Industry Roundtable: Women in Gaming Share How They’ve Been Empowered and Paying it Forward

Bronwen Gregg, Senior Account Manager, Emerging Markets | Gaming and Casinos Portfolio, Insights Global

Heather Lee, Vice President, Casino Sales and Partnerships, Engaged Nation

Shannon Semenuk, Director of Slot Operations, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

According to the All-in-Diversity Project’s All-Index Report for 2021 and 2022, women in leadership roles are on the rise filling 29% and 32% of executive and non-executive board positions respectively. While women are more represented in leadership now, there’s still more work to be done for better representation across the entire industry.

In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we spoke with three rising stars in the industry about their background, how they mentor and empower others, and how they work to make the gaming industry a more equitable place.

Tell us about your background. When did you start in the gaming industry and what motivated you into joining?

Bronwen Gregg, Senior Account Manager, Emerging Markets | Gaming and Casinos Portfolio, Insights GlobalI started my career supporting Insight Global’s government services division in Virginia; we are one of the largest talent solutions firms in North America helping our clients attract, develop, and retain talent with services including recruiting, managed services/project outsourcing, culture, and diversity consulting, etc. My leadership asked me to move to Las Vegas mid-pandemic to support our new office out here and the plan was for me to continue supporting our government division; however, as I was seeking out community networking groups to meet people and fully embrace my new city, I kept being referred to Global Gaming Women (GGW). I attended just one virtual networking breakfast, and it was the catalyst to my pivot into gaming – the connections I made at that event and the mentorship I started to receive pulled me in, and my client base in Las Vegas became gaming instead of government.

Now, 2.5 years later, I’m leading the Gaming and Casinos Portfolio for my company, serving as President of WISE (Women in Sports and Events) Las Vegas, and Membership Co-Chair of Global Gaming Women – I absolutely love being a part of this industry!

Heather Lee, Vice President, Casino Sales and Partnerships, Engaged Nation: I am coming up my five-year anniversary in gaming. When I applied for a job at Atrient, I didn't know much about them, or the industry in general, I was just looking for a position in sales. I feel strongly that it was divinely inspired for me to apply for the position. They hired me on the spot, and I landed in an industry that I absolutely love and that has provided me with tremendous opportunities to grow both professionally and personally!

Shannon Semenuk, Director of Slot Operations, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa: My career in the gaming industry began in 2005 when I started as a Slot Customer Service Representative at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. Since then, I’ve worked my way up the ladder to become the Director of Slot Operations, a role I’ve been in since 2022.

Empowering others and receiving empowerment is an important step in one’s career growth. Who have been your biggest mentors and what’s the best advice they’ve given you? How do you make time for empowering others and what advice would you give to other women trying to advance their careers within the industry?

BG: I’m especially grateful for Sue Schneider – Sue was the main connection I made at that first GGW virtual networking event, and during our first follow up conversation she encouraged me to moderate my first panel, which I likely wouldn’t have done because of an imposter moment if it weren’t for her empowerment. She has definitely taught me the power in putting yourself out there, and those events have completely changed my career and life.

I would give that same advice to women trying to advance their careers in the industry – don’t be afraid to put yourself out there (even if it’s uncomfortable at first) and join networking groups like GGW or WISE (Women in Sports & Events), etc. that serve the purpose of connecting, advancing, developing, and empowering the amazing women within our industry.

HL: My two biggest mentors thus far have been Angela Ahmet and Mick Ingersoll. They both taught me so much about the industry when I was still extremely green and mispronounced casino names like "ilani" or "Jamul". Mick encouraged me to start writing and contributing content as I learned more, and I became able to share insight in a meaningful way. Angela encouraged me to join GGW and encouraged me to network with strong women in the industry.

I volunteer my time to work with women within the recovery community who are displaced and like to encourage them to find something that they are passionate about. I "fell" into gaming in my thirties, so it is never too late to start on the path of something that inspires you!

SS: Professionally, the best piece of advice a mentor has given me was a quote by Bill Parcel, “Availability is the best ability.” Being accessible and present for my team is something I take to heart. You can make an impact on someone’s life by just being available to them when needed.

I encourage young women to focus on improving and elevating their skills and abilities as best as they can. Don’t be intimidated by this environment. It’s a fun and exciting industry!

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity. Equity, unlike equality, recognizes that each person has different circumstances and needs different resources and opportunities to reach equal outcomes. How do you #EmbraceEquity within your workplace and what more do you think needs to be done to make equity a priority in gaming as a whole?

BG: The first step is creating more dialogue around this topic so there is a better understanding of what equity truly means, as many are still unfamiliar with the term. It’s also important to emphasize that this is not just an “HR issue” and that true growth within an organization or industry can only happen when all levels and departments are actively engaged in this priority.

I’m incredibly proud of the intention Insight Global has around creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace – I serve on our Women’s Leadership Council, am a former Diversity Council Ambassador, and a founding member of our SAME (South Asian & Middle Eastern) Employee Resource Group. Insight Global experienced an extraordinary cultural transformation in 2016 when we started prioritizing internal DEI practices among other culture-focused initiatives.

I’ve spoken on several panels at industry conferences on DEI and culture topics and, unfortunately, the room often clears out. I think the gaming industry as a whole needs to shift perspective and realize the massive impact DEI and culture has on an organization’s ability to innovate, attract/retain larger customer demographics, create a more attractive workplace for employees and prospective talent, and achieve financial success. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but equity in the workplace is a must-have for a company’s sustainability and there are organizations out there that can help.

HL: My current employer, Engaged Nation celebrates equality and has given me the opportunity to grow and develop myself as a female in the industry. Gaming would benefit greatly from more women in executive level leadership roles. It has been nice to witness a shift as more women enter the c-suite, but we still have a long way to go. That is ultimately my goal for myself, and I look forward to the adventure ahead that gets me there!

SS: Equity is about empowering others to be their best. Being raised in a household with a sibling that had a developmental disability, this has always been extremely important to me. Providing fair opportunities and support to all team members is how I embrace equity in the workplace.