CNBC: Why did you begin watching "The Profit"?
Kathy Ireland: In awareness of Marcus Lemonis as an entrepreneur and a curiosity to learn how he would handle small business owners in America.
CNBC: What was one of the biggest lessons you learned from watching or participating in "The Profit"?
Kathy Ireland: A big takeaway is that people, processes and products are absolutely essential to a successful business. Clearly the most important asset in any organization is the people, how they are being treated and how they are treating others, and that's from colleagues to customers.
CNBC: I think you hit on a great point that it's a lot of interpersonal relationships. It's not just transactional.
Kathy Ireland: Exactly, and Marcus is so gifted in that he works with so many different personalities.
CNBC: Can you recall one of your favorite episodes about a particular business that you found interesting?
Kathy Ireland: It's difficult to choose one. It makes me think of my mother's baked chocolate chip cookies, I can't just have one. There was a florist in southern California who refused to make necessary changes on his responsibilities and asked his mother to give Marcus a refund; and he seemed sad and immature. A wonderful business with great potential was being lost because of ego and deception. Marcus and I are very different, but we share common values. We both hate lies, and if you are open with Marcus he will try to make it work — he forgives deception but he never forgets it.
Another episode, with Mark and Scott in this world-class drum business, and I believe it was SJC. The founding brother felt pushed aside and he was devastated. Marcus' work to repair the relationship was fascinating and it struck a heartbeat in our company. We had a team member who when that show aired was battling through a challenging bout of depression, and we all thought we had been extremely supportive until we watched that episode, and it made us realize that the person we loved was protecting us from their feelings and we weren't paying close enough attention. And we got on it and things are better today. I shudder when I think what might have happened if that episode hadn't given us the reality check that we needed … truly been life changing for us. We are so grateful. It was powerful, really powerful.
CNBC: What's your favorite Marcus moment so far — or something that stuck out to you?
Kathy Ireland: There are so many, but one favorite was a wonderful way he rescued Sweet Pete's. The owners were creative, talented, hard-working, but lost in a sea of bad debt and swimming with a bad partner. Marcus saw their heart and he made the problems go away.