Each year, our CodeGreen Cocktail Challenge gets our mixologists, bartenders and chefs involved with making a new and innovative drink that reflect Caesars Entertainment’s commitment to the planet.
We know our guests are always looking for products that are kinder to the environment and locally sourced. That’s why we are inspired to offer our CodeGreen cocktails – 50% of the ingredients in them are sourced what’s considered a “local” radius: 500 miles or less.
This year, we’re teaming up with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a sustainability-minded distiller using corn that is 100% grown-in-the-USA. The brand also owns one of the largest privately owned set of solar panels in the state of Texas.
Want to join in the fun? Join our mixologist, JC Estrada, at Alto Cocktail Lounge for a Facebook Live event in partnership with our friends at 3BLMedia/TriplePundit at 4:30 Pacific Time on April 18. JC will mix up Alto’s exclusive CodeGreen Cocktail, plus drinks submitted by local bartenders from the Rio and Paris Las Vegas. Check out the recipes below and gather your ingredients so you can mix along. To be kind to the earth, be sure to raise your glass (not plastic) and skip the straw.
Rio’s CodeGreen Cocktail: Pavilion Punch
5 oz. Tito’s Vodka
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
1 oz. Pomegranate Juice
Garnish: Lemon Wheel, Pomegranate Seeds and Sprig of Fresh Mint
Served in a Rock Glass
Paris Las Vegas’ CodeGreen Cocktail: Meyer Lemon Drop Martini
2 oz. Tito’s Vodka
1 oz. House made Meyer Limon cello
5 oz. Perricone Farms Lemon Juice
Sugar the rim
Garnish: Lemon Twist
Caesars Palace’s CodeGreen Cocktail: Basil Me Lightly
5 oz. Tito’s Vodka
.5 oz. Disarrano Amaretto
4 Basil Leaves
.5 oz. Agave Nectar
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Muddle 4 basil leaves with agave nectar. Then add remaining ingredients and shake for 20 seconds. Double strain over ice in a Collins glass.
In honor of Earth Month, we’re celebrating the exciting progress we’ve made in helping youth learn how to reduce their environmental impact through the Buddy Bison Carbon Contest. Each year, in partnership with National Park Trust, our CodeGreen volunteers visit elementary students to teach students about conservation, equipping them with knowledge to become good stewards of the environment. Students compete weekly to see who can do the most environmentally responsible actions to reduce carbon footprint, through tasks as varied as turning off lights to recycling cell phones.
For more on how this all happens, our friends at National Park Trust interviewed two people who know these eco-savvy students best: Their teachers!
Yolanda Smith, third grade teacher, Richmond Ave School, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Ms. Smith’s students won the Buddy Bison Carbon Contest last year; their prize was a trip to a nearby national park. Key achievements include recycling a total of 580 cell phones and ink cartridges and getting classmates across the entire school to be mindful of electricity use. The students magnified their impact by getting the whole school district in on the action, saving more than $826,000 in energy costs thus far in the school year.
National Park Trust: Does this partnership program teach your students about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)?
Ms. Smith: The Contest focuses on a real world STEM problem and gives the students tangible, hands-on ways to solve it. It spurred conversations and solutions that would not have happened in our daily curriculum.
NPT: After competing the contest, do your students now know more about the environment?
Ms. S: The Contest 110% supports curriculum in the third grade and helps students learn about the environment and the earth. Kids can be apathetic when you talk about the environment. Because of this program they care about their environment; they are aware of the results of their actions and the implications. Students are now thinking about how they impact the environment and how it can affect them.
Ashley Oracz, fourth grade teacher, SJ Green Charter School, New Orleans
Ms. Oracz’s students took third place in the Buddy Bison Carbon contest; a key achievement was identifying and stopping “vampire” sources of energy use (i.e., items left plugged in when not in use).
National Park Trust: Has the contest supported your STEM curriculum?
Ms. Oracz: Yes, this program teaches my students about science and STEM. The last couple of days of their science unit, they talked about renewable and non-renewable energy (fossil fuels) and the impact fossil fuels have on the environment. This program ties in perfectly with their science unit.
NPT: Are students more connected to their environment?
Ms. O: 100% are excited about science and are more connected the environment – 60% are more engaged with the environment and aware of their impact on it. Now we have “Energy Managers” in our class; my students are much more cognizant of reducing energy than the other students in the school.
We salute Ms. Smith and Ms. Oracz’s classrooms – and all the participants in the Buddy Bison Carbon Contest! Caesars Entertainment HEROs will be joining the students on a field trip to a local national park; many will be visiting a national park for the first time ever. Our HEROs are honored to participate in helping show the next generation how to be good stewards of the earth we all call home – and the joys of the great outdoors.
Caesars Entertainment celebrated our company’s long-history and strong commitment to service and community through volunteerism, philanthropy, diversity and sustainable business practices at our annual Community Review reception Monday, March 5 at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
The special occasion was attended by community leaders, elected officials and Caesars team members. The event served as an opportunity to recognize the efforts of community partners and our employees who give back and served others. The event highlight was the presentation our Caesars Community HERO Award to Steve Hill, former chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority and newly appointed Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Chief Operating Officer.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and our Executive Vice President of Public Policy Jan Jones Blackhurst presented Hill with the award noting that his efforts to support the community personify the spirit of Caesars’ community citizenship platform. A fearless champion of proactive, change-making economic development in the State, Hill’s vision and can-do attitude in driving innovation have been instrumental to the future growth of Southern Nevada’s tourism industry.
In addition, executive remarks focused on our PEOPLE PLANET PLAY initiative which encompasses our many corporate citizenship programs, addresses the importance of strong environmental stewardship and supports bridging the private and public sectors to address the needs of the community.
Our team members work year-round to help build strong communities in each of the locations where we operate. We are proud of these efforts across the country and in our corporate home state of Nevada where Caesars Entertainment makes a significant impact in the community by donating time and talent to support nonprofit organizations. In 2017, our Nevada team members contributed nearly 53,000 volunteer hours and a total of 330,000 volunteer hours nationwide through our HERO volunteer program.
To learn more about Caesars Entertainment’s corporate citizenship initiative visit www.caesarsppp.com.
Since 2010, Caesars Entertainment and the Caesars Foundation have gifted $3 million to Clean the World in financial contributions, pounds of soap and volunteer hours in support of the nonprofit’s mission to reduce the spread of bacterial disease.
Maria Vargas, a 15-year veteran of Caesars Entertainment, shares her experience visiting Guadalajara, Mexico to educate children on hygiene and distribute soap to families in need. As a housekeeping staff member, Maria helps collect more than 50 tons of soap and bottled amenities from our hotel rooms across the country each year.
We’re proud of Caesars employees like Maria who share our commitment to reducing waste while combating hygiene-related disease around the world.
This year is a special one at Caesars. Back in 2003, we were looking for a way to expand our already industry-leading Responsible Gaming program, so we harnessed our greatest resource: the team members who are on the casino floor with our guests each day. Thus, the Responsible Gaming Ambassador program was born to empower team members across the U.S. to assist guests who may show signs of a potential gambling problem.
Read on to hear from several longtime Responsible Gaming Ambassadors about how and why they serve our guests.
Darlene Winkelman, Assistant Casino Operations Manager, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Casinos
Jeff Graber, Surveillance Director, Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino and Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino
Lori Monroy-Leffner, Casino Manager – Slots, Flamingo Las Vegas
Steve Aloi, Assistant Operations Manager, Slots, Harrah’s Ak-Chin
Caesars Citizenship Blog: What does it mean to be a Responsible Gaming Ambassador?
Darlene: It is our pleasure to have a conversation and provide resources to guests that are wondering if they may be exhibiting signs of a gambling disorder.
Lori: Dealers and slot attendants – those who are most likely to hear a guest make a statement that could mean they’re having a problem – will get the guest in touch with a Responsible Gaming Ambassador (RG Ambassador).
Steve: Being an RG Ambassador is first and foremost grounded in our Code of Commitment; one of the things we really look for in RG Ambassadors is that they represent the Code. The training program involves a four-hour session with role-playing difficult conversations and familiarizing trainees with our responsible gaming resources.
Jeff: We don’t have situations arise daily, but sometimes people come to us for help. We’re not counselors or professionals, but we’re a conduit to get people help.
CCB: What kind of feedback have you gotten?
Lori: I’ve received a lot of positive feedback with guests on how their particular situation was approached, saying they didn’t feel embarrassed or as if they were being judged.
Phyllis: I have had several guests who needed to exclude themselves from gambling at our locations send me mail or even come to thank me personally for the judgment-free help and support.
Steve: Each year, some fellow RG Ambassadors and I participate in an annual symposium in Phoenix to learn from gambling disorders counselors. At first, they’re surprised to hear that we care so much about responsible gaming.
CCB: If there was one thing you could tell guests and/or communities about gaming responsibly, what would it be?
Jeff: Sometimes gambling isn’t fun for people. If they aren’t having a good time, then we don’t want to take money from them. This has stuck with me since I became an RG Ambassador 15 years ago.
Lori: We only want guests to spend money that they can afford, that they’re comfortable playing for entertainment.
Phyllis: If you think you might have a problem, we’re here to guide you to problem gambling resources, or just provide a listening ear. You can call the National Council on Problem Gambling’s 24-hour hotline (1-800-522-4700) or visit https://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/help-by-state/ to find available resources and support in your area.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, celebrating social, economic, cultural and political achievement for women. In honor of this day, Caesars Entertainment is sharing the perspective of Jan Jones Blackhurst, one of our inspiring female leaders, on how companies can advance gender equity.
The recent surge of the #MeToo movement is not a discovery of a new problem, it’s a long-needed vocalization of an issue that’s always been omnipresent in women’s lives Finally women who have been victims of harassment can come forward without fear of cultural alienation or even being fired for using their voice. I believe there are some core ways business leaders can combat sexual harassment while also addressing its root cause: the enduring lack of equality and equitable distribution of power between men and women.
Create a Strong Zero-Tolerance Culture
When women experience the abuse of power in the form of sexual harassment, fear of retaliation can make them hesitant to speak out. But how to create an environment in which women (and men, too) who are subject to harassment aren’t afraid? I believe the onus is on the company to foster a culture of zero tolerance for intimidation, including that of a sexual nature. At Caesars Entertainment, that’s the culture we do our best to create for everyone, from our guest room attendants to our corporate office employees to our entertainers.
Companies small and large should outline concrete steps to be taken if those boundaries are crossed, which ideally leads to workplaces in which employees can feel safe, protected and empowered.
Set Goals and Measure Progress
In an industry where we have 50-50 representation at the entry level, but less than 22% women at the executive level, we’re taking a first step by addressing manager-level and above employees. By striving to achieve 50% women among our corporate- and casino/hotel-level managers by 2025, we will establish a strong pipeline of female leaders, set up to break the industry’s glass ceiling.
Until companies are willing to set bold goals and actionable plans around gender equity, there isn’t a way to hold people accountable to their role in achieving equity. Another useful way to advance diversity and inclusion is through the introduction of something like Caesars’ new Equity Councils at the Corporate and Regional levels, which are taskforces of leaders, guided by external experts, who will help implement our gender equity initiative and support activities such as the rollout of unconscious bias training across Caesars management teams.
Live Your Values
Supporting women in business means advocating for those beyond the walls of any given company. For example, procurement executives can look to their supply chains, or IT leaders can establish behavioral expectations among partners. Why not ask about the percentage of women at the manager level? And what about at the executive level?
Ultimately, we need a gender equity and equality index similar to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates companies based on how well they support LGBTQ employees. There are 609 companies on the 2018 list, including Caesars Entertainment. I’d love to see corporate leaders striving for a spot on a similar, gender-focused index – because it takes changing policies and practices to improve scores on lists like these.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, Executive Vice President, Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility, Caesars Entertainment
February is Black History Month and Caesars Entertainment is bringing African American voices together from throughout the company to remind everyone of the importance of recognizing black Americans’ contributions to our communities.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet
Caesars Entertainment employees from the Diversity & Inclusion team and the Chorus Business Impact Group (BIG) celebrate at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet on January 20.
Each year, Caesars Entertainment partners with the community to both celebrate and honor the legacy of the civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., recognizing the progress that Dr. King achieved for African Americans and all people of color.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet is a chance for the Las Vegas African American community to honor Dr. King while discussing the challenges African Americans face today. In fact, it’s the premier celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Las Vegas.
Hosted by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Las Vegas, with Parade Grand Marshals Pastor Kelcey West and Tya Mathis-Coleman emceeing, the banquet took place at The Orleans Hotel & Casino. Chorus was in attendance along with our Diversity & Inclusion team. “The banquet is a huge highlight for our Chorus Business Impact Group as well as a significant contribution to professional development,” says Agnes Cook, Diversity Relations & Social Equity Manager at Caesars Entertainment.
The Banquet is a fundraiser to support disadvantaged black students attending college through the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Las Vegas scholarship fund. Caesars served as a banquet sponsor; this year, the banquet raised more than $4,000, which will provide college scholarships for local African American students.
Living Our Values
In honor of Dr. King’s dedication to the dignity of all people, HERO volunteers and team members at Horseshoe Hammond conducted a drive to collect shampoo, soap, lip balm, feminine products, deodorant and other necessary items. According to Dawn Reynolds Pettit, Regional Vice President of Human Resources, “Hygiene items are often forgotten about when items are donated to shelters and community centers and we know there is a great need. It’s small, inexpensive items like these that can restore self-worth and pride.” The donations will directly benefit more than 150 local people in need through Greater Hammond Community Services.
Horseshoe Hammond team members Jessica De Perio and Vanessa Salazar with 300+ hygiene items collected.
Serving Our Community
Chorus, Las Vegas’ Business Impact Group, brings together team members for networking to provide opportunities to help out in the community and, importantly, to help Caesars achieve its diversity and inclusion goals. To support homeless youth in the Las Vegas Valley, Chorus will be partnering with Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth to host a dinner at the organization’s center in February. HERO volunteers will serve something that homeless youth might not often get to enjoy—barbeque—and also help to pack lunches and spend time with the young people.
Fostering Diversity & Inclusion
Caesars Entertainment embraces social justice and racial-gender equality for all. We partner with a broad scope of nonprofit partners advancing African Americans throughout the U.S., including NAACP, National Urban League, 100 Black Men, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Black Journalists.
In 2017, 37% of managers at Caesars Entertainment locations were minorities, compared with a national average of 22%. As just one example of bringing more African American candidates in the door, we partner with My Next Career Path Staffing, a Las Vegas-based business owned by local entrepreneur Renee Boyce. In addition to working with Renee to hire diverse IT professionals, we sponsor continuing leadership education to help him continue to grow his business.
Caesars Entertainment’s commitment to diversity extends into our supply chain. From the chicken served in meals at Horseshoe Baltimore to the VIP ride that gets you there, many individual companies provide products and services. Whenever possible, we try to support companies run by women, people of color, LGBTQ people, veterans and more – what’s known as “diverse suppliers.”
We sat down to chat with business owners to learn about what they do and we’re featuring their stories here on the blog. Read on to meet Seema Singh, CEO of Foodco USA.
Caesars Citizenship Blog: Thanks for speaking with us today, Seema. What does Foodco USA do?
Seema Singh: We provide chicken and other poultry to Horseshoe Baltimore, so any chicken dish that you eat at any Horseshoe Baltimore restaurant uses our chicken.
CCB: Yum! We’re big fans of the Old Bay garlic butter chicken wings at Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitchen.
SS: This probably isn’t a surprise, but I’m a huge fan of cooking. Chicken and garlic are my favorite ingredients to use – you can make so much good stuff with those two things!
CCB: Tell us about your story as a female business owner and CEO of Foodco USA.
SS: Foodco USA is a family business. My parents migrated to the U.S. in 1974 – my dad is a civil engineer and received a green card to work on the Baltimore airport. My mother and aunt joined forces to open the first Indian grocery store in the Baltimore area. Seeing success, they opened two more stores in the area and ultimately an Indian food distribution company, India Foods.
We purchased another food distribution company in 2000 and named it Foodco USA, expanding beyond the Indian food market.
Today, we have 162 customers, including Horseshoe Baltimore.
CCB: Besides the chicken you sell to Horseshoe Baltimore, what other products do you have?
SS: All kinds of things, from grocery items to desserts to fresh produce. Our Indian heritage is still part of the business – for example, the World Bank is one of my customers and I taught their food service team how to prepare some Indian dishes. Their employees loved it!
CCB: That’s a really nice personal touch. Do you have other advice for people on how to run a business?
SS: In addition to personalized service, it’s really about the quality of your work and the service you provide. To be honest, Horseshoe Baltimore could get the same chicken from my competitor, so it’s really all about how we present it and the relationship we have.
Also – I’ll say that it’s a challenge being a woman running a business, especially an Indian woman. So that plays into it too.
CCB: Agreed! Lots of our employees and managers are women of color so it’s important that we support advancement of women everywhere.
What would you be doing if you weren’t running a business?
SS: I love infants, so I’d find a way to work with them, either in a hospital or daycare or something like that. My hobby is cooking, though – it’s a huge early-morning stress reliever for me. I start at 4:00 a.m., my kids wake up to the aroma, come downstairs and have a countertop full of entrees to start their day.
Caesars’ team members are big fans of sharing their expertise, creativity and passion to make a difference in our communities. This quarter, we are proud to recognize three outstanding HERO volunteers who exemplify our company’s values: Latonya, Feliz and Melissa. These caring, hardworking team members will each receive a $500 check to share with a nonprofit organization of their choice.
A five-year cancer survivor, Latonya, known around Horseshoe Tunica by her nickname, Ladybug, has made it her mission to bring better understanding of breast cancer prevention to the community of Tunica. Volunteering a whopping 240 hours in 2017, Latonya supported the local American Cancer Society walk with tireless zeal. She partnered with local radio stations, food vendors, clinics and more to recruit the event’s highest turnout ever. In addition to building awareness, the American Cancer Society provided blood pressure checks, information on breast self-exams and information on mammogram appointments.
“The struggle is real and the fight continues,” says Latonya, noting that many people in the community go without seeing a doctor and don’t realize they have cancer until it is too late. For her colleagues, her willingness to share her journey with breast cancer is appreciated. In the words of her manager, Cynthia Smith, “Latonya vows to continue the fight and continue to spread awareness about cancer to whoever will listen. Whether she helps one person or many people, it is worth it to her.”
Feliz’s Causes: Health and Wellness, Human Services
With 63 hours of volunteer time in 2017, Feliz threw her heart into many causes, with a keen focus on cancer patients and survivors as they were especially close to her heart. She created the Crochet for a Cause class to help her team members learn to crochet handmade hats for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Feliz’s passion for spreading awareness meant that family, friends and guests also got in on the action, making or donating hats. With an initial goal of crocheting 200 hats in 2017, Feliz and her colleagues surpassed that goal to donate hats to 357 children with cancer.
When she’s not busy crocheting to support cancer patients, Feliz volunteers with organizations including F.O.R Maricopa Food Bank, American Cancer Society, United Blood Services and Ak-Chin Social Services, to name just a few.
In the words of her colleague Jane Stimmel, “Feliz is such an extraordinary asset to our team and our company!” We couldn’t have said it better.
Melissa’s Causes: Health and Wellness, Disaster Relief, Human Trafficking
Melissa has the distinction of being nominated by not one but two of her peers for the HERO Star award. In the past two years alone, Melissa has volunteered more than 100 hours in medical assistance with Hope Medical Mission, a group of medical professionals who travel around the world to create pop-up clinics for disadvantaged people. She also took time off work after Hurricane Harvey to travel to Houston and help rebuild homes.
Melissa also volunteers in the Las Vegas community, helping the city’s homeless population and participating in human trafficking education. Last October, Melissa raised the most money for the human trafficking organization A21 out of anyone in the Las Vegas area! Finally, Melissa lends her support to the church, Calvary Chapel. As if all this isn’t enough, Melissa is a tireless recruiter of fellow HERO volunteers.
Latonya, Feliz and Melissa are stellar examples of serving our communities and we are so lucky to call them our team members!
Each October, Caesars team members across the U.S. rally together to raise funds and awareness supporting breast cancer. From our beloved Battle of the Bras to educational seminars, there’s both fun and learning for all.
Some properties go all in, with something going on nearly every day of the month amounting to $379,345 fundraised companywide. Here are this year’s three biggest winners in the competition for a combined $25,000 donation, from the Caesars Foundation to local American Cancer Society chapters.
Here are this year’s three biggest winners, who competed for a combined $25,000 donation from the Caesars Foundation for their local American Cancer Society chapters.
Our Tunica, Mississippi, locations laced up their shoes for breast cancer awareness and research, participating in not one, not two, but three walks, drawing more than 280 walkers. Tunica team members joined the Breast Cancer Awareness walk, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides walk. Team members also walked off Chef Tammy Britton’s delicious Cakes for the Cure, which are served weekly as a fundraiser in the employee dining room.
With more than 960 tickets sold, Tunica’s Battle of the Bras set records, as well, including attracting its first international bidder, a guest from British Columbia, Canada, in the silent auction. The property also raised more than $110,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Tunica set aside time for serious topics, too. The two Tunica locations conducted four webinars for more than 100 friends and family members on topics such as breast cancer symptoms and breast cancer in men.
Horseshoe Hammond rallied around Making Strides, collecting donations from guests in a large pink ribbon bin. Guests enjoyed pink table felts and a pink chandelier on the casino floor, to promote breast cancer awareness. Men also got into the spirit during Battle of the Bras, adding boxer shorts to make it Battle of the Bras and Bros! To top off the month, team members hosted a fashion show for guests featuring the top bras and boxers.
Horseshoe Hammond also conducted a team member wellness seminar focused on early detection and self-exams.
Harrah’s Ak-Chin put a creative local spin on its breast cancer awareness initiatives through Maricopa Rocks, which encouraged employees to paint rocks with inspirational messages. The rocks were placed throughout the community for people to find and gain inspiration.
Guests who voted for the winning bras in Battle of the Bras won free slot play. The property also hosted the MOM Mobile to provide free mammograms to team members, guests and other community members.
It’s always hard to pick three winners, especially with so many great entries. We want to recognize Horseshoe Baltimore with an Honorable Mention. The location hosted a Total Rewards swipe promotion, in which a guest could personally win $2,500 and $2,500 for Susan G. Komen. The bartenders also created a special pink cocktail, which raised $4,983 for Susan G. Komen.
Thanks to team members, guests and contributions from Caesars Foundation, we’ve contributed more than $4.2 million to cancer-related organizations. We support the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Making Strides, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and others. Thanks to everyone who participated in Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Caesars!