History in the making
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Media Contact: Bailey Stacy | Communications Coordinator, Marketing & Communications | 405-744-2700 | firstname.lastname@example.org
History makers, this is just one of the many adjectives that can be used to describe Kimberly Pearson’s lineage.
Pearson’s notable ancestors include her great, great-grandfather, Joseph Revard, a French trader who married into the Osage family and was a part of the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800s; her great-grandmother, Rose Osage, an original allottee with the Dawes Act, is mentioned in the No. 1 New York Times bestseller, Killers of the Flower Moon, as part of the Reign of Terror; and her father, The Hon. Douglas C. Revard, an Oklahoma State University 1970 business administration alum, former district judge in Oklahoma, member of the first Osage Nation Congress and a co-author of the Osage Constitution.
Now, Pearson, a proud Cherokee, Osage and Kaw tribal member and part of the Gray Horse District, is adding to her family’s legacy as the first female CEO of Osage Casinos. The seven-property gaming, hotel and entertainment enterprise wholly owned by the Osage Nation boasts more than 3,800 electronic games as well as table games.
Pearson, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from OSU and an MBA from Southern Nazarene University, has spent the majority of her career at Osage Casinos. Since 2008, when she began her career at Osage Casinos, Pearson has climbed the executive ladder from working in the training department, to being introduced to the executive office as an assistant, to moving into an executive director role before becoming COO and ultimately earning the title of CEO in December 2022.
As CEO for Osage Casinos, Pearson is responsible for more than 1,400 employees, which makes the Osage Nation casinos the largest employer in northeast Oklahoma.
“More than 90% of our employees are non-tribal members,” Pearson said. “I’m always proud that we are offering jobs. It leaves a big impact. Where we are located, in Osage County, it is very rural and our operations stimulate the economic growth in those areas.”
Not only are they providing jobs, but the Osage Nation utilizes revenues from gaming to fund tribal government and programs, provide for the welfare of the tribe, promote tribal economic development, support charitable organizations and fund operations of local government agencies of the Osage Nation.
In addition to the benefits Osage Casinos provide to the Osage Nation, it also contributes to the overall health of the Oklahoma economy. According to a report created by the American Gaming Association, tribal and commercial casinos provide $9.8 billion in total economic impact and they predict continuous future growth in Oklahoma’s gaming and casino businesses.
As Pearson sets out to make history for her family and Osage Casinos, her main focus is on growth and reclaiming some of the nation’s homelands that were sold off during the original allotments.
“It's always growth,” Pearson said. “I want to expand our economic growth into some of our historical homelands. We're always looking to grow not only our gaming operations but our non-gaming operations, so that's any ancillary functions that we have.
“The Osage, like other tribes, were relocated to Oklahoma so our homelands reside outside of this area, so we are always looking into those areas and just anything that drives the tribe from an economic impact status.”
One way Pearson plans to accomplish her goal of growth is through expansion. Construction is underway for two new hotels and casinos in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Pawhuska, Oklahoma. In the future, she also plans to leave a footprint in Osage Nation’s ancestral homeland in Missouri.
“The Pioneer Woman has done great things in Pawhuska [Oklahoma],” Pearson said. “We’ve been trying to expand in that area for a long time as it is our headquarters and the heart of the Osage Nation.”
In her current and previous roles with the tribe, Pearson has worked tirelessly to protect her tribe’s lands by working through plenty of red tape in order to protect tribal lands for generations to come. When asked what she was most proud of during her time at Osage Casinos, she complimented her team's determination.
“Indian casinos have to place our lands into trusts,” Pearson said. “It's a very arduous, tedious process that takes years. Over my time here I've been able to work on a team that has been able to put five of our casino properties into trusts and two other properties into what's known as a non-gaming trust, which puts our lands back in control of the nation.”
Pearson believes that at times you must demand your place at the table and once you get there the best thing you can do is listen. She said to listen to the issues and what needs to be accomplished and then go out and find solutions for the problems. It is a "can do" attitude and strong work ethic that was instilled in her by her parents and education which she attributes to her success.
“There are so many times when I have thought back to my classes and realized how prepared I was because of them,” Pearson said. “It's been immensely important to me in my career. I would not have been able to progress through the ranks or be able to manage any of my projects without my education at OSU.”
Her family also has another legacy, one of bleeding orange as Cowboy alumni and long-time supporters. Pearson’s father, brother, husband and two college-age daughters have all attended OSU.
In fact, Pearson describes her dad as bleeding orange. He has 50-yard line football tickets and never misses a game, even after recovering from being critically ill with COVID-19, he refused to miss a game or get seats in a more comfortable suite. Because to Revard, “sitting in a suite is not watching real football.”
In the Pearson/Revard family, their Cowboy and Indian roots run deep and Pearson is just the next generation to make history in a history-making family.