Maya Angelou
Tom Brokaw
Ray Charles
Deepak Chopra
Pres. Bill Clinton
Kenneth Cole
Walter Cronkite
Richard Dreyfuss
Clint Eastwood
Marian Wright Edelman
Gloria Estefan
Antwone Fisher
John Glenn
Darrell Green
Gwen Ifill
James Earl Jones
Quincy Jones
Larry King
Sen. John McCain
Edward James Olmos
Colin Powell
Hal Prince
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Victoria Rowell
Bill Russell
Tim Russert
Martin E. Segal
Martin Sheen
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Mike Wallace
Brian Williams
Oprah Winfrey

Visit MENTOR's website
to find mentoring
opportunities in your


Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey


Who Mentored Oprah Winfrey?

From her humble beginnings in rural Mississippi, Oprah Winfrey has established herself as one of the most important figures in popular culture. Her contributions can be felt beyond the world of television and into areas such as publishing, music, film, philanthropy, education, health and fitness as well as social awareness. As supervising producer and host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah entertains, enlightens, and empowers millions of viewers around the world. In 1998, she was named one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th Century by Time magazine.

One of the defining moments of my life came in the fourth grade, the year I was Mrs. Duncan's student. What Mrs. Duncan did for me was to help me to not be afraid of being smart. She encouraged me to read, and she often stayed after school to work with me, helping me choose books and letting me help her grade papers. For many years after that, I had one goal that I would one day become a fourth-grade teacher who would win the teacher award--because I was going to be the best teacher anyone had ever seen!

Source: The Oprah Winfrey Show


A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. A mentor is someone who allows you to know that no matter how dark the night, in the morning joy will come. A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view.

I think mentors are important and I don't think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship. Nobody makes it alone. Nobody has made it alone. And we are all mentors to people even when we don't know it.

I recognize that I serve as a mentor to many women. Because anybody who makes it, anybody who does achieve any level of success, that says to the rest of the world, "This is possible." That, to me, is the whole point of celebridom, that's the whole point of fame, that's the whole point of notoriety; being able to take what fame you've been given, what notoriety, take what accomplishments, and use that in such a way that people say, "This is possible."

Source: An interview with Oprah Winfrey on WCVB-TV 5 News CityLine (Boston, January 13, 2002).

Back to top


Click book
images for more

Stand by Me:
The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today's Youth

By Jean E. Rhodes


The Person Who
Changed My Life:
Prominent People
Recall Their

By Matilda Raffa
Cuomo, Editor
with foreward by
Sen. Hillary


Because You
Believed in Me:
Mentors and
Protégés Who
Shaped Our World

By Marcia
McMullen and
Patricia Miller


About Us
© 2009 President and Fellows of Harvard College