“With a magic combination of smarts, skill, compassion and commitment to community, the honorees of our annual 40 Under 40 publication represent the best that Southern Nevada has to show the world, and VEGAS INC is proud to share their stories with you.

In our 17th annual publication, we’re recognizing 40 men and women from a cross section of industries in the valley who have one thing in common — they’re making Las Vegas is a better place.

As has been happening since 2001, nominations for the honor poured in. We assessed each candidate’s community service, entrepreneurial spirit and impact on their respective industry.”

–       Craig Peterson

Sydney Smith – CEO and Clinical Director


Sydney Smith has built three addiction treatment centers from scratch in the last two years while simultaneously doing community service work and research in tribal communities across Nevada.

As a member of the Cherokee Nation, Smith saw firsthand the difficulties that befell other Native Americans when tribal casinos opened in her home state of Oklahoma. She developed an expertise in treating problem gambling at her Rise Center for Recovery practice, which led to her being selected by the Desert Research Institute to study how the issue affects Nevada’s 27 federally recognized Native American tribes.

“The founding of Rise Center for Recovery in early 2016 was a professional milestone in my mission to more comprehensively help those suffering from gambling addiction,” Smith said.

She places a strong priority on being culturally sensitive in her clinics.

“The two-state practice, which serves clients in Las Vegas and Oklahoma, assists both problem gamblers and family members,” she said.

The focus of Smith’s work this year is the development of a problem-gambling residential treatment center to provide more intensive long-term care. “This is a particular need in Las Vegas that is currently not available,” she said. “Personally, my commitments are to spend more time on self-care, take a vacation to Bora Bora with my two amazing kids Gavin and Cali, and finish writing my book for the families of problem gamblers.”

Two longtime mentors who graciously shared their time and wisdom with Smith are Gordon Greco and pastor Dr. Larry Petton. “These two gentlemen have taught me about business, living an authentic life, being of service to others, and the importance of continued personal growth. For this, I am grateful beyond measure. ”

— Howard Riell