As the first ever female CEO of Spirit Mountain Casino, Camille Mercier tells us more about the tribal roots of The Northwest’s Premier Entertainment Destination® and how her role symbolizes more than just a personal achievement.
HITTING THE JACKPOT
The glitz and glamor of casinos, coupled with the thrill of gambling and gaming, captivates millions of players around the world.
Spirit Mountain Casino (Spirit Mountain), nestled in the foothills of Oregon’s coastal mountain range, is a premier casino and hotel with a variety of gaming and hospitality options.
“We have a wide array of games, from blackjack, craps, roulette, and pai gow, to sportsbook offerings, keno, and slot machines,” Camille Mercier, CEO, informs us.
Spirit Mountain’s hotel, meanwhile, offers a resort-like experience and boasts a range of accommodations, from standard and premium rooms to spacious suites.
“Last year, we added a full hook-up RV park that includes fully furnished park models that can be rented for your home-away-from-home stay,” Mercier shares.
A plethora of events are also offered throughout the year, such as comedy nights with top comedians, car shows, music concerts, and more.
Food connoisseurs are likewise spoilt for choice at Spirit Mountain, with numerous food outlets ranging from Asian cuisine and Mexican flare to fine dining.
“We also have the ability to host your next conference, company event, family reunion, or wedding with 17,500 square feet (sqft) of space that can be configured to accommodate groups of up to 1,600 people,” adds Mercier.
DEDICATION TO GUEST SERVICE
One of the key factors that sets Spirit Mountain apart from its competitors is an unwavering dedication to overall guest service.
Going above and beyond to provide an exceptional experience for visitors, the casino’s friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to ensure that all needs and requests are met promptly and with a smile.
“Our facilities boast cutting-edge technology, luxurious accommodations, and a wide array of entertainment options that cater to the interests and preferences of our valued customers,” Mercier acclaims.
In addition to its commitment to guest service, Spirit Mountain continuously strives to enhance its amenities and offerings to provide a truly memorable experience.
An exciting and innovative amenity that Spirit Mountain looks forward to adding to its vast selection of entertainment options is Top Golf, a popular entertainment concept that combines elements of golf, competition, and interactive technology to create a unique and engaging experience.
Another aspect that sets the casino apart is its attractive players club, which rewards guests for playing with Spirit Mountain.
Promotional events within the players club include cash drawings, tournaments, and opportunities to win luxury vacations, cars, and cash.
“We are proud to reward our guests for choosing us as their preferred casino destination,” emphasizes Mercier.
“With our players club, members have access to exclusive benefits, rewards, and promotions that add value to their gaming experience. From special discounts to personalized offers, we ensure that our loyal players feel appreciated and recognized for their continued patronage.”
Spirit Mountain is owned by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, whose mission to be self-sufficient means striving to achieve independence and self-reliance for the tribe and its members.
Self-sufficiency reduces or eliminates reliance on external sources for essential needs such as food, housing, education, healthcare, and employment opportunities.
“Our tribe aims to develop and sustain its own resources and infrastructure to meet these needs internally for the government and each tribal member,” Mercier outlines.
Spirit Mountain, who currently has 900 members of staff, also provides job opportunities for tribal members and the surrounding communities.
“Our casino isn’t just a hub of entertainment; it’s a catalyst for economic development, offering jobs and bolstering local businesses, thereby enhancing the very fabric of life in our region.”
By creating and supporting businesses in the Grand Ronde community, the tribe can generate revenue and build a strong financial foundation to support its members and fund essential programs and services.
Furthermore, self-sufficiency also encompasses the development of effective governance systems within the tribe, building infrastructure, and providing adequate education and healthcare services.
By empowering members through education, healthcare, and access to essential resources, the tribe can enhance the overall well-being, self-determination, and quality of life for its members.
“Ultimately, the mission for self-sufficiency reflects the tribe’s aspiration to assert its sovereignty, preserve its unique identity, and ensure the prosperity of its members.
“It entails creating a sustainable future where the tribe can thrive independently while nurturing and preserving its rich cultural heritage,” notes Mercier.
Spirit Mountain’s gift shop also includes items designed and made by local members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
FIRST FEMALE CEO
A flame was ignited within Mercier by her grandmother, Margaret Provost, who was unwaveringly dedicated to restoring the tribe’s federal recognition.
“My grandmother left an indelible mark on my life,” Mercier reflects.
“She believed in a tribal nation that could foster a commitment to self-sufficiency and remove barriers for each tribal member to be the best version of themselves.”
This resolve steered Mercier towards pursuing higher education and engaging with the tribal community.
In 1996, she saw the unique opportunity of a career in the casino industry which, despite its male-dominated landscape, beckoned with promises of personal growth and professional advancement.
“I’ve worked in the casino industry for the past 28 years, beginning at Spirit Mountain, traversing through two other casinos in two other states, and now, coming full circle back to where I started,” Mercier tells us.
With a reputation for her innovative leadership style and a profound understanding of the intricate workings of the gaming world, Mercier is deeply humbled and honored to hold the distinction of being Spirit Mountain’s first female CEO.
“This role symbolizes more than a personal achievement; it represents an opportunity to bridge unseen divides between our casino and the tribe we are rooted in. Our heritage is rich with culture and values that can guide our business decisions,” she says.
As a female CEO in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Mercier is an advocate for diversity and inclusivity, creating an environment in which individuals from diverse backgrounds feel embraced, honored, and valued.
“I aspire to be a role model, particularly for young Native American girls, illustrating that aspirations can materialize into reality.
“I hope that by reaching this milestone, I can inspire and embolden the next generation of tribal members, nurturing within them the confidence and drive to aim high, strive for excellence, and, above all, contribute meaningfully to their communities,” Mercier smiles.
Another of Mercier’s goals as CEO is to regard her employees as integral contributors to the success of Spirit Mountain’s operations.
Offering competitive market wages, comprehensive benefits, training opportunities, active involvement, direct communication channels, and regular recognition forms the cornerstone of being an employer of choice that Spirit Mountain prides itself on.
“I firmly believe in rejecting the notion of viewing employees as disposable assets. Instead, by prioritizing our engagement with our employees, we cultivate a culture where reciprocity thrives,” affirms Mercier.
“When we treat our employees with respect and consideration, they, in turn, demonstrate a vested interest in contributing to our collective success.”
Mercier also aims to fully embrace technology, leveraging its capabilities to elevate both guest services and streamline employee self-service functionalities.
Currently, Spirit Mountain is in the process of upgrading its Human Resources Information System (HRIS), which is poised to become a comprehensive platform for employees.
This system empowers the casino’s workforce by enabling them to effortlessly handle work-related tasks, including payroll management, time-off requests, enrollment in classes, and employee benefits.
One of the key features of this upgraded system is its scheduling program, which is designed to optimize efficiency and equips department leaders with the ability to craft schedules based on volume metrics.
“By integrating employees’ available days, security clearances, and part-time or full-time classifications, the system automates the scheduling process,” Mercier explains.
“This eradicates the need for leaders to manually track vacation days or calculate hours worked in a pay period.”
The goal behind these enhancements is to free up staff time, allowing them to focus more on meaningful engagements, such as providing exceptional guest experiences and actively contributing to team objectives.
This shift toward streamlined processes not only fosters efficiency, but also empowers Spirit Mountain’s employees to allocate their energy where it matters most.
Moving forward, Spirit Mountain’s primary objectives revolve around elevating guest loyalty, enhancing the overall guest experience, empowering employees through comprehensive tools and training, and fortifying its standing as a premier regional gaming destination.
“To achieve these goals, we’re introducing innovative initiatives,” reveals Mercier.
First and foremost, the casino aims to have an excellent mix of the newest and most popular slot machines and table game offerings.
Guests will also soon have the option to go cashless and seamlessly access their winnings and funds directly from a mobile app.
Additionally, Spirit Mountain is implementing cutting-edge kiosks enabling guests to conveniently access their loyalty points and redeem various amenities such as food, concerts, and events.
“Moreover, this system will provide the added convenience of locating their preferred slot machines,” she adds.
Coupled with the renewed spirit of community stewardship at community events that are near and dear to its employees’ hearts, Spirit Mountain continues to hit the jackpot.