Long before his season with the San Francisco 49ers, he broke the legend Lynn Swann’s high school record, then went on to a college career as one of UNLV’s celebrated receivers. It’s a position that requires perseverance, finesse, and team-building agility. These attributes served Tony Gladney well as he navigated the twists and turns of a casino career, starting as a cage-cashier at the Marina Hotel, then stepping out of the industry for time to launch UNLV’s Department of Multicultural Student Affairs. He was called back to MGM Grand to incorporate a jobs program whose success was recognized by President Bill Clinton and planted the seed as MGM helped to develop Nevada Partners. Asked to start Caesar’s Entertainment Diversity Initiative, he guided the program for nearly a decade. Now, as Vice President of Community Engagement for MGM Resorts, it is Gladney’s ability to move between worlds that makes it possible for him to fulfil legacy and support others in fulfilling their own.
I’m blessed to work for a company, and to have worked for companies, in this industry that have been able to have a specific percentage of their dollars say, ‘We want to impact communities and make those communities stronger where we operate.’ What my overall job consists of is. . .working with organizations and communities such as the African American community, the Asian and Pacific Islander community, the LatinX community, the Native American, LBGTQ, veterans, persons with disabilities and women . . . community engagement is from the standpoint of, really, all philanthropy—all corporate giving—with issues that focus on Zero Hunger, that focus on workforce, that focus on education. And also, under the umbrella of volunteer programs and foundation giving. That’s my focus . . . to represent all those hardworking employees that work so hard every day to go ahead and realize that American Dream of providing for their children, sending their kids to college. Being able to impact their communities, representing those hardworking folks in this industry—in entertainment and gaming and hospitality. I think that legacy gave me the type of mindset—if not, why not. It takes all of us to be accountable.