Many of us think of Bethenny Frankel as the fast-talking, forthright reality TV star with brains and balls to spare. After all, not only did she seize the marketing opportunities of her fame and time on TV, selling books and Skinnybrand cocktails, she then sold the Skinnygirl Margarita brand for a reported $120 million—and kept the licensing rights to the Skinnygirl brand, which she has built into an empire.
Yet in the past several months, an additional aspect of Frankel has come to national light: her extraordinary humanitarianism. Last September, on her own dime, she helicoptered to a rural town in Mexico to raise awareness of the earthquake’s devastation there. Then she went to post-Harvey Houston and delivered $300,000 worth of relief supplies, which had been raised by her organization B Strong, an initiative through Dress for Success. And then she became a one-woman rescue mission to Puerto Rico, first chartering planes to deliver relief supplies and bring back elderly and ailing citizens and then arranging for a cargo ship that can carry 15 million pounds of generators, food and other necessities.
When asked about her heroic efforts, Frankel is, as always, matter-of-fact. “If I were thirsty, I’d want someone to get me water,” she says. “I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to help if you can.”
Frankel, who wants you to know that 100 percent of donations to B Strong go to families in need, will be speaking both at Opening Night and at the Conference. Until then, here’s what she has learned about entrepreneurs, happiness and success.
“People talk about needing resilience, but to me, it’s more about being driven. That is what will get you past all the obstacles you’ll encounter. You can acquire and hone some of the other things you need like laser focus and a can-do attitude, but in my experience, a crazy inner drive is usually something you just have inside.”
“I realized that I didn’t know much until I had my daughter. I feel most present when I’m with her—I experience a true feeling of love being with her. Motherhood is much more difficult than business, and it is happiness to me.”
“Dreams come in many different forms, but one thing that seems across-the-board is that you have to keep working to sustain what you achieve. It’s not like you did it, congratulations, you’re done. No, that was just the first goal, and to maintain your success, you have to aim for the next one. Success is continually keeping balls in the air.”
Bethenny Frankel will be holding fireside chats on Opening Night and at the Conference.