BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When the 2015 Miss USA is crowned Sunday night, it means 50 of the 51 contestants could be wondering, okay, what now? That's where IST Management Services comes in.
IST is a national facilities management firm based in Atlanta. Company leaders think so highly of the Miss USA contestants that at the pageant every year, they host a special breakfast that's basically a job recruiting session.
Brooke Bibeault was Miss Teen Massachusetts USA in 2010. After speeding through college and Harvard graduate school in a combined two and a half years, she is a wife, mother and company associate in the Atlanta office at the age of 23.
Miss Maryland USA 2006, Melissa DiGiulian. has a degree in marketing and sales and was a perfect fit for a company like IST. After a chance meeting with IST CEO Hal Blackman, she interviewed and landed a job. Fast forward seven years and at 29, she is a regional vice president based in New York City.
She watched the contestants Friday morning as they listened to her company sales pitch and immediately noticed those who had obvious interest.
"I saw a few that perked up, especially when I spoke of all the company benefits," said DiGiulian.
Blackman founded the outsourcing giant in 1997. When asked why he would forge an alliance with the pageant system, he said, "I'd be crazy not to! These girls are brilliant, highly educated, highly focused, highly driven and I just stumbled across this opportunity seven years ago."
Miss Georgia USA, Brooke Fletcher, is looking for a career on TV, but listened intently to former pageant winners speak of company success stories. She also bragged about the hospitality of Baton Rouge saying she now knew "why we wanted to come back here."
Miss Louisiana USA, New Orleans native Candice Bennatt, is studying law at Loyola with designs of becoming a patent attorney.
"You never know where life will lead you. Like I told Hal, I will probably just hire him one day, instead of him hiring me," said Bennatt.