The winner at the recent season finale of Celebrity Apprentice wasn't country singer John Rich or Academy award winner Marlee Matlin, it was us, Meeting Planners and our industry.
Once again, The Donald has given his two finalist the chore of managing an event (and an ad campaign for 7-UP) as his final test to see who would make the best apprentice.
Unlike earlier versions of this show, where the winner would actually become a business executive, Celebrity Apprentice allows the winner to give money to a chosen charity. It's all good and it's still nice to see that a person who can plan the best event is, In Donald Trump's eye, a successful business person.
I've been saying for years that we are professionals and we need to act like it. Too many times we are still called Party Planners (not that there's anything wrong with that!). By being professionals, we add legitimacy to our work and we get a seat at the adult table, wherein we can influence and contribute to the big picture and the bottom line.
After all, that's what Trump would say is one of the key characteristics of a successful business person. And whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not, what we do as meeting planners affects business. Not only the business at our own associations and organizations, but all those other businesses that play a role in meetings and hospitality: airlines, hotels, transportation, sights, attractions, restaurants and retailers. What we do stretches far beyond our own cubicles.
What was also nice about the final of Celebrity Apprentice is seeing how these celebrities dealt with some of the same headaches and pains in the necks that us planners deal with on a regular basis. Can you believe one team actually forgot to have someone available to meet Donald Trump when he arrived? Um, oops.
So we got a good laugh and a nice ego boost from Celebrity Apprentice. Now when it's time to ask for a raise, we simply say, "Donald Trump thinks I'm worth it."