Ian Jones Blackhurst: From Outsiders to Las Vegas Queens

Ян Джонс Блэкхерст

Many big businessmen such as Steve Wynn or Donald have built successful careers on the Las Vegas Strip Trump. However, in the 21st century they were supplanted by a fundamentally new type of leaders - university professors, political activists and public figures began to come to gambling. A great example is Caesars Entertainment, whose former CEO, Gary Loveman, was a former Harvard professor.

The company's current public relations officer, Stamford alum Ian Jones Blackhurst, has successfully served two terms for the Iron Throne as the first female mayor of Las Vegas. This businesswoman, full of irrepressible energy, explosive ideas and strong convictions, is a real challenge to the traditions of patriarchy, rigid business models and restrictions associated with racial and gender prejudices that have developed in the "sin city"

Name 725Ян Джонс Блэкхерст
Date of BirthMarch 16, 1949
Mayor of Las Vegas1991-1999 741
Место работыCaesars Entertainment
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Early years

Jan was born in Los Angeles, California ) in the family of an entrepreneur who owned a chain of grocery stores Thriftimart. Already from childhood, she showed an interest in business and social problems, which was not typical for a girl who was predicted by the classic career of a wealthy heiress - a successful marriage, a mansion in the suburbs and an early depression with alcoholism to boot. Ian was a fast learner, got excellent grades in school and was constantly striving to learn new things.

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The mother, who wanted to see Yang at the Little Miss pageants, was disappointed and gave her to be raised by her father. He had a huge impact on the girl, instilling in her the stamina and firmness that allow her to succeed in the business world.

“Father said that I could grow up to be a sheep or a goat. Look at the sheep - they walk in a chain, one after another. And the goat walks by itself and does what it wants.”

After successfully graduating from Stamford, Jan went to Las Vegas to raise the family business in the city. Of the four supermarkets, none generated income from the sale of products, but the stores paid off thanks to 48 slot machines installed on their territory. Father instructed Yang not to interfere in the gambling business, focusing on groceries. She went to "Sin City" for only a year, eventually staying there for the rest of her life.

Ян Джонс Блэкхерст
Ian Jones Blackhurst became the first female mayor of Las Vegas
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First Business Projects

In an effort to improve Thriftimart's business, Ian launched a television advertising campaign by being directly involved in filming. She began to be recognized on the streets, and supermarkets received long-awaited customers. Then her father decided to sell the business, and Jan, by then married to entrepreneur Fletcher Jones, focused on a new task - to increase the profitability of her husband's business.

He was a car dealer with three dealerships throughout Nevada. In six years, Yang managed to increase their number to 12. Literally from scratch, she created a single management company, personally performing general administrative functions in it.

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Coming into politics 898

В то время существующие в Неваде законы не позволяли женщинам голосовать на выборах. Это создавало определенный правовой парадокс. Лишенные прав жительницы штата могли руководить компаниями, быть успешными и влиятельными, но не могли баллотироваться и избираться.

A group of activists approached Yang, urging her to help repeal the corresponding amendment to the US constitution. She took on the task with her usual acumen, perseverance and energy.

“Everyone said it was impossible. This is a country dominated by men. These are Mormon laws and cannot be changed. But—believe it or not—we did it!”

Shortly after this victory, activists offered Yang support for the mayoral seat. It was not an easy decision. Key business players in Nevada, whom Yang turned to for advice and advice, were opposed. Perhaps that is why the young entrepreneur nevertheless decided to fight.

Experience in advertising supermarkets and car dealerships came in handy. The woman was known, she had a well-known name in the city. The developed art of the orator helped Yang to convey her platform to voters - to run the city as a business, remove shameful restrictions, change the traditional approach to the social sphere. The Las Vegas players decided to take a chance and bet on her.

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First female mayor

Social change is the basis of politics Ian Jones Blackhurst. During her mayorship, a fundamentally new approach was taken to solving many city problems. An official with business acumen effectively fought poverty, social disorder, and the lack of acceptable living conditions for citizens. For the homeless, a number of comprehensive programs were launched to provide temporary and permanent housing, and vocational training. These projects worked successfully until Blackhurst's re-election.

In addition to social innovation, Yang was the first official to express her support for LGBT people by introducing programs to protect minorities. The destruction of the myths reigning around homosexuals has become her strong point.

Blackhurst's courage is amazing, because before not a single official of the city even dared to communicate with representatives of LGBT organizations. Councilors constantly dissuaded her from certain actions related to supporting minorities, prophesying a drop in ratings in the city's traditionalist society. However, Yang always remained a "goat walking on her own", not wanting to repeat the mistakes of other officials. The stereotypes were broken - the residents loved their mayor, leading Yang to victory in re-election.

While working at the city hall, Blackhurst introduced the principle of diversity - diversity in personnel. In addition to women, Yang took on the team representatives of many races and nationalities who previously could not count on work in the government. Becoming a true urban legend, Blackhurst stepped down as mayor after her second term to continue bringing her ideas to the gambling business.

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Caesars Entertainment

Присоединившись к компании, владеющей на Стрипе такими комплексами, как Caesars, Paris и Bally’s, Блэкхерст вместе со своей командой разработала первые в отрасли практики ответственной игры. Программа лояльности Total Rewards, запущенная под ее руководством, сегодня насчитывает более 46 млн участников. Ян уже неплохо знала город, но сохранила свежую голову «чужака», отказывающегося принимать на веру традиционные постулаты. Это приносило успех на политическом поприще и помогало в игорном бизнесе.

“We were all outsiders at first and should have learned more about gambling. We didn't grow up with them like many on the Strip.”

Yan's interests are in social issues, environmental safety and diversity. She is a frequent speaker at universities around the world, and has helped establish the Educational Center of Excellence for International Gaming Organizations at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. He promotes diversity and inclusion in top leadership positions in the gambling and hospitality industries.

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After Yang's two decades in charge of Caesars social department, she joined the company's board of directors in 2019. As an advocate for diversity and equality in the workplace, she has helped the company earn the highest score in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation program.

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Pride of Nevada

Permanent striving for excellence and irrepressible energy are the hallmarks of this legendary business lady. In parallel with Caesars Entertainment, Blackhurst serves as:

  • Chairman of the Public Education Fund.
  • Director of Las Vegas Stadium Management.
  • Director of the Nevada Resorts Association.

Jan has received numerous awards and commendations, and in 2014 she was one of the first women to be inducted into the American Gaming Association (AGA) Gaming Hall of Fame. There are few people in the state in business, philanthropy and social projects who have influenced the formation of modern Nevada as seriously as Ian Jones Blackhurst.

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