Immediately upon meeting Agata Maher, you are impressed by her confidence and enthusiasm, and it is easy to understand why she was selected as an emerging leader in gaming.
Her career in the industry began 16 years ago at Harrah’s Resort SoCal in the San Diego area as special events coordinator. From there, she moved north to Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon to oversee the players club and promotions as the Winners Club manager.
“I have been so fortunate to have worked for and still work with leaders who believe I am the perfect fit for their team,” she says. “They invested in me and today I do the same for others.”
In 2013, she joined Pechanga Resort Casino—the largest resort casino in California—and immediately put her management, planning and training skills to use increasing Pechanga’s club recruitment and enhancing the club experience for members. At the same time, she facilitated leadership courses for Pechanga’s managers that not only established a blueprint for the next generation of Pechanga’s leaders, but a footprint for her fellow leaders at Pechanga and in the gaming industry.
She credits her early career success to the value she placed in herself and her abilities.
“I kept a positive attitude about my work and did my darn best to inspire confidence in others,” she reflects. “That combined with an enormous work ethic set me apart and allowed me to capitalize on many opportunities.”
As the director of marketing operations at Pechanga, Maher oversees departments as disparate as club membership, special events and promotions, as well as entertainment. This means if she isn’t overseeing a giveaway for club members, she’s devising new ways to facilitate better processes to enable guests to enjoy Pechanga’s endless list of entertainment talent.
Tackling problems and difficult situations and turning them into success stories plays into Maher’s strength as someone who finds levels of comfort in areas that many would not. Maher is a change agent who is the connector and lynchpin to the marketing department and other key teams throughout the company.
“A leader’s duty is to care,” she observes. “I care about people and have compassion. I make an effort to know where they see themselves in the future and I keep that in mind when I see opportunities that can help propel them forward.” Through her strong leadership, her team is able to produce creative excellence and deliver on business and financial goals, establishing an environment of continuous capability growth and operations improvement.
Her advice to other young professionals is, first, to stay true to yourself.
“As I look back on my career to date, I am most proud that through all the years, I stayed true to who I was—a Polish immigrant girl who jokes that the best way to remember how to pronounce her name is to say ‘I-GOTTA-REMEMBER-HER-NAME.’”
She also advocates building strong relationships.
“Ensure you have good, trustworthy relationships with your colleagues as well as other external stakeholders,” she advises. “I strongly believe that having great relationships is essential to one’s success and growth within an organization.”