Florine Mark rose up from humble beginnings on Detroit’s west side. Once a person who struggled with weight issues herself, she not only overcame that challenge, but capitalized on the experience to become a successful entrepreneur. Today, as President and CEO of WW Group Inc., she is the leading franchise holder of Weight Watchers International in the U.S.
While her name is certainly synonymous with weight loss, Florine’s work extends much farther than that. She serves as an advisor, advocate, or board member on approximately 35 committees and civic organizations. She hosts her own weekly morning radio show, Remarkable Women on Magic 105.1 FM in Metro Detroit and can be seen each week on Ask Florine a popular segment on WXYZ’s Action News that airs around the state.
BMN: How do you think growing up in has Michigan impacted your life and career?
FLORINE: I grew up here surrounded by a lot of family and love, and I always had a wonderful time. I always knew I wanted to live here for the rest of my life. I love the change of seasons, the cultural experiences, and northern Michigan. We have the best people here who have really impacted my careers, by always being kind, loving and helpful. I love Michigan.
BMN: What recommendations do you have for Michigan kids who want a career in business?
FLORINE: Get good grades, go to college, follow your dreams and be able to make changes as you go along if you are not happy. Take advantage of all the wonderful networking available in the state of Michigan from people of all ages. Dream big and make each and every one of those dreams come true.
BMN: Many say that entrepreneurship is the key to an economic turn-around. What advice do you have for brave new entrepreneurs in these challenging times?
FLORINE: I think that we need to start manufacturing again in this country, and the bulk of those opportunities for investment can be right here in Michigan. I think that up and coming entrepreneurs need to learn a much as they can and apply it. They really need to find out what people want, and give it to them in the form of services or goods. Let your imagination run wild and keep trying, because people that stop trying are failures.
BMN: March is National Nutrition Month so what are some Michigan made or grown foods that you recommend for a healthy lifestyle?
FLORINE: All fruits and vegetables grown in Michigan are fabulous for a healthy lifestyle. Try to buy as much in Michigan as you can because that will keep our state employed. So buy up and support the mitten and our agriculture.
BMN: What are some assets or places that make Michigan special to you?
FLORINE: The zoo, the DIA, the opera house, Eastern Market and Cobo Hall, the riverwalk, our greenways, and northern Michigan. I could go on and on, but the important thing to remember is to always take advantage of these important assets because they are unmatched in our region.
BMN: What are your thoughts on the Buy Michigan Now concept and the idea of supporting local businesses?
FLORINE: It can only improve our economy. I think we should buy American and support all our businesses because all these businesses support our culture. We are lucky to live in Michigan because what we invest in supports and enriches the people of Michigan.
BMN: You have a long history of philanthropic activity. Why is it so important to you to give back to your community?
FLORINE: The community has done so much for me and my family. Growing up, I was very poor and if it wasn’t for others giving back many of the things that really allowed me to have great experiences and helped my family when we were truly in need wouldn’t have been possible. Now I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a giver and no longer be a taker. Knowing that I can even in small way help someone else have a better life is so rewarding for me, and that is why I do it.
BMN: What Shout Out do you have for the people of Michigan?
FLORINE: I love and enjoy all of Michigan and all it has to offer. So I encourage you to enjoy all that Michigan has to offer and be a proud ambassador for this great state. Advocate for Michigan make sure everyone know how Michigan is the BEST place to live.