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Melonie Johnson Helping MGM National Harbor Lift Up Community


Posted on: July 5, 2023, 03:27h. 

Final up to date on: July 5, 2023, 12:42h.

Melonie Johnson, president and COO of MGM Nationwide Harbor, the on line casino that generated extra gross gaming income (GGR) than every other on line casino exterior of Las Vegas final 12 months, reached the highest of her business in essentially the most atypical method. She believes her previous experiences may assist pave the best way for extra various leaders sooner or later.

MGM National Harbor Melonie Johnson
MGM Nationwide Harbor president and COO Melonie Johnson. Johnson says the resort she oversees exterior Washington, DC in Maryland is way more than a on line casino, and is lifting up the area with good-paying jobs and sources for generational success. (Picture: MGM Resorts Worldwide)

Johnson was born and raised in Louisiana, at a time when that state’s gaming business consisted of solely riverboat playing. She didn’t take an curiosity within the gaming enterprise till Harrah’s New Orleans secured the primary land-based on line casino license within the late Nineteen Nineties.

There was no attraction,” Johnson informed On line throughout a current interview about her curiosity within the gaming business after graduating from New Orleans College with a Bachelor of Science in accounting.

She’s a licensed public accountant and initially labored for an oil and gasoline exploration agency. After that firm went bankrupt, her HR division forwarded her a job posting with Caesars Leisure for its new brick-and-mortar on line casino within the Large Simple.

Johnson bought the decision from Caesars and labored with the on line casino large in finance and operations. She later joined Penn Leisure, on the time Penn Nationwide Gaming, earlier than becoming a member of MGM Resorts in 2015.

Johnson has since led a number of MGM properties, together with the Gold Strike On line casino Resort in Mississippi. Her standing was elevated in 2017 when MGM appointed her to the position of president and chief working officer of MGM Nationwide Harbor, the corporate’s $1.4 billion built-in resort that opened in December 2016.

In Might 2020, MGM shuffled its regional management and moved Johnson to the Borgata in Atlantic Metropolis, traditionally the corporate’s most vital home asset exterior of Nevada. Johnson made historical past by being the primary Black girl to guide an Atlantic Metropolis on line casino resort. However her trailblazing methods haven’t ended there.

Chief of All Folks

Johnson returned to MGM Nationwide Harbor in early 2022. Underneath her tenure, the built-in resort exterior the nation’s capital in Oxon Hill, Md., has emerged as essentially the most profitable US on line casino not in Las Vegas.

Being a Black girl, Johnson believes she’s finest suited to guide the on line casino, which is situated in part of Prince George’s County the place about three in 4 residents are black. The Nationwide Harbor boss says MGM has solely improved the neighborhood since arriving by good jobs and a powerful company ladder able to be climbed by these prepared.

We come right into a neighborhood and we wish to present jobs at livable wages,” Johnson informed On line “That turns into generational, and helps the native economic system and households.”

Johnson added that MGM supplies full-time staff at Nationwide Harbor with the chance to obtain an undergraduate or graduate diploma on-line from the College of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) at no cost.

“That’s what we do. We give again by creating our staff and getting them into larger roles,” Johnson stated.

Proving Floor

Johnson says the gaming business has made strides lately in placing extra various individuals in C-level positions. However the accountability doesn’t solely fall on the casinos and their mother or father firms. The MGM exec encourages minorities who want to comply with her result in get an schooling, discover a mentor, make connections, foster relationships, and work laborious.

You’ve bought to have basis, and which means an schooling to assist your targets. It isn’t simple whether or not you’re male or feminine. It requires loads of laborious work and loads of sacrifice. You’ve bought to have drive,” Johnson defined.

As for what the longer term holds for MGM Nationwide Harbor, Johnson stated it’s her objective to go away an enduring legacy of MGM serving to to revitalize the area and its surrounding communities.

“That is close to and expensive to my coronary heart — the legacy that we wish to create — and that legacy is sustained job progress, group growth, offering a chance for people to cross-train and transfer into completely different features, and rent the following technology to ensure we’re company citizen and a terrific neighbor. We wish our neighborhood to be higher than once we bought right here,” Johnson concluded.


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