Since 2014, Byron Bighorse (Osage) has been CEO of Osage Hotels and Casinos, where he is responsible for overseeing all facets of seven Osage casinos operating in northeastern Oklahoma — including more than 1,500 employees. Before assuming the role of CEO, Bighorse was General Manager of several Osage Casino properties, where he gained a working knowledge of operations, finance and policy that has been critical in carrying out his current responsibilities.
Along with his executive team, Bighorse says that he is committed to building an organization based on shared values, including transparency and accountability, while ensuring efficiency and profitability throughout the enterprise. He credits this creed for his dedication to transforming Osage Casino into an organization that not only creates opportunities for all casino employees, but also delivers memorable experiences for casino guests while honoring Osage Casino’s contributions and commitment to the Osage Nation.
And he has been recognized for his efforts. Bighorse was named the Most Admired CEO in the Daily Record (Oklahoma City) as well as the 2018 Tulsan of the Year in the Tulsa World.
Bighorse tells everyone that he meets that he is blessed to do what he does.
“I am in a position to make a difference not only for my organization, but for my entire Tribe,” he says. “It’s a tremendous role and opportunity that I do not take for granted. Failure is not an option and I embrace the pressure.”
Finally, for someone vying for an executive leadership position, Bighorse says it’s important to get educated. He receives a daily business trend report from Fantini Research and follows several outlets for the latest news and information related to hospitality and gaming.
“Prepare yourself by reading as much as possible about your respective business and related fields,” he says. He also suggests finding a mentor to be a sounding board and proactively seek out their advice, being approachable and open to change, and hiring smart people and getting out of their way.