Shannon Semenuk’s career in the gaming industry began in 2005 when she started as a slot customer service representative, and the atmosphere of operations on the gaming floor has been inspiring her for the prior 18 years as she’s worked her way up to director of slot operations at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.
In her early days at the property, strong networking connections with the team not only offset Semenuk’s lack of experience as a young professional, but also greatly benefited her on the road to a senior executive position.
“My desire to create respectful, professional and meaningful relationships with my peers helped jump-start me on the road to success, and connecting with those who were ambitious and shared the same values created a network of people who have helped me along the way,” she says.
Additionally, continuing to build connections through mentorship is very important to her. As a mentor in the “Women in Leadership” program at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, she leverages the opportunity to help others in the organization. Semenuk also highly values the team environment at the workplace. “We have an amazing learning and training culture here,” she says. “It has provided limitless opportunities for me throughout the years that I truly believe have assisted with my advancement.”
In her advice to fellow young professionals, Semenuk encourages all to “keep measurable goals and hold yourself accountable to them, and continue working harder by going above and beyond.” Looking back on her career path, she attributes a lot to “getting out of her comfort zone.”
Although finding the motivation to leave comfort is hard, the more one is stuck in the comfort zone, the more opportunities are to be missed. “Once you push yourself out of your comfort zone, that’s where you will see the most growth,” says Semenuk. “Moreover, cherish the commitment to a journey, not just goals.” She recalls how going back to school and graduating from college was a personal goal she had set for herself.
At the time, she kept thinking about how proud she would be once she received the degree. Looking back on it now, she says, “It was truly all about the journey getting there.”
Envisioning the gaming industry of tomorrow, Semenuk thinks gaming will continue to grow and to evolve at a rapid pace. With the advancement of technology, casinos are now able to offer many more exciting and authentic experiences to guests. She would like to work together with industry fellows to innovate conventional concepts and to help open doors for more emerging leaders and young professionals.
In her spare time, Semenuk enjoys being a team member resource group officer for Caregivers at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, and caregiving has impacted her life drastically.
“Knowing that my family can count on me is something I hold close to my heart,” she says. Additionally, she is part of an all-women organization in Tampa that focuses on volunteering in the local community, where she truly finds it rewarding to use her years of experience as a caregiver, and where her volunteer efforts make the world a better place for all.