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5 years ago The Blog

Oprah Winfrey: Self- made billionaire who created history by turning her life from the Rags-to-Riches

Oprah Winfrey: Self- made billionaire who created history by turning her life from the Rags-to-Riches

-By Mani Mukhija

Oprah Winfrey


With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice. ~Oprah Winfrey

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Winfrey a “modern successful woman of the times” needs no introduction. Oprah Winfrey is one of the most recognized and well-respected women in the world today. Life has not always been easy for the self-made billionaire. Oprah, an actress, television host, philanthropist, producer and an entrepreneur, who is today worth $2.7 billion as a famous US talk show host and a media proprietor, was born to a poor single mother in Mississippi.

She was a victim of sexual abuse by friends of her mother, Vernita. After some time of bad influence and behavior, she later went on to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. Vernon made his daughter’s education a priority, and she became an honors student. Oprah earned a full scholarship and majored in Communications from Tennessee State University. This was when her career in media started taking a shape.

In the year 1976, she then moved to Baltimore, Maryland and hosted a television chat show named as “People are talking” and this show ran successfully for eight years. This led her to get recruited in the Chicago TV station in order to host her own morning show and she took her show from last place to the first place. Within months she turned that show into the top-rated talk show in Chicago. The show was soon renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show and syndicated nationally, turning Oprah into a millionaire.

Oprah Winfrey became so exceptionally famous not just because of hosting her globally renowned talk show or by being an amazing actress. She could do it because of her determination and resilience. She exhibited to the world her core traits of being a resilient, courageous, compassionate, amorous, sensitive, and above all else, a human being just like the rest of us. She is an exemplary woman who teaches us to just be ourselves.

Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others. ~ Oprah Winfrey


What it takes for today’s homemaker to be tomorrow’s leaders

What it takes for today’s homemaker to be tomorrow’s leaders

-By Mani Mukhija


The Situation

Millions of women take extended breaks from work for various reasons across the world. A few most common reasons for women quitting their jobs are marriage, relocation, childbirth, caring for the elderly and social circumstances. Childbirth is one of the most prominent reasons of all, most women go on a maternity break. While there are some women who succeed in getting back to their jobs right after their maternity leave was over, most tend to extend their maternity break and it can range anywhere from 3 months to several years.

While some are glad about the break as they could spend quality time with their children and take care of all their needs, other women aren’t content. They soon become restless. They discover something to be substantially missing. Losing their true potential, identity and financial independence make them lose their confidence.  After all, being a career woman once isn’t satisfying for them to just be a homemaker now.

The Challenges

Longer breaks lead to career gaps. It becomes challenging for women to get back on the career track after being a homemaker for a while. Taking a break from work has been as liberating for them as it has been daunting, depending on their reasons and situation. But getting back comes with its own set of challenges.

Not to mention that many of these women are highly educated, professional women who leave their high-profile career positions to be home with their kids or fulfilling their social obligations. They are the ones who attained their educational degrees from reputed universities.

In spite of their high educational portfolios, most women returners continue to face the triple whammy of unconscious bias: gender, age and lack of recent experience. They too often are tarred with the ‘homemaker’ stereotype – assumed to be unambitious, low in self-confidence and inflexible. It’s not easy for them to “jump back onto the corporate fast train”.

They are being questioned about the career-gap and latest skillset. They’re shocked, dismayed and disappointed that they aren’t being welcomed back with open arms at the same lofty salaries and titles they once enjoyed. They have to go down the corporate ladder before they can ever go up again.

The Question:

How to smash that glass ceiling, while raising a family? How to get back in the workforce?

The Recommended Solutions

For Women:

Reentering the workforce can be intimidating for anyone, but it is particularly intimidating for women who have been out of the workforce for years. Normal fears of a stay-at-home woman may include seeming out of touch or behind in skill level. You may even worry that a potential employer won’t be able to relate to you or understand how hard you have worked to take care of your home and children over the years. Don’t waste time trying to stamp out these fears. Instead, focus your energy on your dream career to get back into the workforce with confidence. Some of the recommendations below can work wonders.

  1. Pump up your networking– Do your best to stay in touch with former work colleagues during your time off. Networking provides leads which can help get a job.
  2. Update your skills– This is your time to invest in your future. If you’re not up on the latest technology or changes in your former field, consider signing up for courses or certifications which can help bridge the knowledge gap.
  3. Stay involved– Volunteer or freelance on projects as much as possible. This certainly helps prepare you better for returning to work. By freelancing or volunteering, you stay hands-on with multiple tasks and deadlines, doing a multitude of other things adds confidence and valuable skills that can benefit employers.
  4. Discover yourself– Make the best out of this career break. Try to discover yourself. You may discover a particular skill or strength that you never paid attention at. Work on that skill passionately and become a better version of yourself. This will not only boost your self-confidence but will also help you distinguish yourself when reentering the career world.
For Corporates:

The corporates need to understand that returning women professionals are highly talented, experienced and motivated. They will get back up to speed very quickly once they are back in the workforce. The only thing they need to pick up the pace is the support and opportunity to prove themselves again.

Some of the steps that corporates can take to leverage their potential are:

  1. Options like work-from-home and part-time jobs will allow women to balance their professional and personal lives and ease their transition back to full-time jobs.
  2. ‘Back to Work’ programs for women, which will provide flexibility and support for returnees. The companies should consider offering formal reentry programs as part of their diversity initiatives. Returnships– the returning professional internship can be an innovative solution to enable these talented women to get back to where they left.
  3. Offering childcare services in the office campus can help women shorten this career gap and create a work-life balance.


  • “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” ~Oprah Winfrey
    Virago Network
    “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” ~Oprah Winfrey
    "As women, we must stand up for ourselves. As women, we must stand up for each other. As women, we must stand up for justice for all.” ~Michelle Obama.
    Virago Network
    "As women, we must stand up for ourselves. As women, we must stand up for each other. As women, we must stand up for justice for all.” ~Michelle Obama.
    Virago Network
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