“I Had to Be Honest”: An Interview with Jessie Connors of ‘The Apprentice’by Betsy Wasser -- 02/25/2004
Jessie Connors was unique among the candidates on The Apprentice. While many of the other candidates hold MBAs and PhDs, Jessie had only her home school education and experience growing up on a farm in rural Wisconsin with no running water or electricity. And at 21, Jessie was the youngest of the candidates on the show. Her guts, determination, and real-life experience kept her in the competition for eight weeks. Here, Jessie takes a few moments to talk to RealityNewsOnline about her experiences on The Apprentice.
RealityNewsOnline: Jessie, thank you for taking the time to talk to RealityNewsOnline. How did your unique background prepare you for this challenge?
Jessie: I am ready for anything. There are very few things that surprise me. And, instead of running away from change, I actually embrace it. I search out the challenge!
RNO: You called a meeting to discuss the tension between Ereka and Omarosa. What did you hope to accomplish with your meeting?
Jessie: My intention was simply to try what I could to resolve the conflict.
RNO: What was your strategy as Project Manager in the negotiating challenge?
Jessie: Delegate. In my own business, I know that each and every person involved needs to have a specific responsibility. I looked into the background of each of the girls, and also took into consideration their strong personality traits. Then gave them each a title... Amy was the Inspirational Manager, Heidi was in charge of Conflict Resolution, Omarosa was the Time Keeper... etc. Each had a specific management title, and THEN I began to dissect the task. Each person's purpose was clear and concise.
RNO: What did you do to lead your team to such a decisive victory?
Jessie: Giving each of the girls a "management position" within the task. They each had one precise responsibility within the task, to accomplish to the best of their ability.
RNO: After you tried to help Kristi prepare for the boardroom so she wouldn't get fired, you told Trump that her poor management led to your loss. Was Kristi wrong to trust you?
Jessie: When I was in the park with Kristi, I distinctly told her that if Mr. Trump would ask me, "Who was the weakest link," I would have to be honest. I told Kristi that I thought she was weak in management, and I asked her about it and I also asked her what her thoughts were. My intention in going to the park was to let Kristi know that I did and still do like her as a person, BUT I had to be honest in the boardroom.
RNO: Before Protégé went to the boardroom for the first time, you gave Kristi some advice on how to conduct herself, suggesting that she not get too defensive. Trump ended up firing her for not standing up for herself enough. Then you essentially were fired for the same reason. Why didn't you stand up for yourself more after seeing that your advice didn't work for Kristi?
Jessie: I told Kristi not to get into an argument with Omarosa and Heidi, BUT when addressed by Mr. Trump to make her defense. As for me, I did have a very strong defense in the boardroom, that coincidently was NOT included in the episode. But I find it very odd that any potential employer would value conflict between employees. Imagine this: you are sitting in front of this potential employer, and he is harping on you for not being antagonistic with another teammate? Hmmm... is this professionalism?
RNO: In the boardroom, you insisted that you liked Omarosa, in spite of the way she spoke to you, and in spite of Trump's reaction to it. Did you honestly like Omarosa, or was this a strategic move?
Jessie: Yes, I do honestly like Omarosa, but I do not approve of her management style, and I would never choose to work with her.
RNO: Do you think your team was right to criticize you for your negotiating abilities?
Jessie: No. Just look at their negotiation with Russell Simons. I was just trying to be clear and articulate the importance and purpose of our visit.
RNO: If you could go back, would you change anything?
Jessie: I would be in the editing room.
RNO: When Trump fired you, he said that perhaps you didn't stand up for yourself because you're young. At 21, you were the youngest of the candidates. Do you think your age played a factor in Trump's decision? Do you think that's valid?
Jessie: I never think of myself as a number. My resume proves in itself my qualifications. But I most definitely believe my age affected Mr. Trump's decision – but who knows – maybe I just didn't make good TV? Ha, ha!
RNO: What's next for you?
Jessie: My marketing firm is having a record year, and real estate is booming! I am also in the process of starting up another company. You can check it out soon at jessieconnors.com.
RNO: Thank you, Jessie!
Betsy is the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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