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Martha Stewart visits with Spears Business Dean Ken Eastman in Tulsa.

Meeting Martha: Famed lifestyle mogul Stewart comes to Oklahoma for speaker series

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Media Contact: Terry Tush | Director, Marketing and Communications | 405-744-2703 |

After a two-year postponement because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Spears School of Business welcomed Martha Stewart to Oklahoma. 

Stewart, the founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, creator of Martha Stewart Living magazine, Emmy Award-winning television show host, entrepreneur and best-selling author, was the keynote speaker for the Executive Management Briefings (EMB) and Tulsa Business Forums (TBF) in April.

As America’s most trusted lifestyle expert and teacher, Stewart reaches 66 million consumers across all media platforms each month and has a growing retail presence with 8,500 products. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which she started in 1996, provides television entertainment, award-winning magazines, best-selling books and more. 

Martha StewartIn 2017, she was named one of Forbes’ “100 Greatest Living Business Minds.” She also founded the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mount Sinai Medical Center in 2007. 

Stewart sat down with Dr. Alexis Smith Washington, senior inclusion officer and associate professor of management for Spears Business, at the EMB in Oklahoma City and Dr. Ken Eastman, dean of Spears Business, at the TBF for a “Conversation with Martha Stewart.” 

“It was wonderful that we could once again and safely, host events such as this,” Eastman said. “It was appropriate that for our first big event ‘back,’ that we hosted someone with the name recognition of Martha Stewart. Large crowds in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City were treated with Martha’s stories about her business, her farm and of course, Snoop Dogg! I greatly enjoyed meeting and talking with her and I was impressed with her candor, charm and graciousness.” 

Stewart discussed life on her farm, navigating business during the pandemic shutdown, her love for gardening, relationship with Snoop Dogg, family life and shifting her product lines from one retailer to another to name a few topics. She also discussed some of her life mottos and her admiration for Oklahoma's state tree, the redbud. 

“I really wanted my motto to be change is good,” Stewart said. “Another motto is learn something new every day and I continue to do that each and every day. 

“I’m learning all about your redbuds down here. I have a friend who’s with us and he’s out buying redbuds right now to take home with us because you have a deep magenta color that I do not have. And I’m going to take back a memory of Tulsa straight home today and plant them.” 

Stewart’s humor, intellect and personality both entertained and informed all of the more than 600 people in Oklahoma City and 700 people in Tulsa who attended.

“She is an icon of food, entertaining and style and we are honored she came to Oklahoma to spend time with us,” Eastman said. 

For more than 30 years, business professionals have had the opportunity to hear renowned business, political and world leaders speak on how to improve business culture in Oklahoma through the TBF and EMB speaker series, coordinated by OSU’s Center for Executive and Professional Development at Spears Business. CEPD proudly brings leaders who are at the top of their industry from around the globe to share their advice for making decisions and succeeding in today’s business world. 

The 2022 and 2023 speakers will be Carla Harris, managing director of Morgan Stanley and author of “Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies to Surviving the Workplace,” and former CIA Director John Brennan, who is now a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. 

Harris will be speaking in October 2022 and presenting “Carla’s Strategies: Maximize Your Success.” In addition to her success at Morgan Stanley, Harris earned her MBA from Harvard Business School, Second Year Honors and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University, magna cum laude. She was appointed as the chair to the National Women’s Business Council in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama and has been named to Fortune Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” American Bankers’ “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance,” and Black Enterprise’s “Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business,” among other honors. 

Brennan is the 2023 speaker and will be presenting “The Role of the Superpower: Global Trends and Perspectives” in April. As director for the CIA, he managed intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence and liaison relationships with foreign intelligence services. 

Prior to his time as director, Brennan served at the White House as assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism where he advised on counterterrorism strategy and helped coordinate the U.S. government’s approach to homeland security, including its policies for responding to terrorism, cyber-attacks, natural disasters and pandemics. 

Throughout his time at the CIA, he served as an intelligence briefer to former President Bill Clinton; chief of station in the Middle East; chief of staff to George Tenet, who was then the director of the CIA; and deputy executive director of the CIA, where he led a multiagency effort to establish what would become the National Counterterrorism Center.

Story By: Bailey Stacy | Engage@Spears Magazine

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