It would seem Trump’s so-far brief and disastrous time in office has inspired many to believe the Queen of Daytime Television, Oprah Winfrey, has changed her mind (yet again) and would consider running for president. While she may not boast any formal political experience, Oprah has long been an active player in the political sphere, for example her encouragement of African Americans to head to the polls for Barack Obama’s election in 2009.
Commonly dubbed the most powerful woman in the world, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, which aired yesterday yet was filmed in December, when asked whether she might be the one to break the glass ceiling and take up residence at the White House, Oprah replied:
“I actually never thought that that was – I never considered the conversation even a possibility. I just thought, oh, oh,” she said, later adding, “No, that won’t be happening, but I mean, I did used to think, well gee, you had to know so much more than I thought you had to know.”
It seems that when it comes to the US presidency, the American people don’t consider prior political experience mandatory in a candidate’s bid for the top job. Yes, Trump is a perfect example, but let’s not forget Kanye West’s seemingly spontaneous announcement of his intention to run in 2020 at the 2015 Video Music Awards.
And while Oprah 2020 may or may not come to fruition, we believe she has at least 5 very transferable skills that will make her perfect (at the very least, significantly better than some) for the Oval Office.
The woman can communicate
Read any tome on leadership and a fundamental skill is the ability to effectively communicate a message. If 25 years spent producing and presenting a number-one talk show isn’t enough, her track record of interviewing school teachers, business leaders and religious figures shows she has a keen ability to traverse social and economic boundaries to get to the heart of a matter.
Here’s Oprah on communication: “Great communication begins with connection. What makes us different from one another is so much less important than what makes us alike – we all long for acceptance and significance. When we recognise those needs in ourselves, we can better understand them in others, and that’s when we can set aside our judgements and just hear.”
She puts people first
When thinking of the faces on television, glamour and wealth abound. But when pondering Oprah’s rise, her countless accolades are outshone by her humanitarian efforts. In addition to donating millions to charities worldwide, she’s also spearheaded three significant organisations: The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and the Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation, all benefiting from regular endorsements and financial aid from A-list celebs. She’s also founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a boarding school in South Africa that offers opportunities to disadvantaged girls. Let’s just say the world is a much better place for her boundless influence and resource.
Her track record says one thing: success
Oprah’s net worth of around US$3 billion isn’t something she simply happened upon. Hailing from a rural town in Mississippi, she scored her first paid hosting gig at a Nashville radio station as a teen. Since her debut on the airways, she’s pivoted and expanded into a multi-skilled professional, racking up credits as an actress, producer, publisher and author. Not one to take a break, Oprah would surely take the traditional tasks that come with running a nation and turn them into processes and ideas to spark viable change.
Far from her multi-million dollar mansions that stretch from Chicago to Maui, Oprah was born the daughter of an unwed teen. Her childhood also proved to be difficult, the kids at school often teasing her for wearing potato sacks as clothing because that was all her family could afford. She has also openly discussed her experience of being abused as a child by her own relatives. The unfortunate elements of her past gradually became opportunities for change. Oprah used her story as a catalyst for several initiatives designed to help victims, even forging the “Oprah Bill” in 1993, a national database of convicted abusers. Sure, the top job would include many tough conversations and much needed reformation to healthcare and employment, but we have no doubt Oprah would bring a fresh, creative approach to these changes.
Oprah’s got many a notch on her belt, including being credited as the key figure who popularised the intimate, vulnerable and confessional style of talk shows. Sure, we all vaguely remember Tom Cruise jumping on a couch, and who could forget those car giveaways, but it was her interviews with fourth-grade teachers, Michael Jackson, and regular families in tough circumstances that shed light on many people within the American community and gave voice to wide-reaching themes for the benefit of everybody.