MCLEAN, Virginia—Officials of She Has a Deal announced the five finalist teams selected to advance to the final round of their annual hotel investment pitch competition to compete for the prize of $50,000 in hotel deal equity following the conclusion of a virtual, preliminary round of pitching. The goal of She Has a Deal is to increase the number of women hotel owners and developers. The organization offers inspiration and education to channel the power of collaboration and mentorship. She Has a Deal creates new pathways to hotel ownership and development by exposing participants to the hard-to-find details needed to successfully source, analyze, and close hotel real estate investment deals.
During the preliminary judging round, seven teams comprised of 15 participants pitched their hotel investment acquisition or development plans live on Zoom to a judging panel of top-level hotel business executives, entrepreneurs, and investors. The judges evaluated and selected the following five teams, listed in alphabetical order:
- Celeste Companies: Emma Spring from Washington State University
- Eden Investment Management LLC: Angel Deng and Kayleen Fan from Cornell University
- Emerald Investments: Lexi Effron, Keslie Easton, and Nikki Loseff from San Diego State University
- PAIZA GROUP LLC: Sana Mahmood from Zigurat Global Institute of Technology
- PEN Investment: Polina Shavrina, Nadia Cismesia, and Emma Toppi from Michigan State University
The teams, who started the She Has a Deal process in December 2020, completed more than 12 hours of intensive hotel investment education to learn how to source, evaluate, and raise capital for a real hotel deal.
“I had the privilege of participating on one of the judging panels for this year’s competition, and I have to say the whole experience was really well done—well-organized, user-friendly for the judges, thorough for the candidates. It is an inspiring initiative—desperately needed and truly on point,” said Sara Glenn, competition judge and senior vice president, operations, North & Central America, Accor.
Pitches included ground-up construction, adaptive reuse, and conversions of hotels in markets ranging from Silicon Valley and Seattle to Miami and Chantilly, Va.
Judge and SHaD Alumni Nancy Guzman, director of development, HACC, said, “I was impressed by the caliber of the presentations and the confidence these women exude. I’m excited to see these changemakers enter the industry and shake things up. The future of hospitality is female!”
“I signed up for She Has a Deal to bridge the gap between where I currently stand in my career and my dream of becoming a developer. I knew that knowledge was the key to this success, but the right education in the development space was hard to find. I got everything I wanted from SHaD plus more. I know there is nothing I can’t accomplish with the fearless SHaD squad on my side,” said Sana Mahmood, finalist, who also is pursuing a Master’s in Global BIM Management at Zigurat Global Institute of Technology.
“Competing on the Emerald Investments team for SHaD has been nothing short of life-changing. Lexi Effron, Nikki Loseff, and I didn’t even know each other before becoming a pitch team, and we’ve grown so much together. We all had prior operations experience, but becoming hotel investors was nowhere on our radar. It’s now a reality for us thanks to Tracy and the rest of the SHaD Squad! We can’t wait for the next steps ahead of us,” said Keslie Easton, finalist representing the Emerald Investments team from San Diego State University.
She Has a Deal founder, Tracy Prigmore of TLTsolutions, said about the virtual competition, “I continue to be inspired and impressed by the quality of the pitches. I know how hard these women have worked on their projects, and to watch them put what they learned into action gives me confidence that our industry will see more women-led projects come to fruition in the future.”
Tracy went on to say, “Our founding sponsors, Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International, continue to demonstrate a deep commitment to diversifying the ownership of their brands. Their support, and the support of all our sponsors, make it clear that the hotel business is moving in the right direction. After a challenging year, it gives me hope that our industry has come together to become more diverse and inclusive on the investment side of the business, which is the mission of She Has a Deal.”
The final pitch competition will take place at the Innovation Gallery at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner on June 5. The competition will be followed by an awards ceremony at a networking luncheon where the participants will be celebrated, and they will be inspired by guest speaker President of Marriott Stephanie Linnartz.