Senior Strategic Advisor
Holly is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the UNLV IGI. . A gaming veteran of over 28 years, Holly has held senior leadership positions in Finance, IT and Operations. She has worked for the largest commercial casino companies (Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts) as well as four successful Native American owned operations. Most recently, as President & CEO for Seneca Gaming Corporation (2017-2020), Holly Gagnon made a significant impact inside and outside the organization in short order. Under her tenure, the corporation launched Sports Betting into all of their resorts & casinos properties, formed strategic sports partnerships with Pegula Sports & Entertainment, and transformed the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino with the $40 million expansion/renovation project dubbed the “Seneca Arrival Experience”. Holly is passionate about the importance of culture in an organization. Improving employee engagement has been a cornerstone to her success in improving profitability.
As one of very few female CEOs in the gaming industry, Holly has leveraged her vision over the course of her 28-year career to consistently prioritize the guest experience, employee engagement, and drive superior results to the bottom line. She is a calculated risk-taker that brings a valuable wealth of knowledge from her years in the gaming and hospitality industry.
Holly earned an MBA from Chaminade University of Honolulu, received her BS in Accountancy from Bentley University in Massachusetts, and is also a CPA. She serves as an independent board and audit committee member for GameWorks and is a founding board member of Global Gaming Women, where she chairs the mentorship committee. Holly is serves as a Trustee for the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board where she is a member of the Women in Corporate Leadership and Workforce Development Committees as well as the Ad-Hoc Committee on Coronavirus Pandemic. She has also been honored as Native American Finance Officers Association’s Executive of the Year, one of the Top 30 CEO’s with Native Business Magazine (2019), Pay It Forward Award with Global Gaming Women (2017), multiple times as Power Women with Buffalo Business First (2019, 2018, 2017), and Power 250 (2019 & 2018). She is a former member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors and former member of the Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Experience (MAEEX) Board.