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 Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics


5 Ways CEOs Can Increase Productivity in 2024

Here are five strategies successful CEOs are leveraging to boost productivity as they look forward to 2024.

Business News

SmileDirectClub Customers Speak Out After Company Ends Operations Without Warning

The telehealth orthodontics company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.

Growing a Business

The Growth Hack My Clients Hate the Most Is the One That Promises the Biggest Financial Rewards — Here's What You Should Know

Only a small percentage of my clients practice it, but this growth hack has been a real game-changer for my company.

Business News

Soho House Is No Longer Accepting New Members in These Cities

This news comes after years of overcrowding complaints.

Thought Leaders

How to Bounce Back and Succeed During Times of Disruption

Consistency is hard, and showing up doesn't mean giving 110% every day, all the time. It's about daring to pause.