This week, we had the pleasure of catching up with Kim, a trailblazer in the gaming and casino industry, who shared her incredible journey from commission-only Home Improvement Sales in Boston to her current role leading the Caesars Sportsbook and iCasino VIP Department in Las Vegas. Kim’s story is a testament to the limitless opportunities for growth in the casino industry, and her advice for women aspiring to follow a similar path is both inspiring and practical. Look closely at the books Kim suggests. They should be on your Holidays’ list!
About: Kim began her gaming experience in 2014 with Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, after relocating from Boston where the majority of her career was in commission-only, outside sales for Home Improvements. She was able to maximize her sales experience by leading an initiative called Bright Spots, integrating a sales culture into casino marketing teams across the enterprise and exceeding revenue expectations. After the William Hill acquisition, she was tapped to help create and lead the Caesars Sportsbook and iCasino VIP Department. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA 2016-2020, ran a full marathon as a “non-runner,” and loves to travel solo to foreign countries to challenge herself. Her (often heartbreaking) loyalty to the Cleveland Browns is balanced out by her love of the Las Vegas Aces, Golden Knights, and Yankees.
You had a very successful career at Caesar’s, getting promoted to new and bigger roles every 2 years (congrats). What initially drew you to this industry?
Kim: I came from Boston to Vegas after a successful career in commission-only Home Improvement Sales where I moved up quickly and became a Regional Director over three offices. Needing a break and looking for better weather and lifestyle, I took a leap of faith and moved to Vegas. After a few years in Vegas, I sought a role at Caesars after I met team members who had worked for Caesars or Harrah’s for 20-25 years. My goal was to find a company where I could work on rebuilding my career after pivoting into a different industry. My interest in Caesars was less about industry and more about opportunity. In the casino industry, there is an overwhelming number of departments and opportunities available to grow your career.
What’s the best part of dealing with VIP clients?
Kim: The exciting part of VIP is that there is no typical VIP. You get to work with people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests. We can see what they play, but it’s always great to get to know the player as a person. Seeing Hosts achieve their goals by working hard and getting messages from their players saying how amazing they are in by far one of the best parts of what I do.
What advice would you offer to other women who aspire to follow a similar career path in the gaming and casino industry?
Kim: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and take a risk. I had a goal for myself early at Caesars. I was going to figure out how to stand out as a “small fish in a big pond” having never worked for such a large company before. I found out about SAVVY (our Women and Allies Business Impact Group), HERO (Community Charity Involvement), and other groups and events that gave me an opportunity to network, learn more about other departments, and stay alert to potential opportunities. I took risks in being the first in a new role several times, and it paid off.
What is 1 (or 3) book (s) that all women should read?
Kim: The Art of War for Women by Chin-ning Chu It gives thoughtful ways to navigate direct confrontations or uncomfortable situations. Many women aren’t comfortable with confrontation or can be perceived as aggressive when responding. It helps reflect on the situation as it is happening and work towards a positive end goal. I’m in the middle of reading What it Takes to Be #1; Vince Lombardi on Leadership by Vince Lombardi, Jr.
One of my favorite quotes from a Lombardi speech is “Don’t succumb to excuses. Go back to the job of making the corrections and forming the habits that will make your goal possible”.
It’s important to realize that you won’t succeed the first time at everything. The important part is owning it and making the corrections to try to succeed at the next attempt. Make those obstacles that seem like blockers become hurdles that I can jump over.
In your opinion, what is the role of women in the sports betting industry, and how can we overcome any barriers or glass ceilings that may exist?
Kim: Make our presence known! Women need to speak out and publicly support companies that recognize the value of diversity. Every company in sports betting today is searching out ways to be innovative. The best way to do that is to hire individuals with new ideas and new perspectives. We need to encourage women to apply and help each other understand how their skills can be valuable. Women may not see the opportunities they have in sports betting but the growth in the industry has opened new doors. This is an exciting time to join a team and make a name for yourself. You break the glass ceiling by not believing there is one.
Do you see any trends emerging in the sports betting and Igaming industry?
Kim: I think omni-channel benefits are giving players opportunities to feel more valued and be able to share experiences. For Caesars, it means playing on the app and getting to see Adele at Caesars Palace or going to BravoCon with the girls and a weekend stay complimentary. I think more VIP-exclusive experiences and money-can’t-buy opportunities will change the benefits players seek out. On the app, there’s increasing engagement in Same Game Parlays and wagering during games. Those bets are exciting when they pay out and you are more engaged in watching the game.
What do women want?
Kim: I think we want the same as men mostly. We want an app that is easy to use and can have fun with. We want rewards that are meaningful to us, and that can be different for everyone. I do get feedback frequently that women benefits that they can share with others. Tickets to shows, dinners with groups, and local experiences have topped the list of requests. But there is no blanket statement that women want XXXX from their gaming dollars. We all just want to be engaged in the games, have fun watching with our friends, and feel valued by the brand we are loyal to.