The Learning Leader

Will Provance, Director of VLT Operations, Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

Having worked in hotels, night clubs and restaurants from early on, Will Provance knew that he was a great fit for the hospitality industry. Determined to turn those beloved jobs into a long-term career, Provance packed up and moved to Las Vegas, where he worked towards his M.S. in hotel administration-gaming from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, joining their Hospitality College Mentor program.

It was through this game-changing program that he met one of his greatest career influences and the person who placed him in his first job in gaming, Brian Eby, now the executive vice president of operations at Jack Entertainment. Eby was one of many mentors to share personal experiences and a knowledge base that would shape Provance’s own leadership style.

Taking lessons from them, he tapped into his own personal values that would gain him experience and send him on the road to senior management—namely integrity, perseverance and lifelong learning. Instead of just completing immediate projects, he sought ways to add value to his positions and make long-term impacts. He knew that the key to success was simple: hire the trustworthy, and be trustworthy.

Provance makes it a point to be available to both his leadership team and his hourly team whenever needed. This trust-building initiative has offered him an invaluable chance to become a better teacher to his employees, and to provide them with a comfortable environment for raising questions. He even started a book club for property managers interested in reading about and discussing leadership, with recommendations like Steven R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Jim Collins’ Good to Great.

Provance sees some definite trends in the gaming industry as it currently stands, observing that analytics in particular provide the largest opportunity for emerging leaders. He feels that although it’s crucial to have a strong understanding and background in operations, industry trends are pointing toward more decisions being data-based.

“Tomorrow’s leaders need to be able to understand that data, relate it to the real world, and make impactful decisions based on it,” says Provance. “If you have one without the other, you will have a harder time making the choices that will move a company forward.”

As for forward movement, Provance is a big believer in patience, citing the dangers of trying to move too fast, and pointing out the importance of taking the time to self-evaluate.

To young professionals navigating the corporate ladder, he soundly advises, “Look for every opportunity to learn. Learn about the job you have, talk to people about the job you want, and read as much as you can. The more you expose yourself to lessons and experiences beyond the day-to-day tasks, the more prepared you’ll be to attack any challenge you encounter. Always be learning.”

Marie Casias
Marie Casias is manager of marketing and administration for the Innovation Group

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