Amy Graca

Getting to Know: Amy Graca

The Vice President of National Ticketing at Caesars Entertainment is a proud wife and mom who loves sports, her hometown and our industry. She lives in the desert but prefers cold weather and cities that are lush and green. Here, Amy reflects on a collection she really treasures, her favorite venue, the INTIX community and a story from her very first week in the ticket office.

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Whom do you admire most and why?

This is something that changes from time to time, and I could name several different people.

Right now, I would say Billie Jean King. The first reason is her history and how she became a women’s rights activist. I very much believe in that. She also plays tennis, which I also love to play. Billie Jean King was also the person leading the efforts for women to be paid in sports. Not that long ago, women were not paid anything while men were getting paid, at the time, tens of thousands of dollars. She really paved the way for women in this space, so I really admire her for that.

In addition, she has partnered with Caesars Entertainment to become our spokesperson for equality across the company. Our CEO Mark Frissora has committed to equality within the Caesars organization by 2020 if not sooner, so she is also supporting that effort from a company-wide perspective.

What is the quality you like most in a person?

Integrity.
 

What are the qualities you most like in a colleague?

Honesty and open feedback.
 

What qualities are important to you in a leader?

Being humble and communication.
 

What do you value most in your friends?

The feeling of being able to be myself.
 

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

My husband, Luke.
 

Graca and husband Luke smile at a Bears game.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be a better downhill skier. I really like cold weather, but I'm a terrible skier.
 

Where would you most like to live?

Colorado. I feel like it's a good balance of what I like personally — a bit of warm weather in the summer, snow in the winter and the greenery. That’s what I miss the most while living here in the desert.
 

What is your most treasured possession?

Wedding photos from many, many generations of my family and my husband’s family. I’ve been able to collect four to five generations on both sides. I display them in our house and I just love them.
 

Who is your favorite writer?

Right now, it’s Rachel Hollis. Her book, Girl, Wash Your Face, has become the staple item that I use for many situations both professionally and personally. I also read so many children’s books because I have two three-year-olds. I am intrigued with how people can connect with young children.
 

What’s the best live event you’ve ever seen and why?

Lionel Richie or Foo Fighters. I feel like the connection between these artists is the passion they have for what they do.

I was at a ceremony recently for Lionel Richie where he received a key to the City of Las Vegas. There are now only three people who have that honor. In his speech, he said he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the Commodores, but then watching him live, he engages with the audience to a degree that he makes you feel like he’s talking to each individual person.

I think Foo Fighters does that differently but they do the same thing in their own way.
 

What is your favorite venue and why?

Zappos Theater, which is our headliner venue in Las Vegas. From a ticketing perspective, I’ve been able to mold and craft this venue into my perfect scenario using pricing, inventory and seating tools. This has helped make our headliner residency business very successful and we now hold a number one and a number three spot in Pollstar rankings. It’s kind of become my home over the last five years since Caesars took that venue over.
 

Who is your favorite musician or band of all time?

I’m a big sports fan and the Chicago Cubs are my favorite team. I grew up in Chicago and my grandparents were Cubs fans, so it’s a family thing that has been passed down through the generations. We’re just so passionate about sports. To stand on the field at Wrigley Field and touch the ivy is amazing.
 

What is your favorite place to visit or place you’d love to visit and why?

I really enjoy Hawaii. We go to Maui as often as we can. The lush greenery and living that way all the time would be amazing. I don’t know that it feels like reality, but it feels amazing when I am there visiting.
 

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

As simple as this sounds and while it’s somewhat cliché, don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s so true when you look back.
 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to play tennis. I play doubles and recently started taking lessons again after many years to force myself to find the time go.
 

If you were granted three wishes today, what would they be?

To live in Chicago again or at least have a place in Chicago because it’s where I’m from originally. Also, to speak to family members who have passed on and to have a time when my children are not whining. I don’t know if that’s even possible.
 

What brings you the most joy/greatest meaning in life?

My immediate family: my husband and my two girls.
 

Graca, husband Luke and two girls smile for a holiday photo.

Why are you a member of INTIX?

The culture and belonging to a group of professionals who really want to create an understanding of our industry. “There has to be an easy button for that” has become somewhat of a joke in our organization when we talk about ticketing — and I mean this in a positive light. The complexity that has evolved over the years in terms of ticketing is incredible. We came from roll tickets, went to the Ticketmaster outlets or the records stores that sold tickets as the next evolution, then there was online and TicketFast. Today there are complexities between the APIs, different systems and open distribution, so I like being a member of INTIX because other members also understand what’s happening and where the industry is going. If they don’t, they want to learn. It’s a group of people who can really help shape the future.
 

What do you get from INTIX?

As INTIX has changed over the last year to 18 months, I really like the articles that are being posted. It’s becoming much more of a source for news and updates than ever before. We still use INTIX for the job boards and post positions because we get really good candidates. INTIX is also great for visibility across the country, intel into what’s going on in the industry and for networking with your ticketing peers. INTIX is for the diehard ticket fans as I like to call them.
 

What does INTIX give you that is different from everything else you are doing?

The networking component is really key for us. We’ve found INTIX to be very valuable as we look to expand our business, find really good talent and stay ahead of the industry trends.
 

Who is your mentor?

I have several mentors in my life. I don’t believe you have to just have one or two. These are people that you learn from, become inspired by, use to create new energy in different situations and then people that teach you from years and years of their own wisdom. To have a mentor, you must be open to learning new things, realize you are not always right and be open to change. Change is hard for many people, but it’s also what allows you to take the next step in life, work, and your goals.
 

Who or what inspires you?

The challenges that we continue to see and develop in terms of ticketing strategy plus the courage and belief that we can change the industry.
 

What do you love most about your job?

Having the ability to set trends and be a leader in the industry.
 

What is your most memorable career moment?

My first week in the ticket office, when I was about 17. My friends and I had all applied to what was then the New World Music Theatre, the amphitheater in Tinley Park, just outside Chicago. The application asked where we wanted to work — in parking, guest services or the ticket office. Even though we didn’t know what it was, we all checked the ticket office and got hired.

I arrived on a Saturday to work an Aerosmith concert. Somebody gave me a block of 200 or 300 tickets and a stack of envelopes. My instructions were to put two tickets in every envelope. When the show started, all these people started coming to the emergency window because there were pairs of people that were separated. One fan was sitting at the end of one row and the other was at the beginning of the next row.

They didn’t give me an even number of seats per row in this block. Instead, they had just assumed I would understand the sections, rows and seat numbers. The tickets were for the Aerosmith fan club and we had to relocate a lot of people so they could sit together. It’s funny and sticks in my mind, so now I know the importance of explaining things when I’m dealing with new people in the ticket office. Someone has to tell you what section, row and seat mean.
 

Graca in her early ticketing days.

Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you would like to share, which defines you as a professional or a person?

Believe in yourself, dream big, work hard and be humble. Success doesn’t find you; you become successful.