Kick Up Your Heels Planning Committee

The Kick Up Your Heels planning committee is responsible for coordinating and promoting the annual fundraiser honoring the recipients of the Patty Becker Pay It Forward Award. 


Ellen Whittemore is a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and is well known for her gaming law and regulatory practice, representing some of the world’s largest gaming companies before the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission in licensing, disciplinary, and gaming and entertainment tax matters. She also represents private equity companies investing in the gaming industry and represents many of the leading gaming technology firms engaged in interactive and social gaming.

Patty Becker

Patricia Becker has over 40 years’ experience in the gaming industry and currently operates a gaming consulting firm that specializes in compliance and regulatory issues. During her career in gaming, Becker held numerous executive positions, all of which were firsts for women. She spent 6 years as a Senior Vice President with Aladdin Gaming and 9 years with Harrah’s culminating with the position of Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Ms. Becker was recently honored for her career in gaming by induction to the Gaming Hall of Fame. She currently serves on the compliance committee of Scientific Games, Inc., Tropicana Entertainment, Inc., and Nevada Restaurant Services, Inc.
Yvette E. Landau has been a principal of W. A. Richardson Builders since 2005 which provides general contracting and construction management services to the casino resort industry. From 1996 until its sale to MGM Resorts in 2005, she was the General Counsel and Secretary of Mandalay Resort Group, the operator of 17 casino resorts across the US. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana and on the board of Monarch Casino & Resorts which owns the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno and the Monarch Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.
Katie Lever is General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Baha Mar, an integrated casino resort in Nassau, Bahamas. Over the course of the past ten years, she has been General Counsel of several of the gaming industry’s most dominant, publicly traded suppliers. In these roles, Katie led two of the gaming industry’s most significant mergers, each time playing a key strategic and legal role in her role as General Counsel of the acquired entity.  As a result of these consolidations, Katie most recently held the roles of EVP and General Counsel of Scientific Games, SVP of Legal & Compliance and General Counsel of Bally Technologies, and EVP and General Counsel of SHFL entertainment. Previously, Katie was the first General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Global Cash Access, the gaming industry’s largest cash access provider, and was a Partner with the Las Vegas law firm Schreck Brignone (now Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck), where she represented some of the gaming industry’s largest companies.
Cassie Stratford currently serves as Vice President of Legal Affairs and Assistant General Counsel for Boyd Gaming Corporation, a publicly traded hotel/casino operator with properties throughout the United States.  Since joining Boyd Gaming Corporation in 2012, Ms. Stratford has been involved in a number of functions within the legal department, including contract drafting, negotiation and process management, information technology matters, data security initiatives, marketing and operational advisory matters, human resources, premises liability and complex litigation, and a wide variety of general legal advisory matters.  Prior to joining Boyd Gaming Corporation, Ms. Stratford was a commercial litigation attorney in the Las Vegas office of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.  While at Snell and Wilmer, Ms. Stratford served a variety of business clients in all stages of litigation, with a primary focus on financial services clients. Ms. Stratford received her bachelor’s degree in Government from Georgetown University, while working part time for a national political campaign consulting firm in Washington DC. 

Erica Kosemund is the Senior Corporate Director of Marketing for the Choctaw Nation’s Division of Commerce. She oversees the creative and strategic team that drives brand and marketing initiatives for all the Choctaw Nation businesses which include, 20 gaming sites, 16 travel plazas, several restaurants, and 65,000 acres of ranches and farmland. With more than a decade of experience serving in various marketing roles for several gaming and entertainment organizations, Erica brings a strong background in management, operations, marketing and gaming to her position at the Choctaw Nation. Erica’s greatest strengths are her creativity, drive and leadership. She thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the Nation’s reach. Erica holds her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing from St. Gregory’s University. She also holds a Meeting and Event Management certificate from the University of Oklahoma. Erica received the 40 Under 40 Award from Global Business Gaming in 2015 and the 40 Under 40 Awards from Oklahoma Magazine in 2017.

Maria Castillo, Director of Guest Experience for Luxor Hotel & Casino. Responsible for ensuring the delivery of world-class guest service by establishing a clear road map to increase guest loyalty and employee engagement. Maria have been with MGM Resorts for 20 years. Prior to this role Maria was the Training and Development Manager for both Excalibur and Luxor were she implemented a service culture focused on making  internal/external guests feel special and important with an emphasis on the importance of guest recovery by empowering +5,550 employees ranging from front line to executive management. She single handedly educated hundreds of team members on key drivers of the guest experience in efforts to enhance and increase guest loyalty and satisfaction. Though originally from Guadalajara Mexico, Maria began her career in hospitality by working as a front desk clerk at the Mirage Hotel & Casino. Maria holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management, and is also proud Rebel with a Business Management degree from UNLV. In her free time, she enjoys home improvements, spending time outdoors hiking or at the beach. 

Erica Okerberg is an associate with the Global Gaming Group of the law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and French from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2010. She graduated magna cum laude from William S. Boyd School of Law in 2013. During law school, Erica was the Editor-in-Chief of the UNLV Gaming Law Journal and a member of the Society of Advocates moot court team. She is a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors, the Brand Activation Association, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Erica frequently publishes articles and updates on gaming law and promotional law matters. In 2016, she received a “40 Under 40 Award” from Global Gaming Business Magazine. In 2017, she was elected to the Executive Committee of the Nevada State Bar’s Gaming Law Section.