Cynthia Kiser Murphey is General Manager for Palms Casino Resort (“Palms”) in Las Vegas, an entity of the San Manuel Gaming & Hospitality Authority and the first casino resort to be owned and operated by a Native American tribe in Las Vegas.
As General Manager, Cynthia oversees operations for gaming, hospitality, and food and beverage for the 766-room casino resort and for Palms Place condominiums. Having undergone a $600M renovation in 2019, Palms features an impressive collection of modern guestrooms, famous themed suites, expansive pool area and the iconic Ghostbar ultra lounge and Pearl Concert Theater. Cynthia and the San Manuel team have also re-introduced nostalgic guest favorites, including the award-winning Scotch 80 Prime steakhouse: Vetri Cucina from renowned Chef Marc Vetri and celebrated Chef Michael Symon’s Mabel’s Barbecue.
From an early age, Cynthia knew she wanted to be in the hospitality industry. She grew up in Kansas City and moved to Las Vegas to study hotel management in the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Cynthia began her career in gaming and hospitality in Las Vegas upon graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her long tenure on the Las Vegas Strip included multiple leadership positions at MGM Resorts International, including Senior Vice President of Human Resources, followed by 12 years as President and Chief Operating Officer of New York-New York Hotel & Casino. In this role, she oversaw operations and refurbishments for the 2,000-room on-Strip property. As one of the first female presidents on the Las Vegas Strip, Cynthia led the resort’s activations establishing an indoor and outdoor entertainment multi-use destination.
During her tenure at MGM, Cynthia successfully opened three megaresorts, including the world’s largest hotel, as a key member of the senior leadership team. Additionally, she launched and led community relations efforts to reshape public opinion on gaming in Michigan and Massachusetts, which helped the organization attain regulatory approval in both jurisdictions.
Developing people, strengthening communities and creating an exceptional guest service experience are hallmarks of her career. Today, Cynthia and Palms team members activate the Tribe’s spirit of giving through Palms Cares, the property’s philanthropic and volunteer program. While at MGM, Cynthia founded one of the gaming industry’s first diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, which trained and certified more than 40,000 “Diversity Champions.” She has mentored hundreds employees, including women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community, guiding their journey from entry- and mid-level positions into industry leadership roles. She also served as founding sponsor of the Veterans’ employee network group.
Cynthia holds a bachelor’s degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management and a master’s degree in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she was also part-time faculty and adjunct professor. She is involved in a number of charitable and professional organizations and was named one of 25 "People to Watch" by Global Gaming Business magazine and honored with a lifetime achievement award from Las Vegas Magazine. She is proud to have served over 20 years as a Trustee to the UNITE HERE National Fund, which provides excellent health benefits for hospitality industry employees.
Cynthia values her time with her family in the outdoors where she enjoys hiking, skiing, and walking with her family’s Dobermans.