UVA Darden Alumna Helps Lead Tropicana Casino Through Pandemic
By Dave Hendrick
Jacqueline Grace (MBA ’10) was named general manager of Caesars Entertainment’s Tropicana Atlantic City Resort & Casino in September, an enormous challenge and responsibility under any circumstances, but perhaps never more so than in the midst of a pandemic that has mercilessly buffeted hospitality businesses.
As she shared in a recent profile on Darden’s Alumni Spotlight, Grace had a sense of the opportunity and challenge ahead her. She served as assistant GM of Caesars’ Horseshoe Baltimore Casino when the pandemic struck in March, and her roles leading up to the Tropicana assignment helped prepare her to meet the moment.
The native New Yorker holds a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Stony Brook University but quickly pivoted to operations and human resources leadership roles before and after attending Darden.
“I studied electrical engineering because I wanted to learn how to build computers. Once I knew how, I didn’t want to do that anymore,” she says. “What really jazzed me was leading and organizing people and having an impact on them.”
Although she has spent her entire career working at just two companies — Merrill Lynch and Caesars — her wide array of technical, human and business skills has allowed her to skip between different roles at a pace matched only by the clip at which she speaks. Fast. Very fast.
“I change jobs every year, on average, but for the most part, all of them have been a matter of me being tapped on the shoulder to do this different thing,” she says. On her blog, NotAboutJackie.com, she often muses about the challenges of juggling her career, marriage and two small children, calling herself the “chief engineer of the Hot Mess Express, trying to figure out how to ‘do life better’ while encouraging others to do the same.”
Read the full profile.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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