EXCLUSIVE: Fired ‘Apprentice’ Journey from Homeless to Trump’s Boardroom

Gene Folkes shares what he learned from his reality TV experience

Folkes demonstrates leadership as the winning project manager for Task 1.

TASK 2: This was the Ice Cream Task.  David Johnson, the volatile and erratic team member who I had to get under control during Task 1, was the PM for this task.  I had a great time once I found myself a quiet corner and owned my sales.  What I learned on Task 2 was that even if I am working with others who don’t own their work, I am still capable and able to meet my own goals.  I can choose to opt out of negativity and strife and find my own spot in which to shine.  I made a contribution to the team and remained true to myself.  Again, my initial read on David was spot-on.

TASK 3: The Dog Spa task was an adventure as well.  I found it hilarious when James Weir began his reign as PM by apologizing for not being a team player on the prior two tasks.  At least he owned his—better late than never.  Again, I found myself on “David Duty” –it seemed that no one else could manage my madcap friend.  But I owned the responsibility and avoided getting fired.  James brought Wade Henderson and David to the boardroom.  James did not consult the business owner for input.  He was willing to own the entire project.  But the lesson in this task is that you cannot successfully own something without letting some of it be owned by others. Mr. Trump fired James for that.

TASK 4: Task 4 was hands-down my favorite task.  The viral video concept for Popcorn Indiana was a great lesson for me.  In this episode, you really don’t see too much of me.  That’s fine, as long as you caught the brief clip of me offering the idea that would lead Team Octane to its second win.  I learned in this task that owning an idea is truly rewarding when you work as a team to make it a reality.  I didn’t need to be center stage to make an invaluable contribution.  It was so much fun to see real people on the street participating in something that I had seen in my mind’s eye.

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  • http://unofficialapprentice.blogspot.com/ Rightersblokk

    Gene was one of my favorites to win this competition.
    Unfortunately, he got fired for owning the task and not throwing everyone else under the bus.
    His integrity will take him further than surviving that boardroom would have.
    What most of the contestants do not realize is that the stuff they do is on record forever. Ten,fifteen, twenty years from now, it’s still going to come back to haunt them.