The Legacy of a Departing Colleague — Tanya Venegas

Tanya Venegas at HITEC Houston

When it comes to hospitality research, there is ordinary, and then there is Tanya Venegas. Tanya started as a teaching assistant working for the University of Houston in 2002. She was assigned to the HFTP Research Center which was founded as part of HFTP’s initiative to provide the hospitality industry with the highest quality resources and research. It was only fitting that if HFTP, through the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College, was going to offer the highest quality research… our first executive director should also be of the the highest quality. When Tanya graduated with her Master’s degree she was the obvious choice for the new executive director position and has worked there for more than 15 years.

When it comes to research, Tanya is a bit like Jessica Fletcher, Google and Indiana Jones all rolled into one. She is curious and knowledgeable in a very friendly way, has an encyclopedic mind, and is very tenacious when she needs to find an answer to a hard question.

In her time at the Research Center, Tanya has helped individual HFTP members by answering hundreds of questions. In addition she has overseen multiple research projects commissioned by HFTP leadership. From the beginning she led the biennial HFTP Compensation and Benefits Survey, tracking salary and benefit trends with each report. Tanya helped build and maintain the Global Hospitality Accounting Common Practices (GHACP), a searchable database of detailed operating financial reporting practices. And finally was a primary contributor to HFTP publications, writing in-depth articles, blog posts and research reports on hot topics and trends.

Tanya is also a volunteer and has been a mentor, and a role model for the University of Houston HFTP Student Chapter. Her mentoring has helped the “Cougs” win the HFTP Student Chapter of the Year Award many times. In addition, she has been an integral part of the Greater Houston Chapter having served both on the board and as a president of the chapter, so we are fortunate she will remain a part of the HFTP family.

HFTP and the University of Houston’s loss is someone else’s gain. Perhaps they don’t realize it yet, but those who will experience Tanya and her work in the future are fortunate. For those of us in the industry who have worked with Tanya already, we are certainly better for such experiences.

Thank you, Tanya on behalf of both HFTP and the University of Houston. Godspeed.

Frank Wolfe ( is chief executive officer of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals. 

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About the Author: Frank Wolfe