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One of the most powerful women in entertainment and the 2013 cover subject for The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Power 100 issue, Oprah Winfrey has her own favorite definition of power. Winfrey, the recipient of this year’s Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, praised the former Paramount and 20th Century Fox exec, who was sitting front and center.
“You’ve got to be powerful, and I mean powerful in its true definition. My favorite definition of power is ‘strength over time,'” Winfrey said on the stage. “You’ve got to know who you are and keep getting stronger by doing what all smart women do: we use our instincts. And I know that you did, time and time again.”
The award, given for accomplishments in service, also inspired Winfrey to call upon the Beverly Hills Hotel crowd — many of them already involved in THR‘s Women in Entertainment Mentoring Program — to use their power to fulfill others.
“Joseph Campbell says that the privilege of a lifetime is to be who you are,” Winfrey told the crowd. “What I know for sure is that getting to use who you are to elevate the higher good of everyone else … that is the true purpose of leadership. How do you use your power to elevate the life of somebody else? That’s what everyone in this room has been called to do. How you do it, that should be your life’s greatest joy.”
She also noted what a fortunate time and place she and the women in the room live in, saying “We get to do what billions of women throughout the world don’t get to do. We get to live our calling.”
Winfrey was introduced by longtime friend Maria Shriver, whose touching introduction included a poem she had written for Winfrey titled “Becoming.”
(see the video below).
“It has been a long, steep climb, inside and out, but here you stand. Strong and vulnerable. Proud and humble,” Shriver read. “It has been a long road to becoming. Think back to when you weren’t sure. To when you spoke to God and asked him to guide you. Becoming asks that you listen, not just to them, but to you.”
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