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Learning At All Levels

Extensive programs help advance the cause of women in gaming

Learning At All Levels

We educate women because it is smart—women are one-half of our human resources, and we increasingly see the beneficial effects of educated women in all realms of life and in all parts of the world. We educate women because it is transformative. Education doesn’t just boost incomes and economies; it elevates us, defusing differences, opening common ground, and making the most of all our human capacities.”

These 2013 remarks by Harvard University President Drew Faust truly capture the mission of Global Gaming Women. Since relaunching early in 2016 as an independent nonprofit, GGW has been working tirelessly—with the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers across the United States—to educate women to help grow and transform the gaming industry.

It’s been a very busy year, and our young organization is continuing to expand. At our annual meeting in July, we welcomed seven new members to our dedicated board of directors, which now includes representation from the United States and Canada, with expertise in commercial and tribal gaming, manufacturing, education and compliance.

We recently launched a new website with enhanced database and marketing capabilities to better serve our members, and are currently developing new initiatives for the future. Notable among them is the 2018 relaunch of Great Women of Gaming, with expanded award categories, which will recognize the exceptional contributions of women from all levels, and all industry sectors.

One of the questions I am often asked is, “What kind of programming does Global Gaming Women offer for me?” This column provides a great opportunity to answer that question by highlighting the accomplishments in 2016 and 2017 of three of our major program committees—Education, Events and Mentoring.

With the generous financial support of our sponsors, the GGW Education Committee provides a tiered series of targeted programs free of charge for women in gaming, as well as scholarships to third-party events such as the MGM Leadership Conference and Global Gaming Expo.

The programs are led by professional moderators, with guest presentations from female industry leaders. The Front Line Leaders program was developed for supervisors and new managers, and W Development was constructed for senior executives. The Leadership Development program for managers and new directors and Front Line Leaders programs are offered regionally to make the programming accessible to women across the United States. Programs since relaunching include:

  • Midwest Leadership Development: August 2016 – Hollywood Casino and Hotel, Joliet, IL
  • W Development Conference: August 2016 – Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa, Las Vegas
  • Southern Leadership Development: November 2016 – Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood
  • Eastern Leadership Development: April 2017 – SugarHouse Casino, Philadelphia
  • Western Front Line Leaders: April 11, 2017 – M Resort Spa Casino, Las Vegas
  • Eastern Front Line Leaders: May 2017 – Tropicana Casino & Resort, Atlantic City
  • Western Leadership Development: May 2017 – Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino- Henderson, NV
  • W Development Conference: June 2017 – Aliante Casino and Hotel, Las Vegas
  • Southern Front Line Leaders: August 2017 – IP Casino Resort Spa, Biloxi, MS
  • Midwest Front Line Leaders: September 2017 – Belterra Casino Resort & Spa, Florence, IN

The Events Committee is responsible for development conferences, industry events and GGW programming for the annual Global Gaming Expo. The development conferences are comprehensive full-day programs on specific areas of personal and professional growth, including the Power of Technology Conference in 2016 and the upcoming Business of Business Conference, which will include topics such as understanding financial metrics and P&L statements.

The Global Gaming Expo full-day program in 2016 “The Power of You” focused on topics including developing a personal brand, and the business utilization of social media. The 2017 G2E program “The Power of Entertainment” will focus on how to hire great candidates, innovation through disruptive technology and the power of financial freedom. In addition, the Events Committee offered programs at industry events all over the globe, including:

  • ICE Totally Gaming (London) 2016, 2017
  • National Indian Gaming Association 2016, 2017
  • Southern Gaming Summit & Bingo World 2016, 2017
  • Iowa Women Leaders in Gaming Summit 2016, 2017
  • East Coast Gaming Congress 2016
  • International Association of Gaming Advisors 2017
  • North American Gaming Regulators Association 2017
  • Canadian Gaming Summit 2017
  • Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association 2017
  • Eastern European Gaming Summit 2016, 2017
  • Australia Gaming Panel 2016

The Mentoring Committee developed Lean In Circles as a peer support network for a diverse group of women in gaming, including women representing commercial and tribal gaming, and manufacturing. Lean In Circles grew out of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s 2010 TEDTalk, and led to her best-selling book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. The Circles are small groups of women at similar stages of their careers that meet regularly and serve as a personal “board of directors” for their fellow participants.

There are over 80 women in the 11 GGW Lean In Circles, including three virtual circles to accommodate women who work in remote areas. The topics discussed can range from effective workplace communication to inclusive leadership.

Want to get involved as a participant, volunteer, sponsor or host of a GGW event? We would love to hear from you and have you join our mission to support the development and success of women in the gaming industry. Please visit our new website at to learn more, and sign up!

Virginia McDowell retired as president and CEO of Isle of Capri Casinos in April 2016, after a 35-year career in the gaming industry. She currently serves as president and board chair of Global Gaming Women.

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