Carolyn Rubin, Owner of C.M.R. Consulting, Top 10 Inspiring Elite Leaders of 2023

Jonathan Cernek
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana

Carolyn Rubin, Owner of C.M.R. Consulting

Serve people; it serves the community

Given their diversified nature, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana is involved in many different aspects of the business." Family is the foundation of both their tribe and its chairman, Jonathan Cernek. His beautiful wife, Mandy, and their four amazing children make up his foundation. Their support and encouragement strengthen him to be the best man and leader he can be.

Jonathan takes great pride in serving his people and the community. His desire to serve by instilling servant leadership was his motivation for coming to work for the tribe and moving forward on the tribal government side. Community service and family fun days are staples for the tribe. Jonathan believes that one of their greatest characteristics is that they have brilliant minds coupled with the will to achieve success.

Jonathan, in his old-fashioned way, talks with members of the tribe and gets together with other people on the Tribal Council and with the management of the casino to discuss ways to improve growth and efficiency. His approach is to participate in whatever activities his team is engaged in and to work alongside them whenever possible. Activities like history demonstrations, sports and recreation events, community clean-up days, and gumbo cookoffs are just a few of the things that they participate in as a group. Jonathan has realized that the most effective way for him to lead is to cultivate good relationships with the people on his team.

Jonathan loves all sports, so teamwork is just who he is. It is not so simple as to give them a shirt and they instantly become a team. When you recognize the strengths and talents of your fellow associates, you can help set them on a path for success, he explains. Every week they tackle new projects, expansion, and growth. Whether it is new acquisitions, remodeling, or opening new venues, they get together, meet, plan, strategize, and execute.

The Coushatta Tribe and Coushatta Casino Resort have the friendliest, most helpful employees in the business. Jonathan had no expectation of anything less from them. He hears over and over from customers how positive and helpful their team is and how kind everyone is. The fact that they actually care about the people who stay with them is the driving force behind the company. As a result, he has the highest expectations possible because that is the benchmark they utilize. Recently, a team of them got together to restore a property of the tribe that had not been fully restored after the hurricanes. It was inspiring to watch the beauty of the place come back to life with a little heart and hard work.

When it comes to making decisions, Jonathan places a high priority on soliciting the feedback of both the members of his tribal council team and the members of the executive team at the casino property. When he takes on a new project or makes a significant decision, he keeps the perspectives and concerns of the tribal elders in mind throughout the process. Some of the more insignificant ones are ones in which he is willing to place his faith in the team he already has assembled. While the process of putting together a team is ongoing, this is only because change is ongoing.

The expansion and growth of the tribe and the casino property are already in the works. A new hotel, additional restaurants, and improvements to the existing structures are all very exciting as they grow. Coushatta is better than ever, and it will be the best it’s ever been in the next five years, claims Jonathan. He thinks they are poised and striving to maintain the market share they currently hold as well as increase it.

Their guests come from Texas as well as around the country. They hold a large market share and are growing it. Coushatta does a great job of providing great guest service and a real entertaining experience, as well as the greatest gaming experience, which in turn produces value for consumers, tribal members, and opportunities for their associates.

With a bright future before them, the strength of Jonathan’s community remains the people who have set a culture of respect, hard work, and togetherness. They will always be strong when they work together and build on the foundation laid by their elders! IE


The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana


Jonathan Cernek
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana


The Coushatta people live primarily in Louisiana, with most living in Allen Parish, just north of the town of Elton, Louisiana, and east of Kinder, Louisiana. The Coushatta people have called the piney woods of Southwest Louisiana home for more than a century.

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