Inspiring, innovative, empowering and business-savvy are just a few of the words often used to describe Florine Mark, President and CEO of The WW Group, Inc., based in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Florine, has used her knowledge, influence, energy and resources to help people help themselves.
Florine is the leading U.S. franchise holder of Weight Watchers International. The WW Group, Inc., an internationally recognized weight loss enterprise, had its humble beginnings as a family business created by Florine from the ground up. Her relatives were the first members, while Florine’s mother worked the telephones.
Success and growth quickly followed as Florine consistently acquired franchises throughout the Midwest, East Coast, Canada and Mexico. Some of these franchises were sold in 2003 in a lucrative deal to Weight Watchers International, but Florine retained all operations in her home state of Michigan, as well as in Northern Ontario, Canada.
A multi-faceted entrepreneur with a special eye toward empowering women, Florine employs a large number of women from diverse backgrounds in her Michigan and Canadian operations.
Her name is certainly synonymous with weight loss, but her work extends much farther than that. From her contributions to health and nutrition, women and cultural concerns, business and entrepreneurship, and charitable and community revitalization, Florine has left her mark regionally and on a national level.
She serves as an advisor, advocate and board member on approximately 35 committees and civic organizations, including the Detroit Institute for Children, Business Leaders for Michigan (Formerly Detroit Renaissance), Committee of 200, University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center National Advisory Board, Henry Ford Health System Board of Trustees, Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, and Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. She has also serves as a member of the Seeds of Peace and was the chair of the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Affiliated with some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions, Florine serves on The Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy’s School of Government where she works to globally advance women in leadership and public policy.
An avid cheerleader for both the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit, Mark is also an activist and board member to many of the city’s most influential bodies. Mark was appointed to Michigan Governor’s council on Physical Fitness, is an Executive Board Member at Children’s Hospital of Detroit, and sits on the Board of Directors of Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce (the largest chamber in the country).
Florine’s empowering message on wellness, self-esteem and entrepreneurship has put her in great demand as a speaker at business and health conferences, business conferences, medical facilities and educational institutions across the country. Florine has ranked high in Crain’s Detroit Business Magazine Fittest CEO contest since 2003. She hosts her own syndicated weekly morning radio show, “Remarkable Women,” on Magic 105.1 in Detroit. She also hosts a weekly news segment called “Ask Florine” WDIV (NBC-Detroit). Florine fulfilled a life-long dream by writing her first book “Talk to the Mirror”. In it, Florine speaks from the heart about what it takes to triumph in all areas of life including family, career and relationships.
A quiet philanthropist, Florine has supported many charitable organizations and even as a young girl marched the streets of Detroit collecting lose change for the March of Dimes. Fittingly, her passion for health and wellness spilled over into her philanthropy and as a Governor on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit donated $1 million dollars to support a fitness center and sports complex that currently holds her namesake. In Addition, she designated $1 Million dollars to Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital for the Florine Mark Inpatient Unit for Women’s & Children’s Health.
Florine’s career has been filled with numerous accolades. She was the first woman to be inducted in the National Management Associations Hall of Fame, she was also honored Entrepreneurial Visionary Award from the Women’s Business Center in Washington, D.C. , Crain’s Detroit Business named her one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Detroit. On a Global level, Florine received the Euro-American Woman’s Council Artemis Award in Greece and in Monaco she was named as one of STAR Group’s 50 Leading Female Entrepreneurs in the World .
In April of 2008, Florine was chosen by Wayne State University’s School of Business as Michigan’s Executive of the Year. Her name has been bestowed upon the Endowed chair of Entrepreneurship at WSU. Mark was also chosen as one of a select few Michiganians of the year by the Detroit News for making living in the state a richer experience with her good work in community and the example she sets. That same year she was given the President’s Award for Fitness from the Governor of Michigan.
On a personal note, Florine acknowledges that her most precious moments are devoted to her family to which she is utterly dedicated. She has five children and is the “bonus mom” to many more. As for the future, Florine plans to continue to inspire, educate and motivate people to making a lifelong commitment to happiness and a healthy lifestyle. But most of all – to be the very best they can be each and every day!