These Three Executives Are Paving the Way for Women in Leadership at Resorts World Las Vegas

·4-min read
Shannon McCallum, Tonya Henderson and Cinthia Pedroza.<p>Courtesy of Shannon McCallum, Tonya Henderson and Cinthia Pedroza</p>
Shannon McCallum, Tonya Henderson and Cinthia Pedroza.

Courtesy of Shannon McCallum, Tonya Henderson and Cinthia Pedroza

When contemporary luxury property Resorts World Las Vegas began welcoming guests two summers ago, it was the first new resort addition along the bustling Las Vegas Strip in more than 10 years. The venue boasts more than 3,500 rooms and suites, a 117,000-square-foot casino with a live entertainment area, a world-class spa, an infinity pool, casual and fine dining options, and much more.

While the elegant establishment has been catering to its guests ever since opening its doors, three female executives have been instrumental in the brand’s leadership department. We chatted with a trio of women who each bring incredible work experience and unique perspectives to their current roles.

Shannon McCallum, VP of hotel operations, has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. The Canadian native says she’s learned plenty along the way, particularly when it comes to speaking up and valuing different perspectives in the workplace.

“Early in my career, I looked to others who were leading in roles above me and strove to emulate what I felt made them successful. I often waited to hear their thoughts prior to voicing my own to ensure I was on the right track and to avoid being judged if I was not ‘correct,’” she says. “I have learned that having a diversity of perspectives is critical to avoiding serious and avoidable issues in our business.”

Flexibility is also key when it comes to handling the pressure of a high-stakes job, according to McCallum. Adopting fluidity at the executive level within a large-scale operation has proved successful not only for McCallum, but also for the business overall.

“It has enabled me to be resilient and nimble and also to be able to delegate to my team to still be able to accomplish everything without having to be everywhere at once,” she shares. “It also allows me to grow the skills of my executives and to give them exposure at a higher level more frequently.”

McCallum enjoys mentoring others and says that there are more opportunities for senior leadership roles for women today than when she began her career.

“There was a time where women needed to be perceived as tough and driven to be able to compete in what used to be an industry more populated by men,” she admits. “I find that we can now be ourselves, with genuine voices, sincere perspectives and offer immense value to our teams, our guests, properties, company and industry.”

Tonya Henderson, VP of compliance, who has both an MBA and a law degree, started her career as an agent with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Her 20 years of experience in the gaming industry has prepared her for her current position, leading compliance at the world-class luxury property.

“A typical day is ensuring that the company and its employees are following all the rules while providing great guest experiences,” she says.

Henderson adds that no two days on the job are exactly the same, which is part of the thrill. She works across departments, including casino operations, marketing and finance to ensure cross-company compliance.

She names three women in particular who have served as mentors in her own life (Michelle Chatigny, Laura McAllister Cox and Ellen Whittemore), and Henderson hopes to inspire the next generation of women to pursue leadership roles by being a mentor and leading by example.

“I hope to teach the value of never giving up on your dreams,” she says. “That with passion and perseverance young women, particularly women of color, can achieve great things.”

Cinthia Pedroza, executive director of food and beverage, was inspired to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry due to her desire to travel—but she quickly learned that there were so many more aspects of the field that appealed to her. She received her bachelor’s degree in hotel management from Universidad del Valle de México.

“When I had the opportunity to learn about restaurants, bars and everything that has to do with food and beverage, there was no contest—food and beverage makes people happy and it brings us together,” she says.

Pedroza notes that the best part of her job is the never-ending opportunity to learn, along with perks like chef and mixologist tastings.

“There is always someone that has a new idea, a new concept or a new flavor to experiment with and living in Las Vegas we have to evolve constantly to stay on top,” she admits of the fast-paced environment.

While the food and beverage industry is a constant hustle, Pedroza makes sure to prioritize quality time with family and friends, and relies on yoga to help her decompress and hone her focus on the job.

“I want to be the best version of myself that I can be, I want my daughter to have a good role model, my family to be proud of me and my team to have a good leader they can rely on to grow professionally,” she adds.