What do you consider to be the biggest achievement of your career, so far?
I’m definitely guilty of always looking forward and forgetting to celebrate the ‘wins’, but if I take the time to think about the past couple of years, I feel incredibly proud. My biggest achievement is taking on the role of CEO at Casino Canberra and returning the organisation to profit after years of sustained losses. As I was the first female to take on the role of CEO, I think it proved that diversity of thought can drive a more creative and innovative way of approaching business decisions, and ultimately in this case, improve financial performance.
The greatest achievements can come from the most dire of crises, and in hindsight it was a risk. Women can rise to leadership, but when they’re brought in to turn things around during tough times, they also bear the blame if things don’t go well. So while they’ve managed to break through the glass ceiling, they’re then pushed off the glass cliff! I think in some cases women need to be circumspect about the reasons they are being presented with an opportunity, and the realistic likelihood of success.
[Disclaimer: I would probably not take my own advice in this regard. I would dive headfirst into a pile of garbage if I thought I could find a diamond in there… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ]
What excites you most about working in the gaming industry?
I love the gaming industry because it looks relatively simple from the outside, but behind the scenes it’s incredibly complex. The combination of psychology, business, mathematics and magic is hard to beat. The only thing we really have to sell is an experience- and there’s a lot of tangible and intangible things that go into creating that. Trying to identify that intangible magic, capture it and replicate it is what keeps me interested and excited!
What do you think is the most significant barrier for women in the industry, today? How do you think this barrier can be overcome?
I think the greatest barrier preventing women staying in the industry long enough to progress through the ranks is a lack of flexibility. It’s is an inherent challenge in our inflexible, heavily regulated industry, but we need to find ways for frontline women to keep working, learning and developing their skills and knowledge during the years when their priorities may switch to raising families. I think this would lead to greater retention of women throughout their career, and natural progression into management roles.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
I’ve been fortunate to have several incredible mentors during my career, and I would never have made it to this point without them. I know it’s probably the most repeated bit of career advice but it’s no joke- get a mentor!
Each of the mentors I’ve had has contributed specific lessons or advice for a particular point in time (even if it felt hard or harsh!), so don’t be afraid to seek out different people with different skills and experience as your career progresses.
One of my mentors encouraged me to disregard anything he suggested that didn’t suit my style. That was difficult in the beginning, but as I gained confidence I let go of a lot of things that didn’t feel authentic to me, and I think that has made my leadership a lot more effective.
Who or what inspire you and why?
Since I was two years old the words ‘no’ and ‘can’t’ have been my greatest inspiration!
It’s really all about the follow up question: ‘why?’. If there’s no sensible answer to that, then I can’t let it go. Regulators love that, of course.
I’m driven to find efficiency, and there just seems to be a lot of inefficiency on the other end of ‘can’t’! I guess it’s really about problem solving- I love problems the way KonMari loves mess!