Yesterday I attended a media lunch for the finance app Zebit, where ABC’s Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran was the keynote. She was funnier, realer, warmer, more brilliant than I’d hoped — and a remarkable storyteller who has a gift for connecting with an audience and individuals.
Interesting tidbits she shared:
- Days before she was scheduled to start taping Shark Tank, producers called to say sorry, they’d gone with another (token) woman for the show. She sat down and wrote a detailed note to producer Mark Burnett explaining why she was the right woman for the show. It worked.
- For the first three seasons of Shark Tank her biggest fear was being heard. If we’d seen the raw footage of the tapings, Corcoran says, we’d have seen her struggling to get a word in against the alpha men to her left and right. She learned to say — like a man, she says — ‘Excuse me, I’m not done speaking.”
- Growing up, dyslexic Corcoran struggled terribly through school. But since age 9, she had jobs — where she thrived, and soaked up the confidence and compliments that eluded her in academics. Work matters.
- Her working class New Jersey parents didn’t have a lot of money, “But they were good at loving,” she says. When Corcoran came home crying about her struggles with school work, her mother brushed it off. “Don’t worry!,” she said. “You have a great imagination.”
- Corcoran became a mother at age 46, and today has a 21 year old and 6 year old. Did she think she could have built her empire if she’d started her family earlier and tried to balance it all? “I could not have,” she said.
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