President of the World Lottery Association, President and CEO, Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation
When I was growing up, my mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be as long as I did my best. I’ve always held onto that simple philosophy, and it has served me well.
Becoming the first female president of the World Lottery Association was certainly not on my radar when graduating from college, nor was developing a career in the lottery industry. After I left television to become director of the Illinois Lottery, I quickly found the business to be exciting, fascinating and challenging — but I also realized I was a minority. There were two other female directors at the time, and few women in leadership positions.
That was then, this is now
A lot has changed since then. Currently 20 percent of U.S. lotteries are led by females, which has opened the door for many more rising stars at a senior level.
Today’s lottery world is fast-moving and ever-evolving. It’s a dynamic industry that provides fun for players and billions for good causes. However, when most people hear “lottery,” they think of mega-jackpots — not how games are designed, managed, and marketed. They might not realize the financial, legal, and technical disciplines necessary to run a lottery. Thus, there is a huge variety of professional opportunities.
If you WILL it
That was one of the driving forces when I founded Women in Lottery Leadership (WILL). The program’s objective is to pave a path to leadership for talented women. WILL was designed as a mentor/mentee training program, allowing women to strengthen their leadership skills and reach their full potential by working closely with leaders — both male and female — in the industry. This kind of collaboration is just one way change will continue to occur and women will continue to grow into leadership roles. That, and being the best they can be.
Rebecca Hargrove, President of the World Lottery Association, President and CEO, Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, [email protected]