When Martha Stewart was 57 years old, her behavior to one of my employees brought the woman to tears. Not much younger than Martha, the employee had always comported herself with aplomb. But Martha’s abruptness and demands – bordering on abusiveness – caused her unraveling.
That was 23 years ago, and Martha was one of the keynote speakers at a summit I produced that brought together an elite group of high-level women executives from the worlds of finance, fashion, beauty, retail, communications and more.
Overflowing with self praise, Martha’s address was completely inappropriate for the audience of women, all of whom were as or more accomplished than the egocentric icon standing before them.
Martha’s narcissistic presentation and unsuitable behavior to my employee didn’t surprise me. Her reputation preceded her.
An ambitious woman myself, I was no saint either when it came to making demands of others in order to satisfy my objectives. Then harshly criticizing them for falling short.
But Martha actually made me look like a wimp.
I’ve learned over decades that ‘nice guys’ may not finish last in business, but they sure don’t finish anywhere near first, no matter how smart, clever and talented they are.
And now, at 80 years old, Martha Stewart is as omnipresent, ambitious, and successful as ever. And, she’s unequivocally as talented in 2022 as she was in 1999, perhaps even more.
SLIDESHOW OF MARTHA THROUGH THE YEARS