think each obstacle can turn into an
opportunity," says Florine Mark — a
woman who really knows how to turn
losses into gains.
About 25 years ago, Mark got rid of a
weighty obstacle and came up with a
wonderful opportunity. At the time, she
needed a job and intended to go into public
relations or advertising. But she had an im-
age problem of her own: 50 extra pounds
that could easily squash her employment
Having shed her excess poundage as
many times as a cat has lives, Mark had
tried it all: shots, pills and smooth-talking
girth-busters. "All of the sudden, Weight
Watchers was there," she says. "There were
signs urging me in that direction — an ar-
ticle in a magazine, a lady mentioning
Weight Watchers at a luncheon."
A determined Mark commuted to New
York to attend Weight Watcher meetings,
once a month for a week at a time. After
Mark reached her weight goal, the founder
of Weight Watchers, Jean Nidetch, invited
her to start a class in Detroit.
FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 1990
"Wonderful," the newly slim Mark
Her first classes were held in her liv-
ing room. Attendance doubled, and doubl-
ed again. Soon, Mark was doing P.R., adver-
tising and accounting for her burgeoning
enterprise. Eventually, she opened an office
and hired a staff. The rest, as they say, is
Discussing her work, Mark is bouyant,
forthright and more energizing than a
chocolate bar. When asked to list some of
the components of her success, she said:
• "Believing in myself."
• "The need or desire to help other peo-
ple." (One of Mark's first accomplishments
when she brought Weight Watchers to
Detroit was helping her wheelchair-bound
sister lose weight, enabling her to be fit-
ted with braces and crutches so that she
• "A good -sense of humor."
• "A sense of urgency. I like to get
things done. And I follow through. That's
• "A nurturing personality?'
• "I'm in love with what I do. I love com-
ing to work and the people who work with
• "Growing up in a family where we
had a lot of love, but were somewhat poor
monetarily. Being successful was very im-
portant to ma"
And, Mark says, her family reinforced
the vision of herself as a success. "My
mother always thought that her three
daughters were the most wonderful in the
world, and she would tell us all the time.
"So did my father, as well as my six
aunts and uncles, and my grandparents —
because we lived all together in the same
house for the first 15 years of my life.
"I had a whole chorus of people who
kept telling me that I was terrific, that I
could do whatever I wanted to do if I
wanted to do it badly enough. And I believ-
ed them. I'm a believer?'
When asked about the role of luck in
achieving positive outcomes, Mark doesn't
skip even one slim beat: "I think believing
that you're lucky makes you lucky," she
says. "That's the truth." ❑