It wasn’t too long ago when I was invited to join a superb gaming company, Isle of Capri Casinos, as head of the human resources department. I knew that the skills and experiences I gained from my senior leadership position in the international polished casual and fine dining hospitality industry would transfer over nicely to gaming.
Fast-forward almost four years, and I feel right at home in my robust network of mentors. From our president and CEO Virginia McDowell to her team of experienced gaming professionals, I am surrounded by living role models of excellence at all levels of the organization, and continue to gain insights from so many talented women leaders.
These bright women work for me, work with me and work above me. In a short time, I’ve built strong, enriching relationships within my own company and continue to enjoy meeting exceptional leaders throughout the industry.
Early in my career, I learned the value of mentoring and its positive impact on employee engagement, loyalty, organizational culture and overall business performance. My career began in the front-line operational ranks. With every move up the career ladder came guidance, support and valuable advice through mentor/mentee relationships.
This “strategic recognition” drove my desire to do more, engage more and be more. In the food service industry, women have a large and ever-growing leadership presence, and can tap into numerous internal and external networks. As I progressed in my career, I participated in many women’s forums and networking opportunities from large conferences to small nonprofit organizations focused on helping others.
In 2011, I had the privilege to attend the AGA’s Global Gaming Women (GGW) inaugural meeting, and was introduced to an inspiring group of gaming women leaders. As each senior-level executive candidly shared her story with the others around the table, I listened intently. I admired other women’s journeys, drive, commitment and how each utilized mentoring to build their careers, both as mentees and mentors.
It became evident that this group of women leaders had a genuine passion to become advocates for women in gaming and to build transformational relationships within the industry. I wanted more, and jumped at the opportunity to become co-chair of the GGW Mentorship Committee this year, along with my colleague Holly Gagnon, president and CEO of Pearl River Resort.
Today, I am certainly still a “mentee,” and continue to broaden my knowledge of the industry, expand and learn new business perspectives, and enhance my connections with other gaming women. I also aspire to be a beneficial “mentor” to other gaming women by helping strategize their careers and personal development plans, nurture emerging leaders, spark interest in other operational disciplines and act as a valuable HR and operational professional.
We have so many exceptional women in this industry with remarkable stories to share. Whether you’re in executive role or are an emerging leader, I encourage you to join us in shining a spotlight on gaming women—attend a GGW networking event, apply for a scholarship or nominate someone deserving, connect with other gaming women on LinkedIn and check out our many educational and mentoring resources on our website, GlobalGamingWomen.org.