Rady Alum Saves San Mateo County Ice Skating Rink
UCSD’s Rady School of Management published an article by alumna Sarah Feldman ’15—a Tesla Motors data analyst with a “life-long passion for ice skating”—about how her MBA skillset helped her save a San Mateo County ice skating rink.
In January 2016, Feldman found two very distinct aspects of her life converging when she discovered that skating rink Belmont Iceland—a community space near and dear to her heart—had an uncertain future. This wasn’t completely unfamiliar territory for Feldman: She had previously led a decade-long, $15 million effort to create a nonprofit rink in Santa Barbara called Ice in Paradise.
“When I initially met with the save-the-rink community, we began to discuss our options. From there, we met with local and state politicians to see what could be done from multiple angles of attack. It was around this time that we started getting a fair amount of local press coverage.”
Feldman writes that she was able to seamlessly put her Rady MBA skills to work:
“Rady’s quintessential entrepreneurial course, ‘Lab to Market,’ provided the structure for how I could analyze the landscape—a closing ice rink in the middle of a thriving skating market. I analyzed the situation through the lens of a classic business case, creating an exploratory proforma for the rink effort. I put together a business model, pitch deck and dream team.”
Feldman pitched what she describes as her “home ice rink 2.0” to “elite Sand Hill Road type donors and investors” from “Cisco, Google, Tesla and eBay.” She simultaneously met with members of the Rady alumni network and her Ice in Paradise board of directors in Santa Barbara to seek advice.
Ultimately, Feldman formed the Silicon Valley Ice Skating Association, with the intent to purchase the Belmont Iceland ice rink in a counter-offer. “The effort to save skating in Silicon Valley continues and the Rady network is growing stronger within the group,” she wrote.