Published On: Wed, Feb 9th, 2011

Big Cove Resident oversees Tribal Mentoring Program

Karina Bottchenbaugh (HARRAH'S CHEROKEE Photo)

The Tribal Mentoring Program (TMP) at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel has new energy. Karina Bottchenbaugh, an EBCI tribal member from the Big Cove Community, has joined the casino’s Talent Development Department as the new Career Development Specialist II-Tribal, who will oversee the TMP.

Created to ensure enrolled members receive the resources and guidance needed to ensure job satisfaction and development, the TMP offers classes for self-development and building leadership competencies for future advancement opportunities at Harrah’s Cherokee. Bottchenbaugh will assist enrolled members with the program by assessing and helping to establish their career goals, helping to create individual development plan, developing on-going learning opportunities, coaching and mentoring employees, and making the casino a more viable employment opportunity for all enrolled members.

Bottchenbaugh was the Salutatorian and class president of the 2003 graduating class at Cherokee High School. In 2007, she earned a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism from Western Carolina University.  After graduating, she helped establish the Cherokee Youth Council, which she coordinated for three years. 

To assist Bottchenbaugh in her new role, a Tribal Mentoring Board (TMB) has been established.  The TMB, which consists of enrolled tribal members, was created “to afford an employee of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel, who is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the opportunity to target and achieve educational goals or desired positions within the company by providing the necessary motivational tools, leadership resources and consistent support throughout their journey with us.”  TMB member duties include providing feedback on the TMP, recommending course subject matter and assisting in bringing this opportunity to the enrolled employee’s attention.  Board members also will serve as mentors to TMP participants.

The TMB’s first big project is to re-establish on-property GED classes, which will be open to all employees beginning this month. Other projects include establishing mentors for every tribal employee who elects to participate in the Tribal Mentor Program.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Tribal Mentoring Board,” said Chair John Maney, who is a Cage Supervisor from the Big Cove Community.  “By giving enrolled employees this opportunity to continue their education and encouragement to utilize other resources within the TMP, we will have a positive effect on their careers.”

Other TMB officers include: Co-Chair: Elliott Shell, Operations Supervisor, Big Cove Community; Secretary: Amanda Bridgeman Lane, Housekeeping Supervisor, Yellowhill Community; Communications: Carolina Oocumma, Benefits Department, Wolfetown Community; and Program Development: Bill Paul, Group Sales, Formerly of Wolfetown, currently living in Whittier.

TMB members include: Barbara Owle, Beverly Webb, Boyd Ammons Jr., Doris Johnson, Elliott Shell, Jo Blaylock, Juan Owle, Karina Bottchenbaugh, Missy Crowe, Norma Moss, Valencia Pheasant, Adrianne Petrilli  and Heather Queen. Support staff include: Tina Vaitkus, John Forrest, Boyd Ammons, Alfred Lossiah and Tina Cruz.

–       Harrah’s Cherokee

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