Kara Fox-LaRose Named Portland Business Journal’s Woman of Influence 2021


RIDGEFIELD, WA. (April 9, 2021) — Kara Fox-LaRose, president and general manager of ilani, Southwest Washington’s premier gaming, dining, entertainment, and meeting destination, has been selected by the Portland Business Journal as a 2021 Women of Influence honoree. Women of Influence is an annual event that celebrates women across the region who are making an impact, bringing the community together, and cultivating positive change.

“The Cowlitz Tribe congratulates Kara Fox-LaRose on her selection as a 2021 Women of Influence honoree by the Portland Business Journal. Kara’s steadfast leadership has been a driving force in the development of ilani and the surrounding community through business growth and innovation,” said Philip Harju, the chairman of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. “We are very thankful to know and work with her. She deserves this recognition for all her years of hard work and dedication beyond the Cowlitz reservation.”

Fox-LaRose has worked in the casino and hospitality industry for 25 years and has used her experience to enrich and improve the business through her commitment to community well-being and success. She currently sits on the board for the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling, which encourages responsible gaming and supports services for those struggling with gaming addictions. Fox-LaRose is also a board member for the Columbia River Economic Development Council, working together to advance the economic vitality of the community through business growth and innovation.

Harju added, “Kara’s influence reaches beyond community involvement. She is a strong, well-respected leader of her team at ilani and brings excitement to each day for those who work with her. She puts team building and company pride first, a strategy that results in a positive guest experience for all who enter ilani’s doors.” Since opening those doors in 2017, ilani has expanded steadily, with the addition of the Meeting & Entertainment Center, Cowlitz Ballroom, Cowlitz Crossing Fuel and Convenience Store, and most recently a six-story, 2,700-space parking garage. With plans for a hotel and additional dining and gaming space well underway, Fox-LaRose’s steadfast leadership has been a driving force in the economic vitality of Southwest Washington.

Fox-LaRose and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe continue to reinvest in the surrounding community. Since its inception, ilani has generated significant economic activity and employment opportunities and donated millions of dollars through the Tribe’s various foundations, and ilani has also made more than $300,000 in direct contributions to charitable causes in the region. ilani supplied critical funds to mitigate its impact on the area’s infrastructure, culminating in the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s payment of more than $4.5 million to La Center in June 2020. Additionally, Fox-LaRose and ilani have contributed to efforts to enhance the community’s arts and education programming as well as health and human services programs, such as smoking cessation and problem gambling.

About The Cowlitz Indian Tribe
The Cowlitz Indian Tribe is a growing force in community building in what are now Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis and parts of Pierce, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties. The Cowlitz Reservation neighbors Ridgefield, Washington, and is home to ilani, the Pacific Northwest's premier gaming, dining, meeting and entertainment destination. The mission of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe is to preserve and honor the legacy of its elders and ancestors by empowering a tribal community that promotes social justice and economic well-being, secures aboriginal lands, respects culture and sovereignty, and fosters justice, freedom, and mutual welfare. More information can be found at cowlitz.org.

Located on the Cowlitz Reservation in Ridgefield, Washington, ilani, developed by the Cowlitz Tribe and Salishan-Mohegan, a partnership that includes Mohegan Sun, one of the world’s foremost gaming and entertainment developers and operators, is the Pacific Northwest’s premier gaming, dining, entertainment and meeting destination. With nearly 400,000 total square feet, ilani includes 100,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 2,500 slots and 75 gaming tables; 15 different restaurants, bars and retail outlets; and a 2,500-seat meeting and entertainment venue hosting nationally recognized performances. For more information, visit ilaniresort.com and follow ilani on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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