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First associate winner reflects

2 February 2014 By Brandi Bottalico, Senior Editor No Comments

Ten years ago alum Reanna Dempsey got a letter to her apartment over winter break about a business plan competition.
“I read it and realized the deadline was a week away so I scrambled to apply,” she said.
Luckily she did because Dempsey was one of the first students to win the first Associate. Instead of coasting though her last semester at Towson she chose to work hard on a challenge every week for the competition.
“It was cool being a part of the first group, we were sort of the early adopters,” she said.
The Associate is a business competition at Towson based on The Apprentice television show with Donald Trump. Each year a company is chosen to host the competition and from the company a “Donald” is chosen.
Each week a case is given for the candidates who will create a presentation and be judged in teams of two. One person is chosen to leave the competition based on these cases until there are only two finalists.
When Dempsey participated, First Mariner Bank was the sponsor and Ed Hale was playing Donald. And as is customary with the completion of the competition she was offered a job with from Ed Hale, working for his real estate company, and accepted.
“I stayed with them for about two years and then left to work with my dad after it,” she said.
Now she is a customer experience director for Les Mills, a fitness company in White Marsh. She said The Associate helped her a lot professionally, especially with presenting which she does a lot of at her current company.
“It really pushes you to actually use your brain,” Dempsey said. “I use a ton of the skills that I learned in my real world classes but it’s those skills[from the competition] that take you to a different level.”
That first year, four out of the ten candidates received jobs, she said, pointing out that the competition gives you exposure to business people throughout the competition.
This year SECU will be the presenting company and the lead judge will be the company’s president and CEO Rod Staatz.

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