Page 242 - South Mississippi Living - September, 2021
P. 242

 President and Chief Operating Officer of Treasure Bay, L.L.C.
This year marks the 30th year since I entered the gaming industry, with 26 of those years in Mississippi. I was recently asked by a member of our team how my career began, and I shared that my first gaming position was as
a part-time dealer working weekends and holidays, while
I had a full-time paralegal career. The individual was shocked, and it occurred to me that so few understand that many leaders began their careers in entry level positions.
I explained that the rise to the top does not always require certain degrees and credentials. Particularly these days,
if you have a desire to learn, show up every day with
a positive spirit, are willing to work a little extra when needed, it is easy to be noticed and excel.
Once I committed to a full-time career in gaming, it was a bit intimidating as a young female. There were not many females at the leadership table 25 years ago. The respect of some peers was not automatic and took time and patience to build. When I attended one of my first meetings with leaders in the industry, someone across the room loudly asked, “Who is that girl, and why is she here?” I am sure many of the women highlighted in this issue could share similar stories. I took a lot of deep breaths in those days but navigated my way through the various personalities and made friends quickly.
As I see community leaders interact today, I feel the tide has changed significantly. I am particularly proud of the bonds and relationships we have among the Gulf Coast gaming operators. Some of us have been around for many years, and we call on one another for advice, sometimes share supplies or simply catch up for a drink. Although
we all have a competitive spirit, we are supportive of one another and attempt to find ways collectively to work together.
This past year the pandemic has created one of the most challenging years across the globe. We just can’t seem to
turn the corner on this beast. Besides the health crisis, it has taken
a toll on the job market, availability of supplies, increased costs and affected general human kindness. Despite all of these challenges, it never ceases to surprise me how resilient the Gulf Coast is through every challenge that comes along, making me proud to live in South Mississippi.
I am truly grateful for this opportunity to celebrate female leaders, and am encouraged by the shift towards more women at the table
as I believe it takes a balance to navigate the challenges that our businesses and community face. To those just starting out in business, stay focused and stay strong. And to those who, like myself, have been doing this awhile, continue being yourself, bringing all you’ve got to the table so that no one ever has to ask, “Why is she here?”
 242 | September 2021 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living

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