One of the first things Gina Vorgiatzidis will tell you about herself is, “I’m Greek!” She’s proud of her heritage, loud, bubbly, exceedingly bright and one of GGB’s youngest Emerging Leaders of Gaming honorees to date. And it’s no wonder. With only four years of experience under her belt, she has already worked for some of the industry’s biggest players in two of the largest casino markets.
As she explains, it all started with one internship and a few great mentors along the way.
While many people cautioned Vorgiatzidis during her undergraduate studies that gaming was a dying industry, she saw potential in the changing landscape—and more specifically, career opportunity. She landed her first role through a hospitality internship program at Harrah’s in Atlantic City. Although she came to realize that housekeeping was not her niche, Vorgiatzidis is quick to point out, “No experience is a bad experience; it’s all a learning experience.”
Vorgiatzidis was determined to utilize her time at Harrah’s. Every day, she would talk with someone new, from table game dealers to front desk representatives, all the while picking up crucial details that go into resort operations. Then one day, after shadowing the casino host, her path was clear. “I fell in love with the green felt,” she laughs.
It wasn’t long after a strategic move to Las Vegas the following year that she was recruited to work on a casino bid in Cyprus, her dream job. As a native Greek speaker, she became the lead associate on development for the integrated resort-casino with an emphasis on non-gaming amenities.
After the project ended, she returned to Las Vegas, took on a role as casino host with Caesars and began her master’s program in hospitality management, casino and gaming operations at Drexel University. There she met her current mentor, Robert Ambrose, a longtime gaming professional and casino and hospitality instructor at Drexel’s Center for Hospitality & Sport Management.
“Bob really believed in me,” Vorgiatzidis says. As with most good mentors, he continues to make himself available and has been invaluable to her career development.
Despite her relatively few years in the industry, she is already making the leap from mentee to mentor. She supports Greek students through the National Hellenic Student Association program and also mentors students from her alma maters interested in pursuing careers in gaming.
As a recent graduate herself, she assures students that, “It’s OK to settle for something that’s not your dream job. The important thing is to get your foot in the door.” It’s a strategy that worked well for her. She learned a lot from her first internship in housekeeping, things that she still finds relevant in her position today.
Vorgiatzidis recently stepped into a role as marketing analyst for Boyd Gaming, a company long known for its integrity and family-oriented culture. With two undergraduate degrees in science-related fields, her inquisitiveness consistently drives her to think about the processes at work in the casino. She likes to see the effects of her job play out on the casino floor, and more importantly, in the company’s bottom line.
As a millennial, she is keenly aware of trends in gaming and is quick to point out tremendous strides that the industry is making in attracting younger generations.
As it turns out, Vorgiatzidis was right. Not only is there potential in gaming, but the industry, like her, is thriving.