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Ring in the New Year

It's time to reflect, celebrate and plan

Ring in the New Year


As we wind down 2012, it is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and all of our collective achievements. Reflecting on this inaugural year for the Global Gaming Women (GGW) organization is a particularly satisfying exercise for those of us asked to work on the GGW task force by co-chairwomen Virginia McDowell, president and CEO of Isle of Capri Casinos, and Patti Hart, CEO of IGT.

GGW supports the development and success of women in the global gaming industry through education, mentorship and networking opportunities. It is amazing to see the progress made in just one year by this group of dynamic and talented female leaders in our industry with great support from the American Gaming Association.

Educational presentations, lively panel discussions and strong networking events with compelling content were present at the major gaming conferences around the globe. These events received great reviews from some of the hundreds of audience members and participants.

In addition, we launched our interactive website,, to allow women the opportunity to connect more frequently regardless of their location. We are proud to be able to offer some popular features including educational webinars, short videos showcasing female industry leaders, book reviews and recommendations, and a much-anticipated interactive mentoring site.


Celebrating is such an important ritual to ensure that we take the time to recognize and appreciate our success. I learned this important lesson from Carole Carter, president of Egads Signs, in Las Vegas.

Carole is an amazing businesswoman, and passionate philanthropist. At her annual holiday ladies luncheon, she would ask each of us to stand and address the group and tell them what we were most proud of and what we were most thankful for in the past year. She believed in saluting women leaders and sharing our successes in a group setting. At the end, she always toasted us and encouraged us to be inspired by each other to greatness.

As women, we may sometimes tend to put others’ needs and accomplishments ahead of our own, whether it’s our family members, friends, co-workers, employees, or philanthropic causes. We may be quick to acknowledge and applaud others, but often ignore or shy away from our own successes and achievements.

Many of us find commending others to be much more satisfying than recognizing or rewarding our own personal successes. While this is an endearing quality, and one that can be a hallmark of an outstanding leader, it can make us less confident about sharing and promoting our own wonderful qualities and achievements.

Life is sweeter when we take the time to commemorate our success. Think about what you are most proud of this year, both personally and professionally, and think of a meaningful way to celebrate.


I was recently privileged to attend a local women’s event called 100 Wise Women and hear firsthand from a tremendous role model for women leaders: Brigadier General Margaret E. Barnes. She currently holds one of the highest posts at Fort Knox, was awarded the Army Bronze Star, and has commanded troops in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her engaging speech centered on a strategic planning concept that she discovered later in her tenure in the U.S. Army.

In preparing for the year ahead, she became as thoughtful in planning for her personal life as in her professional life. The Army had done a tremendous job of honing her leadership and strategic planning skills, and she started to apply the methodology of setting a vision and goals toward achieving that vision for some of her personal objectives.

Her advice was to write this plan down so that you could review it throughout the year, and to be flexible and adjust where necessary. She told a humorous tale of wanting to learn to play chess, only to realize after starting to play that she hated it, and so she quickly took it off her plan. She motivated many women in the room to immediately write down some personal goals.

Examples ranged from one woman wanting to master and teach a bikram yoga class to another hoping to learn to speak Spanish with her son and plan a family trip to Spain. Brigadier General Barnes reminded us that time is precious, and we need to ensure we focus more holistically with our visions to enrich our lives. Her wisdom to apply proven and successful planning strategies to her personal life was truly inspirational.

While I am very proud of this past year and all that GGW has achieved, and will most certainly find an indulgent way to celebrate, I am even more excited to plan for next year, and how I can personally develop and augment the next generation of women leaders through mentorship in our industry and in our community.

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