By Jim Murren
In 2007, MGM Resorts International partnered with community organizations and Las Vegas businesses to create an event that has evolved to the Women’s Leadership Conference. This year’s conference is July 13 & 14 at MGM Grand Las Vegas.
The idea behind the conference – or WLC – is to provide women and their colleagues with an enrichment experience that will help them advance in their professional roles. A nonprofit event, we view WLC as an opportunity to enrich our communities and pay it forward to the organizations in our communities who support the growth and resilience of girls and women. All proceeds collected from the conference, after costs, are donated.
After last year’s conference, $30,000 was donated to WestCare Nevada’s Women and Children’s Campus, a place that provides a variety of services to women and families including counseling and substance abuse treatment, health education and wellness, transitional housing, and more.
Why a conference to further develop gender diversity and leadership?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women are a powerful demographic in the U.S. workforce. In 2010, they comprised 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force. They are also expanding their roles, taking on more leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities. In recent years, women-owned businesses have become a major force in the U.S. economy; since 2007, they have employed 7.6 million workers and reported $1.2 trillion in sales.
Last year’s conference drew a record crowd with more than 900 people attending signifying that communities and their women are seeking guidance on how to grow in their professional lives. As a testament, a large percentage of attendees return yearly to network, receive training, and attend workshops and keynote addresses that touch on topics that have a real and lasting impact on their careers.
This year, again, we have incredible workshops touching on personal branding, innovation in the workplace, creating a strategic career plan, making the right impression and more. In addition, we’ll also have a lineup of world class speakers, along with the type of great food and entertainment you would expect at an MGM Resorts resort.
When MGM Resorts adopted its diversity policy and program in 2000, it became an essential business paradigm for success in the modern global economy. It also provided us with an opportunity to do further good. In this way, WLC provides an opportunity to have a positive impact on women and their personal and professional lives.
As we continue to expand globally, diversity is playing a larger role than ever. A company cannot succeed on the global landscape today – forming partnerships and operating around the world – unless it embraces diversity. While there is still much to do, we are proud that more than 60 percent of our employees represent minorities and more than one third of our senior leaders – and climbing – are women. Forty three percent of our management ranks are women. MGM Resorts was the first company to promote a woman, Renee West, to president of a Las Vegas Strip resort.
Through the WLC, we hope to amplify on the stories and experiences of successful women leaders as they serve as a guide to other women, and the companies who are enlightened and looking for ways to better engage their workforce, while enriching their communities.
I hope that you will mark your calendar, and join us at the Women’s Leadership Conference.
Jim Murren is Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. He leads a company of 62,000 employees that provides world-class hospitality and entertainment experiences through its 15 resorts properties in Las Vegas and Reno, Nev., Michigan and Mississippi. A leader in the area of corporate responsibility, Mr. Murren is Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association, a professional society for corporate responsibility practitioners. In 2013, he was named a Responsible CEO of the Year by CR Magazine. Casino Journal magazine named him its 2013 Executive of the Year.