Murtzcellanious: Murtz Jaffer Talks To Apprentice 3's Stephanie Myers

It’s been awhile. Given my incredibly busy schedule, the Apprentice interviews have been on a bit of a hiatus, but here we go again. Starting with the lovely Stephanie Myers.

Murtz Jaffer: Can you tell me a little bit about your background.

Stephanie Myers: Do you want personal, career… what are you looking for?

MJ: We’ll go with personal first, followed by career.

SM: I am 29 years old. I live in San Diego (obviously). I grew up in Tempe, Arizona. I graduated from Arizona State University when I was 22. I moved to Minnesota. Then I moved to Colorado. Then I moved to San Diego.

MJ: Professionally?

SM: Professionally, I don’t want to say the company that I work for because they’d have a fit. I work for a Fortune 500 company. They recruited me right out of ASU, prior to my graduation.

MJ: So you have only worked at one place?

SM: It will be eight years in June.

MJ: It seems like everybody has an opinion on you and Audrey and that you guys were the two villains on the show. Why do you think that this is?

SM: I don’t know about Audrey. I didn’t work with her so I can’t really comment on her. Out of the suite, I was the only corporate person (in the suite). Being a corporate person, you always weigh your pro’s against your con’s. Of course, you all just got to see my con’s. Of course, they only show my negativity. Basically, a lot of that stuff got portrayed negatively. I got feedback from a lot of business people who said that they didn’t think that I was doing anything wrong. You’re not negative. I think some people who are entrepreneurs… they make their own decisions. They don’t have to speak to shareholders, or whatnotetc.. They just go with the idea and run with it. In my world, I don’t. Since I was the only corporate person, we had some differences there.

MJ: It seemed like they only showed you pointing faults at what Magna was doing… never looking at the glass half-full. I guess, then, the question becomes if that is how you are in real life?

SM: Absolutely not. Not at all. No way. A lot of my friends and family said that is definitely not her. When it comes to working and personality, it’s definitely different. I am a business person. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I was a pushover.

MJ: It started off right in that first episode with the whole Burger King task when you had been paired off with Danny (Kastner) to do the PR and it just seemed like Danny was the one suggesting and you were the one nixing it. How did that go down?

SM: What happened was Danny (as you saw in many shows) did not make timely decisions and he really didn’t listen to anyone’s ideas. He wanted to have the brilliant idea and take all the credit which is fine, however, anything that I brought up got nixed. That was unfortunate. We’re on this type of show where everyone is out for themselves. In my working environment, you work as a team. It’s a team effort and you work together. Who cares whose idea it’s going to be? When you win a task or when you succeed as a team, you don’t say it’s because of me. You say, we did it as a team. Not I. We did it.

MJ: Why do you think that he was able to instigate his opinion over yours? Why was he the leader and you the employee in that task?

SM: Well because Todd put him in charge of marketing. I was there to support him. Overall, he was in charge of marketing. Todd put Danny in charge of me.

MJ: Do you think that was a mistake by Todd?

SM: I don’t know, I only got to work with Todd for that one task and during that task I never saw Todd. I think Danny is a very creative individual. As far as Todd’s decision-making, I can’t really answer that because I didn’t really work with him.

MJ: How did Todd decide to put Danny in charge and you in a supporting role?

SM: What we did, before we got our first task (before we picked the name for Magna, which I picked) what we did was we described what everyone’s background was so whenever we got a task, we knew who would be the best PM (Project Manager). Danny was the creative one. He’s the creative thinker. He has a t-shirt that says creative thinking on it. So when we were at the Burger King store, Danny made it known that he wanted to be in marketing. I am not a marketing person. I don’t even have a marketing background. I have never done marketing or advertising in my life. I was shocked that he paired me up with Danny because I have never done marketing in my life. Kendra was the one saying “I have that background.” I said “put me behind a cash register, I’d rather do that.” My expertise is supply and demand. I know cycle times. I know about inventory turns etc. I can analyze that and make it work. That’s what I get paid for. I should have been behind the counter because we couldn’t keep up with supply and demand.

MJ: That’s actually interesting because I guess a lot of the people who saw that show automatically assumed that you were in PR because he put you in PR right off the bat.

SM: I have NEVER worked in PR! I do not have that background. Now I do. What you didn’t see was how Erin and I, rocked when we had to go out and make things look good. We didn’t know that we had that in us. Basically how that came about, to answer your question was that we were sitting in that Burger King and he divided up roles. Myself, being a Supply Chain Consultant, people know cycle times and inventory control. When you go into a restaurant, there are cycle times. When you have a line of people waiting to eat at your restaurant, you don’t want your wait staff to take forever serving people. You have to get them in and get them out as quickly as possible. With Burger King, it is the same thing. We had people lined up at the door and we thought we had done really well. The problem was that we weren’t producing the burgers fast enough and we didn’t have designated lines. It’s simple supply and demand as to why we lost.

MJ: What was the plan for that task? It came across on TV like Danny was just throwing balls into this hole. It looked like the worst strategy ever.

SM: It looked so bad! A lot of what they didn’t show (and I am surprised that they didn’t) but basically it was this baseball theme. What happened was that the World Series was coming up and we knew that we had to have a baseball theme. Of course, we didn’t think that it would look like what it did. We pulled an all-nighter and in the middle of the night Danny and Todd got into this huge altercation and Danny said that if we lose this task, he will volunteer to get fired. Of course, that never happened. Basically we had a whole baseball theme going. When we were split up, only Danny and I were at headquarters. Everybody else was in the kitchen. We didn’t know that Todd didn’t get trained. If I had known that, I would have said something to Todd. It is ridiculous that he did not get trained. He should have been trained from the beginning. Mistake #1. I also didn’t know that we weren’t going to have a designated line for our product. The other thing is that Alex should have enforced that those girls were saying “buy our product, buy our product.” When you are on these tasks, you don’t have time to double-check everybody. You assume that they are doing all of this. Especially when we are all highly successful in our industries. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case. That’s why we lost.

MJ: Danny said that you guys (Magna) actually made more money in that task. You just didn’t sell the right product. Is that what happened?

SM: We had to sell more money on ours because it was the cheeseburger that we had picked out. We surpassed record history for our store.

MJ: How did that happen, because even that intrigues me since we saw you doing literally nothing on the show.

SM: People were physically leaving our store because of the lines. I literally was grabbing people. It’s funny how women can use sex appeal to their advantage. I was like “come on guys, you don’t really want to eat there! You want to eat in here.” We were doing whatever we possibly could. I am not a salesperson or a marketing expert. That was hard for me. I was definitely stepping outside my comfort zone.

MJ: You brought up sex appeal. That came across in that task, the task with Gene Simmons…

SM: I am not a salesperson. I told Bren, I am not a salesperson. Do not make me sell this stuff. I am a number-cruncher. I was the accountant on every task but one. The one Verna quit. What people don’t know is that on the task that she quit, the accounting was so bad. We had deadlines for when we have to turn in all of our money and have every penny accounted for. Kendra and I accounted for $20,000 in 40 minutes.

MJ: Why weren’t you the accountant on that task?

SM: Because I said, you know what? Someone else needs to learn this job as well. What happens if I am not there and they all don’t know how to do it. How we determined who was going to be an accountant? When we were first going around and telling everybody about our backgrounds, we asked how everyone’s checkbook balance looked. I was the only one whose checkbook was balanced to the penny. I am so anal when it comes to money. They said, okay, you’re definitely going to be the accountant. I wanted somebody else to learn that role. Even when I was the PM, I didn’t want to be the accountant. I am a number-cruncher and it’s interesting. To go back to your sex appeal, being a woman, yes, you should use it. But use it to a point. There’s a borderline of what you should and shouldn’t do. What is acceptable and what isn’t. It’s innocent flirting. You’re not doing anything. You’re trying to sell something. I do believe that women can use it to their advantage, but don’t cross the line.

MJ: Taking it back to The Apprentice 2, when Ivana did what she did, is that going over the line?

SM: That’s definitely going over the line. I definitely would not do that. Because by doing that, you lose your integrity. On the Domino’s task, you’ll notice that I was not going to change who I was. This is who I am Mr. Trump. Sometimes when you sit in the boardroom, they kind of want to see if you agree with them. I am not going to lose my integrity.

MJ: The majority of the episode where you were fired, focused on when you went to Brooklyn for that one deal and you weren’t there to separate Alex and Chris. If you were there, how would have proposed to separate them?

SM: I know I wouldn’t have been able to do anything because Chris was like that in the suite. You can’t control a person who has an anger management problem. You can’t calm somebody down who doesn’t want to be calmed down. Regardless of whether I was there or not, it would still have occurred. There isn’t anything anyone can do about it. The one thing that people have to understand is that when I went to Domino’s, it wasn’t about the money. When you make a commitment to a client, you want to make sure that client comes first. A promise is a promise. It’s just a matter of respect for one another and integrity.

MJ: The question that I have been dying to ask you. You know when they did the switchover where it stopped being book smarts versus street smarts. You know what’s coming. How did you feel when Chris asked if he could give Stephanie back.

SM: I can set the record straight and you’ll be the first one to hear it because no one has ever asked it. At first, Erin and I were like WHAT?! We knew that Kendra was going to kick us over because she was very intimidated by us. That was clear. She was like “I can’t manage these two cute girls.” They are taking all my attention away from me,” so she got rid of us. So we go over and that’s fine because Erin and I were like sisters. We were roommates in the show. We were like cool. Whatever. At least we’re together. We did not want to be separated. Of course, initially we were upset but then we knew what had happened. When Chris sent us back, Chris’ strategy was to send me and Erin back to reshuffle the original teams.

MJ: I am not understanding. He obviously didn’t know that he only could send people that he was originally with back, right?

SM: No, we didn’t know that. Kendra sent me over and then she sent Erin over. Mr. Trump said Chris, who do you want to send over? He says “Stephanie.” He wasn’t naming Tana and Craig or anybody because his strategy was to send me back and then Erin back. When Chris said “Stephanie,” Mr. Trump said “no, you have to send somebody back from your original team.” What Chris was trying to do was reshuffle us back to our original teams. We didn’t know it had to be two of the original people. His strategy was to kick the two Magna girls back so that I could keep Net Worth the same.

MJ: So you obviously don’t have a problem with Chris?

SM: No, I don’t. I don’t have a problem with anybody. We are who we are. I am not going to say anything bad about people. I tell the truth, I don’t hold any grudges but with Chris, Erin and I knew we had to work and perform harder. There was always Net Worth/Magna. Even though we are friendly people, the others looked at us differently. Especially Erin and I because in the entire suite, Erin and I were goofballs. You all didn’t get to see that. They all said that we weren’t serious. We just knew how to have fun. That’s how we decompress. We’re obnoxious and crazy! A lot of people didn’t like that. You have to have fun too!

MJ: Your whole relationship with Erin is interesting to me, because Erin seemed to get along really well with Danny and she seemed to get along really well with you. I guess you and Danny are cool now, but at the time you were certainly adversaries. I am wondering how you balanced Erin in the middle?

SM: I don’t hate anyone. Even when we were fired, we all used to go out and have fun. Even in the suite, when Danny came back from the boardroom, he didn’t hold any grudges. It was fine. Even when he was fired, we all gave each other hugs when we left. We all knew enough to not take things personally; at least the original Magna team… with the exception of Michael. It was never a problem. I never saw a problem there at all.

MJ: In his interview, Danny said that he liked you the least. How did that come about? Even on the show, there seemed to be a little bit of tension there. Danny was blaming you and you were blaming him.

SM: He did do that. He needed a scapegoat . When you’re not listening to your fellow teammate, you need listening and communication skills. If you don’t have those two things, then you fail.

MJ: In terms of name-calling though, I refer you back to my first question. It seems like you were the villain. Even in his interview, Michael said that you were whiny and witchy. He said that people kept their distance from you.

SM: Look at the guys who said it. They are entrepreneurs. If you’re an entrepreneur and you have never been in the corporate world, you’re never going to understand my business savvy. Also, if you are an insecure person, talking bad about other people makes you feel better. I am a very secure woman, which is why you will not catch me talking bad about others.

MJ: Is that all it is, the fact that they don’t respect you in a business environment?

SM: Probably. And I am a woman. Just look at some of the ways they treat the women. But again, they are entrepreneurs. They have never been in the corporate world. They don’t know how it really is in the corporate world.

MJ: Tell me how it is in the corporate world.

SM: In the corporate world, first of all you respect one another. You listen, you communicate. Also, when ideas come out… let’s say you and I are having a brainstorming session. You can have the best idea or the worst idea. Even with your best idea, we’re going to weigh the pro’s against the con’s. All the possibilities that could occur around your idea. Especially when we need to make money based off of your idea. Entrepreneurs don’t want to hear it. They think that their idea is the best and just want to run with it. In our world, we analyze. For a lot of entrepreneurs, it’s the best idea and they run with it. Then again, some lack analytical skills. With those two, that’s why I was the accountant. I analyze and they just don’t have strong analytical skills and didn’t understand. It’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to understand my business thinking.

MJ: Devil’s advocate. Using this idea of hammering out details and analyzing things… isn’t that a time-killer? Do you see that point?

SM: No, because we had time. I don’t see that as overkill because we had strict time schedules that we had to abide by. There were no other corporate savvy people there who understood my business thinking.

MJ: Do you think that you were the only corporate person there?

SM: I’m the only one with a corporate background in the entire suite. Entrepreneurs are in real estate. You have to look at the ages too. I have been with my company for almost eight years.

MJ: Did the other people have a higher turnover rate? Did they switch jobs like they switched shirts?

SM: Yeah. Some people did. Kristen, one of my good friends…

MJ: Mine as well.

SM: Yeah. She has her hand in every damn pot. She is doing so much stuff. A lot of people don’t like her, but she and I get along great. I talk to her everyday.

MJ: Speaking of Kristen, it always fascinates me how people got manipulated by the editing, they seem to get along better than the people are coming off as the heroes of the show.

SM: Yeah, because Kristen looked bad yet, she and I get along perfectly. She is a businesswoman. She is an entrepreneur. She and I get it. We have a lot of thinking skills that are very similar. However we are also very complimentary. The other thing is that we don’t sugarcoat anything. We can handle brutal honesty. Bring it on. Let us know. Tell me what you’re thinking. Great, I will take it and learn from it. I don’t look at it like I am going to hold a grudge. Kristen and I have strong personalities and its unfortunate, because some of the things that we can handle, we expect that other people will be able to handle as well. They can’t.

MJ: If you and Kristen are such sisters, it’s time for me to ask the one question that I have asked everybody about. The whole Audrey thing. It seems like everybody has an opinion on Audrey from this show. I want to know why. What is it about this girl that everybody seems to talk about.

SM: I never got to work with her. I got to hang out with her (after she got fired) and we had dinner together before we flew back home. I think it’s just because she’s young, she’s a whippersnapper and she’s got a strong personality. Just like Kristen and I. She’s vocal too. Look at us three. We’re all vocal. I know Kristen cannot stand her. But they worked together. With Kristen, we’re friends, but we may not see eye-to-eye. And it is okay. That is why we are great friends. We learn from one another and understand each other. But with Audrey, I think she speaks her mind and I think that’s why a lot of people have something to say about her. In the suite, you always heard her yelling from somewhere.

MJ: Let’s play confirm or deny.

SM: I’ll only confirm if I saw it.

MJ: Haha, you totally already know what the questions are going to be.

SM: The condom counter?

MJ: Totally.

SM: Okay, what do you want to know about the condom counter?

MJ: A) Do you believe that Audrey was involved in something with somebody from the show.

SM: Yes.

MJ: B) Is this based on anything that you personally saw?

SM: I personally never saw anything, I was told.

MJ: Was it strong enough to have you believe?

SM: Yeah, because they had some pretty good stories going.

MJ: There’s rumors going around where she used her sexuality to get on the show in the first place. Do you think that’s how she got on?

SM: You have these interviews with Mr. Burnett where they ask you everything. I know they asked me about sex. That’s fine, whatever.

MJ: What did they ask you about it?

SM: Just like what you think about it. They ask you a bazillion questions. Do I think that’s how she got on the show? Probably. Yeah. I don’t know that much about her.

MJ: If you don’t know her, how can you say that?

SM: I know her just by having dinner with her. When I got fired, I was the tenth one fired and we kind of segregated. Certain people only hung out with certain people. I didn’t really hang out with her that much. I was always with Kristen, Erin or Tara. Kristen had a rule on who was allowed in her apartment and who wasn’t. Kristen would be like “who’s coming to my apartment?” It was kind of funny. I was trying to diet (we all kind of gained weight on the show), so I had to leave all my bad food in Kristen’s apartment so I wouldn’t eat it.

MJ: I am wondering why my initial impressions of you (from the show) were so off. I am used to dealing with reality people, but I totally didn’t expect this from you.

SM: That I am personable?

MJ: Yeah, totally.

SM: You know what I wished they showed? They only showed one episode of Erin and I being goofy and us putting a magic shell on our ice cream. Angie was like “I’m your stepmother!” There used to be this show called G.L.O.W. Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

MJ: I TOTALLY know the show.

SM: Erin and I brought that back to life in the suite. We have a routine down like you wouldn’t believe. Our producers were laughing. They thought it was the funniest thing, but they didn’t show it.

MJ: Well Erin got a good deal on the editing and you got a bum deal…

SM: There’s certain things I wouldn’t do. Everyone kept saying that they couldn’t wait to see the Erin/Stephanie catfight and I would say that it was never going to happen.

MJ: Who do you like the most, like the least, would fire and would hire to be your Apprentice? Starting with like the most.

SM: I like Tana. She’s well-rounded. Even though she’s street smart. I don’t care. Tana has experience. People like her. She’s got that bubbly personality.

MJ: Like the least?

SM: I think flying under-the-radar is bad. Like the least would probably be Chris.

MJ: Would fire?

SM: I love Alex to death, but he didn’t come off that great on the show. Him sleeping…

MJ: Who would you hire?

SM: Tana. She’s got experience over Kendra.

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