Ms. Mogul

Nely's Blog Nely Galán - Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, and Celebrity Apprentice
The New You TV Blog The New You TV - A Forum for Women's Issues Targeting Health, Wellness, and Beauty

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE 2 - Nely Galan's Pre-Show Blog

I am so excited to watch Season Two of THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE. I think the cast is phenomenal and I can already see the dynamics coming into play.

I have to say being on Season One turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. In the aftermath of the show I’ve been kept pretty busy, including a nationwide speaking tour on empowerment and entrepreneurship that reached over 75,000 people; and started a web site for women entrepreneurs called In addition to my day job as a television producer, I’ve gone back to school to get a Doctorate in Psychology (something I always wanted to do). The Celebrity Apprentice experience inspired me to do more, be more, and to examine my flaws and re-address them -- in a word, it inspired me to GROW.

One of the amazing aspects of the show is that you get to spend quality time with an accomplished group of people from a wide variety of fields such as sports, entertainment, and business - what a gift! We have all watched television and seen someone win a gold medal at the Olympics, a singer win a Grammy, an actor win an Oscar, and witnessed an entrepreneur making a million; but don’t we all wonder “How did they do it? Could I ever do it, too?” We love to examine these people up close and try to “crack the code” of their success, see what drives them, and see what is their Achilles heel – made all the more relevant and fascinating given these crazy economic times we are living through.

The Celebrity Apprentice (besides being a whole lot of fun) is an incredible microcosm that shows the inner workings of success and the personality traits that can either elevate or ultimately derail someone. It’s my belief that the winning combination is a liberal dose of intelligence + stamina + life experience + great contacts (for fundraising) + strategy and oh yeah, make sure to develop a thick skin for when “The Donalds” of the world yell at you, and trust me, they will yell at you at some point in your career.

So let’s jump in and talk about this new season – I’m excited because I see a lot of people I admire and respect. Here are my initial impressions of the new Celebrity Apprentices:

Joan Rivers - age, experience, and fierceness are on her side to win it. I’m a big fan of hers - to be in the piranha-infested waters of entertainment this long; she has to have some business acumen. I like that she is honest, direct and doesn’t care what people think of her. Plus I’m sure that she has a pretty extensive Rolodex of contacts – an important component in raising money for the charity challenges. I’ll have to say that I think she is one of the people I look forward to learning the most from. She is my # 1 pick to win this. The one thing that could bring about Joan’s downfall is that while you are on the show, you barely have any time to sleep and it’s also very difficult to grab a bite while in the middle of the tasks. I lost eight pounds and was psycho-sleep deprived. In Season One, we had a lot of the Apprentices who fell apart – think of it as a physical and fiscal boot camp. I’m not sure if she has the stamina for this - but I am rooting for her.

Melissa Rivers – of course, we all know she’s the daughter of Joan. Let’s see if the apple falls far from the tree. She’s my # 1-A pick to win this. She may carry mama’s torch should mom not have the stamina.

Jesse James – (in my opinion) is a close 2nd. Jesse is a great entrepreneur. He’s managed to sustain both a very successful business and a successful marriage to actress Sandra Bullock. Plus having a relative who is a big celeb is a big bonus for some of the tasks - remember Stephen Baldwin bringing in his brother Alec for a cameo? Let’s face it - Jesse is one smart (and tough) dude. He will survive, and probably thrive on, the physical challenges. My only concern is that he might be one of those tough-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside guys who may not want go “there” when it gets ugly, and it always gets ugly.

Annie Duke - I don’t know very much about Annie at this point, but I’m going to give her a wild card vote. I’m just putting two and two together - she’s a poker champion, and poker is one of the ultimate mind games. I think she’s literally worth betting on and will definitely give Donald Trump a run for his poker chips.

Andrew Dice Clay – I’m predicting he’ll be this year’s Omarosa. He is tough when need be and I’m suspecting he’ll go pretty far. As for his egomaniacal antics - I learned from Gene Simmons and Omarosa that’s all that they are – just antics. Behind the façade, all these people tend to be extremely smart and good at heart.

Brande Roderick - I never underestimate a Playmate. People stereotype them as dumb, but I have found that they are far from it. They know how to use all of their gifts and assets to the best of their abilities - and I think they have a lot to teach the rest of us gals. Hopefully Brande will have learned the lesson from last season’s Playmate, Tiffany Fallon, and realize that she needs to be calling on her contacts on Day 1 in order to start raising money.

Herschel Walker - Athletes rock! Their stamina, drive and competitiveness leave most of us in the dust. And don’t forget the advantage of a fervent fan base – famous athletes can raise money in a fraction of the time that it takes most people. This former NFL running back could be quite a contender for the title of Celebrity Apprentice. Hopefully he studied the playbooks of Season One’s Lennox Lewis, Tito Ortiz and Nadia Comaneci and has developed a strategy that will work.

Tom Green - I just love him. Tom makes me laugh. I have met him on several occasions and he’s an absolute doll. Regardless of what happens, he will be entertaining to watch and I’m just happy he’s going to be on the show. (I can’t wait to see his initial introduction to Trump!) However Tom, I love you madly, but you don’t have a chance. Then again maybe Tom is crazy – crazy like a fox.

Natalie Gulbis - I don’t know much about this professional golfer - but again, athletes are not to be discounted. I’m looking forward to getting to know more about her on the show.

Scott Hamilton – Yet another great athlete. However, I don’t think Scott will make it past one of Trumps’ tirades. What many of you may not know is that it takes 2-3 hours to shoot the boardroom sessions. It’s very hot in the room, and after several hours of interrogations, you find that you are forced to throw your friends under the bus or end up under the tires yourself – it’s a truly brutal procedure. Very few people have the stomach for this. I found these sessions to be very difficult, and I consider myself a tough cookie.

Brian McKnight - LOOOOOOVE him! I hope they let him sing on the show. Once again, I think he might be too sweet to handle everything. I almost hope he gets fired right away. I don’t want to see one of my favorite ballad singers yelling at people in the boardroom - it will ruin my fantasy of what a wonderful guy I think he is.

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins – big time wild card. T-Boz, don’t go chasing waterfalls and keep your eyes on the prize. I love her music, but I think she’ll get the ax pretty early on unless she’s got more life experience under her belt than I imagine. I wish her well though.

Khloe Kardasian - Love her reality show but I think the Apprentice will be a lot more than she bargained for. She’s got her own shop and she knows business, but this is a totally different league - it’s way tough!!!!

Clint Black – this year’s Trace Adkins for the country fans. I think of Clint Black as mild-mannered and sweet, and not really Apprentice winner material; but then again, look how close Trace’s quiet brilliance almost won him the title. I would love to be surprised by Clint!

Claudia Jordan – wow, I have no idea on this one! She’s one of the beautiful and sweet models from “Deal or No Deal”. Unless she has a split personality and there’s a completely different person inside, I can’t imagine that this will bode well. Happily for her, she’ll be getting the exposure, and don’t underestimate the power of that... all of us have been touched by the TRUMP brand.

Dennis Rodman – ex-NBA star. Everything I have ever seen about Dennis implies that he’s extremely gifted, but that he tends to sabotage himself. He could be a total disaster (although fun to watch) or he could come from behind and win the race.

Stay tuned… after every Celebrity Apprentice episode I’ll be blogging about the show and giving you my perspective on what transpires. Along the way I will give you the inside scoop that will help you understand what goes on behind the scenes, and why normal people appear to be losing it. I’ll also express some of the lessons I carried away from the experience, in the hopes that you can use the advice to conquer whatever it is that is important to you.

Let the games begin!


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Sunday, February 22, 2009


Our country is in turmoil politically and economically.

The "win by any means necessary" mentality has hurt us. In the past, it has brought us the likes of Enron, and today the current mortgage crisis rages on with no end in sight. We are reaping what we have sown.

I think we are all tired of seeing bad behavior rewarded every day. While I have the utmost respect for Piers Morgan's intellect and consider him a friend, I feel it is my duty to get up every morning and teach my 8-year-old-son Lukas to do the right thing, even though it may not always be rewarded.

The high profile of “Celebrity Apprentice” placed us all in a position to be role models, and the role model that I most respected (and whom I thought best represented how things should be in business, and in life) was Trace Adkins.

What’s so appealing and admirable about Trace is that he has a wonderful quiet confidence about him. He’s successful, compassionate, straight forward, but most importantly - self aware. He understands the importance of being a great husband, a great father, and a great human being. His life has been difficult, and goodness knows that he has had to work hard on himself, but through it all he has managed to keep his integrity intact.

I long for integrity, honesty, and ethical behavior to be the true measure of success - something to be valued again in this country, even if means sometimes taking the longer, harder road.


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This Thursday is the finale for Celebrity Apprentice, and all of us “apprentices” are winging back in to New York City for the big event. It should be interesting to see how everything plays out – will Trace’s good-old-boy values win out over the more Machiavellian win-by-any-means-necessary approach of Piers?

I’m most excited by the prospect of seeing everyone again – it’s going to be like a high school reunion. I’m eager to find out what has transpired with, what have become now, old friends and foes and discovering how their lives have changed in the interim. Has their Apprentice experience been a positive one? How did the challenge shape their everyday lives?

For me, it’s a no-brainer – my time on the Apprentice was like the old Army slogan, “it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.” When I was approached to do the show I was initially hesitant, and not without a good dose of trepidation to boot; but I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I could not pass up, and would deeply regret if I declined. The high highs, the low lows, and everything in between that I experienced in my six weeks on the show, served as a condensed microcosm of life itself. Here are a few of my core “life lessons”:

Overcoming Obstacles in Business:
"Business never gets easier - get over it! Your commitment should be to grow everyday. Growth is the number one value - everything you do, and every mistake you make, has a value."

Moving Past You’re Fired:
“Getting fired usually means that job, or that career, is not for you. Working for Donald Trump in the capacity as an "at will" employee, reminded me that I am an entrepreneur. I can't, and don't want to, work for anyone else.”

Facing Challenging Situations:
"Everything happens for a reason, and those reasons reveal themselves over time. The only ability you have in challenging situations is how you choose to deal with them. Ultimately, challenging or difficult things are always meant to be... and time will show you that."

Biggest Learning Experience From The Apprentice:
"It made me re-affirm my values. I don't believe in win by any means necessary – I’m old fashioned and old school. I believe in winning with integrity and dignity, and without compromising what you believe in. It may take longer, but you will get there and you’ll sleep at night."



CELEBRITY APPRENTICE February 7, 2008 Episode 6

Ever since “Celebrity Apprentice” premiered this year, there isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not stopped in the streets and asked about my experience on the show. I knew that the Apprentice was a very successful show, but I was still surprised by the sheer magnitude of its popularity, and just how much the Apprentice phenomenon is a part of American life.

When I was approached to participate in “Celebrity Apprentice,” I have to be honest; my initial reaction was joy, quickly followed by fear. I thought to myself “I am already successful, what if they make me look like an idiot?” And being highly competitive, my next thought was “What if I don't win?” The truth is, as an entrepreneur, failure (or the fear of failure) is a muscle that I use every day. On the journey to success, I have failed more than I have won, but it was always with the knowledge that it was all a part of the game. However, it was precisely at that moment that I knew that I had to accept the challenge, and combat my fear head on. The icing on the cake was the knowledge that we were going to be playing for charity, and I was proud to be competing on behalf of Count Me In, a non-profit organization run by the extraordinary Nell Merlino that supports women starting up their own businesses.

You would think that with the involvement of the celebrity cast that The Donald would be a little easier on everyone, but in fact, it was just the opposite. The shooting schedule was grueling – sleeping only a few hours a night, barely having time to grab a bite to eat, and thrown into a series of tasks that appeared much easier on TV than they were in reality. Behind the scenes, the experience was a real "career boot camp" with Donald Trump in the role of the tough army general, and the rest of us acting as foot soldiers eager for advancement. Due to the time constraints of a one-hour show, the viewing public only gets a taste of what actually goes on in the boardroom. The boardroom sessions usually lasted at least two hours long and let me tell you, they were brutal! It was often a mix of jubilation (if you were the winning team) and sheer panic and pain (if you had the misfortune of being on the losing team).

Every time I watch the boardroom segment on TV, I get that same stomachache all over again. I felt that Donald Trump was particularly hard on me, as it seems that he really never got over having to fire Gene Simmons, because Gene decided to take a bullet for me (Episode 3). When Donald Trump lets me go in Episode 6, I have to say that it was in that moment I felt like an "at will" employee sent packing just because the boss doesn’t like you. We’ve all had those people in our lives – bosses or co-workers who don't like you or don't get you, and then there are others like Gene Simmons who totally get who you are and rise to your defense. All of these people come into our lives for a reason - to show us the way and teach us valuable lessons.

First of all, I could not pay Donald Trump for what I learned on “Celebrity Apprentice”. What an amazing opportunity is was to spend a month with an extraordinary group of people - all successful - all with different skills sets. Learning from each and every one of them was a gift! How many times in life do you have the chance to be in a “boot camp” with two Olympic gold medalists; a bona-fide rock star; a country singer; a Playmate; Broadway, TV and film actors; a world-champion boxer; an ultimate fighter; a super model; and a Latina businesswoman like myself who came from nothing and achieved the American Dream. This experience was priceless. Can you imagine what these people know? To grow as a person I knew that I had to put my current success behind me, and strip myself bare in order to truly learn from what lay ahead. I had to ask myself “Is what got me here, still working for me? Have the habits and skills that have made me successful a tool, or a hindrance, from this moment on?” I now feel is totally necessary to take a good look at yourself at mid-career.

Specifically, what were some of the things I learned? Well, when placed in a group of my peers, I was surprised to see that, like most women, I embraced being the worker bee in a task. But it was Gene Simmons who brilliantly illustrated the fact that in life you need to strive to work smarter, not harder. When I was the Project Manager in Episode 2, Donald Trump pointed out that we over delivered. In this Pedigree challenge, the client requested a dog commercial. In addition to the commercial I delivered a web site, a radio spot, and an entire marketing plan that they didn’t ask for. I also learned about the power of “celebrity” in all you do, and how that often dual-edge sword can be used effectively in promoting positive change – like fundraising for charity.

Well, I may have been fired, but I want to express my gratitude for the entire experience. And, I haven’t forgotten one of the primary reasons why I came on this show, which was to raise $250,000 for my charity COUNT ME IN ( And I am determined to still do so! I have pledged $25,000 of my own money, and am asking others to join me. By the time the finale of “Celebrity Apprentice” airs, I should have accomplished my mission. On Friday's “Today Show” I will be announcing that I am up to $220,000 and counting. Individuals and corporations like AIG Insurance, Serta, and businesswomen who have turned their companies into million-dollar companies through the help of COUNT ME IN, have joined me in the challenge of women helping other women. If you need help growing your business, go to Count Me and sign up for business coaching, credit repair and a community of women just like you. And if you want to help other women grow, go to Count Me In and donate.

Remember sometimes when you win, you lose; and sometimes when you lose, you win. Everything happens for a reason. Life is about taking risks, growing every day, and NOT being afraid to fail. You will fail, but ultimately it will take you to your greatest victory.

So what’s next? What am I going to do after “Celebrity Apprentice”? Well, this summer you can catch a groundbreaking daytime reality series that I’ve created, that you will also be able to follow on the web, called “The New You”. It’s a twelve-week program where we’ll take women who have stopped putting themselves first and put them back on the path of health, wellness, and beauty – we will take them to all of their doctors’ appointments, help them with any depression and mental health issues, provide advice on their career and mission in life, and give a boost to their appearance (the natural way). I hope you join us in this summer series that will transform the old you into THE NEW YOU.

For more information go to,, and check your local listings.


CELEBRITY APPRENTICE January 24, 2008 – Episode 4

In this episode, the challenge was to sell as many tickets as possible (for as much money as possible) for a variety of Broadway shows. I took a page from my “Lessons Learned” book, and decided to channel the great Gene Simmons and use my Rolodex to the max.

My friends at Cushman and Wakefield really came through for me, as well as my entrepreneur women's network and my powerful Latinos contacts – personally delivering cold hard cash for charity.

Did you know that none of the teams were allowed to tell any of the potential donors that they were coming down to give money for an “Apprentice” challenge? It was really rewarding to see that people showed up based solely our word that what we were doing was for a good cause.

I raised a lot of money, but yet our team lost again! I cannot tell you how badly that felt - especially for a bunch of competitive women so hungry for a win.

P.S. Don’t miss the next episode of “Celebrity Apprentice”. It’s a doozy -- Shocking! Sleazy!

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE January 17, 2008 – Episode 3

The trait that I admire most (and which is sorely missing in much of the business world) is integrity. Don’t be fooled by any preconceived notions that you might have about Gene Simmons. Despite some of the wacky antics you’ve seen in the past few episodes, Gene is not just a rock star, he is a man with a vision who stands by his beliefs, and sticks to his word.

He’s also a firm believer of working smarter, not harder. Gene taught me a lot about using all of your contacts and resources instead of struggling uphill through your projects. (A prime example was exemplified in Episode 1 where Gene made one well-placed phone call and sold a $5000 hot dog, rather than running around trying to sell several $100 hot dogs - like the women’s team did.)

I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with him and was truly sorry to see him go. Gene - thanks for taking a bullet for me. You are a class act all the way!

P.S. Don’t miss the next episode of “Celebrity Apprentice” when I utilize some of Gene’s tricks of the trade (Jan. 24th, 9/8c on NBC).

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE January 10, 2008 - Episode 2

It was hard to watch Nadia Comaneci leave the show. I admire her and have nothing but great respect for her, and count myself lucky to now be able to call her a friend. Nadia was one of my childhood idols and I was enthralled, along with the rest of the world, when she achieved true perfection at the 1976 Olympics. So imagine how thrilled I was to hear that she was going to be one of my cast-mates on The Apprentice!

You may not know it, but the actual boardroom sessions go on for hours at a time, and so much of the discussion with both the opposition and fellow teammates goes unseen and unheard on the show. As the Project Manager on this task, I would have gladly taken the bullet for my team, and all who were there know that I expressed that over and over again to Donald Trump. It was a tough loss - especially given my competitive nature. And I have to admit, as a producer I had to eat some humble pie when we lost to the guys, but it’s all part of the learning process. What happened in the Pedigree episode has happened many times in my field. Producing creative work is ultimately subjective. In competition sometimes you win, and other times you lose. You just have to pick yourself back up and get back into the game.
P.S. Wait till you see what happens this week – Gene Simmons joins the ladies of Empresario and I can promise you that you will not forget this episode!


January 3rd was the premiere of The Celebrity Edition of the NBC smash hit “THE APPRENTICE,” and Executive Producer Mark Burnett decided to throw a little party to thank the cast and crew. It was also a chance for all of us to screen the first episode live along with the rest of the country!

I arrived at the venue, CINESPACE, a little after 8pm and immediately spotted some of my fellow cast members – Nadia Comaneci, Marilu Henner, Tiffany Fallon and the infamous Omarosa. We caught up on what was going on with each other lives, and had the opportunity to meet family and friends. It was great seeing all the staff as well, knowing how much of their blood, sweat and tears they had poured into every episode.

When the lights dimmed down in the club moments before air time, I have to admit that I was a little nervous as to how the show would turn out, and as to how everyone would be portrayed – knowing full well from my experience as a TV producer, that you can live or die by the edit. At show’s end I was pleased to say that I got caught up in the drama along with everyone else in the audience. My hat is off to Donald Trump and Mark Burnett who have fine-tuned The Apprentice to perfection - making it as compelling a series as ever. Unfortunately someone had to be the first one to go, and we had to say goodbye to Tiffany, who is a true doll and a wonderful person.

Watching the show reminded me of what was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To learn and grow working with such a diverse cast and crew, with such incredible skills, was amazing, and I’ll never forget the great friendships forged under fire.

The fun has just begun, so keep watching as the competition between the celebs gets really heated - have you seen the promos where Omarosa pours champagne over Piers Morgans’s head?

Episode 2 of Celebrity Apprentice airs on NBC on January 10th – I can’t reveal what happens, but let’s just say that things get a little crazy for me.


P.S. Here are a few pix from the premiere screening that I thought that I would share with you.