Katie Gehrke’s gaming career has been based partly on chance, and partly on skill.
By chance, during several college internships, Gehrke discovered a talent for writing and promotions. In 2019, when her partner relocated for work, she took the chance to move from the Midwest to Las Vegas.
There, by chance, she landed an interview at JCM Global, a leader in transaction and payment technologies—a company that was all but unknown to the Muskego, Wisconsin native.
“I fell into gaming, for sure, and marketing, too,” Gehrke says. “Before my interview at JCM, I remember thinking, ‘OK, let’s find out what this company actually does.’”
Hired as a marketing temp, she built a career, first as a marketing specialist, then as marketing and communications manager. In her present role, she’s “a one-woman band,” overseeing company communications and event planning around the world, including the Americas, Australia and Asia-Pacific.
Along with marketing savvy, Gehrke attributes her success to strong organizational skills, a spirit of collaboration and a strong focus on the patron.
“JCM at its core is a technology company, but our end user is the casino guest,” she explains. “For example, a JCM bill validator might be the first interaction a customer has with the casino. So our business starts with customer service and providing a great guest experience.”
In the big city, Gehrke’s “Midwest nice” attitude has been an asset, enabling her to “connect with people and build relationships.” While the days are sometimes hectic, she’s known for keeping her cool (as a sticky note on her desk reads, “Everything is figure-out-able”).
Gehrke especially enjoys planning JCM’s presence at trade shows like the Global Gaming Expo and charitable events like the AGEM & AGA Golf Classic. Each requires deft management of colleagues, vendors and venues, plus continuous follow-up and a steady stream of news releases, social posts and multimedia interviews.
“At G2E, it’s rewarding to see the booth come together, then watch our sales team walk in the first day and go, ‘Whoa!’ It’s their time to shine, and I’m happy to set the stage for that.” The golf tournament “is a great way for the industry to come together and give back; I’m definitely proud of that.”
By far, she says, the best part of her job “is sharing all the good stuff.” Recently, at G2E 2023, JCM was voted the supplier with the most innovative new technology—specifically, its ICB ASAP robotic network, which took top honors in its category for the second year, and DSS Clear, a transparent digital signage system that can be used to create dynamic displays, wayfinding signage and more. “That’s great news to share,” says Gehrke.
She expects more in 2024, as JCM looks to bring new “first-to-market technology” to the industry; in addition, 2024 will mark the 25th anniversary of the golf classic. “It will be a great way to say thanks to our partners for sticking with us, and for all of us to look forward to the next 25.”
For this small-town Midwesterner, chance may have opened the door, but skill led to new horizons, and a whole world of possibility.