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Star Qualities

How celebrity role models have inspired us

This story appears in the May 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Oprah Winfrey has an entertainment empire. So does Madonna. Jennifer Lopez has added clothing and perfume to her numerous ventures. As celebrities continue to branch out into new lines of business, what lessons can noncelebrity business owners learn from them?

"I've learned many things from observing Oprah," says Alison Glander, 42, president and CEO of PowerPact LLC, a marketing agency in Midlothian, Virginia, with revenues of $17 million. "She puts herself out there, and people respond." Glander says typical management wisdom encourages company leaders to be stoic, invincible and untouchable; but Oprah has taught her you can let people in, and they'll pull for you. "The bonds between people in [your] company grow even stronger and more personal. And that's a proven way to reduce turnover--when people feel connected, like a family."

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