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Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah Gail Winfrey

Reading success stories of greatest professionals stimulates motivational enzyme within us and we all wish to emulate them on path of success.

Exactly with this aim  MBARendezvous.com - India's content lead MBA website is presenting you series of success stories of Professionals who have   carved niche in their own way and have become icons of Management Fraternity. 

Following above you will read today success story of Ms.Oprah Winfrey: 

Media mogul Oprah Gail Winfrey, popularly known as Oprah Winfrey is a renowned American television host and philanthropist best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning show ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show”. The show became the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history and the world's only black billionaire. She appears on every list of the world's leading opinion-makers, and has been rightly called "the most powerful woman in the world."

The 57-year-old talk show queen became a pioneer in confessional television, promoting discussion of formerly taboo subjects including incest, rape, sexual abuse and depression through her popular talk show. However, nothing came easy to Winfrey who went through a period of excessive hardships during her childhood.

Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 to an unwed teenage mother in rural poverty. She spent her initial years on her grandmother's farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi, while her mother wandered in search of work. Despite the hardships of her physical environment, Winfrey enjoyed the loving support of her grandmother and the church community, who nurtured her as a gifted child. At the age of three she voraciously recited poems and Bible verses in local churches.

Her world changed for the worse at the age of six and she became a victim of child abuse which lasted from the ages of nine to 13. Emotionally devastated, she went to Nashville, Tennessee to live with a man whom she called her father. Vernon Winfrey was a strict disciplinarian who made it a point to give his daughter a secure life.

A lonely child, Winfrey found solace in books. Her intelligence was rewarded by a seventh-grade teacher who got her a scholarship to a better school. In this structured environment, Winfrey flourished, and became an honor student, winning prizes for oratory and dramatic recitation. Winfrey's talent for public performance and spontaneity in answering questions helped her win beauty contests and get her first taste of public attention.

At the age of 17 she clinched the Miss Black Tennessee crown and was subsequently offered an on-air job at WVOL, a radio station serving the African American community in Nashville. Winfrey continued to work at WVOL in her first years of college, but her broadcasting career opened new avenues for her. She dropped from her school and signed on with a local television station as a reporter and anchor. She had found her medium.

In 1984, she moved on to be the host of A.M. Chicago, which later became ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’. It was syndicated in 1986 and soon toppled Donahue as the nation's top-rated talk show. Winfrey was 32 when she launched the show. With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed USD 125 million by the end of its first year, of which Winfrey garnered USD 30 million, making her a millionaire.

She soon gained ownership of the program from ABC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harpo Productions ('Oprah' spelled backwards) spinning more money from syndication. Today, Harpo is a formidable force in film and television production, as well as magazine publishing and the Internet.

In 1987, its first year of eligibility, the show received three Daytime Emmy Awards in the categories of Outstanding Host, Outstanding Talk/Service Program and Outstanding Direction. The following year Winfrey herself became the youngest person to receive the International Radio and Television Society's "Broadcaster of the Year" Award.

The cult show became a powerful platform or go-to-place for the celebrities and politicians to promote new ventures and to apologize publicly for their indiscretions. It made America fell in love with Winfrey, who captured the nation's attention with her poignant portrayal of Sofia in Steven Spielberg's 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker's novel, The Color Purple. Through her stunning performance she earned herself nomination for an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actress.

From 2006 to 2008, her support for Barack Obama, by one estimate, delivered over a million votes in the close 2008 Democratic primary race. Her interview with the controversial entertainer Michael Jackson drew a hundred million viewers, making it the most watched interview in television history. She also received a thumbs up for skillfully handling Katherine Jackson who spilled many beans on the show about her late legendary son, Michael Jackson.

Another venture the ‘Oprah Book Club’, started 15 years ago, championed 65 titles and has almost 2 million members. In one memorable show, Winfrey gifted all 276 audience members a new car. She has also become one of the world's most generous philanthropists. In 2000, Oprah's Angel Network began presenting a USD 100,000 "Use Your Life Award" to people who served as a beacon to improve the lives of others.

In 2009 she announced that she would end her popular talk show after as successful innings of 25 years. She is expected to focus in the next few years on her cable channel OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), which launched in January 2011.

Similar to her success her achievements are also astounding.  She was named one of the "100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century" by Time magazine, and in 1998 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Her wealth has been measured in numerous superlatives: the highest-paid performer on television, the richest self-made woman in America, and the richest African-American of the 20th century.

Due to her status as a historical figure, University of Illinois created the course "History 298: Oprah Winfrey, the Tycoon." According to Forbes, in 2010 Winfrey was worth over USD 2.7 billion and has outrun former eBay CEO Meg Whitman as the richest self-made woman in America. She made her principal home on a 42-acre ocean-view estate in Montecito, California, just south of Santa Barbara and also owns homes in another six states and the island of Antigua.

Few people would have bet on Winfrey's swift rise to host of the most popular talk show on TV. In a field dominated by white males, she is a black female of ample immensity. She didn't create a talk-show format, but a compassion and intimacy to talk to one another.

She called the curtains on the last episode on May 25, 2011 with simplicity and a no-frill show. Taped before an audience of 400 she kept the broadcast simple, celebrity-free affair and focused on what her audience meant to her. The final broadcast was a humble recap of the values Winfrey believed in. She bid adieu to her viewers and urged them to find their calling, make the world a better place and take control of their lives.

Known as America’s beloved best friend her last words on the show were, “It is no coincidence a lonely little girl who felt not a lot of love, even though my parents and grandparents did the best they could….it is no coincidence that I grew up to feel the genuine kindness, affection, trust and validation from millions of you, all over the world.”

Still going strong at 57, Winfrey stands as a beacon, not only in the world of media and entertainment but also in the larger realm of public discourse.

We salute Oprah Winfrey’s straightforwardness, simplicity and sagacity with the following quote, “Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see the beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead.”

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