What do you get when you combine 6,000 women, Oprah Winfrey and a 3-day celebration in New York City?  Some surreal, jaw-dropping, crack-up moments along with a whole lot of chaos and estrogen-fuelled drama.  Oh… and a city-wide jump in shoe sales.

A one woman show, media maven and brand, Oprah Winfrey is quite possibly the most influential woman on the planet.  And like so many, seeing her live was on my bucket-list.  So when O Magazine’s Live Your Best Life Weekend in New York came across my radar, I jumped at it and so did some of my friends.

So there we were in the city that never sleeps and neither did we really, squeezing sight-seeing, shopping and signature cocktails in with a very full event schedule. From a champagne welcome reception and an inspiring line of “Lifeshop” headliners (Dr. Oz, Suze Orman, etc.) to a gala at Radio City Music Hall and a Sunday charity walk, it was non-stop fun.


  • Oprah live.  Mind-blowingly brilliant.  And after following her for years, it was like watching a girlfriend on stage.
  • Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert’s opener.  So real, so cool… that woman oozes how to live in the present.
  • A great welcome kit, spectacular collateral materials and sponsors like L’Oreal that rocked the gift bags.


  • There was one glaring gap in this Oprah brand experience – the logistics at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center were beyond bad.  From mismanaged line-ups and event coordination to banana battles in the food lines and near-riots over a lack of bathrooms forcing urinal usage by some angry sisters (yes you read that right), that facility was ill-prepared for 6,000 women (and 10 men).  My friend’s and I laugh about it now, but it was truly like an all-day episode of Survivor.

The weekend also marked the 10-year anniversary of O Magazine which continues to set the bar on  page-turning layouts and visual platforms along with compelling content, life stories and a just-right balance of tasteful advertising.

But that’s just one piece of Oprah’s media empire. 

There’s Oprah & Friends satellite radio, Oprah’s Book Club, the multi-layered Oprah.com, a new reality show and with September 2011 marking 25 years and the last for the Oprah Winfrey Show, she’s launching OWN Network.

Whether relaxing in my living room or as a proud, live participant in magical NYC it’s been a wild ride to be part of the Oprah brand experience.  And it’s not over yet.


When you’re #1, you’re an easy target.

News this week talked about how the Oprah Winfrey Show has had a 7% decline in viewership – which on 9 million is hardly a crisis.

But rather than focus on how her O-Factor has changed lives, saved lives, got millions reading, and raised over $80 million to fund 200+ charity grants in the US and 30 other countries, let’s focus on a dip/blip in ratings on a show that’s winding down (??).

And for the record, it’s winding down to make way for a ground-breaking, new network that’s poised to make what the Oprah Winfrey Show did to daytime television look like training-wheels.

Maybe the real story is how we’ve only scratched the surface on Oprah’s enduring influence.