Article by HerLife Magazine
Written by Kimberly Mullen
Photography by Rudy Meyers

What began as one woman’s dream of self-sufficiency for the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians has grown into a full-scale casino, hotel and resort with 900 employees and millions of dollars donated back into the local community. The tenacity of Margaret L. Dalton paved the way as the endeavor grew from a bingo hall in 1985 to the successful business it is today. With a history that started with a strong woman, it is no surprise that eight months ago, Crystal Jack was named CEO of the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians.

New Leadership
Crystal has worked for the Tribe for 14 years, starting her career in the HR department as a compensation analyst, quickly becoming the HR manager and lastly the HR executive director. “I have loved every minute of my time here,” smiled Crystal. She continued to share with me her love of the community and Amador County. “Our whole operation is essentially a small city. From our Tribal government to our waste water treatment plant, there are many facets that support the casino and resort,” commented Crystal. The waste water treatment plant is particularly impressive. Waste water from around the property is treated in the plant and then used for irrigation, continuing a tradition of sustainability. “The on-site day care and learning center is a benefit to our employees and something we are extremely proud of.”

During the last eight months in her new position as CEO, Crystal has taken a deep dive into the details of each department that supports the resort in its entirety. “Fully understanding all of the pieces and departments has been a large undertaking, but it will help me lead the Tribe and identify where the needs are for new planning and goals as we move forward,” expressed Crystal. In addition to the day care center, the Tribe funds an on-site fire department, a branch of the Amador Fire Protection District. A construction team, onsite medical center and an auto shop that services the fleet are a few more departments that support Jackson Rancheria.

Community Focus
While other California casinos have started as giant properties in rural areas, Jackson Rancheria has grown in its community with a focus on giving back and supporting its employees. Of the 900 employees at Jackson Rancheria, 365 have worked for the Tribe for over ten years. The longest-standing employee has been working for the tribe for 28 years now. “Our people make us unique!” boasted Crystal. “We are a family; I love the people I work with.” The commitment from the Tribe back to the community has been steadfast. From library donations to computers for classrooms, the Tribe has continued to support the community year after year. In recent years, the Tribe led a massive parks project with the goal of improving every park in Amador County. It has been the tribe’s hope to bring life to the community parks within the county by rebuilding and revitalizing fencing, restrooms, fields and snack shacks.

Along with the parks project, the tribe has formed the Dennis Dalton Foundation, honoring the memory of Tribal member Dennis Dalton, one of the sons of founder Margaret Dalton. “Dennis had a passion for helping children and youth sports,” Crystal shared. The foundation’s goal is to ensure that any child in Amador and Calaveras counties who has the desire to participate in organized sports can do so regardless of their family’s financial status.

Support System
As Crystal takes the lead in her new role as CEO, she has the support of her family behind her. With four children from age ten to one year, this busy mom credits her support system for providing her a work-life balance she loves and appreciates. “We have a regular routine and I have learned to let things go,” Crystal advised other working moms with a smile. “My lifestyle as a working mom is a choice; I am blessed to have the support of my employer and my family.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Crystal ensures future guests and her employees a safe return. “We would love to see our employees and guests return to the casino floor. We truly miss the kindness of our team that we witness on a day-to-day basis,” she stated. Even before the shelter in place order, the team at Jackson Rancheria reconfigured the casino floor and restaurant spaces to allow for social distancing. “We look forward to inviting our guests back to the property,” Crystal expressed.

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