Skip to main content

Camille Mercier MBA’09 earns her “seat at the table”

by Sophie Cipolla,

Camille Mercier MBA’09 is a groundbreaker. A member of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, Mercier’s career journey recently came full-circle when she was named the first female to serve as Chief Executive Officer of Spirit Mountain, a casino owned and operated by the Grand Ronde.

Mercier came to the Willamette MBA program at a turning point in her life. She had been working in human resources and was considering a graduate degree in her field. Ultimately, though, she had broader aspirations and sought a degree that would open doors and give her “more of a seat at the table,” as she put it.

The comprehensive curriculum of the Willamette MBA program has helped Mercier secure that seat. “Earning my MBA enhanced my knowledge and skills beyond one discipline,” she said. “My opportunities were significantly expanded, and I became a much more competitive candidate for executive-level positions at larger organizations.” Mercier credits Willamette’s “strong foundation in business strategy” as a significant asset while she was laying the groundwork for her next goal: becoming a CEO.

Mercier highlights her consumer behavior and marketing classes as especially helpful in preparing her for the demands of C-suite positions. The program also led to shifts in her professional networking circles.

“I’ve always thought of myself as a lifelong learner, and earning my MBA served as a signal to others of my commitment to growth and development,” she said.

That commitment to learning created a ripple effect. In the MBA program, Mercier deepened her natural ability to build camaraderie with others across all walks of life — a crucial soft skill for business executives. For example, she dedicated herself to learning the ins and outs of golf, the quintessential networking sport, so she had more ways to interact with people in her professional sphere. “The business industry tends to be very male-dominated, so I made an effort to put myself out there and join as many MBA networking events as possible,” she said.

One of the qualities that defines and drives Mercier is her commitment to giving back to the community. She encourages all graduates to weave this value throughout their personal and professional lives, and acknowledges the MBA program in allowing her to “exercise that voice” as a force for good. Mercier serves on the Oregon Commission for Women as a policy advisor, advocating for increased economic, political and social equality for women. The Spirit Mountain Casino also embodies this principle by giving 6% of total revenue to local nonprofit organizations.

Willamette’s MBA program is dedicated to molding principled leaders, equipping graduates with the tools to blaze their own path and advocate for others. Mercier is a shining example of the kind of leader Willamette shapes: a groundbreaker using her skills and platform for good.

Related Stories

View All
Willamette University

Willamette’s Conversation Project featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud”

09.22.2023 | Paul McKean

Professor David Gutterman, Associate Professor Wendy Petersen-Boring and Mira Karthik BA’24 joined the popular radio program for a conversation about difficult conversations.

Willamette University

Award-winning artist Olivia Harwood BFA’21 strives to empower herself and others in her work

09.20.2023 | Linda Lenhoff

The PNCA alum is quickly attaining considerable status after having a number of shows, where audiences discover her passion for challenging notions of femininity.

Willamette University

Willamette MBA ranked the #1 B-school in Oregon by Bloomberg Businessweek

09.20.2023 | University Communications

The Atkinson Graduate School of Management was the only MBA program in Oregon and one of two in the Pacific Northwest that made Bloomberg’s Best B-School list.

Willamette University

Marketing and Communications

Waller Hall, Fourth Floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.