Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

HTM All-Women Finance Team in Finals of “She Has a Deal” Competition

SDSU among finalists along with NYU and Cornell

HTM All-Women Finance Team in Finals of “She Has a Deal” Competition

by Cristian Alvarez

June 9, 2020

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management from San Diego State University recently had an all-women finance team participate in the annual “She Has a Deal” competition. The event serves to help women entering the field of hospitality and tourism in creating a pathway to make hotel development and ownership more obtainable.

SDSU’s team consisting of HTM students Nikki Gonzalez, Viviana Wilkins and Meaghan Carfrey were one of three finalists of the competition along with groups representing New York University and Cornell University.

Each year, participants are asked to pitch their ideas for a future hotel development project site. The teams are overlooked by a panel of judges whom are current professionals in the field. Every group is judged based on the financial feasibility, rigor analysis and persuasive ability to invest towards the project.

The winning team earns $50,000 in cash to be utilized as an equity investment for a hotel project. Members will receive asset benefits of full ownership, which includes annual cash flows and capital gains. The winners also have the option to participate in the investment process, obtain a role or shadow and be mentored by the founder of TLTsolutions throughout the project’s life cycle. Members additionally receive complimentary registration to attend the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) and Asian American Hotel Owners Association Convention (AAHOACon).

Tracy Prigmore founded and created the project back in 2019. She was inspired to help women overcome the barriers within a male dominated industry. Many women have trouble finding opportunities to jumpstart and build their careers. Gonzalez, who spent all four years a part of the HTM program, said this competition allowed her to get a glimpse into the development and ownership side of hospitality.

“She Has a Deal allowed me to realize that I am more capable of pursuing a career within this area and experience the incredible support of key industry leaders who also believe in this cause,” Gonzalez said. San Diego State’s team pitched their project towards a potential Hyatt Place Hotel in San Jose, CA.

Wilkins mentioned how working alongside Gonzalez and Carfrey has been a meaningful experience while attending SDSU. “We are all hard working individuals, passionate about the industry and eager to learn new things. Each of us have a unique background and different skills that contribute towards our pitch deck for the competition,” she said.

“We never took this competition lightly. We’d spend eight hour long days together making sure we understood and got everything for the pitch deck perfect. We didn’t have a clue what we were getting ourselves into, but we learned so much and supported each other throughout,” Wilkins said. “I was so happy the creators spent time teaching webinars to prepare us. It was such a unique learning experience and inspiring to see how many strong, intelligent women participated.”

Part of the competition took place at the Hilton McLean in McLean, VA. The finals were scheduled to take place in Washington, DC this spring, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic they been postponed with a new date to be determined.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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