Harrah’s Entertainment’s Tony Gladney Living the Dream
Martin Luther King Jr. (civil rights leader), W.E.B Dubose (educator, intellectual leader and activist), Phyllis Wheatley (first black poet), Marcus Garvey (activist and organizer), Ida B. Wells (publisher/journalist) and Langston Hughes (writer) are just a few of our African-American historic figures who set an example of excellence. Today gaming professional Tony Gladney is no exception to the rule that precedes him. As the vice president of national diversity relations, Gladney is a leader in the gaming industry with five- year tenure at Harrah’s Entertainment. His responsibilities include the assistance in implementing diversity initiatives and chief liaison for the company’s strategic partner relations locally, regionally and nationally. Gladney has impacted Harrah’s Entertainment, as well as the industry, throughout his 18-year career in the business. Gladney talked to Black Image about the inroads African- Americans are making in the gaming industry.
Historic perspective on the Las Vegas gaming industry and where it is today:
There are great, legendary African- Americans in Las Vegas who were pioneers and paved the way to allow people like myself to be assigned to executive levels in gaming. People such as Dr. James McMillan, Ruby Duncan, Charles Keller and Dr. Bob Bailey sacrificed to make opportunities possible in gaming. They are to be honored for making sure that black people and people of color were included in the gaming growth of Nevada. We needed their voices to raise these issues back in the early ’60s to make it possible for us to have positions in all areas of the hospitality industry. These inclusion efforts to level the playing field for all continue to be a journey, not a destination.
African-American gaming professionals coming and progressing in the industry:
There is a continued interest from African-Americans in the gaming industry for career development and growth. Individuals who have law degrees, MBAs and diverse educational backgrounds are coming to the table. They are coming from backgrounds outside of gaming and hospitality. The industry has become so diverse in employment offerings, that African-Americans are viewing gaming as a viable career choice. This segment of the population is becoming much more sophisticated about the inner workings of the gaming industry.
African-Americans and the growing international growth in gaming:
Establishing national partnerships with diverse organizations parlays Harrah’s Entertainment’s global reach. It is not out of the norm to travel to these global markets and be received with open arms because of the effective diverse partnerships established domestically. African-Americans have an understanding of the global markets, because we understand the necessity of profitability in global growth. Great opportunities do present themselves internationally, and you never know where they will send you.
-Blacks in Gaming is hosted each month
by Shaundell Newsome, president of
Newsome Marketing Enterprises