- Alumnae Spotlight
Jan Jones Blackhurst '67
Jan Jones Blackhurst ’67 served two terms as Mayor for Las Vegas, Nevada, and now holds the role of Executive Vice President for Caesars Entertainment where she oversees the business’s global government relations, public policy, and corporate responsibility governance.
How did you become interested in the mayorship?
I was actually the first woman elected as Mayor in Las Vegas history and I ran on a dare because no one believed a woman could be elected. I truly believe that women voted for me in overwhelming numbers even though they may not have told people that was their intent. My vision was to ensure that the communities we were developing focused on quality of life for our citizens, green space, parks, schools, and access.
What issues were most important to you while in office?
I wanted to ensure that quality jobs were available, so working in conjunction with the gaming industry, we constructed the Fremont Street Experience, which became the largest economic/entertainment development in the history of downtown Las Vegas. I was committed to providing comprehensive homelessness services and community affordable housing and during my decade in office, we provided the "model" for many communities around the country on sustainable intervention, life skills development, and affordable housing programs. Inclusion was a cornerstone of my administration and I worked with LGBTQ, Latino, and Black communities to ensure they were an integral part of our success story.
What have been some of your challenges and successes through your career?
As the first woman elected as mayor to a city known for its misogyny, and one of the first senior executives in an industry also highly male driven, I have encountered both challenges and opportunities. I had the privilege to be the leader of a city and show both men and women how a woman could be a successful leader. Having been long the lone female in the executive suite, I have been able to use my voice, skill, and initiative to move women in bot the community and in corporations to higher positions of influence.
Working as an elected official gave me a community perspective and an understanding of the importance of protecting quality of life in our communities. Corporate life has shown me how powerful corporate voices and ongoing investment is to maintaining this quality of life. you can empower people to build better communities, you can use your voice both publicly and privately to raise awareness around inequities and implement change.
Harrahs/Caesars have long been the industry leader in all areas of corporate responsibility. We were the first gaming company to implement responsible gaming polities, procedures, and training over 30 years ago. We were the first gaming company to introduce a corporate Cod of Conduct, which set standards for employee, customer, and community relationships, and first to be inducted into the 50 most civic minded companies. We recently undertook a pay equity analysis which showed 99% no significant differential in pay between our male and female employees and have announced a goal of 50/50 representation of women at all levels of management by 2025.