Two Coast business women honored for their accomplishments

Two Coast women are being recognized for accomplishments they’ve made during their careers.

Two Coast execs are being honored for their hard work as top businesswomen. LuAnn Pappas, CEO of Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, and Dr. Mary Graham, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College president, have been named 2023 Top CEOs by the Mississippi Business Journal.

Pappas has many accomplishments at Scarlet Pearl. The biggest one is presiding over an investment of more than $8 million in the VIP experience, including the high limit Orchid Room, elevated gaming, and the VIP lounge. “It was emotional for a couple of reasons. Number one, it was a complete surprise and again, I couldn’t be more proud of the team I work with, but most importantly it’s a time where I thought of my father because I am who I am as a result of my father. I wish he could have been here for that moment.”

Pappas worked thirty years in Atlantic City and when she heard there was a casino opening in Mississippi, where she previously lived, she applied, even though she was told the casino would not do well. “Last year alone, we put over $10 million into the property, but in terms of our revenue, I’m very proud. I’m very pleased, especially given to where we came from with no background in gaming, and again many would say I’m the dark horse, but in the end, we succeeded, we thrived, and excelled.”

In her twelve years as president at MGCCC, Dr. Graham has overseen significant expansion, which now has ten locations within its four county districts.

She has also worked to offer good-paying careers through grants and partnerships with local industries. “We built several new facilities for our students. We built a dorm. We built a cafeteria. We’re about to build a STEM building. We built a basketball arena; the list goes on and on. You start out on a journey and you have so many mentors and I will tell you very clearly that I stand on the shoulders of a lot of successful people who have helped me on the way.”

Another secret to Dr. Graham’s success is she made sure she had experience in different positions and was not afraid to try new things. “Be fearless. You can do anything you put your mind to. You have to vision it out and work hard to get there.”

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