Sara Blakely, Spanx

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Sara Blakely is the founder and owner of Spanx–a company that has disrupted the undergarment business with a product that Sara invented in her apartment after cutting the feet out of a pair of pantyhose. The company name makes people laugh–say “Spanx” out loud without smiling–I’ll bet you can’t. But it’s been Sara who’s been laughing all the way to the bank since she launched her slimming undergarment and her company in 2000. Today, she’s a self-made billionaire.

Frank appears alongside Spanx founder Sara Blakely.

Frank appears alongside Spanx founder Sara Blakely.

I haven’t met many billionaires so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I met Sara. Was she a snob or a know-it-all? Would she be surrounded by an entourage of protectors and PR flacks? No, no and no. She arrived with one incredibly nice person who took the pictures on this page and Sara was as kind and as open as I’d hoped she would be.

And Sara gives back. Through the Sara Blakely Foundation, she has donated millions to charity over the years and a new book she’s authored will add to that. It’s called the Belly Art Project and 100% of the author proceeds will go to a maternal health organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for women around the world.

You’ll find the links to her foundation, the Belly Art Project and the organization it benefits Every Mother Counts on this page.

I hope you’ll find my conversation with Sara to be inspiring.

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