They Got Game

Twins Dan and Dana Napier took a big gamble on careers in the gaming industry. They are now the highest-ranking African Americans at MGM Grand Inc.

of people don’t succeed at it," Christian says. "High rollers so vary from individual to individual, you can’t approach every customer with the same smile and the same trinket. These are people who are accustomed to being enticed with the best of everything- free transportation on private jets, beautiful flowers, the best champagne, suites that, in some cases, I could fit my whole house into.

"With Dan and Dana, there’s all of that, but they also make a real personal connection with you," adds Christian, now with KGO-TV in San Francisco. "They are so genuine and down to earth. They seem to be interested not just in your celebrity, but in you as a person. That’s not something you can teach people. You either have that or you don’t."

CEO Lanni agrees. "Marketing executives tend to be extroverted but, like everyone, [they] tend to get along with some people better than others. Dan and Dana get along with everyone. They truly have the ability to be all things to all people."

It was Lanni, who was COO of Caesar’s before joining MGM Grand in 1995, who first raised the idea of bringing Dana into the fold. "Shortly after I started here, I told Dan he should talk to Dana about what he might want to do, and whether there was an opportunity we had that would appeal to him."

That opportunity arose last year when the company won its bid to launch the Detroit operation. The fact that Dana is part of the team breaking into new, uncharted territory for MGM is fitting, since Dan likens the two of them to Lewis and Clark, the fabled explorers of the West. Dana laughs at the comparison, but appreciates its rationale. "It’s true," he says. "We’re trailblazers."

But both men credit the officers of their company with blazing new trails too. "We have a leadership team that is progressive, that is aggressive, that wants to be the best and is going to be the best," says Dana. "Both of us being here is a part of that."

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