WW CEO Mindy Grossman on the influence Oprah has had on her originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
Mindy Grossman has spent her nearly 40-year career building and transforming consumer brands.
She's held executive roles inside major retail companies -- Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Nike -- and previously served as the CEO of HSN, where she took the company public and oversaw its multi-billion dollar retail portfolio.
She currently serves as the CEO and president of WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, which Grossman rebranded in 2018 to include wellness in the company’s mission. Grossman’s ideas, however, weren’t largely accepted from the start.
“When you are going to transform something not everybody's going to get it right away,” Grossman told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.” “They're going to question why you did that, they’re going to say you're not going to be successful because they don't see what you see and you've got to take away the blockers.”
WW’s goal is to inspire its members to live a healthy life by giving them access to personal wellness coaches, recipes and snacks created by WW.
She joined the company in 2017 with the goal of creating a “purpose filter,” which she said was mainly inspired by board member Oprah Winfrey.
“I think we all need our own purpose filter, but as a brand and a company, what are those things that we have to ask ourselves before we make a decision, before we create a partnership, before we hire that person and does it fit the purpose filter?" Grossman said. "And that's very individual. Not every company is going to have the same purpose filter but we have to think about that every day."
Oprah joined WW’s board in October 2015, buying a 10 percent stake in the company. She works closely with Grossman, specifically on the company’s branding strategy, and will be going on a national tour in 2020 presented by WW and titled “Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus,” where she will try to help attendees live their healthiest lives. Each stop will feature a different lineup of celebrity guests and wellness leaders including Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga and Tina Fey.
“She has given me a great deal of accessibility and I've literally texted and said I'm running through something in my mind can I run it by you just to get a gut perspective and she's been there,” Grossman said of her relationship with Oprah. “She's not a yes person and that's not what you want. You want the honest dialogue that helps you think things through. She has a real desire to give people and unlock their ability to truly live the best life they can and that's incredibly inspiring.”
Through the upcoming tour and the innovation of the WW brand, Grossman hopes to change the conversation around what being healthy means to every person.
“We want to create opportunities for people to come together, to learn to inspire, to do self-reflection and come out really being able to achieve their why and that's what we ask,” Grossman said. “We don't tell people what they should weigh, we don't tell people what healthy means to them. We say what does healthy mean to you and what's your why?”
Hear more from Mindy Grossman on episode #143 of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.