Being a gambler may have given Julia Boguslawski an edge in her career. But it’s a career she never planned.
As a college student in Florida, Boguslawski was a regular at the Hard Rock Tampa. Poker was her game.
“I always loved the excitement of being on the casino floor,” she says, “but I didn’t think of gaming as a career path.”
A stint in investor relations for the hotel business led to a similar job at Shuffle Master, where Boguslawski did double duty in IR and corporate communications. She packed up and relocated to Las Vegas, where she began collecting casino player cards (at last count, she was up to 30).
Then came the roller coaster years. In 2013, SHFL was acquired by Bally. In 2014, Bally was acquired by Scientific Games. With each change, Boguslawski’s roles and responsibilities expanded. At Bally, she had to jump into global marketing. At Sci Games, she led corporate communications and also served as chief of staff. It was “madness,” she says. It was also a test of her resilience.
“Did I worry? A little bit, but I thought, wow, what fantastic new opportunities. I was totally scared and in over my head. But when you’re not sure if you’re going to sink or swim, you’re probably going to swim—and you’re going to be challenged and kept on your toes.”
In 2015, she joined AGS, shortly after David Lopez became president and CEO. “AGS was super-under-the-radar, and David turned it into something
really amazing,” says Boguslawski. “We have one of the best corporate cultures in the gaming space. We’re growing 40 percent year-over-year. Our slot products are leading the industry in game performance. He put our company on the map.”
Today, as chief marketing officer and executive VP of investor relations,
Boguslawski wears many hats and addresses many audiences—financial analysts, customers, stockholders and the media. For her, it’s all about storytelling.
“Communicating with Wall Street, there’s an expectation that you have the financial acumen,” she observes. “But they also want to know what’s going on behind the scenes. How are we investing in R&D? What are we doing to secure and deliver long-term success? It’s the same on the marketing and corporate communications side. I have to show how innovative our products are and how they create profitability on the casino floor.”
Boguslawski counts decisiveness and flexibility as essential to her job. “I worked through a lot of M&A, where there was change at every level—in management, in culture, in the size of the company. It’s really important to be comfortable with ambiguity. You have to keep marching ahead and adding value.”
Mentors including Lopez have been indispensable.
“David doesn’t sugarcoat. If I mess up, I know I’m going to hear from him. He taught me to get good at uncomfortable conversations—an important leadership trait. (Scientific Games Vice Chairman) Gavin Isaacs taught me the importance of relationship-building. There’s not a better connector in this industry.”
She admires Katie Lever, formerly of Shuffle Master, now chief legal counsel at the Drew Las Vegas. “Katie is so successful and effective without losing her femininity. I’ve always respected that.”
Boguslawski’s six-person department is “small,” she says, “but we get a lot done in a day.
“I love to be a cheerleader for AGS, promoting and talking about how awesome our products and people are. I love sharing our success stories. I’m overwhelmed every day, running 100 miles per hour. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”