Bright Lights in Tribal Gaming: Introducing Our 2019 Tribal Mentorship and Scholarship Team

Raving NEXT: Tribal Leadership and Development Program 2019

As a Native-owned business, we want to ensure there are opportunities for future leaders to have a seat at the table. It is critical that Tribal members are engaged in discussions about the future of this competitive and complex industry. One way of assisting in this process is inviting members participating in a formal Tribal development or training program to explore the opportunities in gaming through a niche, interactive and hands-on event where they can interact with General Managers and the many positions that work under the marketing umbrella.

In 2018, Raving created the Tribal Mentorship and Scholarship Program anchored to our long-running, Raving NEXT: Indian Gaming Analytics & Marketing Conference.

This year we had 12 very deserving applicants apply for the five available scholarships; their current positions ranged from Security Supervisor, Lead Cook, Table Games Supervisor to Controller and Marketing Coordinator.

Congratulations to our five selected participants that attended the January 2019 event. They jumped in and tirelessly took advantage of every opportunity at the conference. They truly are bright lights for their organizations:

  • Stephenie Barkley, Wildhorse Resort & Casino, Keno Manager, Pendleton, OR
  • Duane Chapman, Lake of the Torches Resort Casino, Assistant General Manager, Lac du Flambeau, WI
  • Darlene Snapp-Silfies, Rain Rock Casino, Controller, Yreka, CA
  • Chip Thom, Rain Rock Casino, Table Games Shift Manager, Yreka, CA
  • Paige Whitener, Little Creek Casino Resort, Marketing Coordinator, Shelton, WA

“There are so many Tribal members that aspire to learn and grown within their organizations; it’s so inspiring to see so many at many stages of their careers pushing themselves. Those who have worked their way up from service positions or that have had the experience in working several positions within their Tribal enterprise, with no doubt, will find their specialty and make the best managers and leaders,” shared Deana Scott, Raving CEO.

The Raving NEXT scholarship program includes:

  • Full tuition to the three-day program
  • Dedicated one-on-one time with a presenter/expert of their choice at the event
  • Introduction, guidance and support before and after the conference with one of our leadership development team, Paula Allen, Raving Partner, Leadership & Development and Enrolled Tribal Citizen of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, or Dan Stromer, Raving Partner, Executive Tribal Development and Senior Operations.

Dan Stromer added, “At the Raving NEXT Conference, I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with the five scholarship winners. What stood out for me was how anxious they were to give back to their Tribe and their ability to make a difference and become an example to others. It was so important to them to have a program in place that was going to provide a road map to make them and those around them successful. I look forward to keeping in contact with them and supporting them on their journey.”

What did our participants have to say?

“Thank you for all the great things that you’ve done for myself and all the other attendees. You guys showed great structure and sincerity to everyone who came to this conference. I am extremely appreciative and will also keep the memories that were made.

  “After I attended Raving NEXT, I felt like I was going back home from a family members house. I felt welcomed, comfortable, and a part of something that was going to make a positive impact for Indian casinos. The constant networking, learning experience, and group interaction had me confident that my learning from all the friendly experts wasn’t for the week but for as long as they could help me. Thank you Raving NEXT and partners for following up with me and offering to be future mentors.” Chip Thom

“The Raving Conference was an awesome experience! I was able to learn so much in just three days and return to my property eager to apply that knowledge. The seminars were extremely interesting, and the networking was a great opportunity to learn from my peers. This was also my first experience visiting a property like Pechanga Resort Casino, which was a learning opportunity in itself.” Paige Whitener

“The topics I really absorbed were the sessions ‘Test and Control’ to prove out a campaign, and ‘Creating Intentional Culture,’ great handouts and the emphasis on departmental staff meetings, and the emotional bank account. I enjoyed picking the brain of Dan Stromer; he freely shared his insights. I learned a great deal about the marketing business of the casino. Everyone at the conference from the event coordinators, speakers, even the attendees were passionate about sharing their experiences.” Darlene Snapp-Silfies

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each agenda presentation, and everyone represented during the warm three days at Pechanga Resort Casino this year. I can’t say enough for how Raving has created a very unique conference agenda as well as the opportunity to apply for and then become selected in the Tribal Scholarship and Mentorship Program. I am very honored to have participated in the program during the conference. The conference is excitingly packed with many well regarded and respected professionals associated to marketing and gaming industries. Each Raving Partner, conference speaker, and attending vendor all provided me with ample time to have – at a moment’s notice – the ability to network with and ask questions to obtain answers covering important marketing topics facing us in the gaming industry. It’s so greatly appreciated to have such interpersonal face-to-face communications with so many talented people during and continuing well on after the conference. Positive relationships are made from attending this conference!” Duane Chapman

“I had a memorable time of my life! The Raving team, the Raving NEXT attendees, guest speakers, Deana Scott and the Raving Partners put on an amazing conference. I enjoyed the lecture sessions but the conference interactive sessions really is what blew me away and helped me learn so much more. The very first exercise was task solving as a group, the next was the marketing challenge and speed solutions sessions. Those hands-on experiences and participation really helped me learn so much more than I even knew existed.

“I have a renewed faith in marketing and the energy to pursue a desired outcome for my section of our gaming resort. I was inspired by Paula Allen’s session, ‘Creating Intentional Culture,’ and my one-on-one meeting with Janet Hawk to become a better manager.

“I was inspired and reminded of how proud we are as Native/Indigenous people in our giving. I was awarded this awesome scholarship; the Notah Begay III Foundation was given a donation. All the casinos have made such a great contribution back to their communities: it is a beautiful way to be. I took that with me, back home and plan on moving forward with some idea’s, I have had.

“The most surprising take away is how interested I now feel about marketing as a new avenue in my gaming career. I am already thinking about venturing into that department, once I have accomplished my goals in my current position. Thank you so much for the opportunity and all the tools I came away with. The whole time I was there, all I heard was everyone talking and learning from each other, no harsh words or bad judgments. Just positivity and sharing. A truly great environment.” Stephenie Barkley

Apply for a 2020 scholarship

We appreciate and are thankful for all of our participants. Raving NEXT: Indian Gaming Analytics and Marketing Conference will be held at Isleta Resort & Casino, January 28 – 30, 2020. Scholarship applications will be available starting September 1, 2019 at Or you can call 775-329-7864 to ask for more information.

Christine Faria