Vegas Inc’s C-Suite Honors recognizes Southern Nevada’s leaders

1 month ago VEGAS INC

Vegas Inc’s C-Suite Honors recognizes Southern Nevada’s leaders

Operating at such a high level of industry is an accomplishment and the 2023 C-Suite Honorees have set themselves apart as exemplary leaders. These individuals represent an elite class of executives from a wide range of industries, all of which are integral to the community of Southern Nevada. While each face challenges that are unique to their field of business, they all preserve, create opportunity, and participate in the community to find solutions for our shared struggles. Their passion and drive are pushing the limits of achievement and paving the way for a better tomorrow.  

The 2023 C-Suite Honors originally appeared in a special issue of Vegas Inc found inside of Las Vegas Weekly. Sign up to get each of Vegas Inc’s special publications delivered to your inbox on the day of their release.

Jonathan Jossel

Chief Executive Officer, The Plaza Hotel and Casino

While attending Birmingham University earning a Business Commerce Degree, Jonathan Jossel wrote his senior thesis on gaming. The topic and industry have fascinated him ever since, and in 2007, he moved to Las Vegas to oversee the development of Tamares Real Estate’s Las Vegas properties, including the Plaza Hotel & Casino. Seven years later, Jossel became the one of the youngest non-restricted gaming licensees in Las Vegas and CEO of the Plaza.

Under Jossel’s leadership, the Plaza has undergone several major refurbishment projects, including the ongoing Main Street Reimagination project that aims to revitalize the iconic Main Street façade and make the location a must-see spot for tourists and locals. Jossel has helped transform the Plaza into a destination of growing popularity by diversifying the Downtown offerings with niche experiences and amenities.

Jossel lives and works Downtown, and he believes that what benefits one, benefits all. He demonstrates this attitude through community involvement, and in his dedication to Las Vegas’ growing arts and culture scene. He is a member of the Fremont East Entertainment District board of directors, the Downtown Vegas Alliance, and the Nevada Resort Association. After celebrating the Plaza’s 50th anniversary in 2021, Jossel donated a 40-year-old Plaza logo sign to the Neon Museum.

The Plaza also sponsors and does fundraising for nonprofit events such as the Great Santa Run benefiting Opportunity Village and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Personally, Jossel is an active member in his synagogue Chabad and supports Young Jewish Professionals. He also supports the Real Men Wear Pink campaign in honor of his mother, who is a breast cancer survivor.

Chris White

Chief Operating Officer, Brooklyn Bowl

Chris White has a passion for creating memorable experiences, and over the past nine years, he has been doing just that as the Chief Operating Officer at Brooklyn Bowl. Originally from New York, Brooklyn Bowl has expanded its brand to include locations in Las Vegas, Nashville, Philadelphia, and soon, Washington, D.C. White was instrumental in bringing the brand to Nevada, where it has since become a local entertainment hot spot.

White loves the can-do attitude and overwhelming sense of pride that makes Las Vegas feel like home. He has previously served as Property Development Director at Caesars Entertainment, where he led the conceptual development and financing for the LINQ Promenade and High Roller observation wheel, and as Senior Associate of Corporate Strategy at MGM Resorts International. He also owns Blanc Canvass, Inc., which offers consultation services and provides strategic business and real estate development services focused on hospitality, entertainment, gaming, and retail.

White recognizes that Las Vegas is an ever-changing environment that is full of potential. “Seeking out new opportunities and providing my contributions to forward the progress of the city excites me,” White said. “Whether it’s new shows or new resorts, Las Vegas has already changed so much in the past few years. As a proud local, I am hopeful and excited to see how the city will expand and change in the future.”

In addition to his work in development and entertainment, White is dedicated to helping the community. He serves on the board of Goodwill of Southern Nevada and volunteers with Junior League and HELP of Southern Nevada.

Karen Haller

Chief Executive Officer, Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc.

As the first woman to be named CEO of Southwest Gas, Karen Haller is committed to her leadership role and her efforts to close the gender gap. Haller has been at Southwest Gas for more than 25 years and has served as the Executive Vice President and the Chief Legal and Administrative Officer.

Haller leads by example—she demonstrates the value of corporate citizenship and social responsibility as she supports local volunteering efforts. She serves on the board of directors of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and is also a member of the Clark County Bar Association, the American Gas Association, the Western Energy Institute and the American Counsel Association. She also oversees Southwest Gas’ BLUE community partnerships, and its charitable foundation and employee giving program, Fuel for Life.

The social responsibility that she champions in the workplace extends to energy sustainability as well. In the rapidly evolving energy industry, Haller is dedicated to innovation and doing her part to ensure that Nevadans have access to dependable energy.

"As an energy corporation, addressing the energy transition is key,” Haller said. “Working collaboratively with other organizations and industries to continue forward momentum toward achieving climate goals while continuing to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy service to our communities is at the forefront of initiatives for the energy transition.”

Haller considers it an honor to lead a company that powers Southern Nevada and provides the foundation for much of the economic development that is happening in the state. She looks forward to continuing a legacy of accountability and innovation in the industry.

Peter LaVoie

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Resorts World Las Vegas

Peter LaVoie was swept into the Las Vegas casino world quickly after college, and he has never looked back. A second-generation Las Vegan, he appreciates the unique pace, opportunities and history of Southern Nevada—and he is actively shaping that history at Resorts World.

As the CFO of Resorts World Las Vegas, LaVoie is responsible for overseeing the financial activity of the most expensive resort built in Las Vegas. It’s a challenging task, but one he embraces. Some may think that finance is just calculations, but LaVoie finds the creative aspects of his job just as rewarding as the logic and accounting that he enjoys.

LaVoie has been working in finance for more than 20 years. Before accepting his current position at Resorts World, he worked at multiple properties for MGM Resorts International, including as the Senior Vice President and CFO of MGM Grand and the CFO of Luxor and Excalibur. LaVoie also served as Financial Controller and Vice President of Accounting on the CityCenter opening team. Before opening CityCenter and working at Aria, LaVoie held roles at Bellagio, Mirage and Treasure Island. Over the course of his career, he has completed many successful accounting structures and developed financial procedures including assignments for the MGM Grand Macau and the online gaming company in the Isle of Man.

“Only in the Las Vegas casino industry can you learn so much with one company,” LaVoie said. “Accounting and finance is an extremely dynamic field in this business. It is probably one of the only fields where you get the opportunity to work in hospitality, gaming, retail, entertainment, nightlife and so much more. It is beyond exciting.” 

Toni Corbin

Chief Operating Officer, Southwest Medical & Optum Mountain West Region

Toni Corbin has always had a passion for health care. That passion began early in her life as she watched her mother, a cardiac care nurse, care for patients, and evolved as she advocated for her son through a series of operations following an accident. Corbin has dedicated her life to protecting the health of Southern Nevadans.

Corbin has worked at Southwest Medical and Optum for the past 32 years. She has helped strengthen the fabric of Southern Nevada by launching two community centers dedicated to the needs of seniors and has worked to address the local physician shortage. She also serves on the board of directors of the Tyler Robinson Foundation, which helps families cope financially and emotionally with pediatric cancer diagnoses.

Under her supervision, Southwest Medical increased its provider roster from 369 to 442 in a three-year period. For the first time in the company’s 40-year history, the primary care department was fully staffed. Corbin also spearheaded the relief response at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which she oversaw the opening of the community’s first COVID-19 testing platform and worked with community leaders to increase testing capabilities across the valley. She acted quickly to turn curbside testing sites into vaccination sites once the vaccine became available.

Corbin champions healthcare quality, healthcare access and community service. She oversees all Southwest Medical’s charitable giving and is a proponent and leader of employee volunteerism. As enthusiastic as she is about growth and progress, she is equally enthusiastic about recognizing and celebrating the good that is already being done within her organization and in the community.

Kevin T. Orrock

President, Summerlin. The Howard Hughes Corporation

In 1974, a young Kevin Orrock joined the accounting department at the Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas, then owned by Summa Corporation, predecessor to the Howard Hughes Corporation. Today, he is the longest-tenured employee in the company.

The Howard Hughes Corporation developed Summerlin, and under Orrock’s leadership, Summerlin has become one of the country’s most prestigious master-planned communities, spanning 22,500 acres along the western rim of the Las Vegas Valley. It has set the standard for quality development on a national scale and established records for home and lot sales that have not been replicated since the early 2000s. Orrock also stresses the importance of water conservation within Summerlin, embracing low water-use landscapes.

Orrock oversees the Howard Hughes Corporation’s philanthropic giving, and the company has invested millions of dollars in the community. Much of the company’s charitable focus has been on education, awarding more than $700,000 in scholarships through the Summerlin Children’s Forum and partnering with the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation to purchase 100 laptops for youth in the Historic Westside. Orrock also authorized support to Going Green for Good Health, the city’s initiative to plant more trees to combat the urban heat island effect.

Active in the business community, Orrock serves on the executive board of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance and on the advisory board of directors for the University of Nevada Las Vegas Foundation. He is also the Chairman for the UNLV Lee Business School and has previously served as Chair of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, Orrock was inducted into UNLV Lee Business School’s Nevada Business Hall of Fame.

Mark E. Brown

Chief Executive Officer, Miracle Flights

Mark Brown is making miracles happen—not just in Nevada, but across the country. As the CEO of Miracle Flights, Brown leads one of the only national charities based in Las Vegas. He has helped the organization evolve from a small, local charity into the country’s leading nonprofit that provides free commercial flights to those in need of life-changing medical care, flying to and from every state.

“My favorite thing about being the CEO of Miracle Flights is being able to help families reach critical medical care and relieve some of the cost and stress of caring for a sick child,” said Brown. “Hearing the fight in the caregiver’s voice and seeing the determination they have to get the absolute best medical care for their child is inspiring. They are all fighters.”

Brown’s success didn’t begin with Miracle Flights; he’s been part of the Las Vegas community for his entire life. He has spent the past five decades working in public relations, advertising, banking, and government. He played a key role in the early stages of developing Summerlin and managed philanthropic donations for both the Howard Hughes Corporation and Station Casinos, where he directed contributions exceeding $40 million throughout Nevada and the western United States.

In addition to his leadership and business ventures, Brown serves on the Las Vegas Chamber Government Affairs Committee and the Advisory Board of the UNLV Foundation. Previously, he served as Chair of the YMCA of Southern Nevada and partnered with other charitable organizations including the Public Education Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America Las Vegas Area Council and Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada.

Tami Hance-Lehr

Chief Executive Officer and State Director, Communities In Schools of Nevada

When Tami Hance-Lehr moved to Las Vegas at 15 years old, her mother gave her a piece of advice that she still lives by today: “Get involved, join clubs and try new things—you need to show up to find your place in the world.” This guidance helped a young Hance-Lehr to fit in at high school, and later empowered her to become someone who selflessly helps those who are disadvantaged.

As the CEO and State Director of Communities In Schools of Nevada, Hance-Lehr has touched thousands of lives. Communities In Schools of Nevada is a nonprofit that works with schools and students to provide effective dropout prevention and intervention. Its mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Under Hance-Lehr’s leadership, CIS of Nevada has become the fifth-largest state office in the nation.

Hance-Lehr also helped elevate the CIS National Diversity Equity and Inclusion commitment by adding “belonging” to the framework of DEI, now dubbed DEBI for CIS of Nevada. For Hance-Lehr, the word belonging recognizes that being part of something bigger than oneself provides a sense of greater purpose.

“Southern Nevada is a growing, constantly changing ecosystem of opportunity,” Hance-Lehr said. “I see new careers, new neighborhoods and museums, as well as parks, recreation, and places to meet friends and celebrate families. We are part of a community where opportunities are endless. I want our youth to see what I see in Southern Nevada.”

Through her commitment to helping children succeed, Tami Hance-Lehr is leading her organization as they work together to uplift Southern Nevada one school and one child at a time.

Richard A. Derrick

City Manager & Chief Executive Officer, City of Henderson

Richard Derrick is a true civil servant who finds joy in bettering the City of Henderson, the place he and his family call home. He became City Manager in 2018, and during his tenure, the city has received a 97% citizen satisfaction rating for quality of life, the highest in the nation for mid-to-large-size cities, a 94% citizen satisfaction rating with city services, and has been scored the second-safest large city in America. Derrick was born and raised in Henderson and now dedicates each day to making it a more mature and progressive city.

Prior to his work at the City of Henderson, Derrick worked in private sector businesses, including Caesars Palace, Deloitte, and Haskins & Sells, as well as in the public sector at the Clark County School District. Through it all, Derrick’s priority has been giving back to the community and his current role affords him the opportunity to do so on the highest level.

One of Derrick’s proudest achievements has been helping the city navigate the many challenges of the pandemic. Under his leadership, Henderson was able to secure and manage $48 million in recovery funds that contributed to COVID-19 contact tracing, testing, vaccinations, eviction assistance, education assistance, small business economic assistance, mental health services and job training assistance.

Looking to the future, Derrick stresses the importance of being prepared for challenges as they arise. “As with any organization, our biggest challenges are adapting to the ever-evolving needs of our community, whether it is sustainability, economic development, or the growth of our services and amenities,” Derrick said. “However, turning challenges into opportunities really motivates me and has led to our achievement of positive results through our data-driven decision-making.”

Hector Fernandez

Chief Executive Officer, Aristocrat Gaming

Hector Fernandez credits his success to his community, team and a series of serendipitous opportunities that led him to where he is today. “I am a firm believer in happenstance and that our careers lead us exactly where we need to be. The path I took to Aristocrat is exactly that and a story of twists and turns that aligned seamlessly,” Fernandez said.

With a background in accounting and finance—Fernandez is an accredited Certified Public Accountant—he spent his career working at health care and technology companies before joining Aristocrat as the CFO of the Americas in 2018. He went on to serve as the President of Americas & EMEA before being promoted to CEO. Fernandez says he is energized by the talent, creativity and dedication of the entire team at Aristocrat—and continually inspired by the gaming industry.

As CEO, Fernandez oversees the delivery of Aristocrat’s land-based products across the world, which includes more than 300 gaming jurisdictions. Described as an exemplary leader, Fernandez is especially proud of the company’s culture and the empowering environment that allows employees to thrive.

Fernandez sits on the board of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, where he has been able to contribute to policy reform, responsible gaming initiatives and more. He also serves on the board of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, which is dedicated to economic development and infrastructure planning in the city. He is active with Aristocrat’s corporate responsibility program, which works with nonprofits across the country for betterment in four main areas: Education and Career, DE&I, Native American Relations, and Good Business, Good Citizen.

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