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2016 HOPE Honorees

Boys Town Nevada is ​proud to honor gaming and philanthropy icons Diana Bennett and Scott Menke as we celebrate our 25th year serving children and families. Ms. Bennett and Mr. Menke will be presented with the 2016 HOPE Award at the 12th annual Journey of Hope gala on May 6, 2016. The HOPE Award is presented annually in recognition of service, commitment and dedication to making a difference in the lives of children, youth, and families.

Diana Bennett, Chairperson and Co-Founder

As Chairperson and co-founder of Paragon Gaming, a developer and operator of gaming based properties, Diana Bennett is a second-generation casino operator and one of the most effective and respected executives in the gaming industry today.

Following college at Arizona State University, Ms. Bennett’s career started under the tutelage of her father, industry icon William Bennett. As an executive of Circus Circus Enterprises’ leadership team, Ms. Bennett opened and operated multiple gaming operations, which became landmark gaming properties, including the Luxor and Excalibur. She also directed the purchase, takeover, and integration of new management into one of the timeless icons of the Las Vegas Strip, the Sahara Hotel and Casino, acquired by the Bennett family’s Gordon Gaming division in 1995.

Diana Bennett served as chair of the National Children’s Miracle Network Telethon for the University Medical Center Foundation, served on the boards of the I Have a Dream Foundation and the Las Vegas Springs Preserve and is a member of the Black Mountain Institute Foundation at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, as well as a member of the UNLV Foundation and has a fellowship in her name at the University. As President of the Bennett Family Foundation, she supports various youth and women’s organizations throughout the Southern Nevada area such as Three Square Food Bank, Noah’s House at the Shade Tree Women’s Shelter, Communities in Schools, Child Focus and The Children’s Heart Foundation. She is recognized for her support of the I Have A Dream Foundation in 2009. She also sits on the board of Directors for the Smith Center, the new Performing Arts Center in Las Vegas. She has been named repeatedly to the Outstanding Women of Nevada since 1994, in 2007 was named as one of the Top Ten Great Women of Gaming in the US.

Scott Menke, CEO

As Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Paragon Gaming, a developer and operator of gaming based properties, Mr. Menke is a visionary in the world of multi-million dollar resort development, with over 25 years of experience in acquiring developing, opening and operating hotels and casinos. Upon graduating from the University of Nevada Las Vegas Hotel School, he entered hotel/casino operations with the development of the Colorado Belle Hotel/Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, which set a new standard for the Laughlin area that is still maintained today. Scott later became responsible for coordinating the construction and development efforts of Circus Circus Enterprises. Reporting directly to Founder/Chairman William Bennett, he oversaw the creation of over 10,000 hotel rooms, including the Excalibur and Luxor properties, two of the most successful themed destination properties in Las Vegas.

As a senior member of Mr. Bennett’s team, he structured the acquisition of the Sahara Hotel and Casino by Gordon Gaming within a total transaction period of under 6 months and played a key role in the redevelopment and transition of that property. In 1997, he led the successful reorganization of the landmark Oasis Hotel/Casino on behalf of Mr. Si Redd, the founder of International Gaming Technology.

Mr. Menke is also very involved in the community. He is a supporter and past president of the Children’s Heart Association and supports Boys Town Nevada and Three Square.