Winter 2008 • Volume 14, Issue 1
Rancic, right, came to BU with Justin Singer ’94, a self-employed trader in Chicago, to speak at The Big Event hosted by the Smith Career Center in September.
The Apprentice comes homes to Bradley
Bill Rancic, the inaugural winner of The Apprentice who attended Bradley as a freshman, was the keynote speaker for the Smith Career Center’s The Big Event, which attracted a standing-room-only crowd of about 500 students to the Bob Michel Student Center on September 11. He came about a week after marrying E! News co-host Giuliana DePandi.
Rancic said he succeeded at The Apprentice for a couple reasons. First, his actions spoke louder than words, and he delivered results week after week. His ability to bring different styles and change up his plan in producing results also propelled him to the top.
Rancic held the audience captive for an hour with his advice and stories, including one of how he thought “outside the box” to succeed in his first business, Cigars Around the World, a Web-based, cigars-of-the-month club. He started the business with $24,000 and an office in his friend’s studio apartment. Using about $9,000 for a marketing plan, he wrote a letter to the top 10 morning radio stations in Chicago. Rancic put the letter in an envelope, and the envelope in a box because, “envelopes get thrown away; people open boxes,” he says. In the box with the envelope, he put a pair of black-rimmed, Coke-bottle glasses with a note attached to the bridge. It said, “Take a closer look at my idea.”
One week later, Rancic received a call from a local radio producer. Rancic was told he would be given five minutes on the station’s morning drive-time show to discuss Cigars Around the World. Rancic built a rapport so quickly with the host that his five minutes turned into 35, with the cigar business’s phone number and Web address mentioned many times. It took a couple months for business to pick up, but Cigars Around the World continued to grow when Rancic left five years ago.
Rancic continues to work for the Trump Organization. He is also one of three co-hosts of “In the Loop with iVillage,” a new iVillage television show originating from the NBC Tower in Chicago.
Off-Broadway play performed on Hartmann stage
New York actress Leslie Lewis Sword portrays 22-year-old genocide survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza as she experiences a spiritual transformation from the depths of revenge and hatred, to hope and forgiveness for her family's murderers. Sword was so inspired by Ilibagiza's life-altering experience that she and her husband adopted two Rwandan children. © Derek VanOss
Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan Tutsi, survived the 1994 Hutu machete holocaust by huddling with seven other starving women in a 3-by-4 foot hidden bathroom inside a Hutu pastor’s home. She has told her story on CBS’s 60 Minutes, on the Oprah Winfrey Show, on the international stage, and in October at Bradley’s Meyer Jacobs Theatre. Ilibagiza’s passionate account of her 91-day ordeal followed a compelling performance by theatre, film, and television actress Leslie Lewis Sword, who created Miracle in Rwanda. The one-woman play, featuring Sword portraying 10 characters immersed in the genocide, completed a month’s run “off Broadway” last spring.
Sword was inspired to write the play after hearing Ilibagiza lecture about her genocide survival. As a result, she traveled to Rwanda with Ilibagiza while 60 Minutes shot footage and chronicled the unspeakable tragedy that took the lives of Ilibagiza’s parents, brothers, cousins, and almost one million Tutsis. Her play is also based on Ilibagiza’s book, Left to Tell.
The actress, a graduate of Harvard University with a master’s from UCLA, led a workshop for Bradley theatre students, sponsored by the Iben Endowed Lectureship at Bradley University. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of community benefactors, especially Penny Scherer, who shared an urgent desire to bring this play of healing to Peoria, we are talking about genocide, a topic that should be discussed on college campuses to increase awareness,” says George Brown, associate professor of theatre arts and chair of Bradley’s theatre department. Ilibagiza also spoke to about 1,000 area high school students at a public forum on violence. After its three-day run at Bradley, the play moved on to Stanford University, followed by performances in Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Naples, Florida.
Visit miracleinrwanda.com for more information.
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