Isle of Capri’s Community Success Is About More Than Lady Luck
Mike Hart works in an industry bound by luck of the draw. Understanding the odds is part of his job as vice president of treasury and risk management at Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., which operates 15 casinos in six states drawing more than two million visitors each year. Yet a key inspiration in his life has been a childhood friend with cystic fibrosis, Jill Roberts, who has shown him the power of determination — not just luck.
Inspired by a Friendship to Lead a National Great Strides Team
Now 36, Jill recently ran two 5 kilometer races and competed in the CF Foundation Sooner Chapter — Tulsa Office’s Climb for Life fundraiser, scaling the stadium bleachers at the University of Tulsa. She’s successfully received a double lung transplant, overcome several hospitalizations and — when she was a young girl in Missouri — a number of experts told her and her parents to set low expectations. She didn’t listen.
Mike Hart, who leads Isle of Capri's national corporate team for Great Strides.
“The things she had to do on a daily basis when we were growing up — all the pills and the treatments — but she never complained and she never gave up,” said Mike. “And for her to now run two 5K’s on a set of lungs that aren’t even hers, it just really puts things into perspective.”
It was his friendship with Jill that first prompted Mike to get involved with the CF Foundation’s Gateway Chapter nearly four years ago and that continues to inspire him as a member of the Gateway Chapter Board and as the leader of Isle of Capri’s national corporate team for Great Strides. This past year, he organized participation in 11 Great Strides events including two in Iowa, as well as Denver, Kansas City and St. Louis. With two Great Strides events still on its schedule, the Isle of Capri team has already raised more than $22,000.
A Culture of Community Involvement
While a personal friendship helped start Isle of Capri’s involvement with the CF Foundation, the firm’s culture has sustained it. Isle of Capri encourages every one of its employees to get involved with their local communities.
“Community involvement is engrained in our corporate culture and has been since we were founded in 1992,” says Jill Alexander, head of corporate communications at Isle of Capri. “Our employees have told us that they are proud to work for a company that does good work.”
The Isle of Capri team at the St. Louis area Great Strides Walk in May.
The involvement extends all the way to the top. Isle of Capri President and CEO Virginia McDowell has been a stalwart supporter of the CF Foundation and her company’s Great Strides national team. For her, too, it’s personal. Years ago, when she was just starting out on her career journey she was assigned to publicize the story of an upstate New York family that had hit a jackpot in Atlantic City, she asked the parents what they were going to do with their winnings. They responded that they would use the money to help their son, who has CF, realize his dream of attending culinary school. That family’s story has remained a strong motivator in her life.
Luck, it seems, is only one part of the story at Isle of Capri. The bigger driver of success is the power of determination and the spirit of giving.
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