Leadership

5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey

Learn from the media mogul on her 64th birthday.
5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey
Image credit: Jason LaVeris | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
3 min read

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

5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey

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.

5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey

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.

5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey

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.
5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey

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.

5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey

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.

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  • 5 Ways to Make a Mark on the World Like Oprah Winfrey
  • 1. She’s a trailblazer.
  • 2. She doesn’t rest on her laurels.
  • 3. She’s open.
  • 4. She invests in what matters to her.
  • 5. She’s supportive.
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