NewsWomen's History Month 2023


From server to executive: Woman’s rise to top of casino industry

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Posted at 3:46 PM, Mar 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-26 23:51:45-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Women make up 47% of the workforce in the United States.

In Missouri, 33.6% of executives are women. And in Kansas, 32.1% of executives are women, per a U.S. News and World Report visual map using census data to illustrate the number of women in top executive positions compared to a state’s female workforce.

Lydia Garvey is part of the 32.1%.

She recently started as the vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. But her ascent into upper management was gradual.

She started as an overnight beverage server, working her way up through various departments and companies.

Garvey says she entered the workforce unsure of her ideal career but always made sure to bet on herself.

“You have to show up, even when you don’t want to show up,” she said. “I was always looking for opportunities to learn from others.”

With such an outlook, Garvey climbed the corporate ladder.

“Being willing to try something new and take a risk is really helpful in career advancement as well,” Garvey said.

Garvey's current employer Hollywood Casino is owned by PENN Entertainment.

She says "a lot of progress has been made" in providing equal opportunities, noting she appreciates how her company prioritizes growing roles for women and minorities in the industry.

“One of the most rewarding parts of the job for me is interaction with team members and being able to provide advice, guidance, coaching," Garvey said.

At Hollywood Casino, there is an equal number of men and women in executive positions.