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Giving Back

Treena Parvello, Director of Public Relations and Communications, Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise

Giving Back

Treena Parvello views her job as an opportunity to give back—not only to the members of the Tohono O’odham Nation who have mentored her throughout her career, but as a mentor herself to women in tribal gaming across the U.S.

It’s a pattern that began when the Tohono O’odham Nation helped Parvello as a young professional fresh out of the University of Arizona. Her first job, as a marketing coordinator for the tribe’s Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, was an hour commute from her home, which was a barrier to her goal of achieving a graduate degree. “The CEO approached me about my interest in graduate school and informed me that if I was interested in an MBA, the casino would consider paying for it,” Parvello recalls. “I jumped at the opportunity, got my MBA and now am happily ‘paying my dues,’ giving back to the enterprise.

Parvello gives back to the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise as its director of public relations and communications, a job which, nowadays, involves a merger of the traditional communications skills with the new world of social media. “I believe that learning is an entire life process, and I love to learn,” she says. “I am fortunate that I get to be included in some new channels at the enterprise, and I like figuring out new methods to better promote our brand. I feel that I’ve been lucky to be able to meld old-school or traditional methods with new technology and ideas.”

Along with that learning process is a drive to help others in their development, as an “official and unofficial mentor,” as she says. “On a broader scale, I serve as the co-chair of the Global Gaming Women tribal committee, and am excited about being able to impact women in the tribal gaming community nationwide. Any small part I can play in helping empower other women helps me to grow too.”

Parvello says she continues to appreciate her own mentors, the most important being tribal Chairman Ned Norris, who hired her for the Desert Diamond post in 1998. “He is an exceptional man who has imparted his own experiences, lessons learned, broader perspective and genuine encouragement,” she says. “Even after serving here for over 15 years, he is still my mentor, even though he is now chairman of the Nation.”

In addition to the mentor/mentee relationships, Parvello gives back through charity events—most prominently, the tribe’s charity golf tournament, which raises more than $100,000 a year.

“My path in life is one of blessings, struggle and determination,” says Parvello. “In all of the ups and downs, I appreciate the lessons learned even though they stung, and I delight in the highs, and the most memorable are those that make me proud to be a tribal member of a successful enterprise.”

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