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Discovering Shangri La: Rikki Tanenbaum

Once a family vacation favorite, Las Vegas is now home to this ’06 alumna.

People  |  Nov 17, 2017  |  By Angela Ramsey
woman in front of glass wall

Rikki Tanenbaum, '06 Executive Master of Hospitality Administration. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Creative Services)


Editor's Note: 

This story is part of a series highlighting 50 intriguing alumni as part of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Rikki Tanenbaum’s decision to move to Las Vegas was an unconventional choice, considering her circle of Wall Street-bound friends. But growing up in upstate New York, Tanenbaum had long carried a torch for the lights of Las Vegas. “When I was about 15, my family took a trip out west. I think it was the casino buffet and the interior palm trees that made me want to vacation here.”

So enraptured by Las Vegas, Tanenbaum convinced her parents to return again and again to her self-proclaimed “Shangri La.” So when she was presented with opportunity to start her career in Las Vegas with a major hospitality brand, she went all-in. Outworking and “out-networking” those around her, Tanenbaum rose quickly through the ranks and eventually moved on to regional marketing roles throughout the country.

During her sharp professional ascent, Tanenbaum continued to focus on her education, earning both an MBA from Duke and a master’s degree in Hospitality Administration through Harrah Hotel College’s online program. “It reinforced the work I was doing and supported my goal of becoming more effective and promotable in the hospitality industry,” she says.

Promotable, indeed. Tanenbaum returned to the lights of Las Vegas in 2015 to head up marketing for the iconic Golden Nugget. Then in 2016, she was promoted to chief marketing officer for the gaming division of Nugget parent company Landry’s.

Between her job, donating time as a board member for The Animal Foundation, and supporting the university, she continues to outwork the best of them.