Oprah Winfrey- Leadership Summary
Growing up, Oprah defined the term “Rags to Riches”
Oprah Winfrey was born in rural Mississippi in 1954 to unmarried parents
Oprah spent the first six years of her life living in poverty on a farm with her grandparents
Went back and forth living with mom and then dad
While living back with her mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she was raped by a cousin and sexually abused by other sexual predators
She gave birth to a son, who was born prematurely and died shortly afterwards, when she was only14.
After working for some time at the WVOL radio station in Nashville, she went on to work at its television station, WLAC-TV
She became the youngest person and first African-American woman to anchor the news at the Nashville station
She left college before graduating to accept a job at station WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, where she worked as a reporter and co-anchor of the evening news
She is an actress, producer, book promoter, philanthropist, businesswoman and talk show host as well as the chairman of HARPO Entertainment group.
In April 2000 she launched O magazine
It became one of the most successful new magazines in publishing history.
In 2003, the Forbes magazine list of American billionaires included Oprah Winfrey—the first African-American women to reach billionaire status.
In 1996, Oprah started a monthly tradition showcasing books.
"Oprah's Choice“– Oprah's endorsement of a book could sell a million copies in the few weeks before the title was discussed on her show
During the lifetime of her book club, 47 books were given the Oprah seal of approval, and each went on to the bestseller charts.
Oprah Becomes 1st African American "Top Philanthropist" (2004)
Oprah Winfrey has donated over $150 million dollars in pledges and gifts to several charities. This has earned her the No. 40 spot on Business Week’s annual ranking of America’s top donators, and it also distinguishes Oprah as the first African American ever to make the list.
Donates at least ten percent of her massive income to good causes, mostly anonymously
Oprah's Angel Network
A Better Chance
In 1991, motivated in part by her own memories of childhood abuse, she initiated a campaign to establish a national database of convicted child abusers
She testified before a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of a National Child Protection Act
President Clinton signed the National Child Protection Act in 1993.
The law became known as the “Oprah Bill”.
The law created a database to help track child abusers.
People trust Oprah
The popularity of the show stems from Oprah's emotion, vulnerability, and compassion as a host and interviewer.
She was the first to establish a special connection with her audience by sharing her personal life, ranging from anecdotes about her life-time partner Stedman Graham, to her emotional revelation of her own childhood sexual abuse.
Oprah can be characterized as a Transformational leader
As a transformational leader, she articulates a realistic vision of the future that can be shared, stimulates subordinates intellectually, and has become charismatic in the eyes of her followers.
Oprah Winfrey, possess the quality known as charisma.
She illustrates several specific charismatic attributes such as a transcendent vision, the ability to inspire and build confidence, rhetorical ability and a powerful sense of aura about her.
Winfrey demonstrates the ability to motivate, be persistent in the face of frustration and make lasting commitments to the common good.
She creates an atmosphere of openness in the organizations she leads, deals with difficult issues in a straightforward manner, listens well and shares information fully.
As an Interactive Leader- Oprah is deeply aware of the feelings and emotions of those around her. She has natural leadership skills... and is a relationship expert.
Oprah Winfrey was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century by Time Magazine.
In 1998 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Oprah did not believe that being poor, black, overweight and female in Mississippi was enough to hold her back from pursuing her dreams.
She has become one of the most powerful people on television, a super celebrity who translated her success into a thriving business empire, while maintaining a persona that makes people feel like she is their best friend.