Valerie Turner puts herself out there and takes the opportunities that come her way. Born and raised in Las Vegas, she started as a guest room attendant in housekeeping at Harrah’s Las Vegas when she was 18 years old.
“In my first 10 years in the hospitality industry, I was a housekeeper, a status board operator, a housekeeping supervisor, an environmental services assistant manager, a retail manager, a spa manager, an assistant casino manager, and now the casino manager for six Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas properties,” Turner says. “As you can see, I will try anything at least once.”
As a casino manager for the Flamingo, Margaritaville casino and the Cromwell, Turner makes sure the daily casino operations run smoothly. Her role includes responsibilities such as determining the optimum staffing levels in order to give the best guest service and fostering the morale of the staff that are directly responsible for the guest experience. “I work to drive revenue for the properties as well as network with other departments to ensure the customer only has the best experience,” says Turner.
“Gaming is in my blood,” states Turner. “Growing up in Vegas, I can remember being fascinated by the slot machines that used to be in restaurants and convenience stores all over when I was a kid. This was just a prelude to my passion for the gaming industry.”
Turner most enjoys the constant contact with people from all walks of life. “I love that no two days are alike in the casino and that I have a different story to tell every night of the year,” Turner says. “There is a school of thought in hospitality, that every casino property has the same amenities and each company must have something that sets them apart from the guy across the street. With the saturation of the gaming industry, especially in Las Vegas, your company needs something that sets you apart from your competitors.
“We hire the best and brightest with personalities that are larger than life to give our guests what they can’t get across the street.”
The importance of mentoring is one of the key aspects to achieving success. For Turner, there are three people she considers her mentors. David Hoenemeyer, regional president of Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood, has taught her that your dreams are non-negotiable. Steve Ellis, regional president of slots-west and mid-south regions, taught her to appreciate everyone she works with and the people who work for you as well as to conduct your business like you own it. Paul Breci, vice president of slots for Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Paris, the Cromwell and Flamingo, has taught Turner to never stop learning.
The best advice Turner can offer comes from her mother, who came to Las Vegas from Jamaica over 40 years ago: “Always perform your duties like the boss is watching, even when no one is around. Become an expert in your field and then step up your game. If you are a housekeeper, be the best housekeeper in the business, and then become the housekeeping manager and excel at that. If you bus tables, bus those tables like you paid for them and then work on becoming the restaurant manager.
“When it comes to your employees, never be the smartest person in the room. Strong steel is forged by something stronger than itself, and great leaders are developed by smarter people than themselves.”