NCAA Champion Magazine: 'Bentley’s Dynamic Doers'

By Gary Brown, NCAA Champion Magazine

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“Bentley certainly provided the opportunities, but Nicole and I both reached out and created and took advantage of those opportunities.”

– Carey Demos

If Bentley College ever needs proof of its ability to assimilate high-achieving female student-athletes into the business world, Nicole DeBlois and Carey Demos are Exhibits A and B.

DeBlois, a 2005 Bentley alumnae, is a manager with Covidien Healthcare, while 2008 grad Demos became a financial advisor associate at UBS in July. Both were accomplished volleyball players at Bentley who took advantage of the innovative curriculum at what DeBlois calls “the Harvard of business” to jump-start their careers.

The two also left their mark in NCAA governance. They were members of the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at a time in which Division II was recreating itself, with student-athlete balance, learning, service and resourcefulness at the center of its identity. It was DeBlois, in fact, who started the Division II SAAC’s Make-A-Wish campaign, which in five years has contributed more than $730,000 to the children’s benefit foundation (see accompanying story).

Both DeBlois and Demos are ambitious without being overbearing; sunny without being pretentious; and friendly to a fault. They are products of a Bentley system that prides itself on developing young people into high-level business professionals.

“Bentley certainly provided the opportunities, but Nicole and I both reached out and created and took advantage of those opportunities,” said Demos, who as a freshman roomed with senior captain DeBlois.

“Created” is almost an understatement. DeBlois, in fact, invented part of Bentley’s hands-on curriculum. Once she became involved in NCAA governance and saw the breadth and impact of the sports-marketing industry, the north-Boston native wondered why Bentley didn’t include sports in its marketing curriculum. It does now.

“I told one of my professors that I wanted to start a sports-marketing course, and he looked at me like I was a little crazy,” DeBlois said.

But she pleaded her case, sold the idea, and then spent a semester sampling textbooks, developing a syllabus and even integrating an international component. The result? Bentley’s sports-marketing course is among its most popular offerings.

Similarly, Demos built Bentley’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee almost from scratch. After her first national SAAC meeting, she felt hypocritical about the state of her own campus group, so she created a structure that not only boosted the SAAC during her time at Bentley (from five members to 45), but also in the longer term through a campus-wide educational campaign.

These days, Demos and DeBlois are having a direct effect on people’s lives.

DeBlois sells implantable devices for patients with end-stage renal disease. She scrubs up with the surgeons and is with them in the operating room, consulting about how to insert the device. Then she follows up with patients to ensure that the device works appropriately.

While DeBlois is making a medical difference, Demos is seeking a financial one. She began researching job opportunities during her senior year, found the UBS posting, networked through a Bentley alumni database, attracted the financial giant’s HR department and within two weeks was flying to Beverly Hills for interviews. Now she’s on a two-year financial-advisor path at the Los Angeles office.

Demos says the environment at Bentley is achievement-oriented – the chatter is all about internships, interviews and ultimately, jobs. “If your friends are talking about their opportunities and you haven’t sought them, you’re behind,” she said.

Now she wants to use her skills to help people get ahead.

“I wanted to combine making a difference in other people’s lives by helping them reach their financial goals, not only by instilling trust in the client and being personable, but also knowing my Ps and Qs and creating a client-specific financial portfolio that will perform,” Demos said. “There’s that balancing again, just like in the Division II platform.”

Both Demos and DeBlois credit Bentley’s innovative business curriculum for their early success. Among other things, students develop and submit business plans to actual companies, with prizes awarded for top picks. Demos won one of those competitions.

Beyond those opportunities, the duo cites the character they developed as student-athletes as the DNA in their achievement gene.

“The desire to achieve is a common trait among student-athletes, particularly SAAC members,” Demos said. “When we’re asked to do something, we don’t find a way around it. When a professor asks for a paper, we write a paper we’re proud to submit. When a coach asks us to jump so high, we’ll do it.

“It’s not that student-athletes are smarter or better – it’s that we have this drive to do everything correctly and to the best of our abilities. We’re coachable, we’re competitive