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Kelly Gleeson Smith

By Kelly Gleeson Smith | Jan 19, 2022

My dad had a business supporting the golf industry and he needed some help after I graduated from Florida State University. I offered to help him for the summer of 1995 and was based at a resort in San Antonio. I was always impressed with the sales managers who would conduct site inspections and entertain customers. I quickly recognized that every day would be different if this were my career path, and that was appealing to me. The DOS took a chance on a naïve, 22-year-old college graduate. It was baptism by fire and I’ve never looked back! I made some of my best friends over those years.

The coronavirus pandemic for me felt like being on the “teacups” at Disney. There were days I felt like we were spinning and the only thing we knew, was that we didn’t know anything! I think as leaders we pressure ourselves to have all the answers. Admitting that you don’t know everything is OK! In fact, it takes a lot more courage to admit you don’t know than to pretend you have all the answers. 2020 taught me to think differently, to communicate differently and to be a better listener.

I have had the privilege of working with some of the best of the best in this industry and I currently work for two of them. However, there is one person who really took a chance on me and I feel very strongly that had he not, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Tim Meyer was my DOS at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio and trusted me to handle a very large territory when my experience level didn’t exactly match up. As a result, today I look for potential in people—and maybe someday someone will say they are where they are because of a chance that I was able to provide them.

Four years ago, a dream became a reality. To have a chance to work for a major gaming company whose footprint extended throughout Las Vegas, as well as throughout the U.S., was an opportunity I could not resist! At that time, CAESARS FORUM was a “vision” on paper, and to have a chance to impact the success of that building was also very exciting. However, the most appealing part of the job was to get a chance to lead a team with autonomy and take all of the “bests” that my former bosses offered and roll them into one. I am grateful every day and really love my job, my team, my colleagues and the company! As a woman in this industry, I am forever grateful to have a “seat at the table” with Caesars Entertainment.

I think our industry is doing a much better job working to educate on the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion, but there is still much to do. Having honest conversations about the topic can be difficult, but it’s so important. I have personally opened my mind and heart to understand the frustration that so many have felt (specifically) in the workplace and work to be better and do better.

Besides being passionate about my two awesome boys and husband, I am passionate about volunteering with young women to help them learn the power of lifting each other up. By nature, it seems difficult for women to offer a compliment or a kind word to each other without thinking that by doing so, you’ve somehow lessened yourself. It’s crazy. Women have fought for many years to have a seat at the table and we should do everything we can to help other women get there, too, and not be threatened by them. Be the first to compliment someone—you’ll be amazed how good it makes you feel.

Photo by Julie Ryan Photography.



Kelly Gleeson Smith

Kelly Gleeson Smith is director, in market sales - Eastern region for Caesars Entertainment.