Monday, July 24, 2006

WHAT BEEN GOING ON?

Well, I guess it's time to update you all on what has been going on in the world of Karen Bremner. I am now into my fourth week with Talk107 as their Business Correspondent. It is a struggle to get up at 0600 every morning but I am really loving the buzz of live radio and think that the presenters on the morning show are amazing. They are up even earlier and always sound full of life - really sharp and funny. You can listen live by logging onto www.talk107.co.uk and should definitely give it a listen.

I am still plugging away at the TV companies and trying to persuade them that I do have a future on the small screen. It is definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time so I will just have to make sure I keep being as many places as possible! The one thing that has stuck me when I have been lucky enough to have meetings with people is how amazingly positive people are and how genuinely nice. There is a perception that the media is full of false 'luvvies' who are short tempered and full of c**p - but that really hasn't been my experience at all. People have, without exception, been friendly and given me good advice. Long may it continue - although a bit of work would be even nicer.

The end of July will be really busy with a presentation in Milton Keynes on business planning and being in London for the judging of an innovation competition run by i10 - really looking forward to those.

I guess I can't end this without wishing Michelle and Syed loads of congratulations on their latest 'merger' - baby Dewberry/Ahmed - good luck to you both!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

IT'S PLANNING - NOT MONEY - THAT MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND

Throughout my military career there was a huge emphasis placed on the importance of planning and communicating that plan. There were times when I was on the Apprentice when the frustration of watching poor planning nearly drove me to lose that infamous cool exterior (some are still saying 'ice queen!').

I am delighted to have been asked to speak at a business seminar in Milton Keynes on the 27 July. The focus of the seminar will be the importance and relevance of planning in business and there will be a wonderful opportunity to network with like minded business people.

The numbers of places are strictly limited and I would urge you to book as soon as possible. Action International are currently the number one business coaching business in the world and come highly recommended.

To book call 0845 1304838.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

IT'S ALL HAPPENING

It has been a while since I wrote in my blog - not even sure if people are still having a look at it! No matter, it's good for the soul.

I have been on the media trail recently. I have made the decision that I am going to give it a go for 6 months and see if I can make a living out of it. I'll revisit in December and, if need be, I can go back down the path I was following before I had even thought about The Apprentice. I have a lovely start with a bit of radio work for Talk107, an east coast of Scotland station, for which I will be business correspondent. Starts small with two slots in the morning - but from small acorns great oaks grow (or something like that). I have also done a screen test or two and will be on Sky Legal this Friday at 1200 for the news review programme. I'm loving it too much.

It is crazy that the application process has started again for those thinking about applying for next year. It seems like a lifetime ago that I filled in the form trying to be a bit 'wacky' and standout from the crown but also trying to maintain a bit of professionalism. I can remember thinking that I wanted it so desperately and being determined that I would get on.

I was on Radio Scotland this morning with one of the new producers of the series. She was saying that they were looking for people from all walks of life and with all types of business experience and that there would be more emphasis on that in this series. I really hope not. I think it would be better if SAS didn't even know what people did for a living and then there would be no question of any kind of bias creeping in. There wouldn't and couldn't be any criticism that he has his own prejudices about graduates and consultants and the thing could be judged purely on the basis of the tasks - we'll see.

BIG NEWS

Samuel Judah and I have decided to take our experiences of The Apprentice on the road. We will be doing a series of business presentations setting out lessons learned from the series and answering any and all questions the audience may have. We want it to be a pretty informal do, so there will be some lovely wine and nibbles which will loosen the tongue a bit!! The first one will be in central London at the end of July and if that goes well we will be coming to a city near you.

If you are interested in the London event, do get in touch through this site. I can give you all the details as they come in. I will also post the link to the website once it is up and running (by the end of the week) which will allow you to pre-book tickets at a much reduced cost.

It will be a great night......

Saturday, May 27, 2006

LIFE GOES ON....

It has been a bit of a weird week. Despite Big Brother now dominating the reality TV stakes there has still been some interest in the world of The Apprentice. I have been contacted by a number of newspapers and radio stations to have my say on various issues (from whether you should ever lie on your CV to whether I will be supporting England in the World Cup). Ruth was on 8 Out of 10 Cats last night (which seemed really scripted and which they didn't let her speak nearly enough). I thought Ruth looked amazing - really pretty and very confident. I know that Jo will be on the small screen any time soon - although I won't spoil it by saying where she will be - she'll be great too, I'm sure.

I have spent most of the week at the computer or on the phone. I am now looking for work again and have a number of things in the pipeline. Do I go it alone? There are various options for Karen Bremner plc but I don't know if I have the nerve to step out on my own at the moment. I am lucky enough to be able to sit back, take a deep breath and decide where I want to go rather than having to take the first thing that comes along. It is such a privileged position to be in and I know that I should make the most of it.

I was down in London last week to speak at a conference in the Excel centre. It was an amazing time where I met some amazing people. The place was full of people who have decided to bite the bullet and do something for themselves - workwise. I spent the whole time I was there meeting and talking to people about The Apprentice. People want to know (in reverse order) what Alan Sugar was really like, whether Syed was really as they portrayed him and whether I really want to work for Amstrad.

I enjoyed the experience so much that I am going to take some time to speak at similar events. I had no idea the interest that had been generated by the show and I think there are some interesting business lessons to share. I intend to have an online form ready in the next couple of days/weeks but, in the meantime, if you would like me to come and speak at an event you are holding please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Monday, May 22, 2006

REALITY (TV) BITES BACK

I have been a bit naive! I found out today that my seemingly innocent chat with a guy from the Recruiter Magazine has become a Scottish-wide story in a newspaper. I was talking to a chap who called Taylor Herring about the recruitment company who had got me set up with the job I had started in when I left the Apprentice. I told him that, sadly, I had been fired for the second time in as many months (according to TV-time anyway) and was no longer with the firm. I explained that they had said I was not a cultural fit (!) for the organisation and they had questioned my commitment to the organisation as I had so many other things going on in the background. I thought we were having a chat - we were, in fact, having a recorded interview which became a newspaper story.

I haven't seen the story so I don't know exactly what it says. I only hope it reflects that I am not bitter about what has happened. I am disappointed. This is a company which I thought I would do great things with and it was a huge disappointment. But everything in life has to be a learning opportunity. I am now qualified to do things I couldn't do before. I met some amazing people. Everyone I worked with has said how surprised they are and how understand why the decision was made.

It just feels like The Apprentice all over again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

THEY THINK IT'S ALL OVER....

..it is now.

The Apprentice 2006 has come crashing to an end. After the maddest experience of my life there is a slight sense of relief that I can go back to life pre-Apprentice (or close to it). There is no doubt that I have had some of the most amazing experiences of my life thanks to the programme and I can only thank Talkback Thames and all the other candidates for making it so!

There has been some unfortunate press coverage recently and I hope that others can see that it is just that...the press making something out of nothing. There is no hiding that I would have liked to see Ruth win but I am happy for Michelle. I'm sure she will do a cracking job for Sir Alan in what will be a pretty tough job. He's found his Apprentice.

And, as for the rest of us. It is interesting to see who has gone back to 'normal' life - whatever that is - and who is making the most of being a minor celeb for 15 minutes. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I have really enjoyed the interesting and different experiences that have come out of the show. The premiere to which I was invited was amazing and the various radio and TV appearances have blown my mind. I now have to take a deep breath and decide where I want to go now. There are so many opportunities out there - not just for me but for everyone. I am determined now, more than ever, to grab them and make the most of every day.

Being surrounded by positive people helps. Suddenly, nothing is impossible and you can move mountains. There will be things that get in the way but if life was easy it would be boring. Onwards and upwards.

I will keep writing the blog for a little while so keep popping in. I would like to thank every single person who has emailed and written to me. You have no idea how affirming it was to receive messages of support when I was feeling pretty dejected. I have replied to just about everyone and will be sending out some signed photos later today (for those of you who took the time to write and email requesting them).

For anyone wondering whether to apply for next year's Apprentice I would say take the risk and go for it. You never know where you might be this time next year.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

So, the mystery is over - Michelle and Ruth are the final two and somewhere deep in London decisions are being made about who will be the Apprentice. I will be in London next Tuesday for the showing of the final show and a live filming of You're Hired. There is no doubt in my mind who should win and there is no doubt in my mind who will win and they aren't the same person.

I have watched the last 2 months of the Apprentice along with the rest of Britain. Although I have always known who would be fired I have been as intrigued as anyone as to how the players would get on. When I went into the house I knew immediately that Ruth would be my biggest challenge. I also knew that she would do brilliantly - and I wasn't wrong. She is the whole package and, no matter what Siara says, she is not a one trick pony. Ruth is straight-forward, determined and, yes, aggressive. She will be a success in anything she does - she may just be too good for SAS and his empire.

I have always like Paul for much the same reasons as Ruth. He is straight-forward and straight talking - he's only 26 and has got loads of time to make his millions which I think he will. Bottom line is, though, he was amazing in the tasks and never ended up in the boardroom. This, it appears, has now led to his downfall. SAS had never seen him or heard from him so he was doomed. Granted, he wasn't great in the interviews but he had proved his worth in the last 10 weeks. SAS made it clear that he couldn't care less about the tasks - that, to me, is very telling and just confirmed everything I had thought. The tasks are a cover. He will get rid of you not matter what happens if he decides you are not a fit for his company.

Ansell is a lovely man and has, again, proved that he can work with anyone successfully. I didn't get to know him at all in the house and don't feel he got enough TV coverage for me to really comment further. He was great in the interviews and in the boardroom and so I was really surprised when he went. SAS gave no real reason other than that he was a nice guy. Nice guys don't make it (apart from TIm of course!!).

And Michelle, the silent assassin. I don't want to comment on open forum on what I think of Michelle. I will simply say that SAS has been impressed by her story. She worked 3 jobs when she was growing up and worked as a check-out girl when she was 16. She comes from a big family and gives her brothers what they want. She has hardly shone throughout the last 10 weeks but is in the final. I'm pretty sure she'll win.

Enough said.............