From Where I Sit
By Jim Murren
Chairman and CEO, MGM Resorts International
In 2006, the MGM Resorts Foundation created an event that today we call the Women’s Leadership Conference.
The idea behind the conference – or WLC — was to provide women, and their colleagues with an enrichment experience that would help them advance in the professional world. A nonprofit event, WLC is also an opportunity to enrich our community and give back to those in need.
The 2014 WLC is right around the corner, Aug. 6 and 7. All proceeds collected from the conference, after costs, will be donated to a Nevada- based nonprofit that supports women and girls. After 2013’s conference, the Foundation donated $20,000 to Safe Nest, an organization that assists victims of domestic violence.
We’re expecting attendance to increase more than 25 percent over last year’s numbers, which means, ultimately, we will be able to have a stronger impact on our community.
We’ve got a great lineup planned; award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien will be the keynote speaker. Natalie Allen, also an award-winning broadcast journalist, will host the event. We have professional development workshops planned and great networking opportunities available for women who are looking to take the next step in their careers. And you can always count on great food and entertainment at an MGM Resorts property.
When MGM Resorts International adopted its formal diversity policy in 2000, it became an essential business paradigm for success in the modern global economy. It also provided our company with an opportunity to do some good in this world. WLC is a chance for us to have a positive impact on women and their professional lives.
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.
As we continue to expand to new locations across the globe, diversity is playing a larger role than ever, simply because 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. Some of my closest colleagues are the Presidents of two of Las Vegas’ iconic resorts, Luxor/Excalibur and New York-New York. I’m proud that these two MGM Resorts properties have talented and thoughtful women leaders at their helm. They were the first women presidents in the industry.
Through the Women’s Leadership Conference, we hope to tell those stories and serve as a guide to other companies who are looking for ways to better engage their workforce while enriching their communities.
I hope that you will join us Aug. 6 and 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the Women’s Leadership Conference will be held.