Year participated in TESA: 2009
Wyoming High School
Neu: How did you become interested in TESA? Were you already interested in entrepreneurship?
Reiner Fontain-Perez : Definitely. My business teacher actually introduced me to the program, and so I looked at it and the description seemed really nice. I was very into entrepreneurship, and I competed in Business Professionals of America (BPA). So I was like, “Okay, I want to experience this.”
Neu: Can you tell us about the business that you and your group came up with?
RFP: That was a long time ago…I think we came up with one a business that was eco-friendly, but I don’t remember the specifics. That was kind of the key thing that I got out of the program–the ability to be able to coordinate ideas, to be put into a specific situation and in a very short time period be able to prepare and have a presentable idea at the end.
Neu: How has TESA influenced your life–your career choices, your education choices? What do you think the most important thing you’ve learned is? And what would you tell someone that is interested in trying TESA but may be hesitant to try something new?
RFP: At the time, one of the most important things I got out of TESA was being put into a situation that I wasn’t really comfortable with. I did not know anyone that was participating in TESA, so that was very valuable to me. Even though I felt a little uncomfortable, it kind of got me out of my comfort zone. Since then, it has definitely helped me and I try to cherish those opportunities as much as I can, because its definitely a very important thing to be able to do. Especially right now–(TESA) was like five or six years ago, I am currently working my first engagement in Kansas City, MS, which I knew no one there from the area, from the office or from the engagement team. So being able to have that experience earlier on definitely helps with collaboration later on.
Another thing that I learned was that it is important to be able to make good relationships. A lot of relationships I made during those couple of years (in TESA), I still connect with them now. At the same time, I also met Peg Shoenborn (Lead TESA Instructor). Later on, I saw her at BPA, another competition, and then I saw her at Grand Rapids Community College as an instructor. We made a BPA chapter there. We made an agreement with Davenport University and started a BPA chapter there, which allowed a first place competitor in nations to be considered for a full ride scholarship at Davenport. I was able to get the first place in nationals and I got the full ride scholarship. So you can see how one very good relationship can lead to a multitude of opportunities. That is what I would kind of suggest for the students–try to make the most of it and step out of your comfort zone, meet new people.