By Max Godnick
Bethenny Frankel is using the same skills she used to succeed in the business world to help change lives in Puerto Rico and Guatemala.
The author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur is the founder of B Strong, a crisis intervention initiative that focused its efforts on disaster relief during the historic Atlantic hurricane season of 2017. The organization helped charter over fifty planes to deliver aid to Puerto Rico and raised over $1 million, which was distributed via cash cards.
"It felt like business," Frankel said of the non-profit endeavor in an interview with Cheddar on Tuesday.
The "Real Housewives of New York" star said she approached her role like a CEO and viewed her supporters as investors.
"They were investing their money to help people or investing their time to donate," she said.
Frankel's business mindset is one she knows well as the founder of Skinnygirl, the lifestyle brand she sold to Beam Suntory in 2011. The company is now expanding beyond its cocktail roots into food and clothing, with a denim line expected to be in stores this fall. She also started production company B Real-ity and is a guest judge on ABC's hit deal-making show, "Shark Tank."
Frankel thinks these experiences helped her prepare for her most important job yet.
"I knew that skill set," she said of the tools required to conduct such a large-scale relief endeavor, directly tracing them back to her stint as an event planner. "I know how to start a company, I know how to run a company, I know how to manage people and execute."
Frankel said the experience kept her from sleeping for three months as she organized her team and helped mobilize online chat rooms into meaningful support. She framed her direct and personal approach to a privately-run humanitarian mission as more effective and trustworthy than larger organizations.
"Right now the world of Big Charity is very not trusted," Frankel said, adding, "The people in Puerto Rico don't know where that money is."
For the full segment, click here.