How to Approach Tribal Member Development Programs

Years ago, my son, a Tribal member, was let go after two days working for our Tribal casino. At the time, his father was the CEO of economic development for the Tribe.

Talk about awkward.

And consider the stress on the HR department, even though it was completely justified.

For those of us that work in Tribal gaming, we work in a “family business” – it is so critical to have a foundation in place so we can approach Tribal hiring preference and Tribal member development in a transparent and methodological way.

I threw this “elephant in the room” topic out in my interview with Marcus Diaz, Director of Organizational Development at Casino Del Sol and Paula Allen, Enrolled Tribal Citizen of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and Director of Leadership Development and Guest Services, 7 Cedars.

Paula and Marcus come from diverse casinos with different Tribal employment rates; Casino Del Sol’s two properties have over 55% Tribal member employment. Despite the differences, they both agreed that addressing the success and the perceptions of their Tribal member development program was critical. Paula shared “… as an organization, we need to create an equal playing field and bring the conversation to the table as need be.”

Marcus touched on how they start this conversation from day one of orientation, so Tribal members and non-tribal members alike understand their Tribal history and culture. Specifically they address not only how their team members fit into the bigger picture but give new hires an education on how every gaming dollar impacts the Tribe.

I can’t thank Marcus and Paula enough for taking the time during this challenging period to talk with me. Right after we spoke, due to the rising COVID-19 numbers in the state of Arizona and their counties, Casino Del Sol made the decision together with the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council to temporarily close their operations starting December 7 with plans to reopen to the public on Saturday, January 2, 2021.

Both Marcus and Paula share leadership advice during these difficult times – read “Developing COVID-19 Employee Prevention and Awareness Training” by Marcus and listen to Paula’s recent interview.

Paula Allen