I always had an interest in working with people. Out of college, I wanted to be a journalist, but found myself sidetracked into human resources and really enjoyed it, because I got to work with people. It gave me the opportunity to analyze a problem and then fix it. I worked in health care and secondary education prior to joining the casino industry in 2002.
Before getting into the gaming industry, I assumed everyone was a dealer or a cocktail server. I didn’t realize that there was a whole back-of-the-house operation that was very analytical and people-driven. But once I was recruited to the industry, I never looked back. I’ve enjoyed every single day of it, even though it can get quite crazy.
My function as an executive with the casino is not to just sit in my office. I have guests I create loyalty with, and I’ve worked in a number of different positions at the casino—valet attendant, cook, beverage server—to get a better understanding of what resources the employees need.
Our company is founded on four pillars: taking care of our guests, taking care of our employees, giving back to the communities where we live, and sustainability—or having a lighter footprint. These all mean a lot to me, and they’re why I’ve stayed with Caesars for over a decade. When I think about what it means to have a meaningful career with a company, it has to do with the intangibles outside of the paycheck.
We also work with a lot of organizations and efforts in the community, such as battered-women’s shelters and walks supporting charitable causes. In 2012, I shaved my head in support of children’s cancer research, and we also rebuilt the home of a veteran in the Hammond area. I sit on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana, and I also work with the Caesars Foundation to bring money back into our community.
Horseshoe Hammond has been voted two years in a row to be Indiana’s best place to work, which is the first and only time a casino has gotten that recognition. Harrah’s Joliet has been named for the fifth year to be one of Chicago’s 101 Brightest and Best Places to Work, which is also a great honor. I’m continuing to develop programs and activities for employee engagement that drive commitment.