“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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March 9, 2024

Malena Manuel Recognized at Casino Arizona Employee Appreciation Awards


Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member and Casino Arizona / Talking Stick Resort employee Malena Manuel was named Enrolled Community Member of the Year during the Employee of the Year Dinner Celebration on January 29. 

“It all started because Casino Arizona has an incentivized program for employee recognition,” said Manuel. She was nominated for the award by her colleagues at the Gaming Enterprise. 

Manuel explained that Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort present three Enterprise awards: Supervisor of the Quarter, Employee of the Month, and Enrolled Community Member of the Quarter. The award for Enrolled Community Member of the Quarter is open only to Community members.

“It is pretty neat. After getting nominated, an internal committee chooses the winner based on employee performance, attendance and accomplishments,” said Manuel about the process. 

The award for Community Member of the Quarter was a mini gold statue similar to an Academy Award® but not an actual replica. “It was a full-on Oscar®-themed banquet dinner; it was really spectacular,” Manuel said. SRPMIC President Martin Harvier, Vice-President Ricardo Leonard, members of the SRPMIC Council, as well as directors and managers from SRPMIC’s Enterprises attended the awards.

Manuel noted, “Last year [January 2023], I was awarded Community Member of the Quarter, and then on January 29 of this year, I won Enrolled Community Member of the Year,” she said. “I was surprised, but very appreciative.”  

Currently a student in a master’s program at Arizona State University, Manuel expressed her appreciation to the SRPMIC Council, her coworkers, the Gaming Enterprises’ executive management team and the Community. “I’d like to thank my team in Finance as well as my managers and Director, the ECM Development staff, the Gaming Executive staff and all of the amazing employees at Casino Arizona/Talking Stick Resort,” she added. 

Manuel has worked for the gaming enterprise for eight years, initially starting as an Accounts Receivable Clerk. Currently an Accounting Supervisor in the Finance Department, she added, “As a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, I am proud to be a part of the Gaming Enterprise and the growth and prosperity that it has provided to our community. I am incredibly thankful for all of the opportunities that have been provided to me by both entities.”

She celebrated her award with her family and loved ones. She plans to graduate from ASU this December with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the WP Carey School of Business.