Honoria Hebert is an excellent example of the idea that all you need to be successful is tenacity. Currently the director of regulatory compliance at L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles in Louisiana, Hebert views the gaming industry as an exciting and competitive environment, providing opportunity for anyone who is not afraid to take it.
“Being ambitious and outgoing,” Hebert says, “you can make up for a lack of experience just by saying, ‘Hey, I’ve never done it, but I am going to try and I’ll learn all that I can about it.’ I would always do any job or any task that they would allow me to.”
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Hebert attended American University, where she studied philosophy and later supplemented her education with accounting and finance courses at McNeese State University. Upon moving to Louisiana, Hebert happened upon Harrah’s Entertainment when she was referred to an HR position by a temp agency. “There was so much opportunity and variety that I ended up staying on permanently,” she says.
Hebert decided to remain with Harrah’s full-time, and over the subsequent six years she transitioned to nearly every non-managerial role in HR before being offered a position in the finance department. Up until this point, she identified herself as an “HR person,” as she had not delved into other departments.
Initially, she was doubtful about taking the position, as she was not familiar with this segment of the industry. Despite the uncertainty, Hebert decided to accept the position and took some evening accounting and finance classes to aid in her personal and professional development.
When Hurricane Rita hit Louisiana, Honoria left the gaming industry for a few years to pursue other ventures.
“I don’t know how to describe it; no matter what I did, it was boring. I missed the variety, the excitement,” she says. “The people you come across in the casino industry have their own unique culture, and it just fits me really well.”
Upon returning to the industry, Hebert joined Pinnacle Entertainment, which she describes as a competitive and fun environment that focuses on guest experience in addition to driving revenues.
One of Hebert’s greatest mentors was someone who served as an inspiration her entire life, her late father. Originally wanting to be a teacher, she struggled early in her career when trying to figure out the meaning of work. Her father helped her find and identify the positive contributions of the industry, such as the enjoyment of her guests, the careers created by the industry, the tax dollars generated, and the numerous charitable activities sponsored by various casino entities.
When asked what she looks forward to most in the next year of her career, Hebert has a novel response: “Uncertainty. I have never been able to predict year-to-year what was going to happen. It has always been positive, and presented an opportunity in some way.”
As a successful industry professional who happened upon the industry by chance, Hebert has advice for anyone looking to advance their career within the industry.
“Just be open to opportunity,” she recommends. “People will come into a job and immediately look for the next step up. Sometimes, especially in our industry, the next step isn’t up; sometimes it’s over and sometimes even what you would consider down.”
All the best leaders that Honoria has met in the industry, however, have done the jobs that they are currently leading. “Anybody coming in should take these opportunities, be humble, and really understand all of the moving parts—that’s when the really great opportunities present themselves.”