How did you find your start in the industry and how did you arrive at your current position?
In 1993 I was completing my final year of a Diploma in Primary Teaching. At the time, teaching roles were competitive, and I was about to be married. With a mortgage and an upcoming wedding, full-time employment was important.
Crown Melbourne was opening a temporary Casino and had advertised for Croupiers in the Herald Sun. My father who was always fascinated by mathematics had seen an advertisement in the Herald Sun and suggested I apply.
After a rigorous recruitment process, I was hired as a Craps Dealer. Becoming a part of the gaming industry I was fortunate enough to progress to a Higher Duties Dealer and obtain additional game training. In 1997, when Crown Melbourne commenced operations at the current Southbank site, I was promoted to Game Supervisor.
From 1998 my journey of motherhood began. My children born in 1998 and 2001, respectively. My return to the business was in a part-time capacity. My passion for the industry and drive to progress in my career remained, despite limited opportunity and care giving responsibilities.
In 2012 Crown Melbourne underwent a restructure and I was afforded the position of Area Manager. This was a defining moment in my career and one that allowed for opportunity to grow and for me to progress my career. Uncertain times provide opportunities for leaders to step up and if opportunity doesn’t knock, then build a door.
I put myself forward for additional roles of Trainer and Recruitment Team Leader for Table Games. These roles enabled me to build valuable skills outside of my direct scope of work.
At the time, I was working in the VVIP space where Acting Assistant Casino Manager enabled me to gain the skills to take on the next challenge in my career.
In 2015 after several attempts at gaining a permanent Assistant Casino Manager role I was successful in gaining the position. Nine months after becoming an Assistant Casino Manager a secondment for Casino Manger presented where I would be covering parental leave. Throughout my career I have never quavered at an opportunity, but for the first time I doubted my abilities. My manager at the time was very supportive. They were an advocate for me and assisted in seizing the opportunity with confidence, and I did not look back. In 2018 I was seconded to a 6-month Casino Manager role, an opportunity that provided momentum and confidence in my abilities as a leader
2020 was a defining year for all. My dream of a permanent Casino Manager was within reach. The recruitment process was underway early March. By late March our business was brough to a halt by COVID-19 and I was subsequently stood down. COVID-19 had whisked my dreams away.
Crown Melbourne developed a partnership with Telstra, and I took on a Team Leader position in the Telstra Complaints department for 6 months. My COVID career was challenging and very different from what I was used to, however the leadership aspect and people management were similar. I quickly realised that the skills I had gained were very transferrable. After living through a stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne and, at times, feeling like life would never return to normal, an amazing opportunity came up to work as a Casino Manager in Crown Sydney. I had always wanted to open a Casino in a Senior Manager role although a move to Sydney was frightening and exciting all in one. I made the boldest decision of my career and with the blessing of my partner and family moved my life to take on this amazing opportunity, to where I reside today as a fully-fledged Casino Manager
What are some assumptions you’ve witnessed about women working in the gaming and/or hospitality industry?
A common gender stereotype that I have observed speaks to the ‘caregiving’ piece of being nurturing and compassionate. Often women are selected to problem solve for people management, personal matters and overall employee welfare. It is, unconsciously, assumed that women do not necessarily want to be involved in the analytics, systems or financial aspects of the business. As a manager, it has been evident that selection for projects and opportunities can skew toward these assumptions. Since commencing my role at Crown Sydney, I have pushed for my female direct reports to be involved in the implementation of our systems. Admittedly at times this puts people out of their comfort zones, however growth comes from being uncomfortable.
What is the best decision you’ve made, professionally? What is one thing you would do differently if you had the chance?
Moving to Sydney to take on the role of Casino Manager is the best decision I have made professionally. It was brave and bold, and I am proud that I had the confidence to make the move. There is always challenges when opening a new property with COVID-19 and the NSW Inquiry into Crown’s Licence this escalated the normal challenges. Leading through these extraordinary times is career defining and a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is one that I will look back on in years to come and never forget. I wish that I had put myself completely outside my comfort zone earlier in my career. I have grown as a leader since taking on this role and have used all the leadership tools that I have acquired over my entire career.
Who and what inspires you and why?
My Grandfather always inspired me. He was strong minded and had the utmost Integrity. He was passionate about his community. Living in Queenscliff, a small coastal town in Victoria, he was iconic. He was a member of the golf club, historical society, yacht club and attended church every Sunday. He was a man of his people and he truly cared what happened in his community. He would fight for what was right for his community and never settle for anything less than the best. These are values that I was taught as a child and values that I live by. Crown encompasses these values and that is probably why I am so passionate about leadership and the industry. It is easy to love your job when the business resonates with your values.
What excites you most about working in the gaming and/or hospitality industry?
Gaming is fast paced; it is dynamic, and it is ever changing. No two days are ever the same. The customers are always different, you meet new people every day and the challenges are everchanging. Having the ability to influence the future female leaders of gaming and helping them to build their confidence and resilience within our industry. As a leader the single thing that excites me the most is when my people are successful. When I see them grow and overcome difficult situations nothing makes me prouder than seeing others achieve. The sense of responsibility to be inclusive, for the benefit of our community, consistently resonates with me. Great leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on a journey. This industry has taken me on an incredible journey and one that I only hope to share with the next generation.