This year’s Global Gaming Expo marks one year since we formally kicked off the Global Gaming Women development initiative.
We at the American Gaming Association created GGW as a formalization of the industry’s efforts to support the success of women in international gaming through education, mentorship and networking opportunities. Indeed, there are some unsettling figures for women in the workforce: One study shows that women in the United States make 77 cents for each dollar a man earns; another cites inadequate career development as a main reason women don’t reach more senior management positions. Women also—despite making up 46.6 of the U.S. labor force—occupy fewer than 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions.
GGW tackles the issue head on by bringing women in gaming together in an effort to enrich their professional and personal lives. After one eventful year, I am proud to say we are well on our way to doing just that—and we continue to do so with our recent web launch (which I describe below) and several GGW-related events at G2E 2012. We are excited about GGW plans for the next year, but it is worth first taking a look back to see what we and GGW have accomplished so far.
To connect people to share ideas, it is important to get people together in person and create open forums. In this global industry, it is especially important that we do this all around the world. The first example of GGW’s global reach was a January networking breakfast during ICE Totally Gaming 2012 in London. A few months later, in Macau, more than 50 participants joined GGW for a breakfast networking event and roundtable discussion during G2E Asia 2012.
In the spring, GGW also linked people in the U.S. At a luncheon at the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) spring conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, attendees were treated to speakers hailing from diverse industry markets including Nevada, France and India. At a symposium in San Diego, a panel discussion that explored the cultural, organizational, business and lifestyle underpinnings of support for women in tribal gaming was followed by a networking event. In May, together with the Mississippi Casino Operators Association, GGW hosted women from all sectors of the industry for a luncheon at the Southern Gaming Summit.
Most recently, we have recognized the importance of extending that same environment outside of meetings and to the internet—where we can reach more people, more often. Last month we launched GlobalGamingWomen.org, a dynamic website with a number of tools for both seasoned professionals and newcomers to the industry. The site is a forum to share ideas, discuss best practices, and take advantage of mentorship opportunities.
One of our favorite elements of the new site is “Coffee Break: Gaming Leadership Strategies in 1 Minute or Less,” a video series showcasing female industry leaders conducting interviews and offering insight and advice on business in a relatable and easily accessible format. The library of the brief video interviews is growing as we speak. Additionally, the website includes information about upcoming GGW webinars, a constantly updated database on the latest news and research on women in the workforce, and information on the worldwide events put on by GGW.
Set to launch later this year on GlobalGamingWomen.org will be an online mentoring network that is being developed in conjunction with Shuffle Master, Inc. Much like a Match.com for mentoring, industry professionals seeking advice will be able to use self-selected criteria to connect with experienced professionals in the field willing to mentor young talent.
Finally, this month, G2E 2012 will highlight a number of GGW events. On the opening day, renowned BBC America journalist Katty Kay will lead a GGW luncheon following her G2E Keynote presentation. While Kay’s keynote will focus on the upcoming election, attendees at the GGW luncheon will hear her discuss her best-selling book Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success, which provides a fresh perspective on the largely hidden power that women have in today’s marketplace.
The following morning, attendees are invited to join GGW for a networking breakfast and roundtable featuring some of the industry’s top female executives. Panelists will discuss and answer questions about their approaches to communication and networking, work-life balance and getting ahead in a male-dominated industry.
In addition to the luncheon and breakfast, there are several GGW sessions offered as part of the three-day G2E Conference Program. During a session titled “Guiding Light: Building Successful Mentorships,” successful executives from across the gaming industry will discuss what being a mentor means to them, what they are looking for in (and how they have been approached by) potential mentees, and what exactly has made those relationships last.
Another, titled “He Said, She Said: Gender Differences in the Workplace,” will explore how men and women operate differently in the workplace.
In “From Big Talk to Big Change: Adjusting Corporate Cultures,” a variety of experts responsible for successfully expanding opportunities for women in business will discuss how to create more inclusive work environments and the challenges of instituting cultural change at companies. GGW sessions at G2E are open to both male and female attendees.
We are happy to say it’s been a monumental year for GGW, and we are excited about our plans for the year ahead. We hope to see you at G2E 2012, but if you cannot make it, there will be plenty of opportunities for you, both online and in person, to get involved with GGW throughout the year.