Women’s History Month Spotlight: For Sands’ Lipika Jensen, Having a Roadmap for Career Expansion Mirrors Her Experience in Business Development

Mar 22, 2024 9:05 AM ET
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Las Vegas Sands

As part of Women’s History Month 2024, Sands is featuring women who help drive the company’s success and exemplify its culture of professional growth and advancement. Lipika Jensen is vice president of predevelopment and currently leading the request for application (RFA) process for Sands’ goal to win a Downstate New York gaming license and build its next world-class integrated resort on Long Island, New York.

Tell us about your career path and current role with Sands.

“My bachelor’s degree is in mathematics and economics, but I always wanted to be an architect because I like the idea of having a vision and seeing it become something tangible. I earned my master’s degree in architecture and worked at various architecture firms for about 13 years in Atlanta and New York, focusing primarily on hospitality projects. My career eventually took me to Las Vegas where I started working on Sands projects starting in 2008, and I was part of the design team for The Parisian Macao.

“While working on the Parisian Macao as an architect, I was offered a job at Sands in 2013. I started in a design and planning role, but then shifted to predevelopment, business development and analysis. This role brought me back to where I started out, studying math and economics, and I’ve always found those topics interesting. So, shifting to predevelopment was really coming full circle for me.

“In my current role, my focus is on business opportunities in new and existing markets, which includes market analysis, due diligence, research and planning for other developmental aspects, such as real estate and construction, to assess the new markets and their potential. I was involved in the transformation of the Sands Cotai Central to The Londoner Macao, which was a repositioning of an existing asset.

“Now, I’m coordinating the comprehensive facets of our Downstate New York RFA process. I’m working with leaders in all areas of our business to develop and execute our approach and response to the RFA, which has been a tremendous opportunity to gain understanding of the sides of business that I had not previously been exposed to. These are the types of projects that challenge you and they are definitely ones to strive for in your career.”

What skills, trainings, mentors or experiences have helped you build a successful career?

“The first thing that comes to mind is hard work. I was 19 when I left Nepal, and when I came to the United States for higher education, I didn’t have family nearby. The one thing I knew I could do was work hard, first in school and then in the workplace. So, I would say it’s important to have a dream, have the drive, work hard, always be curious and always be learning. The drive to strive and thrive is important.

“Having mentors is also critical. I was very fortunate – when I finished my bachelor’s degree, I met a woman who had followed a similar education and career as me. She was very supportive and showed me the path forward. She helped me get my first internship and provided me with guidance as I was switching to architecture. Seeing her do what I was trying to do and her being successful in this path was very inspirational. She was a mentor and a role model.

“At Sands, I have had the opportunity to work under great leaders, and I still think of them at times when I run into challenging situations. I draw on how they would tackle them. Having a role model in your supervisor is another great opportunity – it’s important to have people around you who are strong leaders, because you can learn from them just by watching. I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by people who I could learn from and emulate.”

What are your ideas for evolving the workplace to better support and empower women?

“Having what I had – role models both within and outside of your company – is helpful for anyone, not just women. I really do believe that when you see someone like you achieving and advancing, it gives you the confidence that you can do it too.

“Having women as role models is so important, and that’s why I think EmpowHER, our Team Member resource group for women, is so powerful. We get to hear from women leaders, and that normalizes women in leadership roles. Also, the mentoring through EmpowHER and mentorship in general is critical – we can help women rise in their careers by boosting their confidence and creating an inclusive environment that’s free from biases.”

What advice do you have for women or anyone who wants to advance in their careers?

“I would say be yourself. You have to find what works for you, within who you are, and be objective about who you are. Be the best at what you do and strive for excellence. Be curious and learn more skills. These concepts are important for anyone, not just women.

“But for women specifically, we need to remind ourselves to be confident. Believe in yourself and your abilities and be confident in yourself.

“While working hard is important, you need to be strategic about what you want. Working hard is not enough; you need to have a plan for where you want your career to go and how you’re going to get there. It’s your roadmap – you can adjust if you need to, but it keeps you on track.

“Finally, work-life balance is important for women, so focus on balance and not giving up too much in either area – your career or your personal life.”