Born in Sweden, Rika has forged a successful career in broad-based development and brand expansion with a proven track record in hospitality, food, and beverage, retail and mixed-use projects. Her current responsibilities encompass the growth and brand expansion of Hyatt’s full-service brand portfolio spanning the lifestyle, wellness & luxury segments throughout the Eastern United States. Rika is also a member of Hyatt’s Global Wellbeing council, Society of Fellows at the Culinary Institute of America, and founding board member of ILHA. Prior to joining Hyatt, she rose within the ranks of Two Roads Hospitality, and Dream Hotels. Rika got her real-estate finance and development start at Newmark and JF Capital Advisors.
Has being a female in a male-dominated space posed any challenges for you throughout your career? If so, how did you overcome them?
While there might have been times when I wasn’t invited to the party, I have been incredibly fortunate to have fantastic men and women mentoring me throughout my career which has given me the opportunity to grow into the professional I am today, with a seat at the table.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
My family – my husband, Michael, and I have three incredible daughters, Saga, Karma, and Aria who are each brilliant, talented and driven to pursue their passion.
What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of female leaders in hospitality and how do you overcome them?
It is still challenging for women to raise capital. Female founders secured only 2% of venture capital in the U.S. in 2021, the smallest share since 2016 and a sign that efforts to diversify the famously male-dominated industry are struggling. It was the second year in a row that women’s percentage of VC funding shrank, according to a report by research firm PitchBook. I trust as more women rise to leadership positions in financial institutions this will change. It’s coming!
What is the most important message you want to share with women just starting out or looking to grow their career in hospitality?
Hospitality is an industry that rewards, respects, and promotes based on individual achievement and grit. You can grow from an entry-level position to become president of the company. You have a lot of control over your outcome and success.
A career in Hospitality offers freedom for those who want to work and travel the world and allows flexibility and stability to those choosing to raise a family.
Ask yourself why not? And why not You? Be kind, believe in yourself, and always have fun!