Black Executives On The Rise

August 2023

Felicia Gassen

Current company and role: I currently serve as the Chief Administrative Officer and Chief of Staff at Sightline Payments that offers leading edge financial payments solutions and bespoke mobile applications.

Hometown: The entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada.

First job in the gaming industry: My entry into the gaming industry was through a marketing and graphic design role. This position provided me a unique perspective on the industry, sparking my interest and paving the way for my subsequent roles.

What do you like about working in gaming?

What truly draws me to the gaming industry is its vibrant dynamism. It’s an industry that encourages innovation, collaboration, and continuously pushes the boundaries of technology. Plus, being in a sector that brings entertainment and joy to millions of people is incredibly rewarding. Gaming is truly collegial in nature, and you never know who you will meet or work with across your career.

Did anything surprise you about the industry when you first started? When I first entered the gaming industry, one surprise that struck me was its earnest endeavors to adapt to and incorporate technological advancements, much like any other industry. Despite its age-old history and reputation for sticking to traditional methods, I found an industry striving to modernize, taking strides to incorporate tech innovations, and catching up to the digital era. This was not just pleasant but exciting, as it hinted at the untapped potential and future growth within the industry.

Were you familiar with gambling before landing a job in the industry? What were your thoughts about gaming before starting to work in the industry? Has your impression of the industry changed at all?

I was born in San Francisco, but my family and I frequently vacationed in Reno and Las Vegas, so I was introduced to gaming at an early age. Gaming has always been a form of entertainment in my family, so I had a positive impression of the industry from the start.

Even though I was tangentially aware of the complexity of the gaming industry, the depth and breadth of its operations truly dawned on me when I started working within it. I began to comprehend that every aspect of the gaming industry operates almost like a city, with interconnected components all working together to create an integrated experience for the consumer. This realization only deepened my fascination and respect for the industry.

The transition from being an enthusiast to an insider has significantly transformed my perspective. I now see the industry as not just a source of entertainment, but as a vibrant network connecting online platforms with brick-and-mortar establishments, innovatively leveraging technology, and constantly evolving to meet and exceed customer expectations.

What major trends do you see emerging in the gaming industry over the next 5 to 10 years?

Over the next decade, I foresee a significant emphasis on mobile platforms as gaming becomes even more accessible and tailored to our on-the-go lifestyles. This shift will be accompanied by a continuous evolution of the omnichannel experience, seamlessly integrating user experiences across online and brick-and-mortar platforms.

As digital transformation continues to sweep across industries, the gaming industry will be no exception. We’ll see the emergence of more advanced, secure, and user-friendly payment solutions, which will heighten user convenience and trust.

Additionally, as we continue to gather and utilize data, driving stickier patron loyalty will be paramount. We can expect a more personalized gaming experience powered by data analytics, enhancing customer engagement and loyalty. These strategies will not only ensure patron retention but also facilitate the growth of the industry by attracting new users through a customer-centric approach.

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders in the gaming industry?

First, embrace change. The gaming industry is constantly evolving, and you should too. Stay updated with the latest trends and technologies, and always be ready to learn and adapt. Secondly, foster a diverse and inclusive work environment. As a woman and minority in executive leadership, I’ve seen how diversity fuels innovation. Different perspectives lead to more creative solutions. Finally, be passionate and love what you do. This industry is demanding, and the hours can be long, but if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.

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