Sheri Salata: You Are What You Dream
Updated: May 1
“A person who inspires is a person who changes the world in a million ways they will never know.” – Sheri Salata
The first time I met Sheri Salata would be considered a chance encounter by many, but not to me. I know it was a matter of divine timing. The moment I ran into her at a hotel coffee shop, I felt like we were old friends. The day before I had been a part of a conference where she had spoken with authority about re-envisioning your life at any age. Formally co-president of OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) she had recently stepped down to form her own company. Her humor and candor made everyone in the audience feel like she wasn’t a fancy CEO. Sheri was one of us.
Waiting in line for a soy latte, Sheri was leaving soon for her flight. I took a chance and asked if I could schedule an interview with her. To my delight, she said, “Sure.” Next I wanted to know if I could take a photo of her to base a painting on to go along with her profile. Even though she had her hair up in a knot, and no makeup on she readily agreed. That response confirmed to me that Sheri is the real deal. What she projected on stage was no act.
I felt the same genuineness when I spoke to her over the phone the following week. We talked about all the twists and turns she took to get to where she is today, After college she went from a typing pool, to managing a 7-Eleven, to moving into her parent’s basement to regroup. Her job record back then could have made her look like she lacked direction. Sheri assured me that wasn’t the case.
“I was always a seeker but I don’t think I felt at home in my own spirit until I begin to understand what I was really looking for in a job was meaning. No matter what kind of work I was doing I would try to do my best. I wanted to feel like what I contributed was important.”
Today Sheri’s most direct route to finding significance in the workplace is through connecting to her inner light. In her twenties, she had no idea how to make that happen. “When I was younger I was taking the very long way around in terms of living in the light and in terms of trying to anchor myself there. I was trying to contribute and extract meaning from every experience. I was very driven to walk in the light but didn’t really having the spiritual tools to do that.”
In 1995, Sheri got the call to work at the Oprah Winfrey Show. She immediately plugged into her new environment. For the next twenty years, she worked 80 to 90 hours a week. She was happy to do it. During that time, she moved up to executive producer and then to president of Harpo Studios. Then in 2010 the Oprah Show stopped production. After that Sheri moved to California to become co-president of OWN. Working under the tutelage of the of the “Queen of Dreams” served her well. She learned much about doing what she loves, trusting her gut, and unlimited potential. “Watching tapings of the show is where my understanding first began about how life really works. I soaked up all that information on how we are all energy and how we move through the world. That’s when I began to see who I really am and why I’m here.”
“I believe we all have an inner compass, a directive that lives quietly behind the scenes and really is the mastermind behind most of our life decisions.” – Sheri Salata, The Beautiful No
The year Sheri turned 56 she knew it was time to move in another direction. All that insight she gained from the Oprah Show had brought her to a turning point. “I had woke up to the truth that anything is possible and if not now when?” Sheri made the decision to part ways with OWN. Her heart told her it was time and she listened.
Sheri was ready to stop working at such a frantic pace. She wanted to do what she felt prompted to do. She could see that “doing” ruled the day for her at OWN. She was ready to transcend to the place of “being.” “That meant that I was gently letting go of that doer, even though at times I still felt like that doer was super successful,” she laughs.
Sheri left OWN and never looked back. “After so many years of being filled with all the love, support and grace, leaving felt like a natural evolution. It was a beautiful launching and also a time of completion. You have to let go of one thing to hold out your hand for another.”
The best advice Sheri can share with humankind is the same advice she gives to herself daily. “The story you’re telling yourself is the most important story you are going to tell. What you are telling yourself about what’s possible, about your worthiness, about your ability to manifest joy, and about the power of love, is really going to determine everything. It will dictate what you look like, how you feel, and what kind of ride you create for yourself over the next 30, 40, or 50 years. Are you just beginning or are you done? Is the world your oyster or did you already have your spot at the fair?”
Anyone who knows Sheri knows how she’s answering those questions. At her age, most women are winding their lives down. Not so for Sheri. She is amping hers up. Through her memoir, The Beautiful No, and courses on her website, www.sherisalata.com, she is shining a little light onto the world.
She sums up her journey best on her website, “What a road I have walked! What gems I have gathered along the way! Even so, I’m just beginning to understand the mystical nature of this life experience and I applaud the quantum wonder of it all. We expand. We rise. We expand. We rise. The only question I ask myself these days – Are you willing to rise to the level of your expansion, Sheri? I find that I am.”
Today Sheri Salata is doing what many of us loved most about the Oprah Winfrey Show. She is sharing her revelations about how life works. The intention has been set to bring her devotees along with her to the next level. To some that may seem like a tall order, but not to Sheri. She is already living it.
Text and artwork © Sue Shanahan