Susan Flores, B.A. Public Administration & Criminal Justice ‘77, Director of Regulatory Compliance at Calder Casino & Race Course
Susan (Dewhurst) Flores was one of the first female students to be admitted to Biscayne College forty-one years ago in 1973. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Criminal Justice in 1977, and went on to have a brilliant 30-year career at Eastern Airlines and EDS (Electronic Data Systems) providing computerized reservations systems and software to over 100 airlines. She is currently the Director of Regulatory Compliance at Calder Casino & Race Course in Miami, Florida, and oversees all compliance functions for slot operations, poker and thoroughbred horse racing; including risk and safety management to ensure the safety of the employees and guests.
1. What was it like to be one of the only four female students enrolled at Biscayne College in 1973?
Until I arrived in 1973, I was unaware that this was the first year that Biscayne College enrolled full time female students. I remember the male students were more surprised to see us, but we were graciously accepted on campus. There were no dormitories set up for female students, so the four of us were day commuters. It helped that I grew up in a family with 5 brothers and two sisters; so seeing a majority of males felt no different than home. The following year and subsequent years, the college enrolled more female students. The basketball program got the support of a new cheerleading squad and the dormitories opened to females prior to my graduating in 1977.
2. What were some of the challenges that you faced as a student and as a college student pursuing a career in Public Administration and Criminal Justice? How were you able to overcome those challenges?
Attending a local college allowed me to maintain my current employment at Eastern Airlines, so my biggest challenge was having a full class schedule by day and then working full time during the evening. Fortunately, there were a variety of Public Administration course offerings and there were some opportunities to attend summer sessions to acquire all the credits needed. A degree in the Public Administration and Criminal Justice field offers jobs such as government positions, police, law, laboratory, and forensics, to name a few. But these jobs were dominated by males in the 70s. The stereotype thinking was these positions were best suited by males. It may have been an uphill challenge to secure one of these jobs. However, my love of travel kept me in the transportation industry more than 30 years and traveling the world. I am glad that the thinking has changed and today the best candidate gets the job.
3. You have spent the past six years working in the gaming industry, traditionally a male dominated industry. Would you say your experience at Biscayne College helped prepare you for this undertaking?
I knew eventually that I wanted to pursue a position related to my degree and when the time was right, I would move on. Now I am the Director of Regulatory Compliance at Calder Casino & Race Course and happy to be in this exciting position. The horse racing industry is primarily male dominated. The casino and poker areas represent a good mixture of male and females. I learn something new each and every day about this business, which keeps it exciting. Attending Biscayne College taught me to confidently accept all challenges, step up to the plate, be courageous and never let fear get in the way to be the first to attempt something new. This lesson learned can only create change and opportunity.
4. Do you have any advice for aspiring young business women and leaders?
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- Follow your dream job, as there is nothing that you can’t accomplish.
- Be confident, organized, have drive, trust, and as a leader be able to delegate.
- If necessary, develop skills and experience along the way to reach your career plan
- Ask questions, seek mentors to educate and be a lifelong learner
- Most importantly, maintain a very strong work ethic.