Businesswoman, Julia Stewart, on How She Finds Energy

Plus the time she felt she failed and how she overcame it.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Julia Stewart: Thank my husband for my latte.

TG: What gives you energy?
JS: An insurmountable goal and the chance to motivate others

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
JS: Turn on a sports channel, so my trainer loses count.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
JS: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
JS: The older I get, the more I use it to keep me current. But, I put my phone in it’s place. Face to face personal contact is always better.

TG: How do you deal with email?
JS: As a form of communication. I pride myself on being timely.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
JS: Dream.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
JS: I dealt with an irrational adversary.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
JS: Having my 16 year old daughter tell me she was “stupid.” I researched different schools and had my daughter transferred. Today, she is thriving at Rhode Island School of Design.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
JS: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” JFK (This quote is part of a speech JFK never delivered to the Dallas Trade Mart on November 22, 1963).

Julia Stewart is the former Chairman and CEO of DineEquity (NYSE: DIN). DineEquity is the world’s largest full-service restaurant company, which she led the creation of in 2007, by merging two iconic brands, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP Restaurants into approximately $8 billion system sales, serving 2 million customers per day. DineEquity franchises more than 3,600 restaurants in 18 countries with approximately 400 franchisees and 250,000 team members worldwide.

During Julia’s 16+ years as CEO, she had a major impact on the company’s success, creating significant shareholder and franchisee value. Prior to forming DineEquity, Julia served as CEO of IHOP, President of Applebee’s and held several key executive positions with Taco Bell, Black Angus/Cattle Company restaurants, Burger King Corporation and Carl’s Jr. Restaurants. Julia’s lifelong passion for the consumer started with her first job as a teenage food server at an IHOP in San Diego, where she grew up.

Julia believes it is a privilege to lead and an imperative to give back. She is a founding member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), a vital hospitality industry organization dedicated to the development and advancement of women; recipient of numerous awards including one of Forbes magazine 50 Most Powerful Women; serves on the Board of Directors for Avery Dennison since 2003 and is a Board Member for the Children’s Bureau of Southern California.

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