Hi Apprentice Fans,
Hope you all had a nice weekend and enjoyed Sunday's episode of The Celebrity Apprentice. Last week was a great week for Meat Loaf as he brought home a win for not only team Backbone but also for The Painted Turtle, a charity very close to his heart. Meat Loaf presented a check for $20,000 and mentioned, "I'm not done, there will be more." I liked his response as it really showed Meat Loaf's determination and winning attitude.
My father, Ivanka and I met the teams at Trump SoHo, which is the newest hotel in our collection, coming up on its one-year anniversary this April. I am sure the teams were curious what their task this week would be and if they were going to get to spend some time in the hotel, they soon found out that it would be quite the opposite; their task this week was to create an outdoor camping experience displaying Camping World's incredible RVs and products. The teams would be judged by brand recognition, originality and overall presentation.
Niki, who'd had experience camping, stepped up to take on the project manager role for team A.S.A.P. The men seemed to have a little bit of trouble figuring out who would lead this week, but ultimately Gary volunteered. When my father told Gary that the PMs are usually at risk he fired back with, "I'm at risk every time I wake up," - classic and very true for Gary. I was looking forward to seeing how he would lead and delegate to his team.
The teams headed over to Madison Square Park and chose their RVs. The men chose a tour bus-style RV, very Bret Michaels-like. The ladies chose a mid-level RV looking to attract families and create a home-like atmosphere, choosing the theme, The 21st Century Camping World. As the teams split up to strategize, Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World, stopped by to answer questions and help the teams get on their way. Even though Star mentioned after the last Boardroom that she would not act like the PM when she was not, it was clear she was just as vocal as before. I was curious to see if she would continue in that direction for the duration of the task. When Marcus visited the men's team, Lil Jon noticed that Gary was not asking any questions. This is usually a crucial time to get as much information as possible about the company and if you ask the right questions it could give you an advantage.
Team A.S.A.P. got to Camping World very early on, hoping to get first dibs on the items that they wanted for their camping experience. The teams had a $5,000 credit available to them. The ladies were all running around trying to get the shopping done quickly, although it seemed like Dionne was just strolling along, with all the time in the world. This seems to be a recurring theme with Dionne, and not a positive one, as in this game time is essential. After what looked like a controversial car ride, John Rich making it clear that no one would disrespect country music fans or his music, the men arrived at Camping World. Team Backbone seemed be arguing but despite all that, they had their shopping trip down as they arrived after the ladies and left before them.
Once all of the teams had their materials it was time to start designing and decorating. Niki and Hope left their team to design their marketing materials. I think that Niki could have done a better job delegating. When she left her team, they later called her, still unsure of their brand messaging. As the project manager, often the one held responsible for a team's loss later in the Boardroom, I would think Niki would either have wanted to supervise or at least leave clear instructions in her absence.
Ivanka visited the men's team as they were getting set up and was surprised to see Jose relaxing on the couch in the RV. He seemed to be lacking energy and motivation. At this point in the task it's crunch time and truthfully we didn't see Jose move very much at all, until he started playing baseball with Gary. Mark was inside with Lil Jon, both feeling like the team was in complete chaos. John Rich called to point out that while the banners were going well, they were tough to design with no theme. I think as a leader, to be so laid back and relaxed during a task like this was not a good message that Gary was conveying to his team. The fact that Jose and Gary had enough time in the day to relax and enjoy the scenery makes me question their dedication to winning the task. But as Gary said, every member of this team is a different color of the rainbow. I completely agree with Ivanka in that there are no other Garys, he is absolutely a complete original.
I visited the women's team and Niki seemed very calm, claiming there were no issues on the team. I spoke with Marlee and asked her thoughts on the team and how everyone was getting along. Marlee felt that Dionne was the weak link as she was not proactive and never went above and beyond a given task. Personally I feel it's important to have people on your team who are proactive. At the Trump Organization we are always looking for that quality in our employees, those who are willing to take the extra step to get the job done.
It was time to go camping and see what the teams had put together. The men's campsite looked great as they had out a lot of lot of plants and bushes. The women intended to have greenery as well, but Niki sent Dionne and La Toya out on a last-minute run and they unfortunately were beat by the clock. Inside the RVs, both teams did a nice job decorating. The women's RV was really well decorated and they set up several experiences making it very relatable. The tours seemed to go well. There was a slight hiccup when Dionne and Niki's discussion got heated. I thought it was a little unprofessional to be bickering in front of the clients. Niki tried to diffuse the situation, which only made Dionne get louder. Marcus visited Team A.S.A.P. and was really impressed by their knowledge of the product and interior design elements. In terms of signage though, he thought that the banners were too small and did not advertise the brand clearly enough.
Team Backbone seemed to have a lot of enthusiasm on their tours and despite their issues yesterday, created a really fun and engaging camping experience. I thought they did a great job on the landscaping. When Marcus visited the men, he commented that the signage was very prominent but the interiors were lacking. Marcus did feel that the men did a really nice job on branding the Camping World experience. Overall both teams did a great job, but it was time for the Boardroom to hear the final verdict.
The teams entered the Boardroom feeling good about their performances. My father asked Niki how her team got along and she responded that they all did their best and that she couldn't have been luckier. It was great to see such a positive outlook, but then my father asked Niki how she thought her team did and if she thought her team had won, and her response was not a good sign. Niki seemed very unsure. That to me was not a good move especially as a project manager; she clearly wasn't confident in her abilities. My father then moved on to team Backbone and asked the team how Gary performed as PM. Lil Jon's response was very strong, saying although Gary is a talented person, he also felt that the theme of the team this time around was "trainwreck."
Overall Marcus was very impressed with the ladies' team and their knowledge of the product but ultimately, he thought that team Backbone had won the task. As a result, Gary's charity, The Center for Traumatic Head Injuries, received an amazing $20,000 from Camping World and another $20,000 from my father. This charity is very close to Gary's heart as he was a victim of a traumatic head injury resulting from a motorcycle accident in 1988. After the winning team leaves, the battle between the members of the losing team normally begins, but for once this didn't happen. Earlier in the day when I spoke to Niki, she said that if she lost, she would take responsibility since she was the project manager and wouldn't throw anyone under the bus. Niki respectfully kept her word completely. She took full responsibility for the loss and didn't blame anyone on her team. Niki was fired, but my father thought that Niki showed great integrity and really respected her for her decision. Niki left with solid admiration from her team. We wish her the best and thank her for being on The Celebrity Apprentice.
I hope that you all had a great time watching Sunday's episode and will continue to join me here on the NBC.com blog and on Twitter, (www.twitter.com/donaldjtrumpr). Looking forward to next week!