March 8th was International Women’s Day, a celebration which adopted the slogan #BalanceforBetter. While the industry still has a lot of work to do in terms of gender balance, Coinslot is pleased to highlight some of the women who are making a real difference in the business.
Michelle Michael MBE
Owner and Director – Grand Pier Weston-super-Mare
Since acquiring the historic landmark in 2008, Michelle Michael has established Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier as the ultimate 21st Century indoor theme park despite numerous setbacks not least the devastating fire of 2008. She was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to the restoration of the pier and her family’s commitment to rebuilding the attraction and protecting the town from downturn. Michelle has led her team helping the pier to become one of the UK’s most popular seaside attractions whilst augmenting the site with a state-of-the-art Pavilion, giant arcades and function rooms. In addition to her roles with the Grand Pier, Michelle also serves as executive member of the board of Visit Somerset.
Chief Executive – Brighton Pier Group
As well as being CEO of the company responsible for the iconic Brighton Palace Pier, whose visitor figures eclipse those of the V&A, the Science Museum and the Tower of London, Anne Ackord is also Chair of the Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance, which oversees a tourism economy worth £800m. Under Anne’s leadership the Pier has enjoyed consistent growth and is a landmark which reflects the vibrancy and energy of Brighton and Hove and which plays a central role in helping to keep the tourism proposition fresh and attractive, in the process making a huge contribution to the regional economy. Anne was recognised for her services to the industry when she received the Bacta Community Award in 2017.
Managing Director – Clarion Gaming
Kate Chambers has overseen the development of the ICE London exhibition helping it to grow into the biggest and most successful business to business gaming event on the world calendar. During her period at the helm Kate has overseen the show’s relocation from Earls Court to its present home at ExCeL London where it now takes up 38 of the 44 available halls. February’s edition showcased 612 exhibitor brands a spectacle that attracted a record 36,092 attendees, an 8 percent increase on the 2018 figure and ICE London’s eighth consecutive year of growth. The success of the ICE brand has enabled Clarion to launch international spin-offs with ICE Africa going live in October 2018 and the first ICE North America opening in Boston (MA) this May.day
Group Legal Counsel, Novomatic UK
Elizabeth Speed is a qualified solicitor and works as the Group Legal Counsel for Novomatic UK. A former partner in international law firm Eversheds, she left the established legal corporates for industry joining the Noble Group in 2006, with particular focus on the AGC and FEC business. In 2014 and following the acquisition of the Noble arcade business, she moved to Novomatic UK which also includes the Talarius AGC business in its stable as well as other stalwarts of the industry on the manufacturing and distribution fronts. She has been an avid advocate for the industry serving on various Bacta committees over the years, sitting on the committees for Divisions 1 and 3, the latter for which she now represents as chairman, and National Council for seven years. She is a particularly active member of Bacta’s Social Responsibility Committee and proud of how members have led the way on SR matters. She has a special, and perhaps unsurprising, interest in gambling regulation and currently sits on the trade body’s Management Committee.
Co-Founder – CHIPS Charity
Linda Lindsay has helped to build CHIPS, the industry charity which provides specialised wheelchairs for children and young people with severe mobility problems, from a fundraising golf day into a registered UK charity which has raised more than £2.2m and purchased in excess of 520 bespoke powered wheelchairs for children living throughout the UK. Her passion and commitment to the cause has seen her travel up and down the country attending virtually every one of the CHIPS wheelchair presentations whilst also highlighting the positive work undertaken by the industry. CHIPS continues to set the highest fundraising standards with 100% of monies raised going towards the provision of bespoke powered wheelchairs which can cost up to £7,000.
Head of Compliance – Praesepe
With compliance right up there as a key social and legal responsibility for all businesses operating in the gaming space, the role of Head of Compliance has never been more important and never had such a high profile. In her seven years at Praesepe, Amanda Kiernan has risen through the ranks to be promoted to the post, a key role which has seen her assume responsibility for compliance at the company’s 165 Merkur Cashino Adult Gaming Centres, six seaside Family Entertainment Centres and six Beacon Bingo Clubs situated throughout the country.
Head of Marketing and Communications – YGAM
YGAM, the charity which works to inform, educate and safeguard young people against problematic gambling and social gaming, was formed less than five years ago but has rapidly established a reputation as being a progressive and energetic organisation that the industry can work with. Taking over responsibility for YGAM’s external profile is experienced senior marketeer, Carly Boyt. Part of YGAM’s investment in key strategic roles as the organisation edges closer towards working with one million young people, Carly is responsible for developing and implementing the marketing and communications strategy across all channels, supporting the YGAM Workshops, Peer Support Programme as well as building Corporate Partnerships.
Founder and Director – Swan Events
Karen Cooke is the driving force behind Swan Events, organisers of Bacta’s annual EAG International and VAE and the event company responsible for launching the Autumn Coin-Op Show which in 2017 made the popular relocation from Stamford Bridge to London Olympia. A veteran of the gaming industry with experience working in both the casino and the amusements/low stake gaming sectors, Karen has driven the development of Swan into an integrated events company providing clients with a comprehensive management service underpinned by four decades of hands-on experience. The development of the business has seen Karen and Swan launch The Glamping Show, an event which celebrates the world of luxury outdoor living. day
Debbie Hough Bollard
Licensing expert, Hough and Bollard
Debbie Hough Bollard has been helping operators prepare their licence applications ever since the rules changed back in 2005. Her original training was in the RAF as an air traffic controller when she was 18. She did a number of tours including one in the Falklands, and after marriage and two kids, she decided to go back to education. She graduated from university in 2000 with a law degree and six years later she worked for long standing industry lawyers Chattertons where she specialised in the coin-op industry. Her initial introduction was through several showmen families in East Anglia where she helped guide them through the new legislation. She has been working extensively with the amusements and coin-op industry ever since and the New Year marked the third anniversary of her licensing practice Hough and Bollard. day
CEO – Gordon Moody Association
Adele Duncan became Chief Executive Officer of the Gordon Moody Association in 2017 and has helped build its profile as the only organisation providing residential facilities in the UK focused exclusively on gambling. Formed in 1971 Gordon Moody is a registered charity with nearly 50 years experience in providing residential support and treatment for people who are severely addicted to gambling. Formerly Director of Operations at charity and housing association, Phoenix Futures. Adele has been instrumental in building a stronger organisation and helping to establish links with the broadly based gambling industry.