A far-reaching industry like gaming can attract high-achieving professionals from a diverse set of career paths. Some professionals arrive in gaming when they are already well on their way through their professional lives while others are attracted to the industry before their careers even start.
For Ryan Loveland and his career path, it was the latter route that brought him to gaming.
Loveland, the chief financial officer at Laguna Development Corporation, was exposed to the industry when he was still young. “The gaming industry appealed to me at an early age,” explains Loveland. “My family has ties to thoroughbred horse racing, which has its own unique flavor of excitement, and I think that sparked my initial interest.”
With his family piquing his interest in the industry, Loveland credits a mentor with setting him up for success as he pursued a career in public accounting with a focus on gaming.
“Brandon Valentini took me under his wing and taught me quite a bit about the unique accounting and financial nuances in gaming,” says Loveland. “The world of public accounting is challenging, but the enjoyment of serving gaming clients, specifically tribal gaming enterprises, established a strong skill set that would later prepare me for an executive leadership role as a CFO.”
Recognizing that Loveland has reached the C-suite of a leading tribal development corporation, it’s not surprising that he finds enjoyment working in a competitive market.
“It is rewarding to contribute to some financial planning and strategy aimed at maintaining and growing market share,” he says. “My role as CFO requires a great deal of attention and care to financial reporting, internal controls, and compliance rooted in the previous month, quarter, or year.
“I often have to pull myself out of that thought process and devote focus to more forward-thinking planning and collaboration with the executive team.”
Looking back at his career to date, Loveland is most proud of having the opportunity to serve and contribute to the economic prosperity of the Pueblo of Laguna Tribe. “The president/CEO, the COO, and our board who I am proud to serve with, have been working hard to establish strong lines of communication and trust with tribal leadership,” explains Loveland.
“I get to play an active role in responsibly managing the company’s finances and ensuring the shareholder, the Pueblo of Laguna, shares in the success of the company, which directly enhances their ability to provide essential government services for their community.”
For young professionals in the early innings of their careers in gaming, Loveland challenges them to embrace diversity within the industry.
“Embrace the diversity of the industry and the people who serve it, diversity in peoples’ backgrounds and talents, as well as the wide skill set needed to succeed in gaming. The career path can appear daunting as you uncover that it requires an understanding of so many different areas, but it takes an open mind and willingness to collaborate across departments to be successful.”