Hey Apprentice fans! Hope you all had a great weekend. We are back and this episode starts right where we left off last week... in the Boardroom, which is never usually a good thing. My father has given the teams no time to rest, jumping right into the next task. NeNe dried her "tears" quickly after Dionne's departure and it was back to business.
The task this week was to create several works of art that would be sold in a gallery, and additionally each team member was to design one hat for New Era Hat. This was a fundraising task and immediately John Rich and Marlee stepped up to the plate. They both had great enthusiasm about the task and were looking forward to tapping into their contacts and raising money for two incredible causes, the Starkey Hearing Foundation (for Marlee) and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (for John). It was game time, Hollywood versus Country.
The pressure was on. John reiterated to his team many times that they would have to bring in the money. Additionally, Marlee made it clear that she was watching La Toya and wanted to see her step up her game. I think that as project managers it's important to motivate and set the standards high for your team. This week the goal was to work hard and raise the most amount of money possible.
The teams headed off to Michael's to begin buying their art supplies. In the meantime, Jose met my father in the Boardroom delivering some very sad news, that his father's illness had taken a turn for the worse and he had to go home to be with his family. My father understood completely and made a donation of $25,000 to Jose's charity, BAT - Baseball Assistant Team. I am also a believer that family comes first no matter what. We wish Jose and his family all the best.
While the ladies' team was en route to get their supplies, La Toya stepped up and donated something very special, one of the last approved T-shirts from her late brother Michael. La Toya knew that it would raise a lot of money and ultimately would be something her brother would have wanted. I was impressed to see La Toya make such a large contribution to her team. After last week's Boardroom I think she wanted to prove that she was a team player and that she had a lot more to offer than they thought. I admired La Toya for her actions. She listened to what her team had to say last week, which wasn't very complimentary, and in turn used it to propel herself forward.
Team Backbone was gathering their supplies and from the start this week I could see that Gary was pushing Meat Loaf close to the edge; little did we know that he would push Meat Loaf off the edge! The men's team showed up at the studio and was ready to get their creative juices going, unfortunately they should have gotten their boxing gloves out because Meat Loaf completely unleashed on Gary about Meat Loaf's missing paint and supplies. This situation escalated so quickly, I was shocked that it happened over painting supplies?!? Which, by the way, Meat Loaf later found, proving his accusations against Gary false. John as the project manager did a good job trying to diffuse the situation. As a leader you have to step in any time there is conflict among your team and try to do your best to get the group to focus and back on task.
The ladies' team began to create their works of art. NeNe continued to go back and forth with Star, claiming that she didn't want to get her hands dirty and roll her sleeves up. Overall the team seemed to be getting along very well. When I showed up to check in on Team A.S.A.P. I think the only positive one in the room was myself and maybe Marlee. The ladies were very down and discouraged. I reminded them that many times on this show I have seen teams make a big comeback but only those teams that really decide to do something about it. I was disappointed to see their attitudes so negative. To me they should use each week as a fresh start, learn from the week before but move forward and not dwell on previous losses. After all this is a competition!
We had a few hours to go until the doors to the gallery opened. John's buddies were flying in, cowboy hats on the way. The men's team's spirits were up and they had plenty of time to prepare for that evening's big event. Meat Loaf even had a few minutes to apologize to Gary for his completely unnecessary outburst earlier in the day. However different they both are, Gary and Meat Loaf have both been to anger management - perhaps Meat Loaf maybe missed a few classes? Gary understood and accepted Meat Loaf's apology, mentioning that Meat Loaf was "dancing on a rainbow," not entirely sure what that meant... but all in all, the air was cleared.
While the men were relaxing and waiting for the night to start, Team A.S.A.P. was in panic mode as they found themselves caught in Friday night gridlock traffic. After the incident when delivering the pizzas I would have thought the ladies would have learned their lesson not to challenge New York City traffic. Marlee was very anxious, as to be expected. (I felt bad for the driver of that van!) They arrived at the gallery and began to scramble to get ready. Time was passing and they still had none of their paintings or artwork. I would have had someone calling that truck for an ETA every few minutes. Finally, five minutes before the gallery was to open, the paintings arrived.
Team Backbone opened the doors and the crowd rushed in, as they had a line around the corner waiting. The scene in their gallery was awesome. When I arrived there was massive energy and John commanded the room's attention with great enthusiasm. I was impressed with how they were all working together and their adrenaline seemed to be pumping with every piece of artwork sold. I was however a little concerned to hear Richard repeatedly say that he wouldn't be able to raise a lot of money. To me, if he wasn't able to raise a lot of money then he should work twice as hard to show his team that although he may not have the Rolodex, he is still an asset to Backbone. When you are part of a team it's so important to display your strengths, not harp on your downfalls.
Both teams were bringing in such large amounts of money and it was incredible. To top it all off John's guitar sold for $470,000!! The best part of Backbone's evening was a visit from Colin, a young boy and current patient at St. Jude Children's research hospital. I think it all came full circle for the men's team and there was nothing more important than raising money for the children. St. Jude is an incredible place, one that my younger brother Eric is also personally involved in.
Across the street at Team A.S.A.P. the doors opened and they didn't instantly have the rush that Backbone did. However, as the night went along, they were moving full steam ahead with purchases being made every way possible, via phone, email and in person. La Toya's t-shirt was sold for $99,000 and the team also received $99,000 from three different purchasers. The momentum and generosity was amazing. Both teams were blown away by the amount of money raised.
It was time for the Boardroom and the teams arrived feeling so confident and proud of all that they had accomplished. Both Backbone and A.S.A.P. had only but the best words to speak about their project managers, John and Marlee. I was so impressed with the passion and hard work they all displayed. In business and in life I am a huge believer that you must be passionate about what you do. I have learned this from my father, as he always applies this to every business venture he enters into.
This group of individuals in the Boardroom should have been so proud of themselves because they broke records this Sunday night, raising the most amount of money in Apprentice history during a single task or even an entire season!! The men's team brought in an amazing $626,908 and the women's team $986,000. The women were just $14,000 shy of one million dollars! My father was so impressed with the women's team, he offered to donate the additional $14,000 to the Starkey Hearing Foundation to bring the total to a million. La Toya should have also been very proud as she was the winner of the New Era Hat project, which mean my father then donated $25,000 to her charity, the AIDS Project Los Angeles. As the women were the winner this week (finally), they had a decision to make. They chose to let each team keep the money for their charity rather than only just the winning team. I think this was the right choice and everyone came out on top, ultimately meeting the goal to raise money for charity. Unfortunately someone still would be fired this week.
Aside from breaking records, we also broke a few rules this week. My father allowed the ladies' team to stay in the Boardroom while discussions were had about who should be fired. I can tell you this has never been done. This was a fundraising task so Marlee suggested to my father that Richard be fired as he did not raise even close to the amount of money that the others on his team raised. When Backbone was asked who should be fired aside from money they replied Gary. I liked how Marlee stood up for Gary, mentioning his fight, brilliance and passion. I think while Gary is always, well, Gary, he shouldn't be counted out. Still, his lack of focus may get in the way as we progress through the season. Ultimately the goal this week was to raise money and Richard did not pull his weight, so, without a chance for a rebuttal, he was fired and riding the elevator down to 5th Avenue.
I hope you all enjoyed this week's episode as much as I did! Looking forward to your comments here on the blog and via my Twitter page, (www.twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr ) See you next week!