Cindy Ortega Named One of the 10 Most Powerful Women in Sustainability

Cindy Ortega, Chief Sustainability Officer, MGM Resorts International
Oct 27, 2014 10:00 AM ET
Campaign: Green Advantage
Cindy Ortega, Chief Sustainability Officer for MGM Resorts International

Appearing in gb&d Nov/Dec 2014


As chief sustainability officer and senior vice president of the corporate sustainability division of MGM Resorts International, Cindy Ortega takes a whole-systems approach to sustainability. Her varied background—something she says is a commonality among the men and women leading sustainability divisions of large companies in corporate America—“is a very good platform for a sustainability professional to work from,” she says.

Ortega has built a career with MGM, the Las Vegas-headquartered hospitality and entertainment giant, that spans more than two decades. She began in finance, moved to IT, and then into a senior finance position as a hotel controller for the 3,000-room Mirage Hotel and Casino. It was during that time that she began specializing in energy, learning everything from how electrical systems work to the nuances of energy and natural gas price structures. In 2000, she was named CFO of eight of MGM’s subsidiaries.

Leading MGM’s sustainability division since 2006, Ortega’s current initiatives—which she says consist of dual priorities in two completely different areas of the organization, and which require the use of both sides of her brain—include a massive lighting retrofit that will see the replacement of more than one million light bulbs across MGM’s 17 resorts, reducing total energy use by at least ten percent. On the other side of the spectrum, MY Green Advantage, an employee engagement program deployed to MGM’s 62,000 employees in 2013, uses a social platform through which employees earn points for incorporating green practices—like reducing water use—into their daily lives.

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