If you’re a reality TV junkie who thrives on the magical balance that is competitive camaraderie – or just pure competition – you’ve got to have seen The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition on your recommended list of things to watch on Netflix.

We’re all familiar with the mechanics of the OG franchise, but what sets this new series apart, is the marriage of physical endurance and business smarts to find someone who matches the ONE Championship DNA to a T. We speak to Jessica Ramella, the grand winner of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition, Chatri Sityodtong‘s protégé and Chief Of Staff for top tips on how to smoke the competition and stand out in the industry.

1. What are some things you made an effort to do throughout your career that you believe have catapulted you to the forefront?

Early in my career I decided I wanted to become a killer sales person. Sales is the job with the most transferable skills in case I ever wanted to pivot, and the only job where the harder I worked, the higher the reward. 

For that reason, I worked extremely hard at learning and polishing my skills in cold calling, delivering pitches and presentations, as well as connecting with my clients, since I consider these key when it comes to closing deals and earning new business.

I truly believe that what sets me apart from the rest was my ability to connect with people, and this showed itself amongst my peers, during presentations, or sales challenges. And ultimately, it allowed me to be very visible and memorable in front of the judges. I’m very proud of my ability to command a room, get people’s attention, and earn their trust quickly. It allows me to transform from a salesperson to a trusted advisor – and that’s 80% of the job done. 

2. What was the most interesting thing you learned from being on The Apprentice: ONE Championship?

The Apprentice One Championship Jessica Ramella (4)
Jessica doing one of the show’s physical challenges
Image adapted from: Netflix

The most interesting thing I learnt was how resilient and strong I was. Each of us has a well of strength and I think the depth of that well really surprised me. I saw this throughout the filming and in my fellow contestants as well. For example, some would be petrified of heights but they would still be able to push through.

The show really showed me how we limit ourselves based on what we think are our limitations, but in actual fact, if we allow ourselves to remove those fears and doubts, we can do so much more than we can imagine! You’d be surprised by how much your body can deliver and achieve when it’s do or die! 

3. What was your main strategy going into the competition?

The Apprentice One Championship Jessica Ramella (3)
Image adapted from: Netflix

My main strategy was to be the best and to be indispensable. I wanted to make sure that I was the best at everything that I did and I ensured that whatever the challenge, I would play an indispensable role in the execution throughout. 

Obviously, that’s a double-edged sword because if you fail, it could end up as ammunition against you. However, I was confident in my skills and because of the high-stakes, high-reward situation, there was no room for mistakes and I just had to bring it every time.  

4. What are some tips you have for those starting out in the industry?

  • Ask a lot of questions and immerse yourself into the company, product or client’s needs. Shadow those around you until you can hear their voices in your sleep. Become the best student until you can be the best teacher.
  • Meet people, network and engrain yourself into the industry. Go to conferences, read publications, do research and allow it to become part of your world. Most deals, tips, and jobs throughout your career will come from your network, so invest time and effort into building it.
  • Get very good at doing the things everyone hates doing. For example, when I got started I realized that everyone hated cold calling, so while they were dreading it and managing 10 calls a day, I was smashing 50! This then translated into my readiness to talk to anyone, build relationships, present and close deals all over the world from the comfort of my desk. 

5. What tips do you have for creating a solid marketing plan? 

  • Keep the goals of the marketing plan or the brand goals on the forefront of everything that you do. It’s very easy to get distracted by all the deliverables that you need to achieve in the business and forget the end goal.
  • Do a lot of market research and focus groups to really understand your target audience and leverage data to make decisions. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are your target audience and making decisions to fit you, your taste, or consumer habits; always remember the bigger picture!
  • A lot of times, marketing plans are rooted around ROI and sales but if that relationship with the brand doesn’t exist then that loyalty, that clickability, that traffic, will not come. Invest in building a loyal community and a relationship with your audience, and the conversions will follow. 

What I think is really useful is to see your brand or business as a person. What is the story of this brand/person? What is their gender? Their age? Where does it come from? Keep asking yourself these questions and create a full persona and use that to shape your marketing plan.

6. What do you think are new, creative ways of marketing?

There are so many different things that you can do nowadays, like social media, or participate in a reality show like The Apprentice ONE Championship Edition, or release some NFTs. You can also do podcasts, blogs, get ambassadors, send your products to influencers for review. There’s so many things you can do to create that buzz digitally. 

That doesn’t mean that the days of physical activations are dead. I still think events or guerrilla marketing strategies are incredibly successful, but these have to always have a way to translate into the digital realm in order to capture the masses and grow beyond its geographical location. 

7. Any tips for presenting a killer pitch? 

The Apprentice One Championship Jessica Ramella (3)
Image adapted from: Netflix

Firstly, practice. And practice out loud! Everyone believes that because I’m good at public speaking, I can just read the page once and I’m ready to go. In reality, I practice and  practice until I know it by heart, and I am fully confident that I can deliver.  

The second thing is to take 10 minutes before the presentation to breathe, take a few deep breaths and try to calm your nerves. That way, if you forget something or if there’s a tricky question, you won’t panic and will be able to think on your feet. 

Thirdly, speak a tad louder than you normally do. That’s a technique I give to everyone as it helps put you on “performer-mode” and commands attention. It gives the audience a sense that you’re more confident than you actually are, and that of course helps to get you through.

Finally, slow down because when we’re nervous, we tend to speak really fast. Breathing before the presentation and having a glass of water nearby really helps me to pace myself and calm down.

Remember that every pitch should be delivered as if it was a performance and it should be entertaining, clear and fun!

8. What do you look for when hiring employees?

Aside from the required skills for the job, I really look for a hunger for learning.  I want someone that is hungry, proactive, willing to do a job no matter how big or small, and isn’t afraid to offer a hand. 

Strong communication skills is another thing I look for. For me to be the best manager possible, I need to know what’s going on in the minds of my team. Someone that is able to verbalize and communicate what they think, feel or need allows me to spend my time on the things that will generate the most impact. 

Having a positive attitude is also key, because you can coach or teach most things but positivity or a good attitude is really hard to come by. 

9. What qualities would you look for if you were in Chatri’s position?

The Apprentice One Championship Jessica Ramella (3)
Image credit: MMA Mania

I would look for someone that has emotional intelligence. Someone that is versatile and has demonstrated that they’re able to do several jobs at any given time. Someone that is honest and not afraid to speak their mind while remaining generally liked and respected by their peers.

10. What are the greatest challenges being a Project Manager on the show, and in real life?

The biggest challenge of a project manager is always people. You have to trust your team to deliver the tasks they have been given in the timeline required. People often get project fatigue, and in most workplaces a person will be involved in several projects at any given time, so ensuring that they remain excited and on top of their deliverables can place a bit of a challenge for the PM.

In the show this was particularly hard, since as a PM you had to juggle between insane deadlines, big personalities, team dynamics, people’s exhaustion, and varying skill-sets. So it was key to ensure the team always had a direction, felt good, and everyone was beating to the rhythm of the same drum. 

11. Which business leader do you look up to beside Chatri, and why do they stand out to you?

I really admire entrepreneurs, like Chatri, that built a business or an empire from nothing. I love reading the stories and learning from leaders like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Olivia Burns, Ralph Lauren, Sarah Blakely, Richard Branson, Sophia Amoruso, Whitney Wolfe Herd, and even Oprah Winfrey. 

I admire their business acumen of course, but what I love is their stories of resilience and how much they were able to overcome before they reached success. I truly believe that no matter the idea or how good your product is, if you aren’t able to match that level of self-believe, dedication, and resilience it’ll be impossible to succeed. 

12. What to you is the difference between a boss and a leader?

A boss is a person that hands you your tasks and makes sure you accomplish them. A leader is someone that inspires you, nurtures you, and makes you want to follow them or rally behind them for a common goal.

The main difference boils down to the people aspect. Leaders have the ability to inspire and empower others to work towards a vision and dedicate their lives to it. People crave to be around those that inspire them, that ignite something in them, and pushes them to be the best version of themselves. Those that challenge and motivate them to get out of their comfort zone and question the status quo. 

Most of the time leaders are terrible managers and a lot of times managers are terrible leaders. Finding someone that can do both is a very rare find and one that should be treasured by any business. 

13. What would you fire someone for? 

I think every employee should always feel safe in their place of work to make mistakes, so I don’t necessarily think failures are necessarily a reason to fire someone. What I would focus on is on how that person handles those mistakes.  Ideally, I want someone in my team that is able to learn from their failures, dust themselves off and keep working harder to ensure they don’t  happen again.

That being said, I don’t look kindly on toxicity. I have zero tolerance for people that breed negativity and disrupt the cohesiveness of the team, even if they are a top performer in their fields. My role as a leader is to look after the integrity and wellbeing of my team, and just like a chef ensure that no single ingredient is spoiling the broth. 

14. What lessons that you’ve learnt through sport that can be applied in business?

The Apprentice One Championship Jessica Ramella (3)
Image credit: Mad Hat Asia

I think everyone would benefit from having an athlete mindset. An athlete is someone that is willing to put in the hours of training to become ridiculously good at something in order to perform and compete.  

When it comes down to business, it is exactly the same. Why can’t we become an athlete in sales, an athlete in marketing, or an Olympian in management? And in order to become the very best, it always boils down to the same dedication, discipline and resilience to spend hours perfecting your craft and to keep trying despite your failures. 

15. You were known for solving problems on the show (The Lady MacGyver) – what is your thought process behind that, and any tips?

I always take the mentality of not accepting no for an answer. I think of a problem as an obstacle within an obstacle course. I’ll either get through it, jump it, walk around it, practice until I get ridiculously good at it or even destroy it, but one thing I know for certain, is that I’ll conquer it.

Lessons in marketing from The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition’s winner

And there you have it. Recipes for success from Jessica Ramella, the woman who dominated the 16-person competition with sheer grit and determination and emerged victorious. If you’ve yet to catch all the action of The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition on Netflix, it’s high time you do – and take some notes while you’re at it!

Cover image credit: Mad Hat Asia


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