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Rachael Ray: To her own self, she’s true

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

To be a leader — even a relentlessly perky one — you must be yourself.

Take Rachael Ray. Although her unflagging cheerfulness provokes loathing from some quarters, Ray’s ability to remain true to character has launched her from food show phenomenon to talk show host.

A few examples:
  • Ray is so effervescent that she almost has too much energy to deal with people one on one.

    “She kind of explodes through the television,” says Food Network President Brooke Johnson.

    In fact, when Terry Wood — an executive at the company that co-produces Ray’s new program — came home from work a few years ago, she found her daughter engrossed in Ray’s show on the Food Network. Asked what she liked about Ray, the 6-year-old pointed to her eyes and smiled, saying “She’s always happy.”

  • Fellow food celebrity Wolfgang Puck compares Ray to Julia Child, not in personality but in her message: Good cooking is for everybody. Ray’s common touch extends to her upstate- New York lingo, which includes expressions like “yum-o” and “Good thinkin’, Lincoln.”

  • She has a sharp sense of herself. When a Las Vegas affiliate station wanted a promo that said “Join me for an entertaining and unpredictable hour of television,” Ray instead blurted out “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but if you want to know what happens on my show, you’ll have to check it out at 10 a.m.”
Lesson: Whether it’s moxie or modesty, couple your own personality with a good attitude, and you’ll win.

—Adapted from “Rachael Ray has a lot on her plate,” Joel Stein, Time.

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