The 2010 edition of The Apprentice, NBC’s business reality show starring and executive produced by real estate mogul Donald Trump, features entrepreneurs and professionals competing for a $250,000 job contract with the Trump organization. By now, the format is familiar: Each week the contestants, divided into two teams, must complete a business task. The winning team is rewarded; the losing team must report to the infamous boardroom, where one member will be fired by Trump. This edition of The Apprentice features three African American job candidates:
Kelly Beaty, 30, holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Spelman College and a master’s in public communication from American University. A former intern at Black Enterprise, she established a career as a rising star in the high-profile public relations industry before losing her job.
Gene Folkes, 46, earned a bachelor of science degree in business from Morris Brown College and served in the U.S. Air Force before launching a career as a financial advisor. The Jamaican-born Folkes has been living off of his savings and trying to launch an assisted living facility since being laid off.
Liza Mucheru-Wisner, 30, founder of an educational technology company who was born in Kenya and, as part of the Kenyan National Golf Team, was recruited to play golf at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
With each task of The Apprentice 2010, I will post performance reviews of the candidates, their teams and their project managers. In addition, I will assess the performances of Kelly, Gene and Liza for as long as they remain in The Apprentice talent pool. You can also follow and discuss my commentary on Twitter and Facebook.
Leadership Lesson: If you consistently show respect via your actions, you don’t have to constantly tell people how much you respect them. And the more compelled you feel to keep telling them, the less they’ll believe you. If you have to tell people that you are in charge, you’re not–or you won’t be for long. In other words, the best leaders walk the walk.
TASK 3: Run a hotel & spa for dogs, while creating and offering a “value-add” for clients. Teams are judged on execution, creativity and sustainability of value add, and overall customer experience.
Attorney James Weir steps up as project manager for the all-male Octane team, while real estate agent Tyana Alvarado takes on the leadership role for the ladies of Fortitude on this task.
When realtor Wade Hanson, citing his experience as a long-time dog owner, suggests installing web cams at the pet hotel to allow pet owners to see how their dogs are being cared for remotely, James embraces the idea as the value-add idea for Octane. It’s the last good decision he’ll make on the task. At the beginning of the task, James pays lip service to his team members, apologizing for disrespecting them on past tasks and promising to be a respectful leader as their new project manager. The response from team members range from doubt and distrust to ridicule (sales veteran David Johnson barely stifles his snickers) and outright disgust. “Nobody respects James,” says real estate investment manager Anand Vasudev. “Begging everyone for forgiveness is not going to get him any respect now.”