Patricia Becker Pay It Forward Award Recipients

The Patricia Becker Pay It Forward Awards are given annually at GGW’s primary fundraiser, Kick Up Your Heels (KUYH).  The award is given to honor women who have given back to a degree that they stand out: they have committed to the development and advancement of women, GGW, and their community.

Below is a list of our deserving recipients for 2021. We hope you can join us at this year's Kick Up Your Heels at XS inside Wynn Las Vegas to help celebrate out honorees.

2021 Recipients 
Alisia Pulella

Alisia Pulella, Senior Client Partner, Franklin Covey (Las Vegas, NV)

Alisia has been an invaluable asset for GGW since joining in 2014. Alisia helped to bring GGW their first major event, “The Power of The Suit”. Since 2016 she has been an active member of the Mentorship Committee and serves as a founding moderator for GGW’s Lean In Circles, Moderator Coach for incoming new Circle Moderators, and hosted numerous Lean In Mixers.

In 2020, GGW was faced with numerous challenges and a need to bring resources and connection to our members. Alisia leveraged her passion for others, coaching experience, and connection with industry experts into the creation of GGW’s Virtual Master Class Series which offer continued education, discounted professional services, and connection to industry experts for women all over the world.


Kate White

Kate White, VP of Business Intelligence & IT Program Management, Penn National Gaming (Las Vegas, NV)

In 2020 when GGW was struggling to determine how to produce and offer classes and member support during the pandemic, Kate White led the IT evaluation to establish new technology options to offer the on-going GGW Programs. She assisted in streamlining some of the operational efficiencies of the organization and created analytics around GGW members and programming to share the value of the organization with others. She has participated in a Lean-in circles for 4 years, is a 2019 W Conference graduate and continues to be a tireless advocate in the continuation and addition of Lean-in circles. 


Katie Lever

Katie Lever, Chief Legal Officer, (Las Vegas, NV) 

Katie has been a dedicated supporter of GGW since its inception. In GGW’s earliest days, she led the creation of its initial mentorship platform that brought together mentors and mentees from across the country. She has been a member of GGW’s board since it became a charitable organization in 2015, and a member of the Kick Up Your Heels Committee for many years. She has been invaluable in GGW’s fundraising efforts, which have allowed the organization to continue to expand its impact to women across the industry.  At the height of the pandemic, she created and launched a new online series, “Trailblazers, Power of Questions”, to ensure the organization could offer inspiration and opportunities for development during a time that many in our industry struggled to find options to stay connected. She’s been a champion, role model and mentor for women in our industry and we are fortunate to have her continued support for GGW. 


Lauren Bates 

Lauren Bates, VP Gaming Sales West, Konami Gaming, Inc. (Las Vegas, NV)

Lauren joined the GGW board in July 2018 and is currently the 2nd Vice President of the GGW board and Co-Chair of the Mentorship Committee. At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Lauren led the Mentorship Committee with transitioning into on-line deliverables that included the Master Class series. She was part of the team that engaged with the women in current Lean-In Circles, ensuring consistent communication and support by GGW and, worked to reengineer content in the changing work environment during covid. In 2020 Lauren and her Co-Chair, and the international group All In Diversity, hosted 400 attendees for a Zoom 2-day event which then led to the formation of additional lean-in circles in 2021, and the creation of GGW’s first international circle. 

Lauren is a powerful, driving force continuing to move GGW forward.  Thanks to Lauren’s dedication, the number of women benefiting from GGW’s offerings and the support of other members has grown significantly.  

2019 Recipients 

Dee Dee McKissick

Deanne (Dee Dee) McKissick, Vice President, Aristocrat Technologies (Las Vegas, NV)

Dee Dee is a 2017 W Development Class graduate.  She has hosted numerous Dine Around dinners for the Leadership classes and the W Development Conference.  She is a Western Region Education subcommittee member and assisted in updated the GGW card deck of leadership questions.

 Karla Perez

Karla Perez, Vice President-Head of Gaming, Sysco Corporation (Phoenix, AZ)

Karla attended the first regional Leadership class in 2015 while working at Cintas.  She became an enthusiastic advocate for GGW, continuing her support as her career took her to Sysco.  She lead the initial “power of” conference, has hosted numerous dine around dinners, and participates a member of the Western Regional Education Committee.  In addition she obtained Sysco’s support to host the 2018 Western Front Line Managers Program.  She has written numerous articles on women in gaming for GGB magazine and has been the moderator and/ or speaker at numerous GGW panels at the East Coast Gaming Conference. 

 Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer Roberts, Associate Director of the International Center for Gaming Regulation, UNLV (Las Vegas, NV)        

Jennifer has acted as General Counsel for GGW for 2 years, attending Board Meetings, formalizing the minutes, and assisting in the legal responsibilities of GGW.  In addition Jennifer has been part of the KUYH fundraising committee and recently agreed to join the Education Committee.

 Meaghan Ryan

Meaghan Ryan, Vice President of Talent and Team Member Relations, Seminole Hard Rock, Hollywood, Florida 
Ryan is a 2015 graduate of the W Development class. She was a member of the Southern Regional Educational Committee in 2016 and 2017 and took a leadership role on that committee. In 2018, she became a co-chair for the Education Committee, where she directs the Southern and Eastern regional committees.

 randi topham 

Randi Kolesar Topham. Executive Director of Marketing, Scientific Games (Las Vegas, NV)

Randi is a 2015 graduate of the W Development Class.  She has assisted on the G2E Program Committee in obtaining speakers and selecting topics.  She is a member of the GGW Marketing Committee.  In 2019 she hosted a western leadership development Dine Around dinner.   In 2018 Randi was honored as one of the 40 under 40, influential young men and women working to make Las Vegas a better place.

 Suzanne Trout

Suzanne Trout, Chief Marketing Officer, Foxwoods Resort Casino (Mashantucket, CT)

 Suzanne co chairs the Great Women of Gaming Committee and assisted in creating the categories, obtaining an independent international selection committee, and reinstituted the award in 2018.  This was an enormous time commitment since it was the first time GGW had branded the award.

 Emily Wofford

Emily Wofford, Owner and Partner, The Publicity Lab (Las Vegas, NV)

Emily is a graduate of the 2015 W Development Class and has assisted on numerous GGW committees in her capacity with Aristocrat, Caesars Entertainment and as she transitioned to opening her own company.  She has been active participant on the marketing committee, assisting in the video production for GGW events and marketing for KUYH.

2018 Recipients

Ann Hoff, President and COO, Excalibur, Las Vegas 
Hoff has been on the board of GGW since it became a separate charitable organization in 2015 and a member of the Executive Committee the past two years. She has chaired the nominating committee in 2017 and 2018, drafting guidelines for nominees to the GGW Board. Additionally, she has generously given her time to act as a dine-around host for the W Development Class.


Erica Kosemund, Senior Director of Marketing, Choctaw Nation, Durant, Oklahoma 
Kosemund has been a member of the Events Committee, the G2E 2017 planning committee, and chairwoman of the 2018 NIGA GGW Program. In addition, she has been an active participant on KUYH committee and is a 2016 graduate of the W Development Class.


Lauralyn McCarthy-Sandoval, Vice President, New Markets, Aristocrat Technologies, Inc., Las Vegas 
McCarthy hosted the W Development Class at her home for dinner in 2016 and 2017, and will do so again in 2018. She co-chairs the Education Committee and worked diligently to develop the Business of Business class. McCarthy has hosted dine-arounds for the Western Leadership Classes, and joined the GGW board in 2017. Additionally, she is a co-chair of the Great Women of Gaming Committee and co-chaired the Power of the Purse event. 


Judy Layne Patterson
Judy co-founded and ran operations for the American Gaming Association and co-founded and ran AGA’s charitable research arm, the National Center for Responsible Gaming. During her 18-year tenure over both organizations, she diversified revenues, developed corporate social responsibility programs for diversity, volunteerism and environmental sustainability and built internal and external communications and research programs. Her proudest achievement was co-founding Global Gaming Women and supporting its phenomenal growth. Judy retired in 2017 but serves as Treasurer of the Washington Independent Review of Books, is a member of the D.C. Bar Association and active in the Washington, DC Chapter of the International Women’s Forum.



2017 Recipients

Holly Gagnon
President and CEO, Seneca Gaming
Holly has been part of Global Gaming Women leadership since it commenced in 2000. Working with Eileen Moore, she sorted through countless mentorship programs attempting to determine how best to facilitate something broader than an individual property or company for women in the gaming industry. Thanks to her efforts, this year, GGW launched the Lean In Circles with 11 circles and 81 participants. 


Maureen Keenan
Vice President of Finance, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
Maureen has served on the Executive Committee and as Treasurer for Global Gaming Women since its inception as an independent charitable entity in 2016. She has generated the annual budget, prepared monthly statements, and filed the organization’s initial tax return in 2017. She is an advocate within the organization on appropriateness of expenditures ensuring fiscal responsibility.


Eileen Moore 
Regional President--Cromwell, Linq & Flamingo Resorts,
Caesars Entertainment
Eileen has been part of Global Gaming Women leadership since it commenced in 2000. Working with Holly Gagnon, she brought her Lean In Circle experience and expertise to the women of the gaming industry. Thanks to her efforts, this year, GGW launched the Lean In Circles with 11 circles and 81 participants.


Ann Simmons Nicholson
President and CEO, The Simmons Group
Ann used her knowledge of the gaming business, training, and human resources to build the Education Committee Pyramid Classes. The Pyramid Classes are the backbone of GGW and Ann simply inspires each attendee. In addition, she trains the GGW moderators for Mentorship Lean In circles. She has served on the GGW Board and Executive Committee since it commenced in 2016 and has led by example assisting in building the organization.


Cassie Stratford
Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Boyd Gaming
Cassie serves on the Western Regional Education Committee and the Kick Up Your Heels fundraising Committee. Cassie is a graduate of the initial W Development Class of 2015 and has been an advocate within Boyd Gaming for women to attend GGW classes. 


Ellen Whittemore
Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Ellen has attended almost every GGW function since its inception in 2000, lending her knowledge and support to the organization. The past 2 years, Ellen has chaired Kick Up Your Heels. Through her dogged determination, the 2016 event raised just over $100,000, which we hope to surpass this year. Additionally, Ellen is part of the Giving $2500 making a personal contribution to KUYH and leading by example for GGW.


Sheila Bangalore
Assistant General Counsel, Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
Sheila has served as an active member of the Events Committee since 2015. Most notable is her leadership as the Co-Organizer of the 2016 The Power of Technology conference and 2017 G2E Power of Entertainment conference. Sheila also took the lead to moderate a panel for the conferences. She is committed to bringing GGW and supporting programs into her company and is a 2016 graduate of the W Development Program.


Tiffany Sides
Executive Director of Marketing Operations, Stations Casinos
Tiffany serves on the Western Regional Education Committee. In addition, since the W Development Class does not have a committee, Tiffany has become the primary volunteer fulfilling every last minute needs including obtaining professional speakers when the round table leaders can’t make it and is a 2015 graduate of the W Development Program.


Nicole Fields
Director Industry Relations, Global Gaming Expo, Reed Exhibitions
Nicole has served as an active member of the Events Committee since 2015. Most notable is her leadership as organizer of the 2015 Power of the Suit event and the 2017 Canadian Gaming Summit Panel, where she also served as the panel moderator. Nicole has also supported other events, such as NIGA and other Canadian Gaming Summit activities, and always volunteers to support other GGW activities and committees.



2016 Recipients 


Virginia McDowell 
Formerly Isle of Capri CEO; Vice Chairman of GGW   
Although Virginia co chaired Global Gaming Women for AGA since inception; she is earning her bracelet for the work, energy, commitment, and fundraising that commenced this past year to ensure that GGW was a viable self-sufficient charitable organization with purpose, goals, and vision. 


Phyllis Gilland
Senior Vice President and General Counsel of American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC, and GGW Chair and President
Phyllis volunteered the past 4 years as co chair of the Education Committee and operated the scholarship subcommittee.  In addition, she organized the original Dine Around Box and then proceeded to develop the Dine Around Box of Playing Cards.  This year Phyllis acted tirelessly as GGW counsel, coordinating the transition of GGW to its own charitable entity and Board from its former home with the AGA.


Tina Kilmer
Vice President, Scientific Games Corp
Since 2011 Tina has co chaired the Events Committee, planning the GGW outreach programs, breakfasts, and lunches at numerous events. These programs at ICE, G2E, and many other venues increased GGW’s visibility and provided initial contact with GGW for many women.  


Christie Eickelman
Vice President of Marketing, Gaming Laboratories International, LLC
Since 2011 Christie has co chaired the Events Committee, planning the GGW outreach programs, breakfasts, and lunches at numerous events. These programs at ICE, G2E, and many other venues increased GGW’s visibility and provided initial contact with GGW for many women.