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Q&A with Morgan Mason, "Early Career" winner of $50K She Has a Deal (SHaD) Competition

At the end of April, She Has a Deal (SHaD), a real estate investment platform that creates new pathways to hotel ownership and development for women, hosted the finals of two pitch competitions, one for “Early Career” women who are either in college or recent grads, and the new “Today’s Woman” for women more established in their careers, but still novices in the world of real estate. As part of the experience, all the women completed more than 40 hours of intensive hotel investment education to learn how to source, evaluate and raise capital for a real hotel deal as part of the SHaD competition.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Morgan Mason, Nichole Wiggins, Tracy Prigmore, Shanttel Liberato, Jessie Glassmire
L to R: Morgan Mason, Nichole Wiggins, Tracy Prigmore, Shanttel Liberato, Jessie Glassmire

We’re big fans of the amazing SHaD program spearheaded by Tracy Prigmore, which is now in its third year and seems to be getting bigger and more exciting all the time! The competition on April 28, 2022, was followed by a networking luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia that included a panel discussion with the CEOs of SHaD’s hotel company partners: Geoff Ballotti of Wyndham, Mark Hoplamazian of Hyatt, Elie Maalouf of IHG, Chris Nassetta of Hilton and Pat Pacious of Choice. (You can watch a recording of the event here.)

Big congrats to grand prize winner, Morgan Mason, who pitched on her own under the company name of ASM Consolidated LLC. Her property: a 78-key Residence Inn Lakeland in Lakeland, Florida. She was awarded $50,000 in deal equity through SHaD Prosperity Fund I, a vehicle for investing in women-led hotel projects. Morgan is currently a Master’s Student at Purdue University studying Hospitality and Tourism Management and works for Marriott in Revenue Management. We chat with Morgan about her SHaD experience.

Morgan Mason, winner of She Has a Deal
Morgan Mason, winner of She Has a Deal

How did you find out about the program?

I first read about Tracy Prigmore, and She Has a Deal, in March of 2021. Stephanie Linnartz, President of Marriott International, shared a series of blog posts on LinkedIn about inspiring women for International Women's Month, and Tracy was one of the women featured. As soon as I learned of Tracy and She Has a Deal, I knew I had to participate.

Were you interested in hotel ownership before?

I have always been fascinated by hotels and the hotel industry. My mother is a consultant and our family often traveled with her when I was a child. However, I was first inspired to become a hotel owner during my freshman year in high school. After visiting an exhibit on energy efficiency and sustainability at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, I began thinking about how the elements of the exhibit could be applied to hotels. From there, I decided I wanted to develop a chain of eco-friendly hotels.

If you had to pick one learning or skill from SHaD, would that be?

Be tenacious! The road to hotel ownership is not easy, but you must stay the course. Do not let anyone or anything stop you!

Wow, good one. Now, tell us a bit more about your project…

I pitched the acquisition of the 78-key Residence Inn Lakeland in Lakeland, Florida. The property was built in 2001 and was last renovated in 2015. The Residence Inn has an excellent location as it sits adjacent to Lakeside Village, a premium shopping center in town. Additionally, the Residence Inn benefits from strong and diverse demand generators including business, leisure, medical, education, and sports.

Why do you think your project won?

We were judged on several criteria including competitive advantage, market analysis, due diligence, and return on investment, and I believe I scored high marks in all these categories. However, what I believe sealed the deal was my performance. I was calm, poised, and confident, and I answered the judges’ questions as if I had been pitching deals for years.

Fresh off her win, Morgan has been inspired to pursue a role in real estate development, with a focus on hotels. She told Hotel Business “Participating in She Has a Deal is the best decision I could have made. The experience I have gained is invaluable, and I am so happy to have made lifelong connections with other outstanding women along the way.”

Of the six “Early Career” teams that were selected to move forward to the finals, three prizes were awarded. The Viewers’ Choice award, voted on by the “livestream” audience, was given to the Quarters & Halves team made up of Yvana Petros, a graduate of George Washington Elliott School of International Affairs, and Shannah Reagan, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Second place, a cash award of $5,000, was awarded to L&B Hospitality Consulting, comprised of Lauren Graff and Brylynn Smith from San Diego State University.

According to Hotel Business, the “Today’s Woman” competition yielded two prizes, both of which were received by GLoW Investing. This pitching team was made up of Jessie Glassmire, Shanttel Liberato, and Nichole Wiggins, who pitched two Hampton Inn properties, located in the Houston metro area and Baton Rouge, LA. GLoW Investing also won the Viewers’ Choice award for its competition track. We hope to bring you an interview with the Today’s Woman winners soon!

“I’m so proud of Morgan, Jessie, Shantel, and Nichole,” Tracy Prigmore, founder of SHaD told Hotel Business. “All of the pitches were excellent, and they really put in the work required to deliver a thorough pitch and stand out. The world is yearning to experience the brilliance of these women in hospitality.” She added, “This year’s event was extra special as we hosted our first ‘Power in Numbers Panel’ with the CEOs from five of our hotel brand company partners. It is imperative that the entire industry join forces with She Has a Deal to raze the roadblocks women face when entering the hotel investment side of the business. When more women are owning and developing hotels, the industry will explode with innovative growth.”

Do you want to give SHaD a shot? Find out more about the 2023 competition here.


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