How She Did It: Building Oprah (and her dream life!)

Jenna Kutcher 

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July 16, 2018


Sheri Salata, guys. What. A. Lady! You may know her as the past executive Producer of the Oprah Winfrey Show and former Co-President of Harpo Studios and OWN, but Sheri’s current venture is just as exciting!

Her action-packed days as Executive Producer on The Oprah Winfrey Show have come to a close when she chose to leave to co-found her own company, STORY, a media company producing print, digital, and live event content. Sheri has been named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 and the 2017 Feminist Press Power Award winners. She is also a co-host of the popular podcast series “This is Fifty” where she summarizes mid-life as she sets out to make the rest of her dreams come true.

Today, I asked Sheri to come on because (let’s be real!) I just want to hear her story! So many facets of her life are inspiring to me! How she worked her way up working for Oprah, what it takes to “make it” in a media world, her work ethic, her creativity, and ultimately, what it was like leaving such a comfortable, well-known job to pursue her own path! Giddy up, Goal Diggers, because you are about to hear one amazing story!


One thing that none of us ever talk about, but it is so, so common: working your butt off at the wrong job. Sheri said it perfectly with, “I kept trying to make the wrong job into a retirement plan… instead of just saying “ya know, this isn’t right for me, I just declared “I am going to be THE best at this” How funny is this tendency of a lot of us? To put our head down and work our tail off for something we don’t even like! Goal Diggers, we MUST be intentional with our work and in tune with our gut instinct. If you’re not happy, make a change! It doesn’t have to be drastic, but it does have to be done! Take a lesson from today’s leading lady: eventually, Sheri found the courage to leave a job and “start over” and that’s where all the magic started.


We discussed how easy it is to be “locked into” the wrong career. How frequently people start a job, get locked into benefits and retirement plans and stay there the position their entire career: out of comfort, “respect” and giving 1000% to something that they are not even passionate about. Sheri spoke to the fact that she thought she would have only “one thing” in her career, but how wrong she was! She mentioned the fact she “started over” about 5 times and she didn’t even START working at Oprah until age 35. How wild is that?! While most people have found their solid “path”, she was just beginning one of the wildest adventures of her life!

One thing I LOVE about Sheri is how unafraid she is to reinvent herself and her true alignment with her “gut instinct”.  If you are feeling trapped in your career whatsoever, PLEASE listen to the full episode. Let it serve as a reminder to ALL of us that we must be open to the twists and turns of life. In this episode, Sheri gives tangible advice on how to pivot, transition, and evolve in your career. To summarize her message: “it’s never too late”.


Ready for a bombshell? “You do not want to get to the end of your life and think “wow, I had a really great job…. You don’t want to live an unlived life.” 

We spoke to the fact that we all can get caught up in titles and accolades and “more, more, more” thinking, but Sheri spoke to the fact she had climbed the ladder from bottom to top, had every “title” one could want and that doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. For her, it meant starting her own dream career late in her 50’s. How AMAZING is that?!

When I asked how her business STORY came to be, her answer gave me chills: “Another 50 year old friend and I looked at each other and said “it’s never too late”” WOW.

I asked more about this because “It’s hard to make changes the older you get because you’re worried about your 401K, etc.”, but Sheri made the twists and turns seem even better with age! Goal Diggers, if you ever feel like you missed your chance, remember Sheri’s words: “It is never too late to make a decision”

“Sheri, What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone that feels they are too old or too committed to transition on in their life?”

“I would say ‘that is not true. It’s simply not true’. The earlier you can figure out that happiness has to be your compass, the better. Because a whole, complete life is never being you are “somebody’s something”. A fully lived life comes back to YOU. You are your best asset, your number one fan. Reframe the negative story you tell yourself. The more you say “things cannot change”, the more things stay the same”

I mean, whoa. Have I convinced you yet? This episode could change your life.

Check Out Sheri’s New Venture: Story!

Use Code “goaldigger” at!

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  1. Katherine says:

    Enjoyed and appreciated this podcast, Jenna! Sheri is so down to earth and I love her energy. This was a positive boost to my day and has given me some food for thought.

    Keep being YOU! You inspire and energize with your enthusiasm for life, Jenna. Grateful to have found you!


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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