Turning Rejection Into a Billion Dollar Opportunity – Iconic CEO Julia Stewart Opens Up on the Tiger Therapy Podcast – and It’s the Best Story of the Month

Turning Rejection Into a Billion Dollar Opportunity - Iconic CEO Julia Stewart Opens Up on the Tiger Therapy Podcast - and It’s the Best Story of the Month
You don’t borrow $2.7 billion for revenge, but…

The former CEO of Dine Brands Global, the largest sit-down restaurant group in the world, and founder of Alurx, discusses her amazing takeover story, how to find courage in tough situations, and the big problem she sees in the younger generation, in new Tiger Therapy episode

Tiger Therapy,” the acclaimed podcast from organizational knowledge infrastructure solution Tigerhall, has released a groundbreaking episode featuring none other than Julia Stewart. 

In this episode, titled “Turning a No into a Billion-Dollar Yes,” Stewart shares her remarkable story of being passed over for the role of CEO at Applebees where she was President (attributing the rejection to her being a woman) to moving to iHOP and ultimately buying Applebees, firing the person who turned her down. 

This power-move made her CEO of what is now Dine Brands Global—the world’s largest sit-down restaurant group. It also won her a spot on the ‘50 Most Powerful Women in America’ list by Fortune. 

“People would say ‘you’ve reached a pinnacle. You’re the highest ranking senior woman in the company, let it go, you’re not going to go any higher,’” She says of her ambition being questioned. “I look back on all that now and you realize, it’s not about me – it’s about the person speaking. I know who I am, I think you have some self doubt, and so you project that onto others.”

Overcoming self doubt and limiting beliefs is the premise of Tiger Therapy. 

Unlike other speakers in the series, Stewart boldly confesses to an absence of self-doubt, making her story all the more intriguing. Listeners are brought along in an inspiring journey of resilience, courage, and entrepreneurial triumph.

The interview follows Stewart as she shares her unparalleled insights into navigating challenges, overcoming rejection, and transforming setbacks into unprecedented success. 

“I believe you have to have the courage both to live your dreams, work your plan, have those difficult moments, have those proud moments” Stewart said. “But I do think it takes a certain amount of personal courage. Life is never going to be easy all the way.”

Starting as a waitress at iHOP during her teenage years, Stewart forged a path to success that ultimately led to her presidency at Applebee’s. However, her ambitions were met with an unexpected setback when her bid for the CEO position was rejected without explanation. Undeterred by the setback and recognizing her own value, Stewart decided to part ways with the company and was offered the CEO job at iHOP.  

Not long after taking up her new role, Stewart read that Applebees was in financial trouble. She orchestrated a successful fundraising effort, and iHOP bought Applebees. She then got to make a satisfying phone call to fire the man at Applebee’s who had previously denied her the CEO role.

“You don’t borrow $2.7 billion for revenge, but I must say there was about 30 seconds where it just felt right and good and just,” Stewart said. 

Contributing to Stewart’s long line of success, this pivotal moment underscored the profound courage required to turn aspirations into reality. Serving as a testament to this principle, Stewart has embraced the role of a mentor for young individuals, emphasizing the importance of willpower and resilience. In her mentorship, she observed that many individuals are unhappy in their lives, yet lack the courage to take paths and make plans that involve risks and hardship. This crucial insight stands as a cornerstone of Stewart’s philosophy, inspiring others to navigate uncertainty with courage and tenacity.

“I often remind people that the ladder to go to where you ultimately want to go may be a crooked ladder,” Stewart said. “It may go back and forth and sideways and even down. But again, it’s about you getting experience, taking some risks, learning about yourself, finding out what you like and what you don’t like.” 

Her unwavering decisions, marked by fearlessness, have not only defined her journey but also serve as an inspiration for others navigating their own paths through the complexities of life. The conversation, filled with transparent reflections, serves as affirmation to Stewart’s grit and determination in the face of adversity.

Tiger Therapy features candid conversations with global speakers who have experienced success on their own terms, defied expectations, shattered ceilings, and conquered self-doubt. Self-doubt, or low self-esteem, is a common struggle faced by professionals in today’s workforce. It can also have a severe impact on people’s lives, leading to low achievement and even burnout. Tiger Therapy recognizes these challenges and seeks to provide a solution through conversation. 

To learn more about Tiger Therapy, please visit https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tiger-therapy/id1713333944

Julia Stewart

Julia Stewart, the Founder and CEO of Alurx is on a mission – to enable wellness for all. As a member of Fortune magazine’s list of Top 50 Most Powerful Women in the U.S., Julia has built and grown successful brands for over 40 years. She has climbed the ladder up to executive leadership for companies like Taco Bell, Applebee’s, IHOP, and Dine Brands Global, Inc. Julia has always understood the benefits of maintaining a balance between body, mind, and spirit and holds this philosophy as the foundation of her endeavors.


Tigerhall is recognized as the modern organizational enablement solution. It drives cross-functional collaboration and two-way knowledge exchange, accelerating internal change to successfully implement initiatives aligned with your strategic goals, like customer segment shifts, sales productivity improvements, customer experience model changes, M&A, or ESG.

Drawing on insights provided by over 1,500 global experts, Tigerhall tailors its high-impact resources to precisely match the unique needs of each team and individual. Whether it’s breaking down geographic and linguistic barriers, streamlining communications, or scaling internal expertise, Tigerhall provides quantifiable results that align with and actively drive your strategic initiatives forward.

Leading industry giants like AWS, HP, Adobe, Mondelez, and Cisco trust Tigerhall to conquer their challenges in managing and implementing change initiatives, no matter the scale. Plus, Tigerhall seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Teams, enhancing your daily operations without causing any disruptions.

Pippa Woodhead

Pippa Woodhead, Head of Podcasts at Tigerhall in Singapore and expanding rapidly across Asia Pacific and the US, has had her fair share of imposter syndrome moments in her career. This struggle inspired her to create “Tiger Therapy.”

She used to shy away from opportunities, stay out of the spotlight, and believe that a successful career wasn’t for her. But now, she’s done with holding herself back and is ready to embrace life fully.

During her five years at Tigerhall, Pippa conducted over 800 interviews with exceptional figures in the business world, including Fortune 500 executives, workplace happiness experts, neuroscientists, and Olympic medalists. What she discovered is that great leaders are often highly self-aware. They recognize their own limiting beliefs and know when to heed self-doubt as a valuable message and when to push past it.

Through these insightful podcast conversations, Pippa learned a lot about herself, and the medium itself became her form of therapy. With Tiger Therapy, her aim is to engage in meaningful conversations, explore people’s career journeys, discover more about herself, and share some laughs along the way.

Originally from the UK, Pippa has lived in India, Thailand, and now proudly calls Singapore her home.

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