Wanda Young Wilson, Chief Operating Officer and general counsel of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, has been named the recipient of the Major Peter J. O’Connell Lottery Industry Lifetime Achievement Award. The international award, presented by Public Gaming Research Institute (PRGI), was created in 1993 to honor lottery executives who have consistently distinguished themselves in the industry.
“Wanda Wilson is known and admired throughout the lottery industry for her insightful and dedicated service in pursuit of the good causes we serve,” said Paul Jason, publisher/CEO of PRGI. “She is a highly accomplished lottery executive, a model of leadership and integrity, and PRGI is delighted to honor her in this fashion.”
Wilson was nominated for the award by Lottery President/CEO Rebecca Hargrove, one of the earliest recipients of the O’Connell Award.
“Without a doubt, Wanda is one of the finest lottery executives in the country, a wise and experienced voice whose many contributions to our organization have been invaluable to the record-breaking success of the Tennessee Lottery,” said Ms. Hargrove. “We are fortunate to have her here and, speaking for everyone affiliated with the Tennessee Lottery, we offer our heartfelt congratulations for this extraordinary and well-deserved industry recognition.”
“I am deeply appreciative to be recognized with this award by my industry peers,” said Wilson. “It has been my great privilege to work as a lottery executive, and I am especially proud to be a part of an organization that has successfully and responsibly raised funds to provide more than 900,000 grants and scholarships for deserving students.”
Wilson has over 22 years of executive management experience in the public gaming industry, beginning as senior vice president and general counsel in the startup of the Georgia Lottery Corporation, where she served for 10 years. In 2003, she came to Tennessee as a founding member of the fledgling lottery’s Executive team and continues to play a key role in maintaining the Tennessee Lottery’s proven reputation as one of the best in the business.
Wilson has received several professional awards for her contributions to the public gaming industry, as well as her prior work in housing development and public finance. In 2004 she was named one of the 50 Most Powerful African Americans in Tennessee, and in 2012 she received the Individual Star Diversity Award of Excellence from Corporate Counsel Women of Color. She is also very active in professional and civic organizations and currently serves on the board of directors of Purpose Preparatory Charter School in Nashville, is a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the new Tennessee Promise initiative.
Her work with the Music City Chapter of The Links, Inc. earned her a 2015 nomination for CABLE’s Athena Award. She is also a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Wilson has been a member of numerous Bar Associations and has served on the board of directors of the Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, and is a founding member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.
Wanda earned her bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Juris Doctorate degree at the University of Minnesota. She attended Boston University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the states of Georgia, Minnesota and Tennessee.