How Bethenny Frankel Applying Her Business Savvy to Philanthropy

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From reality television icon to business mogul to podcast host, Bethenny Frankel wears a lot of hats. However, one of Frankel’s roles in recent months has been to provide emergency assistance to Ukraine through her. BStrong Disaster Relief Initiative.

What started as a pledge to distribute 100,000 crisis kits to Ukrainian refugees in the wake of the Russian invasion turned into fundraising. over 100 million dollars To support and donations to those in need. in cooperation with Global Empowerment Mission, BStrong is known for delivering cash cards and critical items directly to people affected by hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters. as seen in that much Real Housewives in New York City (Ronnie), Frankel visited Puerto Rico in 2017 to help communities affected by Hurricane Maria.

Frankel rose to fame as one of the original cast members. Ronnie And – despite ending the Bravo reality show twice (which looks good in 2019) – housewives The most loved star in the franchise. during RonnieFor the second season in 2009, Frankel launched the Skinnygirl brand with her first product, the Skinnygirl Margarita. She sold her low-calorie Skinnygirl cocktail line to Beam Global (now part of the liquor conglomerate Suntory) in 2011. 100 million dollars, retains the right to use the Skinnygirl name on non-alcoholic products. Skinnygirl CEO Frankel has created a global lifestyle empire offering a wide range of female-focused products, from jeans to popcorn to salad dressings.

Frankel is also a five-time bestselling author. her latest book, business is personal: The truth about what it takes to be successful while staying true to yourselfReleased on May 17th.

TIME spoke with Frankel about jumping into philanthropy, what he learned from reality TV, and trusting his business intuition.

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This interview has been compressed and edited for clarity.

Why is philanthropy important to you?

It’s something I can touch and I can make a big difference. Disaster relief in particular uses my very specific skills. I am very organized and responsive and respond well to crises. So I didn’t really know that I would be able to participate and make such a big impact. I mean, we exceeded our goal by an astronomical amount. And now that I know what this style of philanthropy means, I understand why I’m good at it. If you are a great entrepreneur, you are using your business skills effectively. Most people are not financially sound philanthropists because they are not great entrepreneurs. So I’m trying to change the way people think about philanthropy and the way they invest when they help.

How is BStrong different from other disaster relief initiatives?

my partner Global Empowerment MissionMichael [Capponi], is a very good working logistics people. I am a very good messenger, very strategic, very organized and good at speaking transparently. It is important to oversee the entire mission and understand the strategy. That is why [BStrong] So successful. People like to be ‘wrinkle-free’ of everything. They don’t want a rubber chicken dinner that only goes a fraction of the proceeds [to the cause]. They just want to give people money. Basically what happened in business. This is not a retail strategy. It is a strategy that reaches directly to consumers. Basically, we don’t have to have all of these events, and we don’t need to make these expensive shiny brochures. For people, it’s money.

What was the biggest logistical challenge in launching BStrong’s Ukraine relief efforts?

This is a terrible crisis. But it only requires tactical organization and strategy. It was tiring but not challenging if it made sense.

How do you manage your own mental health in times of uncertainty?

I did it well. It’s like any other. It’s like learning to snowboard. I’ve been snowboarding for 25 years. At first you will fall. However, after a few years of doing it, the bruising will decrease. The first time you do your aid, you’re asleep, and it’s four in the morning. You’re hearing all the messages and everyone who has a loaf of clothing, and you still don’t know what you’ll know after years of experience. Circumstances change each time, but the style of execution is similar. It becomes a well-oiled machine.

real housewives Fans know you weren’t afraid to ‘do everything’ during your promotions. Ronnie. What did you learn about the intersection of personal and professional while navigating the fame of reality TV?

Talking about everything all the time is addicting, so you should set some boundaries for yourself. So you need personal time, not work. Just because my business is personal, I’m not talking about the shame my salad dressing is doing when I’m in bed with my fiance. Reality television is a very independent genre. Everyone thinks that everything that’s going on is very related to everyone else, but that’s not what’s going on in the real world. Because, ironically, it’s reality television.

When it launched Skinnygirl, it became a pioneer in the male-dominated mainstream industry. What made you so confident that you could succeed in that field?

I didn’t have the confidence. I didn’t know anything. i just jump I wanted to somehow get into the liquor business, have my own line, or even have the company create a line with my name partially displayed. I crossed the mark. When I do something, I go to the end. So it started and went on and on.

Since then, it has ventured into industries ranging from food to fashion to podcasting. Has your approach to entering new markets evolved over the years?

I always just do what I love and am passionate about. Opportunities are given to themselves and I move forward if I like them. If I don’t I won’t. To be honest, it’s not that deep. I love this part of my career because I’m not too hungry. I don’t have a greedy appetite like any other celebrity or tycoon. They keep wanting to get it, but it’s not me. I do what makes me happy and I do what I think is a good idea and put it into practice. And it was nice to get to a point where I was comfortable doing what I wanted to do and what I didn’t. Well, don’t get me wrong. It covers a lot of space. This includes books and podcasts, new TV shows I’m working on, and a lot more. But it’s all very organic.

You said, “I don’t look at gender” in business. Since your brand is aimed at women, what do you say to those who might be critical of those kinds of remarks?

I want women to know that they are good enough and strong enough without having to be graded in the curve with confidence. Clearly, women face struggles and women of color face even greater struggles. But I want everyone to go out and say, ‘I’m a woman and I’m proud.’ I’m going to get it, but I don’t even think about it and I won’t even think about it because I’m a woman.

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why did you want to write business is personal now?

I’ve heard too many people say, “This is a business, not an individual.” What the hell does that mean? If it’s a business, and your business, it’s an individual. Because of the epidemic, people really rocked it. The way we eat, the way we shop, the way we live, the way we social have all changed, and non-traditional businesses are leading the way. I am a non-traditional entrepreneur and the people I interview on my podcast are just bee, a non-traditional entrepreneur. This book is a toolkit for anyone wishing to become a non-traditional entrepreneur at any stage of their career. You can become a tycoon and learn a lot, be a housewife passionate about something, you want to turn into a business and you will learn a lot. It’s just a book you can relate to.

You are known for “Bethenny-isms”. If you could sum up your ultimate business philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?

Find something you love and are passionate about, work hard and support it with drive and determination. Then you can succeed in almost anything.

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write Megan McCluskey at [email protected]

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