This past August, thousands of you entered to win the trip of a lifetime – a chance to meet Oprah Winfrey in person at the O You! event in Atlanta! The event brought together some of Oprah’s most distinguished experts and, of course, Oprah herself, for a day of learning, fun and inspiration.
Below is an interview with the lucky winner, Adrienne Fermoyle of Seattle, Washington! Read about her reactions to winning and her experience at the event below!
How did you react when you found out you won the contest?
My first reaction was total disbelief! On a Friday morning while at my Toastmaster’s meeting, I received a voice mail message and an email from work. They told me that I had to contact Jennifer at Evolutionary Media Group before 5:00 pm that day because I had won a contest.
But even after Jennifer told me that I had indeed won, I wasn’t convinced.
I called and verified that Jennifer’s company did indeed work with the OWN network and if I had received a call from her, it was legitimate. At that point, I told a couple people, but didn’t broadcast the news that I had won until the following week. After the travel arrangements were confirmed and I knew without a doubt that I was going, I told my family and friends!
Have you ever won anything before?
No I haven’t, especially not anything like this. When I told Jennifer that, she suggested perhaps I should play the Lottery, which I did to no avail!
Who did you bring with you to Atlanta?
I brought my friend Billie Herman who had been laid off the week before and she shares the same birthday as Oprah.
What was it like to meet Oprah? Was she different than you expected?
I really wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of meeting Oprah. As it turns out, we were able to have a brief photo opportunity with her and just had time to thank her and tell her we were from Seattle. She was very gracious and greeted everyone warmly. Oprah spoke at the event for about 30-40 minutes. The thing I appreciate most about her is her authenticity and ability to use herself as an example for the life lessons we all encounter.
What did you learn about at O YOU?
Oh my gosh, there was so much! All of the speakers were amazing and I learned something from all of them.
Suze Orman – She is even more impressive in person! Her mantra “live below your means but within your needs” is a timely message. These past couple of years have been economically challenging personally as well as globally.
Dr Oz – He stated that 70% of the factors that control how we age are within our control: not smoking, diet, and exercise. He also explained why belly fat is such a problem (puts stress on our kidneys & liver). New motivation for me to get out there and work out!
Martha Beck – She emphasized the importance of following our passion & if we don’t know what it is right now to go back to the last time we felt it…even (or perhaps especially) if it was when we were a child. She also talked about the importance of not letting fear stand in our way.
Donna Brazile – She is truly a force of nature. I was very impressed by her story and the importance of being politically involved.
Nate Berkus – He was probably the biggest surprise of the day for me. I knew his name and that he is an interior designer but not much more than that. His whole focus was on what story you want your home to tell about you. He said that it is more important to create the atmosphere we want to live in than it is to follow the latest trends etc. It made me think about my living space much differently.
Peter Walsh – He presented with Nate and they complemented one another well. Peter’s main point is that we should only surround ourselves with things that enhance our quality of life. It is not about quantity but quality. He discussed memory clutter and the “I may need it someday” items we keep. I admit I suffer from both of those issues, so hearing him speak in person has given me another perspective about how to deal with my stuff.
In closing, in addition to being such an amazing event, I think the other thing that really surprised me about the whole experience was meeting the other winners and their guests. We all got along really well and felt very connected to one another because of this experience. It was amazing to find out that there were only 6 winners out of 1 million entries. We were quite the diverse group of people and it was fun to meet everyone. There were 3 sets of sisters, (from New York, Illinois and South Dakota), one mother-son duo, a married couple and Billie and I. In addition, the 3 women who were our liaisons with the contest were wonderful as well and it was fun spending time with them.