As the global leader in gaming and hospitality, Caesars Entertainment operates over 50 resorts world-wide, employs more than 50,000 Team Members and has blazed a trail in the gaming industry since its modest start back in 1937. Today, Caesars Entertainment builds on its legacy as a trailblazer in many ways from its entry into online gaming, its initiation of dozens of dynamic sports partnerships including the NFL, and its one-of-a-kind entertainment and hospitality offerings. 

But Caesars has also made its mark with its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility. In the last year alone, Caesars was awarded with: 

  • America’s Most Responsible Companies by Newsweek
  • 50 Most Community-Minded Companies by Civic 50
  • Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion by Disability:IN
  • 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for its 15th consecutive year

Caesars is committed to its Team Members, guests, suppliers, communities and the environment and uses its People Planet Play framework to guide its CSR strategy. At Caesars, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are prioritized with aggressive public targets to increase the representation of women and people of color in leadership roles, and a set of strategies around recruitment, retention and development to achieve those goals. 

One of the ways Caesars strives to be a changemaker is with its signature DEI Summit that returned this year after being introduced back in 2019. The Caesars DEI Summit aims to align Caesars, its corporate partners, nonprofit partners, and suppliers in supporting and promoting efforts to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It was designed to meet the following objectives: 

  • Participating DEI nonprofits leave with ways to better achieve their missions and add value to both their strategic positioning and that of partner businesses resulting in greater stature and support within the business community
  • Business participants leave with ways to enhance and accelerate their DEI efforts reaping the associated business benefits 
  • Participating DEI nonprofits and businesses learn how to deepen relationships and better collaborate to achieve the above two objectives
  • Create a white paper focused on the state of engagement of financial markets in using race and ethnicity information to begin strengthening positions of both DEI nonprofits and corporate partners who avidly support them
  • Identify, assess, and prioritize critical success factors for, and associated barriers to optimal initiative outcomes  
  • Agree on next steps for this multi-year phased initiative to advance DEI

In 2022, Caesars embraced its mission to Create the Extraordinary by inviting over 100 DEI thought leaders, champions and partners to participate in Activating the Next Era: Advancement of Inclusion and Advocacy.

Attendees began the one-and-a-half-day summit with a networking opportunity at the Nobu Penthouse in Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Caesars pulled out all the stops by inviting DEI Summit attendees to what is arguably the most luxurious and extraordinary venue Caesars has to offer. In between bites of signature Nobu delicacies like Yellowtail Jalapeno and Spicy Garlic Scallops, Heather Rapp, SVP of CSR for Caesars, welcomed the attendees while event emcee, Farad Ali, built excitement for what was sure to be a memorable and inspiring day ahead.

On day two, participants gathered at the Roman Ballroom in Caesars Palace for a networking breakfast before the magic of the day was set to begin. Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, kicked off the day of learning by expressing the importance of the work in front of us and in a refreshing moment of introspectiveness, Reeg commented on how the gaming industry has been dominated by people that look like him and he sees a business imperative in changing that model by tapping the overflowing well of diverse talent that leads to greater value for all the company’s stakeholders.    

The Summit included a day of powerful and thought-provoking sessions including: 

  • Fred Keeton, President of Keeton Iconoclast Consulting, shared an overview of DEI for 2022
  • Panel led by Alex Dixon, CEO of Q Casino – What’s Next for DEI in Gaming?
  • Voice of Top Diverse Suppliers panel for a candid conversation with several diverse suppliers
  • Justin Nelson, Co-Founder and President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce leads the panel discussing How Can Corporate Leadership Meaningfully drive DEI?
  • Task forces from the 2019 Caesars DEI Summit hosted presentations on the topics of measuring business impact and mental health inclusivity
  • Final panel led by Carlos Butler-Vale, VP of DEI for Constellation Brands on Intersectionality: Managing Justly the Complexities of Identify

It was a day filled with important conversations and memorable insights. We explored the reasons for better profitability for DEI-focused companies like improved decision-making, managing and acting. We defined terms like identifies and intersectionality and discussed the multiplier effect that comes about when our various identities overlap and intersect. There was plenty of head-nodding and note-taking when we heard the equation: disagreement + belonging = creativity, essentially leading us to the conclusion that an engaged but disagreeable employee is better than a disengaged silent one.  

We wrapped up our day of learning with a show-stopping dinner at Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace. The evening was all about relationship building with this incredible group of DEI professionals and other business leaders. It was a good reminder of something that was said earlier in the day by Louis Green, President of Supplier Success, that we need to dig these wells before we’re thirsty. It was a rare opportunity to make connections that we could very well need in the future.

As DEI practitioners and champions, one notable reminder from Fred Keeton is that we should approach this work as explorers rather than travelers. A traveler is someone who stops by for a day or two and moves on, but an explorer is ready for the long road ahead. This gathering was meant to spark the connections, inspiration, and energy to fuel our journey, and although the way forward will not always be clear, as Farad Ali put it, “when your why is strong you find your how.”