General Medical

Oprah and Weight Watchers: Some Lessons for All Women’s done it again.

Oprah Winfrey may be the closest thing we have to a modern-day fairy godmother. Over the years, she has bestowed success on a wide variety of things — books, Christmas gifts (her “favorite things”), TV shows, movies, Broadway musicals. Her knack for spotting good things, spreading the word, and watching success ensue even has a name: the Oprah Effect.

On Monday, she waved her magic wand over a company that has a long history, especially with women – Weight Watchers. Oprah bought a 10 percent stake in the company for more than $43 million, and joined the board of directors. This signals that she is willing to put her money and her good name behind the company.

Oprah’s involvement with the company comes at a time when Weight Watchers has been struggling with a changing landscape in the health, fitness, weight loss business. The company’s sales dropped to a five-year low and its net income hit a 15-year-low. As more people embrace fitness and diet apps and become more focused on nutrition, the standard diet mentality has shifted significantly.

Oprah and Weight Watchers, the company founded by Jean Nidetch of Queens, N.Y., seem like a match made in heaven. Oprah’s challenges with her weight have been well documented in the media, including on the TV program where she built her success, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has experience with the Weight Watchers program and many other diet and weight loss programs.

After the news of her investment in Weight Watchers, the price of Weight Watchers soared on the New York Stock Exchange, more than doubling by the close of trading Monday. That means Oprah’s $43 million has grown to about $86 million, at least for now.

As with all investments, only time will tell whether it was wise. But there are some takeaways that can inspire all of us, even if we don’t have $43 million sitting around to invest.

  • Invest yourself in things you believe in. Your investment doesn’t have to be money. It can also come in the form of time. Oprah isn’t just putting her money into Weight Watchers, she is putting her good name and her time into the company by being on the board.
  • Spend your time with things you are familiar with. Oprah has been through the weight loss wars throughout most of her life. This is something she knows about and knows is important.
  • Do things that help women. Weight Watchers has programs for women, men and young people, but the largest part of its market is overwhelmingly women. If the company succeeds in helping women lose weight and live healthier lives, women will certainly benefit.
  • Don’t be afraid of hard work. Weight Watchers has a major challenge ahead of it, and even though the stock price took off on Monday, there is a lot of hard work to come. If you see the value in an endeavor, put your energy behind it.

When it comes to success, there are no guarantees. But investing yourself consciously, whether in the PTA, a church or synagogue, a nonprofit organization, a for-profit company, will keep you engaged and as Oprah puts it, living “your best life.”

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  • roz warren October 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Enjoyed the piece but who wrote it? Where’s the byline? I want to know whose work I’m enjoying.