[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1 link=same] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=2]

Skip to Content


Opportunity Knocks: ECA Diversity Scholarship

By - 8 September 2022

G3 speaks to SBM’s Dolly Bascou Sananes about her experience at the Executive Development Programme in Lake Tahoe and why the European Casino Association’s scholarship is so important for diversity and inclusion.

The EDP is run in partnership with the UNLV’s International Gaming Institute and the University of Nevada’s Reno College of Business and Extended Studies. The ECA’s Diversity Scholarship covers the full cost of the EDP initiative.

Dolly, as an alumni of the physical event in Lake Tahoe – what is the EDP?

The EDP is an incredible adventure both on a professional and personal level. It’s an opportunity to embrace new perspectives as regards your career and leadership style.

You learn from the best professional programme in the gaming industry, listen to amazing speakers and meet with colleagues from all continents.

I am grateful that I was able to attend the EDP in Lake Tahoe, as it’s unfortunate that those taking part in the EDP during the pandemic experienced it via video conferencing, as it’s such an amazing place.

It’s a little like Summer Camp for casino professionals, who leave after 10 days with a fresh perspective both on their profession and the industry.

The EDP is a test of leadership skills, but it’s also about the opportunity to make friends, collaborate and empathise with a group of professionals from a wide spectrum of cultures and countries unlike your own.

How would you describe the experience you gained from the ECA’s EDP scholarship programme?

I’d say that it has reinforced my way of working with and leading my team. The EDP is, first and foremost, a leadership programme, which explains that leading is different from managing a team.

The EDP empowers its attendees and, in my case, gave me confidence in my willingness to embrace new perspectives and accomplish new challenges.

Following my EDP experience, my CEO tasked me with reorganising the Marketing Department for the whole of the SBM Group, implementing a new customer experience-oriented structure.

I am very grateful to him. I was able to recall the EDP courses and conferences, which gave me the strength and inspiration to communicate with my team and our clients to achieve this goal.

How valuable have the teachings been in your day-to-day employment with SBM?

If you empower yourself, you empower your staff members. If you challenge others you must challenge yourself. If you clearly realise that you are responsible for the eight hours per day your team members are engaged with you, they will be happy and productive.

At SBM, our business includes hotels, casinos, retail and spas, and therefore our marketing should not be siloed, but work collaboratively on projects together in groups. The EDP scholarship gave me the skills to lead groups with different skills and profiles that complement each other.

Would you recommend the experience to others – and who will gain most from taking part?

I highly recommend the experience. It changes your life. Attendees will gain self- confidence, which is key to leading both teams and projects, plus they will make friends from all over the world.

Who will gain the most? I think it is for everybody, not just CEOs. It is an opportunity for businesses to invest in high potential people that will benefit from gaining a wider perspective when leading their team.

Could you describe some of the activities and presentations you undertook during your EDP experience?

The EDP demands the most intense preparation for the competition element of the programme. After the day’s conferences, every evening we’d gathered in our groups to create a fully-fledged business plan (70 pages).

Over five nights you work with your EDP team on a case study to create a business plan for the creation/refurbishment of an international Hotel & Casino Resort.

This is challenging and also the most incredible part of the EDP. It is an amazing bonding experience and I am still in contact with my teammates to this day. Plus, Lake Tahoe is an incredible spot to spend 10 days.

What was the greatest lesson learned from the EDP?

We must not focus on workload at the expense of leadership and we must learn from others and other cultures. We must also break out of our routines and embrace working practices in the US, Europe, Asia and elsewhere. The EDP gives you a wider vision of the business and new ideas to manage your everyday job.

In your opinion, how does the EDP diversity scholarship programme help to achieve the diversity goals of the ECA?

The EDP scholarship is strong proof of ECA engagement as regards diversity. Offering this opportunity to women in the gaming industry shows that the ECA is concerned about the potential of women in a gaming industry that continues to have a “man’s world” mindset.

I think that offering a gender diversity scholarship in favour of women is a good thing. It is the right thing to encourage casino industry leaders to send women to attend this programme. I think women need a little help in this regard.

Finally, how important is it that the ECA gives European casino executives the opportunity to participant in this learning experience?

There is nothing comparable to the EDP in Europe today. It enables European casino executives to become stronger members of their teams, to inspire and train their colleagues, lead projects and ultimately contribute to greater results.

It is important for European casinos to stay tuned into the innovations in our industry, and the EDP helps towards this important goal.

Share via
Copy link