Oprah Winfrey is a talk show host that owns the production studio. She is also an actress and producer. (Ward, 1999, p. 5) Oprah Winfrey was born January 29, 1954 in Mississippi. When she was older, she was taught to behave at home and in school by her strict father. (Ward, 1999, p. 6) When Oprah was going to college she had a job as a reporter at a radio station. (Ward, 1999, p. 9) In 1986 she then got a job as a talk show host in Chicago and it was because the TV station liked her honest assertive style. (Ward, 1999, p. 10)
She does not lead a structured environment and company, she is very hands on leader. (Winfrey, 1998, p. 62) She is not a leader that sits in her office and collects payment for her work, she wants to participate in the profits. (Winfrey, 1998, p. 63) Oprah Winfrey follows the leader-participation model. She handles situations as they arise. She participates in the work at hand, hardworking and dedicated to her staff. (Winfrey, 1998, p. 65) She runs her business on instinct, control due to fear and she is a workaholic. (Winfrey, 1998, p. 68)
Oprah is a transformational leader; her approach is mission and vision driven. She seems to be an employee-oriented leader because she feels she owes gratitude to her employees. She bought her producer a six-carat diamond bracelet. (Winfrey, 1998, p. 67) Her characteristics of leadership are assertive, loyal, hardworking, inspirational, confident, personal and a perfectionist but fair. Her leadership style has been acknowledged as “confident and personal.” (Winfrey, 1998, p. 65)
She has become successful because she is a production-oriented leader. Kings World was known as an aggressive company. In 1994-1995 they made a gross amount of $20 million a week in revenues on the Oprah Winfrey show. Oprah in 1999-2000, purchased 1.55 million shares if Kings World. In return made her the largest stakeholder owning 5% of the company. She also owns stake in Granite Broadcasting Company. (Winfrey, 1998, pp. 63-64) In 2011, Oprah decided to stop her daytime tv show and now has the Oprah Winfrey Network which is worth $75 million. In 2015, she purchased 10% of Weight Watchers shares and now they are worth $365 million, and she purchased then for $43 million. Harpo, her business is worth $150 million. (Kerry A. Dolan, 2018) Being assertive has helped her accomplish being successful with fame, fortune, health and power. (Ward, 1999, p. 22)
Another powerful leader is Margaret C. (Meg) Whitman. She was born on August 4, 1956 in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. She is the youngest of three children and their parents came from families that are deeply rooted on political views and social values. (Today), 2010) She was born with a birth defect of her left hip and had to wear a metal brace until she was 3 years old. (CAVANAUGH, 2017) She was taught by her mother to be audacious and adaptable. (Today), 2010)
Meg Whitman attended Princeton University. She had planned on becoming a doctor, but she found business to be more enjoyable. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics. She then pursued her master’s in business administration. Her career took off at Proctor and Gamble in 1979. Then she married her husband, who was training to be a neurosurgeon and moved with her husband to California. Then is when she started working Bain and Company. During her eight years at Bain and Company she established work cultures, what work environment motivates employees, shared visions and values. When she left Bain and Company, she started working for Disney Corporation as Senior Vice President of Marketing. (Today), 2010) She worked for a company that had a male orientated culture. That she had to speak up for herself and remind herself she was as smart as they were. She was well known for her candid comments. She also never walked away from a challenge. (CAVANAUGH, 2017)
In 1992, she worked for Stride Rite Shoe Company until 1995. 1995 she accepted a job offer for Florist’s Transworld Delivery. It was not long after, she rose to the top as CEO of the company. During her time there she got frustrated and decided to leave in 1997. In November of 1997, she was sought out by a recruiter from eBay, she immediately declined. The reason was she had no knowledge of this company and was not ready to move her family thousands of miles away. In about three weeks from her declining the offer the recruiter contacts her, begs her to come and she did. In March of 1998, Meg accepts the role of CEO and President of eBay, where she spent a decade of her career taking them to great lengths. (Today), 2010) (Preimesberger, 2017) She then started her career with Hewlett Packard in 2011 and she was the CEO for seven years.
September 1998, Whitman had to prepare eBay to go public. That is when she became the world’s wealthiest business woman. She had options to buy 14.4 million stocks for .22 cents a share. Then in 1999 she sold 2.4 million shares and 1.2 million in 2000. This resulted in personal wealth of $700 million and 1.2 billion dollars. As the CEO of eBay, she was earning $20 million a year with $4.86 million of that was salary. (Preimesberger, 2017) I feel what has made her successful she went to the best colleges and she did not back away from a challenge.
Meg Whitman is a Transformational leader. She is concerned about getting employees buy in before making major changes. There were parts of her career that she had to initiate structure, because they were just a small company at eBay before she took them public and they became large. She was considerate because she even walked away from being the CEO at Florists’ Transworld Delivery because her managers were squabbling and backbiting each other so she decided to peruse another career opportunity since they did not want to be onboard with reorganization of the company. (Today), 2010) Even though she walked away because of frustration, she was considerate that they were unhappy, and she was going to let them handle it the way they wanted to. (Today), 2010) I can also see her having some of the transactional leader because she made a decision that was easy for herself instead of handing the decision making with the staff. Learning to stand up for herself and what she believes in right, she handled this task when she worked for Proctor and Gamble in 1979, women were not allowed to have credit cards and travel alone. She wrote the CEO and within three weeks it was overturned, and they could be card holders and make their own business trip arrangements. (CAVANAUGH, 2017) She is willing to take on a challenge and do her best. The biggest thing that made her thrive was that she did not go into a company telling them the things they were doing wrong, she noticed the things they were doing right. She encouraged them by what’s going well then made a to do list and worked on it from there. She stated to never go in with change or tackle the problem, because you will lose them. (CAVANAUGH, 2017)
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