The WW Group Inc. Farmington Hills, MI
Listen, learn, read, ask questions — and let your personality shine... every morning I look in the mirror and say, “Good morning, Florine! You’re going to have a great day today. You can do anything.” Positivity and self-confidence matter, and smiles break down all barriers.
What's the most important business lesson you've learned and how did you learn it?
Delegate authority. As the mother of seven, I discovered that if I tried to do everything myself, I wouldn’t have a great life! In business, I learned to trust my gut, hire the right people and give them the authority to do their jobs.
How do you “hire the right people”?
We hire people who can empathize with our customers: people who have had weight issues themselves and have gone through, and love, our program. When we find energy, enthusiasm, kindness, patience and a sense of humor in candidates, we know we can teach them the rest. Remember: Every business is a people business. Success depends on your people’s abilities to sell someone on the virtues of your product or service. Hire people who feel good about themselves and what they can do for your company.
How did you develop your leadership style?
When I started my business and faced a lot of strategic decisions, I sought the support of my staff. Collaboration worked for us then, and I continue to lead by this model today. I encourage our staff to voice their ideas and opinions, and to really listen to one another. We manage and operate by team. Everyone has ownership in the final decision, and if the course if action we’ve agreed upon doesn’t work, we discuss alternate solutions. I know that I can say “no” if I truly disagree, but I almost never do: As a risk-taker, I’m open to new ideas.
How do you continue to grow personally and professionally at this stage in your career?
I want to keep growing as long as I live, so I keep listening, asking questions, volunteering, being patient, saying “yes” and keeping my eyes open to everything that goes on around me. Professionally, I grow by sharing ideas with other business leaders. My involvement in C200, for example, gives me the opportunity to learn from extraordinary women who are building and leading amazing businesses. Personally, I grow through philanthropic work; my love of people helps me continue to grow.
What advice do you give aspiring business leaders?
Listen, learn, read, ask questions — and let your personality shine. In my book “Talk to the Mirror,” I share that every morning I look in the mirror and say, “Good morning, Florine! You’re going to have a great day today. You can do anything.” Positivity and self-confidence matter, and smiles break down all barriers.
Throughout your career, you have committed yourself to helping women advance in leadership roles. Why do you feel this is important?
I’ve met many brilliant women in my lifetime. But how many of these women are serving on boards? Running major companies? Representing us in the Senate and House? We deserve to be on par with men, but too often, we’re not given the chance. I’ve always said, ‘I’m an ordinary person with extraordinary dreams.’ We need to teach young women in high school and college to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams with passion. If each of us grows to our capacity and then helps another woman reach hers, we will all excel.
Florine Mark, CEO and chair of The WW Group Inc., and C200’s 2016 Entrepreneurial Champion Luminary Award Winner, built a weight-loss empire spanning 14 states plus Mexico and parts of Canada through her Weight Watchers franchises.
After selling the bulk of these in a lucrative deal with Weight Watchers International in 2003, Mark continues to lead operations in Michigan and Ontario, and serves as advisor, advocate and board member with many philanthropic and business organizations.
PNC is a proud sponsor of The Committee of 200, which includes 500 of the world's most successful female corporate executives and entrepreneurs, whose companies generate more than $1.4 trillion in annual revenues.