Karen Willie

Slot Supervisor

Karen Willie, Slot Supervisor for Navajo Gaming, has learned the ins and outs of troubleshooting and installing slot machines over the past 15 years.

She said she’s learned the value of teamwork, communication, leadership, and developed a good work ethic.

“Leaving the Navajo Nation for the brand new Navajo Gaming Industry at first kind of scared me, but with encouragement from Paul Hamm, Derrick Yazzie, and my family, I was able to move out of my comfort zone and continue this new journey that has now lasted 15 years and counting,” Willie said.

She said she was taught to watch and learn, take notes, “don’t just ask, do it,” and always participate in teamwork.

Willie is Tł’ááshchí’í, born for Áshįįhí; her maternal grandfather is Tódích’íi’nii, and her paternal grandfather is Táchii’nii.

Her first job as a teenager was working with summer programs at her local chapter house, hauling wood and doing yard work for elders.

“I’m most proud of becoming a supervisor and finding myself as a person,” she said. “Learning what I can accomplish, pushing myself to be a better supervisor to my team and encouraging them every day are all important things.”

Willie tells others that the benefits of working for Navajo Gaming are many.

“Working with NNGE not only gave me the independence of a steady income and great benefits for my family, but also provided me with the opportunity to purchase my own home,” she said. “The continued training has helped me improve my skills as a supervisor and surprisingly, as a parent.”

Willie gives this advice to anyone just starting at Navajo Gaming or other companies:

“If anything, continue with your education so you can continue to move up in this industry,” said Willie, who enjoys spending time with her family and traveling on her days off. “Learn a good work ethic and learn to enjoy your work. If you enjoy what you do you will never work a day in your life.”