“Rocket Man” to Headline Raving NEXT

Native American Astronaut John Herrington, Ph.D.

New conference, mentorship program, twentieth anniversary celebration, and more

This January marks the twentieth rendition of Raving’s signature National Indian Gaming Analytics and Marketing Conference. It also signifies a change of guard: as of October 1, the company is now a tribally-owned business. Raving’s CEO, Deana Scott, along with her husband Brady Scott, an enrolled Coquille Tribal member, have purchased Raving from gaming industry veteran and company founder, Dennis Conrad.

As longtime educators, there is a huge obligation to our industry to do our part, to be forward thinkers and leaders. To help those from the front line to those in the “C” suite be the most successful they can be, with critical and innovative information presented through our conferences. Raving has always taken that role very seriously.

When Deana, the “new boss,” brought the team together to start planning the 2018 event, she challenged us to develop a forward-thinking curriculum – unlike anything we’ve had in the past. A program that didn’t “catch casinos up to what they should have been doing for the last few years, but to give them technology and thinking that will help them succeed in what’s next for the industry.” A program that addresses market maturity and choosing between tribal needs and reinvesting in our core business. Not only did we develop innovative content and an expanded speaker lineup for Raving’s signature National Indian Gaming Analytics & Marketing Conference, but an entirely new event was created.

Introducing Raving Next

For those who have not attended this conference, our threeday event comprises one pre-event day, Raving NEXT, and the following two days are devoted to marketing and analytics (and also features a tradeshow). Most attendees attend both programs.

This groundbreaking one-day event, Raving NEXT, will tackle critical topics pertinent to Tribal Council, General Managers, CFOs, CEOs, and Directors. What makes this event stand out amongst the many gaming conferences and tradeshows across the country is Raving’s expertise for gathering industry leaders, encouraging straightforward and relevant conversations, and providing intimate networking opportunities, specific to tribal gaming.

On creating Raving NEXT, Deana shared, “The Tribal gaming industry is in a new phase of market maturity. There’s no time to waste; operators need to create decisive strategies for reinvestment for their aging properties to meet the needs of their changing customer base and to maximize their labor. As longtime educators in this field, we took a hard look at what trends and conversations will have the greatest impact for our casino clients. We look forward to being the catalyst to facilitate those discussions.”

What we can learn from the first Native American Astronaut

We couldn’t have found a better keynote presenter to kick off our inaugural Raving NEXT program, and here’s why.

He was suspended from college his sophomore year, for spending more time rock climbing rather than studying. You can say he knows a little something about challenge. About failure and incredible success. About dreaming the impossible. About partnerships.

From near college dropout to United States Naval Aviator and the first Native American Astronaut, Dr. John B. Herrington can cite several parallels in his life to the immense challenges and successes tribal gaming has overcome and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Herrington was born in rural Oklahoma. He credits his mother as the driving force of keeping his family connected to their tribe, the Chickasaw, and their heritage.

His dream of flying in space started at a young age. In the 1960s, most kids had that dream. America and the Soviet Union were locked in a competitive race to see who could claim the title of first in space and first on the moon. People followed every broadcast about rockets launching and the latest details about the space program. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon when Herrington was ten years old. It was the perfect age to become attached to an impossible dream. He used to take a cardboard box and sit in the basement of his house, imagining he was an astronaut, soaring into space and seeing the Earth below him. His dream became a reality in 2002 when, as a Mission Specialist on STS-113, he flew to the International Space Station.

Attendees will listen to this motivating story of a man who has always asked, “What’s Next?” Who has devoted his life, after space travel, to understand the motivating factors behind why some Native American students are successful at pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and who have overcome incredible odds to achieve their dream of an education. Attendees will be reminded of how every day we have the power to attain our own impossible dream.

Tribal Scholarship And Mentorship Program 2018

It is critical that Tribal members are engaged in discussions about the future of this competitive and complex industry. As a native-owned business, we want to ensure there are opportunities for future leaders to have a seat at the table.

Raving is offering the opportunity for up to five eligible tribal members to attend at no cost Indian country’s largest and longest running conference, Raving’s 20th National Indian Gaming Analytics and Marketing Conference, as well as the groundbreaking one-day program, Raving NEXT: Innovative Strategies That Drive Profit.

These tribal members will receive exclusive opportunities to engage with industry leaders from throughout the United States and will work closely with an assigned mentor during the event. They will also work with the Raving event team to facilitate sessions and workshops. The internship covers the cost of the conference and conference meals.

Throughout this three-day experience, participants learn valuable skills to take back to their organizations. They will also witness and participate in discussions about decisive strategies for reinvestment for their aging properties to meet the needs of their changing customer base and to maximize their labor.

Are you a supervisor working with a talented and motivated tribal member who will be a future leader in your gaming operation, and who would embrace this experience?

Are you currently in a tribal member development program and aspire to be part of the next generation of leadership for your tribe?

For eligibility and application instructions, please visit our website, www.ravingconference.com, no later than December 1, 2017.

Tribal Spirit Of Giving Celebration And Entry Information

In an industry that most outsiders don’t understand, the story of the tribal gaming community and its workforce of warriors who are dedicated to improving the lives of their communities is often unheard. Call it cultural modesty, call it silent giving; you don’t hear a lot about the millions of dollars and hundreds of life-changing programs that tribal casinos invest in every year.

Three years ago, we began our journey to recognize those tribal organizations that give so much back to their communities. In this year’s celebration, we will be standing up and applauding those organizations that have changed people’s lives.

If you haven’t already, go to our dedicated website and enter your initiatives online. We’ve changed it up this year: it’s free! It’s easy. We want to share what our industry has given back. Not ready to participate? Get new ideas about charitable initiatives that tribes across the country are doing for their communities, and vote for your favorite. Go to www.ravingconference.com for more information. The deadline to submit is November 30, 2017.

Christine Faria