Kingmakers, said that guides run the game to match the personality of the group, which can be competitive, fast moving and focused on the goal or slower, more conversational and only mildly interested in the competition aspect.


“Our game guides know how to read the Zoom room: if someone is feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, or hesitant for any reason, they know how to redirect and reframe the situation,” she said.

Read more!



Malika Jacobs of Kingmakers: “Support Networks”


It’s always an honor to see one of our own make waves across multiple industries.


In this interview, Malika, Founder and CEO of Kingmakers, talks about her identity as woman founder, how Kingmakers has shaped her life, and who has helped her on her journey.

Excerpt from the interview with Candice Georgiadis:


Candice Georgiadis: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?


Malika Jacobs: There is a lot of talk today about how female founders lack access to capital. I didn’t have savings, my family has always been supportive but didn’t have additional money to invest, and a loan isn’t available unless you have some assets to back it.


Two older women who I love — long-time family friends — both single at the time, coincidentally, so they didn’t have to run their decision by anyone — gave me money. One floated the cost of our liquor license, which allowed us to open immediately and the other gifted me start-up cash and has never once mentioned a return on her investment, aside from getting joy from knowing that I’m happy in my day-to-day work.

Read more!


Thrive Global

Like many virtual companies, we created a Slack channel for the fun chats that didn’t serve a work function beyond liking one another as people. While the cute dog photos and Adilson’s Joke of the Week are AMAZING, there was a problem.


Remember when Facebook added reactions beyond “liking” because it didn’t exactly feel great to “like” when your great aunt shared that her beloved cat passed away? *cringe*

Calling our channel the #fun_chat assumed that our interpersonal energy had to be bubbly and light. We know it’s just as important to share heavier life and world conversations that don’t exactly fit the description of “fun.”


So, we made a shift, too. Enter the:



We still share the cute kid dancing videos and topical memes. But, we also use the space to share personal challenges, support each other during world tragedies, and extend gratitude towards one another.


It’s a small shift, but a reminder that each of us is allowed (and encouraged) to show up with our emotions and ask for what we need from the team.

Developing these values together was an anchoring point for the Kingmakers team in a time when it felt like everything was changing (and would continue to change). It gave us the language to express our expectations of one another and the role Kingmakers would play in our lives and the world.


A year and several business transitions later, we still look at these values as core to the way we operate.


For a small business (like us), crafting your values is a small and important step towards building the team culture you want.


drive to respond creatively to the needs of our community


We actively pursue growth and change in our business offerings and the way we engage with the outside world. Innovation is possible through a combination of trust, energy, and support.



understanding that team members and processes operate with the best interest of each other and Kingmakers


We recognize the value each member brings to their work with unique skills, perspectives, and identities. With support and intentional accountability structures, we are able to build trust amongst one another.



care of individuals and how Kingmakers exists within the wider community


We prioritize the emotional, physical, developmental, and financial wellbeing of each other and the people we serve. True support is achieved through intentionality, innovation, and energy.



desire to welcome marginalized identities into our community


We are consistently learning how to be more accessible to others and working to recognize areas in which we have added barriers to our experience. Inclusiveness can be made possible with trust and support.



thoughtful decision making in regards to process, experience, and visual communication


We have built systems that ensure simplicity, cleanliness, and room for creativity. Intentionality is made possible by innovation and support.



awareness that the way we interact within our environment matters


We use each others’ excitement, curiosity, passion, and concerns to create solutions and nurture growth. Energy is encouraged through support and trust.


Through practicing these values in every day business, we strive to create an environment in which all can feel empowered and comfortable in our spaces. We welcome individuals to pursue curiosity and connection through play.

Thank you all so much for your candor, laughter, and support as we’ve all navigated the last 18 months of change in the workplace. We’re excited to share our relaunch with you!


✨ Same Incomparable Team Bonding, New Solutions ✨


We’ve taken everything we’ve learned to restructure our services to offer two distinct Solutions to serve you as Managers, Engagement professionals, team members, and employees.

We are delighted to announce Kingmakers Founder and CEO Malika Jacobs has been accepted as a 2021 Tory Burch Foundation Fellow!

Each year, the Tory Burch Foundation selects a cohort of 50 women entrepreneurs to empower through mentorship, building connections, and grant funding.


On so many levels, it is true that people are what matter in a business. Kingmakers wouldn’t be the forward-thinking, human caring business it is today without our leader Malika. Malika’s insistence in building a company people want to work for makes us uniquely qualified to shift the narrative of company culture.


Congratulations, Malika!


We could not be more proud of the way you support this team, drive the growth of Kingmakers, and make our lives brighter one Zoom meeting at a time.

Female Founders: Malika Jacobs of Kingmakers On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder


It’s always an honor to see one of our own make waves across multiple industries.


In this interview, Malika, Founder and CEO of Kingmakers, talks about her identity as woman founder, how Kingmakers has shaped her life, and who has helped her on her journey.

Excerpt from the interview with Candice Georgiadis:


Candice Georgiadis: This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?


Malika Jacobs: This may sound cliche and basic: representation matters. You cannot know something is even an option until you see people like yourself doing it. You can’t benefit from experience and mentorship until people like you go and do the thing, then come back and share their learnings with their community. You can’t change the structures-that-be to make it easier for other people like you unless more people like you start doing the thing; it’s a chicken or egg issue.


If the question is more — should entrepreneurship be enticing to female founders: yes! Business is an effective way to drive innovation, solutions, and progress. We should all be terrified if half our brain force is being excluded from utilizing that tool.

Welcome to our log of Adilson’s Joke of the Week!

“I love being surprised by Adilson’s wit every week. It’s a bubble of joy that puts a smile on face every Tuesday” – Jessica


Every Tuesday, without fail, we let out a collective giggle, groan, or gasp of delight when Adilson shares his Joke of the Week.

From Adilson


“In general, building relationships with people in-person comes to me pretty organically. With the introduction of web-based communication to support a fully remote work environment, I found that my interactions at work became very transactional and simply conveyed information. It lacked soul, personality, and fun…

I wanted to find a way to connect with people and bring some joy to their day.


So I started sharing jokes on social media with my friends and family and then eventually with my coworkers. It showed a bit of my personality and led to conversations with my peers that I wasn’t having otherwise.” – Adilson



We hope these jokes bring a little bit of joy to your day and inspire you to add play to your work life.


Get a jump on sparking joy for your own team!


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