Q&A with Matthew Ballesty


Matthew Ballesty 

Chief Casino Officer, SkyCity Entertainment Group

Why are you an advocate for gender equality in the gaming and hospitality industry?  
I believe to get the best results you need diversity of thought and leadership. My wife was the HR Director for a very large casino business in Macau and I remember her saying to me that her team was a mix of personalities, genders and ethnicities and it makes for well-rounded decisions. I have always remembered that. If we were all the same, you would get the same result. Diversity is a must. 
I have also heard the many stories where external people arrive for a meeting and talk to the oldest male in the room assuming they are in charge. We need change and need to challenge our bias. 
What have you done, personally, to support gender equality?  
I have done a number of things, however, there is still a lot to learn and do. Specifically, I ensure I am aware of the gender make up of my various business units and assess decisions with this information. Always ensure that when recruiting or promoting a female candidate is a considered part of that decision making process. Through personal leadership support and participant in programs and initiatives that support women in gaming  
Also, as a father of three daughters, I really want to see what change I can bring to give them every opportunity for success. 
In what ways have you assisted in normalising flexible working?  
At Skycity we have Skycity Flex. This initiative helps all with flexible work arrangements for staff to care for their families and have a good work life balance. 
When did you become aware of gender inequality and how did this occur?  
In 1993 as a young trainee manager in the NSW club industry, I attended a Club Managers Association meeting and noticed that there were no women in attendance. It’s been great to see that change throughout the years, but more needs to be done.