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2018 "Grow Your Value" contest: Three women will have the chance to win $25,000

Entries for the "Grow Your Value" bonus competition in California concluded on Oct. 21.
Last year's winner was Tiffany Hamilton, a higher education administrator, coach and motivational speaker.
Last year's winner was Tiffany Hamilton, a higher education administrator, coach and motivational speaker.Miller Hawkins/Morning Joe

This year’s Know Your Value national event – featuring U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA); Katty Kay, BBC News anchor and author of the “The Confidence Code" and "The Confidence Code for Girls;” and Elizabeth Vargas, host of “A&E Investigates” – will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California.

Purchase your event tickets here!

Women in California had the opportunity to apply for Mika Brzezinski’s “Grow Your Value” bonus competition, which closed on Oct. 21. The bonus competition is a contest that gives three finalists professional coaching, personal branding and styling, with the opportunity to pitch to Mika and a panel of judges live on-stage at the Know Your Value national event in December.

The finalist who makes the most compelling pitch to Mika and the panelists will win the grand prize of $25,000!

"Grow Your Value" Contest Disclaimer:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Legal residents of California who are 18 or older. Begins October 2, 2018 at 12:00 AM ET and ends October 21, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET. Limit 1 entry per person. Click here for more information on how to enter, and for Official Rules, odds, and prize details. Sponsors: MSNBC Interactive News LLC and NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

Last year at the national event in New York City, three women faced off for the top prize after each one submitted a 60-second video describing why they deserved the bonus. Barbara Ginty, CEO of Planancial, Jen Scherer, Chief Event Officer of Magnified Events, and Tiffany Hamilton, a higher education administrator, coach and motivational speaker were selected from over 100 submissions.

Hamilton, who won the competition, had just moved from Kansas City, Missouri, to Stamford, Connecticut, after her husband got a new job. “I left a 14-year career to support my husband in his career,” Hamilton said at the time. She added that her husband wouldn’t have hesitated to do the same for her were the situation reversed.

“One of the things we talk about in our house is that our climb is only as great as our lift. So, it doesn’t matter how high you get in life if you haven’t brought people along,” she added. “This experience I’m having with Know Your Value and meeting these great women, it would not have happened if I didn’t support my husband in his climb.”

“I had started my own company a few years ago, and it had been going really well. But I have four kids at home,” Scherer said at the time about her decision to enter the contest. “I was in this transition phase and I knew I had to take it to the next level. I needed that extra push.”

She recorded her selfie video while out jogging one day. “I was a sweaty mess!” she joked.

Ginty, on the other hand, had only planned to attend the 2017 Know Your Value event as a guest. It wasn’t until after she bought a ticket that her friend encouraged her to submit a video for the “Grow Your Value” bonus competition, too.

In the lead up to the national event last year, the finalists worked with Glynis Karp, senior vice president of merchandising at J. McLaughlin, to find unique styles that made them feel both comfortable and confident.

They also worked with personal leadership coach Liz Bentley, who helped each woman develop a perfectly tailored pitch explaining why she deserved the bonus.

While each woman delivered an impressive performance at the national event last year, it was Hamilton’s heartfelt speech about becoming a mom at 15 and surviving an abusive relationship that left the room full of hope (and more than a few tears!).

“There’s beauty among those ashes,” Hamilton said at the time, adding that the experience taught her an important lesson about forgiveness. “Girl, you’ve forgiven everybody else, coached everyone else, but you haven’t done it for yourself,” she added. “So, I forgive myself for not walking boldly in my blackness and audaciously in my awesomeness.”

And even though only one person walked away with the big bonus, no one left empty handed. Jennifer Hotchkiss, who competed in the very first “Grow Your Value” bonus competition four years ago, didn’t win but her pitch did land her a scholarship at Bay Path University, where she was selected to be the school’s commencement speaker.

“I won twice,” Hotchkiss said at the national event last year. “I was able to put it out there for Mika and I won a scholarship in the process.”

Ginty and Scherer, the other two finalists from last year’s competition, said they felt the same: Not only did they learn about themselves and why they have value, but they forged new relationships and advocates in the process. They even started a special group text.

“I wasn’t expecting this to come out of it, but we really connected,” Ginty said during the event. “We have a Know Your Value besties chat.”

Purchase your tickets for the Know Your Value national event here!