Does media and lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart ever experience imposter syndrome? At the Create & Cultivate conference in Industry City, Brooklyn, founder and CEO Jaclyn Johnson asked the nation’s first self-made billionaire that very question.
“Nearly 70 percent of women say they experience imposter syndrome,” Johnson told Stewart before the crowd of millennial content creators and entrepreneurs at the all-day summit at Stewart’s keynote panel. “And I’m kind of having it right now. How did I get to be next to Martha Stewart? I don’t deserve a seat at the table. And women specifically really struggle with this. But I’m curious if you ever experience imposter syndrome? And if not what advice…”
Stewart practically cut Johnson off. She didn’t hesitate with her answer. Not for a second. “No! NO!” said the ever-composed publishing titan, as the crowd joyfully cheered and flew into hysterics. “You shouldn’t even know that exists. If you are an entrepreneur, you have to really take the reins and ride the horse. You have to,” said Stewart. “Somebody asked me once about breaking through the glass ceiling. I didn’t even know what they were talking about.
“Don’t be a lady, be a legend.” Our very own @marthastewart48 made a splash as the featured keynote speaker at the @createcultivate conference in NYC, hosted by founder @jaclynrjohnson. Swipe through the gallery to see some of our favorite moments from the event! : @smithhousephoto
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At her keynote talk, Stewart shared her views on the best qualities for having a thriving business, as the audience sat in rapt attention. Tops on her list are being strong and self-possessed. “You can’t dwell on the problem. You have to keep moving around,” she advised, pointing to a particularly meaningful motto from Bruce Barton: “When you’re through changing, you’re through.”
As to her beginning and her professional pivots, she said: “Modeling gave me some confidence behind the camera and in front of the camera. It was the best preparation for what I have to do on a regular basis.” She added: “I even got in a little tiff with the town,” referring to launching her catering business (without investors or partners) through a second kitchen in her basement. “It’s one of the hardest businesses in the world to make a success of. You are setting up a restaurant for each and every party. And you’re breaking it down the same night. It is physically difficult and you have to be very creative.”
From there, Stewart set her path to creating a lifestyle business that grew and grew and grew. From catering, Stewart went on to photographing the parties, then writing books about the parties, and ultimately starting Martha Stewart Living magazine and its accompanying products and lifestyle brand. Asked what she would like her legacy to be, Stewart said, “A good woman, who is a good teacher, who’s fun and has accomplished a lot.”
And there was no shortage of fun. When Johnson wondered what was next for Stewart, someone in the audience screamed “Shark Tank!” But Stewart answered in her no-nonsense way: “Oh no. You have to go to California for Shark Tank. If they move to New York, that would be fine, but I can’t leave my farm. Maybe I can have my own shark tank.”
There is also an autobiography in the works. “I don’t feel I’m old enough, but the publishers say I am,” Stewart said. She also offered her best hack for busy working women: “Two or three housekeepers. So you never have to make that bed again!”
The talk ultimately turned to one of Stewart’s besties, Snoop Dogg, whom she met when he was on her show in 2008. Their Emmy-nominated VH1 show Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party is now in its third season. “He is a lot of fun to work with and a totally different demographic for me. And It works,” says Stewart. She has a business partnership with Canadian company Canopy Growth to develop cannabis-related products for people and pets, a partnership in which Snoop Dogg was instrumental, having teamed with the company since 2016. “I am very recognizable from Compton all the way to Maine. All my friends want Snoop up there,” Stewart says of her collaborations with the rapper on TV and with cannabis-related products.
She adds: “It’s legal in Maine, by the way,”