GRIC Hosts 6th Annual Women in Tribal Gaming Symposium
Gila River Indian News
The sixth annual Women in Tribal Gaming Symposium organized by the Tribal Gaming Protection Network (TGPN) took place May 2-3 at Gila River Resorts & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass. The event brought together hundreds of tribal representatives working in the gaming industry.
The Women in Tribal Gaming Symposium was launched in 2017 to “provide life-changing opportunities for women in tribal gaming and features some of the industry’s best and most experienced gaming professionals and role models,” according to its mission statement.
“Enrich. Empower. Embrace.” was this year’s theme for the symposium, providing support and space for women to share their experiences and promote diversity within the tribal gaming industry. The keynote speaker was Jeannie Hovland, Vice Chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Gila River Indian Community’s Lt. Gov. Monica Antone served on a panel about tribal leadership along with Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Chairwoman Rebecca Richards, San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians Vice Chair Victoria Diaz and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Vice Chairwoman Latoya Cluff. Pascua Yaqui Council Member Herminia Frias moderated the discussion.
“Hearing the women in leadership speak about topics relating to family, community, and even work and how they climbed the ladder was more inspiring to me,” said GRIC member Vonda Arvicio, Talent Acquisition Recruiter for Gila River Resorts & Casinos.
She added, “We don’t get a lot of that feedback as an individual or an employee, but seeing that my leadership chose me to come and attend this event was even more eye-opening.”
Throughout the two days, panels and workshops covered topics on mentorship, finance, information and technology, regulations on sports betting, economic development, human trafficking and more.
Lt. Gov. Antone provided awareness of human trafficking, which targets tribal casinos because they’re often located on the outskirts of cities and close to major highways.
“Sometimes you have to take a stand and make sure that awareness is there,” said Lt. Gov. Antone. “It’s important that we have our team; we have a history of healing and we have statistics.”
DeJuna McDonald (Cherokee Nation) was honored at the symposium as the 2023 Woman Warrior. She oversees the Sex Offender Registration program at the Cherokee Nation Office of the Marshal in Justice Services.
The Tribal Gaming Protection Network’s mission is to provide unique resources, educational materials and cutting-edge programs to gaming professionals, regulators and governments to enhance the integrity and professionalism of gaming and tribal enterprises for the prosperity of tribal communities.