Orpah Gail Winfrey
• Born: January 29, 1954 (age 58)
Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States
• Residence: Montecito, California, United States
• Nationality: American
o Former Host of The Oprah Winfrey Show
o Chairwoman and CEO of Harpo Productions
o Chairwoman, CEO, and CCO of the Oprah Winfrey Network
• Years active1983 present
• Salary: $290 million (2011)
• Net worth: US$ 2.7 billion (2011)
• Political Party: Democratic Party
• Partner: Stedman Graham (1986-present)
• Website: http://www.oprah.com
• Oprah Gail Winfrey born on January 29, 1954: an
American media proprietor, talk show host, actress,
producer, and philanthropist .
• Richest African-American of the 20th century & was
the most influential woman in the world.
• Credited with creating a more intimate confessional
form of media communication.
• She is thought to have popularized and revolutionized
the tabloid talk show.
• In 1990’s she had reinvented her show with a focus on
literature, self-improvement, and spirituality.
• From 2006 to 2008, her support of Barack Obama got
him over 1 Million votes.
• born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage
single mother and later raised in an inner-city
• She experienced considerable hardship during her
• claiming to be raped at age nine and becoming
pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.,
• Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school
and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the
age of 19.
• after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to
first place; she launched her own production company
and became internationally syndicated.
• Oprah’s People
• She knows how to motivate people.” Oprah’s people
strategy is simple. She invests in top talent, seeks out
smart mentors, values her customer and consistently
nourishes each relationship.
• , Oprah has become the best by surrounding herself
with the best. carefully selects her top team to assure
competence and compatibly, and then stands by them.
She also seeks out mentors that she admires who will
offer her guidance.
• She Is similarly smart not to take her audience for
granted. often incorporates the audience into her
content, signaling to them that she is listening.
• She notoriously shows her appreciation with gifts.
“Oprah’s Big Give” is a dedicated show in which she
gives her favorite things to the entire studio audience
she speaks to them as equals who she cares about
• Not only does the nurturing of each of these
relationships inform her success in the present, it sets
up her future success. Investing in loyal mentors, peers,
employees and consumers means she has a massive
team that will follow her anywhere.
• Oprah’s principal strengths as a leader has been
creating a vision of her success, communicating that
vision to those around her and being resolute in its
• She’s been brave enough to dream big and smart
enough to climb step by step.
• Oprah crafted a focused brand and then slowly built it
out by diversifying its distribution. Her underpinning
was the television show.
• Next came her company, the production of movies and
subsidiary TV shows, multiple charitable foundations, a
magazine, a radio channel and a website. OWN will fill
24 hours a day with programming inspired and
approved by Oprah.
• Oprah’s personal values and those that she’s injected into each arm
of her business represent the foundation of her success.
• Her message of positivity—to “live your best life”—endears her to
everyone around her. Leaders who are viewed as selfish or
unethical are quickly dethroned.
• Oprah continuously is held in the highest esteem because her
humor, relatability, optimism and generosity associate her with a
• she established philanthropic efforts that bettered the world. The
press at times questioned her motivations, but giving back allowed
her the credibility to continue growing her wealth.
• She launched the Oprah winfrey Foundation, a school in South
Africa and an audience-mobilizing effort, Oprah’s Angel Network.
• a personal dedication to continued reinvention and resilience has
kept her brand strong over the decades
• Oprah’s leadership qualities are exemplified in the way that she
communicates and relates to people from all walks of life,
empathizes with those in need, and the ability to look at issues
from various perspectives.
• Oprah’s gift to communicate has fans viewing her show in 140
countries which includes 46 million viewers in the U.S. (Conlon,
2008). She is self-reflective and has openly admitted her
shortcomings to millions. . Oprah surrounds herself with others
that have the competencies she lacks and trusts in them to do what
• she became an honors student and was awarded a full scholarship
to college. Oprah has never forgotten where she came from and
the strife that she lived through as a child. This appears to be the
heart of her communication and leadership skills.
• She is aware of how influential she is in the world and views it as
a responsibility and an opportunity to help others grow
intellectually and spiritually. It is Oprah’s ability to make people
believe in themselves that truly makes her a leader.
Oprah’s 10 best leadership practices
• Carefully Selects her Team
• Gathers Trusted Mentors
• Values her Customer
• Strategically Extends her Brand
• Keeps Her Brand Focused
• Remains Resilient
• Demonstrates a Social Conscience
• Communicates her Vision
• Dreams Big
• Rewards Employees
As a leadership brand
• All leaders have a brand. Whether that term is used or not, leaders
have an identifiable persona that is a reflection of what they do and
how others perceive them. This is leadership brand.
• In a perceptive analysis, New York Times media columnist David
Carr suggests that Winfrey's brand and the key to her longevity is a
combination of things she didn't do as well as things that she did
• On the "don't do side," she did not over-merchandize nor take her
• On the "do side," she always stayed true to herself.
• The lessons of Oprah's brand are relevant to any leader. Brand is
what you develop as well as what others perceive. The balance
between reality and perception can be shaky if you are not careful,
but as we have seen from Oprah, not impossible.
LESSONS FOLLOWED TO CULTIVATE
• Those who lead by example
are willing to make tough
PRACTICE WHAT decisions
• be accountable for the same
YOU PREACH • Willing to lend a hand to
colleagues and direct reports
• This applies to work, where
principles determine the
ACT ON quality and attention you
PRINCIPLE • As well as to values, where
principles determine behavior.
• It is the lever one uses to get
things done the right way.
INSIST ON • Treating people with respect
INTEGRITY • Act for the benefit of the
organization first and yourself
THE OPRAH EFFECT
• The power of Winfrey's opinions and endorsement to influence
public opinion, especially consumer purchasing choices, has been
dubbed "The Oprah Effect".
• Late in 1996, Winfrey introduced the Oprah's Book Club segment to
her television show. brought obscure novels to popular attention.
• The book club became such a powerful force that whenever
Winfrey introduced a new book as her book-club selection, it
instantly became a best seller; for example, John Steinbeck’s novel
East of Eden.
• Being recognized by Winfrey often means a million additional book
sales for an author. In Reading with Oprah: The Book Club that
Changed America (2005), Kathleen Rooney describes Winfrey as "a
serious American intellectual who pioneered the use of electronic
media, specifically television and the Internet.
• Throughout the years, Winfrey has inspired her employees and even rival
talk show hosts with her distinct approach. She is usually the first to show
up to work and often last to leave.
• Winfrey has taken her celebrity status and used it as a platform to become
a role model for women in every walk of life.
• She often connects her talk show guests with assistance for those in crisis,
she rewards people who have shown unselfish behavior
• She touches on issues that even she has experienced. She speaks of her
cocaine use in her 20's, and of her own abuse as a child. She uses these
opportunities to lead by example, to show that regardless of your
circumstance, perseverance and effort can overcome the obstacles often
viewed as insurmountable.
• Winfrey says "My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your
life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the
next moment." and also , "Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing
that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not."
• Winfrey's company started with eight employees, and she
learned early on she didn't know anything about operations
and didn't care for the business aspect of being oprah.
• In her early years she ran her employees into the ground,
often expecting them to work sixteen to seventeen hour days.
If they didn't have her stamina, she said good-bye to them.
She had a rude wake up call.
• when one of her employees after a grueling 18-hour day
pulled her car into the garage and fell asleep with it running.
Fortunately, she was ok, but it changed the way winfrey
treated her employees.
• Since then, Winfrey's company has maintained a 10-15%
turnover rate, while her top executive team has an average
tenure of eleven years. Currently her company employees
over 220 employees, with 68% of them being female (helms &
• Her employees report that Winfrey's enthusiasm is rampant
among the office and her charisma contagious. The
employees share her same passion and they are an extremely
• At the companies five-year anniversary she gave every
employee a gift of $5,000.00 to acknowledge his or her
achievements within the company.
• Oprah Winfrey is an effective communicator. She understands
her employees and her employees understand her and the
level of management.
• Another reason why she communicates so well is that she
sees people as she sees herself. Sometimes employees may
be overloaded with information on the job and she
• She has a way of positive motivation through communication.
• Winfrey by demanding performance helps to
sustain her team. The teams reward is the
continued success of Harpo, Inc..
• By surrounding herself with the best and
brightest, Winfrey is providing an opportunity
for success of the team and her company as
the quality of team members directly relates
to the success of the group.
• Oprah Winfrey utilizes a participative leadership style; "It's
all about attracting good people. I've always tried to
surround myself not only with people who are smart but
with people who are smarter in ways I am not."
• Consensus leaders encourage group discussion about an
issue. Winfrey encourages input from her colleagues and
staff. When Oprah's Book Club was launched in September
1996, she relied on the opinions of others to aid in the
selection of the featured novel.
• Producers and other staff members are key elements in
presenting and choosing new show topics as well as
magazine content. Each idea must have intention behind it.
• Oprah's most significant role has become that of spiritual leader. To her
audience of more than 22 million mostly female viewers, she has become
a post-modern priestess—an icon of church-free spirituality.
• In 2002, Christianity Today published an article called "The Church of O" in
which they concluded that Winfrey had emerged as an influential spiritual
• Winfrey's show has emphasized uplifting and inspirational topics and
themes and some viewers claim the show has motivated them to perform
acts of altruism such as helping Congolese women and building an
• On the season premier of Winfrey's 13th season Roseanne Barr told
Winfrey "you're the African Mother Goddess of us all" inspiring much
enthusiasm from the studio audience. The animated series Futurama
alluded to her spiritual influence by suggesting that "Oprahism" is a
mainstream religion in 3000 AD. So she is considered to be a spiritual
OPRAH’S HELP TO SOCIETY
• In 1998, Winfrey created the Oprah's Angel Network, a
charity that supported charitable projects and provided
grants to NPO around the world. Oprah's Angel
Network raised more than $80,000,000.
• In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Oprah created the
Oprah Angel Network Katrina registry, which raised
more than $11 million for relief efforts. Winfrey
personally gave $10 million to the cause
• . Winfrey has also helped 250 African-American men
continue or complete their education at Morehouse
College in Atlanta, Georgia.
• Winfrey was the recipient of the first Bob Hope
Humanitarian Award at the 2002 Emmy Awards for
services to television and film..
• In 2004, Winfrey and her team filmed an episode of her show,
Oprah's Christmas Kindness , in which Winfrey travelled to South
Africa to bring attention to the plight of young children affected by
poverty and AIDS.
• During the 21-day trip, Winfrey and her crew visited schools and
orphanages in poverty-stricken areas, and distributed Christmas
presents to 50,000 children, with dolls for the girls and soccer balls
for the boys, and school supplies.
• Throughout the show, Winfrey appealed to viewers to donate
money to Oprah's Angel Network for poor and AIDS-affected
children in Africa. From that show alone, viewers around the world
donated over $7,000,000.
• Winfrey invested $40 million and some of her time establishing the
Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Klip
• Nelson Mandela praised Winfrey for overcoming her own
disadvantaged youth to become a benefactor for others. A minority
of critics considered the school elitist and unnecessarily luxurious.
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