Award-winning television journalist, best-selling author, motivational
speaker, inventor, entrepreneur – JoanLunden.com
Featured Lady Joan Lunden, one of America’s most recognizable and trusted TV personalities, built her career looking at things differently. From her days as a female pioneer in the news world and ascent into early morning network television to most recently offering women’s wellness retreats, launching a child safety product and introducing her home goods line, this former co-host of Good Morning America believes in the possibilities of an idea.
Joan, an award-winning television journalist, best-selling author, motivational speaker, inventor, entrepreneur and mother of seven, will be a speaker at the Ladies Who Launch Global Conference in New York on November 8– 9, 2010.
Before Joan paved the way the way for female broadcast journalists and became the longest-running host on early morning television, she was a 21 year-old college grad intending to work in the business world. That is, until a family friend encouraged her to explore TV news. With the Federal Communications Commission putting pressure on media companies to hire women in the early 1970s, Joan called a local Sacramento station and asked for an interview. Although her on-camera presence impressed the news director, he didn’t have an available position. However, the weatherman saw her audition and offered her the opportunity to be…a weather girl.
“Weather reporting was uninteresting to me but I had the good sense to say, ‘Yes,’” explains Joan. “There were no females and the industry needed smart, savvy and self-confident women.”
“My career afforded me the opportunity to cover some amazing, challenging and scary stories, like jumping out of a plane, climbing the Tetons and being at the controls of an F-18,” she says. “There were times when I’d leave my driveway in the morning, and think to myself, ‘I’m on my way to do what?’”
Joan quickly rose through the ranks at the station, which led her to leave California for a position at WABC New York and eventually become co-host of Good Morning America in 1980 – a role she held for almost 20 years. Although Joan was initially given the softer home and family beat to cover while the hard-hitting news went to her male co-host, during her tenure at GMA she reported from 26 countries, covered four presidents, five Olympics and two royal weddings.
“In the early years, I took the assignments they gave me and made them shine,” she says. “Actually, covering those stories on parenting, health and wellness have very much shaped my career.”
Since leaving GMA, Joan focused many of her projects on sharing wellness information and encouraging people, especially women, to take charge of their health and happiness. One such venture is Camp Reveille, a wellness getaway held in the Sebago Lake region of southern Maine for the past four years. Defined as “a wake-up call,” the program Joan developed allows women to energize their spirits, jump start a fitness program, connect with other ladies, renew sense of self and learn the tools needed to achieve a healthier balance in their lives.
“I saw a unique category that wasn’t being offered in the marketplace, so I created a new opportunity for women to travel to a nurturing and comfortable environment devoid of criticism,” Joan says. “Camp Reveille is a place where women motivate and inspire each other.”
A big proponent of family, like many parents Joan knew the challenges of staying connected to her two sets of young twins while out in public. Knowing that it can only take a second for a child to vanish and not thrilled with the products available to keep kids close, Joan and her husband Jeff Konigsberg invented their own. Joan says, “We knew there had to be a better way.” After a year of designing, developing, testing and manufacturing, the couple introduced KinderKord, a retractable, wrist-to-wrist hands-free connection that keeps a child physically attached to an adult without the stigma of a leash or harness.
When it was time, Joan called the Babies-R-Us headquarters and got an appointment to show KinderKord to the buyers. “Jeff and I were there with 40 other people also hoping to sell their product,” Joan says. “We had 30 minutes to pitch KinderKord. They bought it and we launched two years ago.”
Adding to Joan’s entrepreneurial pursuits aimed at making women’ lives easier, in May she debuted her home goods collection on QVC. Joan Lunden Home represents luxury, style and comfort at an affordable price point and each bedding collection is inspired by Joan’s travels during her 30-year career as a journalist. “QVC approached me to launch my line on their channel,” she says. “Why QVC? I’ve made my living on television, so this was the perfect choice. Plus, QVC really knows its customers.” Next year, Joan Lunden Home will add throws, towels and tabletop accessories.
Unlike celebrities who just license their name to products, Joan has been very involved with the design and production of her home goods line. “I wanted to align myself with a good manufacturer that uses quality materials that I can stand behind,” she says. “I don’t have to be as hands-on as I am, but it’s a lot more fulfilling for me in the end.”
A multifaceted career woman, Joan’s best-selling books include Healthy Cooking, Healthy Living, A Bend in the Road is Not the End of the Road, Wake Up Calls and Growing Up Healthy. She also has an exercise video, Workout America, a skincare line, Resurgence by Murad Skin Care, and hosts Lifetime’s Heath Corner on Sunday mornings.
What we learned from Joan: “If you want to be in the game, just say YES and then figure out how to do it.”
“One of the most important traits a person can have is to find within themselves the ability to be open to possibilities. Most people greatly limit themselves and don’t see the possibilities in front of them.”
Decorating Made Simpler
“I’ve developed Joan Lunden Home to help make life a little bit easier today’s woman – so that she can have style in her home and still have time for herself.”
This Featured Lady was profiled by Megan L. Reese, WORDrobe® Stylist for Her Write Image in West Grove, PA.