By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman
Over the last year, as I have blogged about several times, I’ve had the good fortune to work closely with our partner HMSA, as they forge the path to fulfill their Mahie 2020 vision and transform the health of Hawaii from the inside out – both in terms of its individual residents and the healthcare system at large. To help rally the community around this important and innovative vision, we have held several events, including ones featuring our partner Dr. Oz and our friend Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This week marked another such event, and an incredibly special one as we hosted Oprah Winfrey to participate in an event on Maui called Live Your Best Life.
I first met Ms. Winfrey in 2008, when one of my previous companies – HowStuffWorks – was acquired by Discovery, right around the same time she was launching the Oprah Winfrey Network. She asked me then, “If you could do WebMD all over again, what would you do differently?”
I told her that my vision was to empower every person to actively engage in and optimize their own health by better leveraging the latest innovations in data and technology. And she said to me, “Then you should go do that.” In that moment, I established what Oprah would likely call my intention, and two years later that manifested itself in the launch of Sharecare.
That conversation with Ms. Winfrey in 2008, was top of mind on Monday as she delivered much more than just a speech. Nearly six thousand people from across Hawaii came to the event at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center to hear her talk about her personal journey of inspiration and purpose. For over an hour, she gave them hope and motivation, perspective and purpose, laughter and tears. She filled every person in that audience – including me – with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, something referred to in Hawaii as “mahalo.”
While yesterday’s event was planned with Hawaii residents in mind, anyone can benefit from it so I hope you’ll take the time to watch it on our Facebook page. Toward the end of the video, Ms. Winfrey shares advice given to her by her mentor, the prolific poet Maya Angelou: ‘You have no idea what your legacy will be because your legacy is every life you touch.’
It’s in that spirit that we soon will begin deploying the Sharecare platform beyond Hawaii to help everyone manage all their health in one place. From our hometown of Atlanta and across the state of Georgia, to South America and beyond, we have some exciting initiatives planned to help you live your happiest, healthiest and most productive life, no matter where you are in your health journey. Until then, mahalo.