Get All Access for $5/mo

5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey Learn from the media mogul on her 64th birthday.

By Nina Zipkin

Jason LaVeris | Getty Images

Simply put, Oprah Winfrey is a force. As recently as a few weeks ago, people were clamoring for her to run for president.

With her decades spanning career, the television host, actress, producer, philanthropist and entrepreneur is a prime example of how to connect with people on a personal level and leverage your platform to serve others and give them the opportunity to succeed.

So on the media mogul's 64th birthday, read on for five lessons about how to make a real impact.

Related: 3 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs From Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globes Speech

She’s a trailblazer.

Winfrey's career has had many firsts. She was a 19-year-old college student when she became the first African-American and the youngest anchor for WTVF-TV in Nashville. In 2003, she became the first female African-American billionaire. Her hard work and determination to succeed have always been a constant in her accomplishments.

She doesn’t rest on her laurels.

Winfrey is constantly stretching herself and trying new things. Case in point, in 1985, a few months after the powers that be at A.M. Chicago changed the name of the program to the Oprah Winfrey Show, she also made her film debut in The Color Purple, for which she earned her first Oscar nomination. In 2011, after the show came to an end after 25 years on the air, Oprah unveiled her next chapter -- the Oprah Winfrey Network.

She’s open.

Winfrey is known for being a skilled interviewer, and is currently a correspondent on 60 Minutes in addition to her multitude of other jobs. In addition to being an empathetic listener, people trust her in part because she shares so much of herself. She has never hidden her past or her struggles, openly speaking about poverty, abuse and maintaining her weight and health.

She invests in what matters to her.

Through her charitable foundation, Winfrey has given millions of dollars to hurricane relief efforts, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, educational programs for underserved students such as A Better Chance and her own Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa and cultural institutions such as the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. And Winfrey isn't only a spokesperson for Weight Watchers -- she owns 10 percent of the company.

She’s supportive.

The Oprah Effect is real and powerful. Whether it is through her eponymous book club, her network, even the careers of fellow television figures such as Rachael Ray, Nate Berkus and bestie and CBS This Morning host Gayle King, Winfrey wields her influence to help the people and things she is passionate about reach a wider audience.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

The Side Hustle He Started in His College Apartment Turned Into a $70,000-a-Month Income Stream — Then Earned Nearly $2 Million Last Year

Kyle Morrand and his college roommates loved playing retro video games — and the pastime would help launch his career.

Business News

New Southwest Airlines Major Investor Wants to Force Out CEO, Slams Company's 'Stubborn Unwillingness to Evolve'

Elliot Investment Management announced a $1.9 billion stake in the Dallas-based Southwest Airlines on Monday and is urging shareholders to vote for new leadership.

Science & Technology

Why We Shouldn't Fear AI in Education (and How to Use It Effectively)

Facing resistance to new technologies in the educational process is nothing new, and AI is no exception. Yet, this powerful tool is set to overcome these challenges and revolutionize education, preparing students and professionals for a future of unparalleled efficiency and personalized learning.

Business News

Elon Musk Threatens to Ban Employees from Using Apple Products, Says Will Lock Devices in 'Cages'

The Tesla founder sounded off on X following Apple's 2024 Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday.

Business News

Apple's AI Has a Catch — And It Could Help Boost Sales

Not every iPhone owner will get to use the new Apple Intelligence.