Holes in Your Heroes

Heroes.  Let’s start with Oprah.

I grew up watching Oprah and considered myself to be one of her biggest fans.

When I tell you that I have explored vigorously the ‘Holes in my Hero, Ms. Oprah‘, I need you to know this exploration has occurred over many years, originating from a deep and powHERful respect.

Soman Chainani, “The world only moves forward when people go from admiring their role models and building upon it.  It’s about seeing where someone has made a unique contribution to society that you value and then seeing how you can put your own individual voice into it to help it further reach more people.”

[Tim Ferriss podcast with Soman here.]  @SomanChainani

I fully agree with Soman, and want to elaborate on how that has played out in my own life and career.  The Oprah Winfrey Show aired September 8th, 1986, just days after my 17th birthday.  It aired nationally for 25 seasons, ending May 25th, 2011.  I was 41.  When I say that I became a woman under the influence of Oprah’s reach, I truly mean it.  I didn’t just watch her show, I studied it.  I didn’t just read her magazines, I devoured them.  Not from a standpoint of taking every word as gospel but rather questioning, “What is missing?”

My company, PowHERhouse launched in 2000, and our national social impact media organization in 2013.  I set out to become ‘the Oprah Winfrey of the fitness industry‘.

I don’t need to tell you the details of this 16+ year journey, but I am excited to share my findings – the holes – and how they continue to shape my work every single day.

Celebrating WE, not ME

The entire brand of PowHERhouse is dedicated to the Canadian Women WE Celebrate, positive role models making an impact in the areas of sport, business, the arts and community leadership.


Oprah also celebrated many, many great women – and men – bringing their stories to light; however, I always felt like the essence of her brand came from a ME-focused origin:  the name of her show, magazine covers, even her OWN network.


Please remember, I am not in anyway diminishing the brilliance of OPRAH.  I’m simply digging for the holes.


As Soman pointed out, where you see the flaws in your greatest hero lies the opportunity to find and share your own voice, your own work in the world and make your greatest impact.


PowHERhouse is a platform for powHERful women to shine.  

It’s not about ME, it’s about WE.

You’ll be hard-pressed find my mug on the cover of our magazine or a show named after me (Trust me, this personal blog is more than enough!).  The essence of PowHERhouse is the exploration of our collective powHER fully catalyzed by inspired action to create impact.  Our media platform plays a critical role as the recruiter – the magnet; but, the essence of why we do what we do and the impact we are looking to make goes much deeper.

In fact, our platform is merely the originating touch point.

Aboriginal Representation

I greatly appreciate the dedication to diversity and multi-culturalism of Oprah’s experts and guests over the years.  Obviously, this is an issue that is near and dear to her heart – mine too.
My next observation is less of a hole and more of an offer to carry this torch with a Canadian flare.

PowHERhouse is passionate to build strong women who lead.

This includes women from every culture with a specific focus on Aboriginal girls and women, which plays into my own personal story and reconnecting with my culture.  When you showcase positive role models who have overcome seemingly unbeatable odds, I believe you inspire and empower others by providing evidence of what is possible.

This year, PowHERhouse is launching our social impact project, Canadian Women Care, with a dedicated national advisory board to take our mission one step further through tangible collective action.  You can learn more about CWC and our 2017 project here.


Accessible Media

Oprah and I had a date every weekday at 4 pm.

Weekends we got together for some reading, journalling and visualizing to implement what I had learned during each week.  One thing I always craved – and do to this day – was a deeper connection with Oprah.  Crazy, I know.  I don’t mean going to a taping of a show or joining some type of groupie gang, I honestly craved two-way interaction.

It was this hole that caused me to explore further the concept of Accessible Media which PowHERhouse is launching this year.  Thanks to new digital applications available, two-way conversation is possible with those who influence your life utilizing the vehicle of media.

We are excited to work with the powHERful women we interview to create connection time, utilizing LIVE video and webinars where women can secure access with Canadian PowHERhouses – and each other – to ask questions, provide comments, engage in on-line conversation.

Gone are the days when media was restricted to one-way.

However, it is up to us to fully utilize what is now available to provide greater access – and connection – to the source of the inspiration and take our conversations one step deeper.

We can’t wait!  Subscribe here to receive upcoming announcements.

Influence & Philanthropy

Oprah’s influence and philanthropy makes my heart swell each and every time I learn more about it.  The legacy she has built will continue to ripple for generations.

I can’t find any holes here.  In fact, it is Oprah’s influence and philanthropy that have been my greatest drivers.  The word that resonates personally for me is ‘impact’.  It is creating a legacy of impact that motivates me every single day.

The accumulation of wealth for the sole purpose of accumulating wealth doesn’t interest me.  I left an established career in the investment industry to launch PowHERhouse sixteen years ago.  While everyone else with busy putting their wealth ducks in a row.  I was disrupting mine.

It is the impact you can make with your influence, resources and reach that powHERfully pulses through my veins.  Not just individually but also collectively as we demonstrate what is possible through coordinated action and effective communication.

This is only the beginning.

Thank you Oprah for leading the way.

The Holes in my Hero are nothing more than opportunities to see where my life’s work fits into the Bigger Picture on a canvass which you had a huge part in painting.

I am forever grateful for our 25 years together.

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About Charlene SanJenko

Charlene SanJenko, Founder + CEO of PowHERhouse Impact Media Group, has worked intimately with thousands of women over the past 20+ years to understand what they need to fully integrate excellence and fulfillment in all areas of their lives. www.powherhouse.com