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Marketing Gaming

Katelyn Gehrke, Marketing and Communications Manager, JCM Global

Marketing Gaming

Katelyn Gehrke was not sure what to do with a degree in English literature and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin. So, she specialized in internships for a while.

“Internships were a great way for me to explore different roles and industries in work environments that fostered professional development,” says Gehrke, marketing and communications manager for JCM Global. “My internship with the Wisconsin Humanities Council writing press releases was particularly eye-opening because it put me on a course toward communications and marketing.”

During her pondering phase, she also took jobs as a lifeguard to help pay the bills.

“It was a natural fit to become a lifeguard at the beach in my local county park,” says Gehrke of Muskego, Wisconsin. “Those positions taught me to stay cool under pressure, problem-solve, and provide excellent customer service.”

She left Wisconsin when her partner obtained a job in Las Vegas in 2019. Gehrke found new frontiers with JCM. “JCM Global provided a great opportunity for me to learn a new industry, grow into my role and collaborate with an experienced team,” Gehrke says.

Gehrke arrived at JCM knowing little about the company. She learned quickly. “I bring Midwest nice, attention to detail, and a diligent work ethic to everything I do.” JCM has exceeded expectations, says Gehrke, who loves to watch sporting events featuring teams from around Wisconsin.

Gehrke is quick to give credit to the JCM team. “I’m proud to be part of an organization whose focus is producing high-quality technology that makes things better and easier for their consumers and the gaming industry as a whole,” she says.

During her tenure with JCM, Gehrke has welcomed advice from Dave Kubajak, senior vice president of sales, marketing and operations. “He helped me understand not just the operations side of JCM’s business but also the overall dynamics of the industry,” she says. “Dave has fostered my growth into a manager and continues to provide me professional and personal support.”

Paul Speirs-Hernandez also took Gehrke under his wing. President of Steinbeck Communications and master trainer of Red Wagon Institute, Speirs-Hernandez has offered “invaluable support as I’ve settled into my current role. Paul’s honest and thoughtful counsel has guided JCM for many years, and I’m grateful to have him as a resource to get insights into best practices,” she says.

Early on in her days with JCM, Covid-19 reared its ugly head. Like everyone, Covid dramatically changed the way Gehrke worked.

“I started working from home with a return-to-office date that continued to be pushed back until it eventually disappeared, and JCM transitioned to a four-day work week with 10-hour days,” says Gehrke, a fan of outdoor activities throughout the Southwest.

The changes empowered Gehrke to take on more responsibilities and become more flexible in a new hybrid work environment.

Over the past five years, Gehrke developed a stronger appreciation and understanding of all the work that goes into gaming operations. “Casinos, of course, are a visual buffet of flashy colors and décor, but there are so many talented people and careful decisions behind everything big and small presented to guests. There is a lot of innovation and collaboration behind the scenes, which I see when we organize the AGEM & AGA Golf Classic presented by JCM Global.”

The tournament raises money for the International Center for Responsible Gaming. “I have already made an impact on the industry, including helping raise more than $460,000 for responsible gaming research as tournament director.”

Bill Sokolic is a veteran journalist who has covered gaming and tourism for more than 25 years as a staff writer and freelancer with various publications and wire services. He's also written stories for news, entertainment, features, and business. He co-authored Atlantic City Revisited, a pictorial history of the resort.

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