UNLV gave this hotel executive an advantage in the industry.

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.

When Vicki Savini was offered the chance to completely renovate and rebrand a failing hotel property in Reno, she jumped at the opportunity.

“It was such a massive project, I couldn’t refuse,” she says, her smile unflinching.

Savini’s appetite for tackling the seemingly impossible has proven to be a recurrent theme throughout her career. “My career path in Las Vegas sent me through multiple departments of a hotel,” she recalls. “I said yes to every request to work on a project, especially the unknown. I’m the one who goes into the boss’s office and asks them what is sitting on their desk that they don’t want to deal with. No blueprint? Even better.”

Savini credits her success to an innate fighting spirit, but she also points to an education that set her apart from others. “It’s fun to actually be working in the industry I majored in,” she says. “Being in the hotel business and having a ‘hotel’ degree gave me an edge. There’s a lot of pride associated with being an alumni of the college.”

Rebel pride is something Savini carries proudly to this day, even as a Reno native and recently-anointed Reno hotel executive. “I love both sides of the state equally,” she says. “But I still wear red in a blue world.”

As for the renovation of the property she manages? Savini says the Renaissance Reno—the city’s first non-gaming, full service, branded hotel—is an unabashed hit. Blueprints be damned!

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