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SAN FRANCISCO – To those CUNA delegates at the Future Forum hearing her speak last week, Carolyn Kepcher, the so-called Donald Trump sidekick or “henchman” on NBC’s TV hit “The Apprentice,” came off as both a steely business executive with passion and ambition but also a woman quite vulnerable to “stress” and a yearning for the simple family life. As expected in her hour and 45 minute keynote talk followed by a lively question and answer session, the executive vice president of the Trump Organization doled out both insider snippets on the life of Donald Trump as well as advice on everything from hiring new employees to “sex” in the workplace. “Honesty and integrity are as important as intelligence and drive” in how employees are judged and evaluated, declared Kepcher, who manages a staff of 250 and is chief operating officer of Trump National Golf Clubs in Westchester, N.Y. Tracing her own career including 11 years spent with New York-based Trump, Kepcher said one of her first jobs out of college was as director of sales and marketing for a near-bankrupt golf course in New Jersey. She had no experience in the industry and never played the sport, not even knowing what “tee time” meant. But she got strong support from a former boss who admired her tough style and willingness to learn and “to make decisions.” Trump also apparently saw some of those same qualities but Kepcher admitted her trepidations in joining the Trump organization. The `Apprentice’ author also told the CUNA audience she had discouraged Trump from going ahead with the NBC hit, saying it seemed “hokey,” a view she now concedes was off the mark. In answer to an audience question, she also admitted to one of her most serious mistakes in failing to properly handle direct deposit transactions involving a fired employee receiving severance. The funds were halted and the problem corrected, but she said she learned some valuable lessons about being honest with mistakes and grew to appreciate the after-the-fact support she received from the Trump organization. “Manage by motivation, not fear,” she urged adding that fear in the workplace creates an unbearable work environment. Also “indecision can bring down a business and drains staff of energy and motivation,” she argued. Two other lessons she has learned-”sex sells only goes so far. And when Donald Trump tells you to be quiet-listen.” Drawing laughter, she also admitted being floored by the Trump ego whose office “with 400 picture frames – all of him” is the size of “this room” pointing to the San Francisco Hilton ballroom. Answering another audience question, she said she builds up plenty of daily stress in her job but it all goes away “when I come home and I am greeted at the door by my five-year-old son and my three-year- old daughter.” [email protected]

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