One-on-One with Joan Lunden

The legendary news anchor reflects on the importance of family and passion in business



Joan and her family.

©Annie Watson

Joan Lunden holds the record as the longest-running anchor in morning news, beginning the day with viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America for seventeen years. Since leaving GMA in 1997, she has become her own personal brand, launching several business ventures—from cookware to mattresses—all related to her passion for health and wellness.

We caught up with the enterprising mother of seven (that includes two sets of twins ages nine and eleven) before her appearance as a guest panelist at Moffly Media’s annual Women in Business seminar this month.

On choosing business ventures…

It kind of comes about organically. I say the best projects to be involved with are the projects that make sense for your life. My focus has been very much on health and wellness. Even back when I started at GMA, I would get those stories on home, health, education and parenting. Part of the reason I got those stories was because I was the female anchor—and that’s what they gave me back then—but I loved doing them because they related to my life. I believe the best businesses to start are the ones you think will add value to people’s lives. If it’s just about making money, it’s not going to work.

On being the spokesperson for A Place for Mom, A senior care referral agency…

My mom had lived with my brother Jeff [who had a variety of health problems], and when he died [in 2007] I naturally thought I’d bring her here to live with me, but she was a California girl through and through and didn’t want to leave. I found that everywhere she went was about five years off—by that I mean we kept putting her in places sort of designed for the person she used to be—and when we finally got it right, it was in A Place for Mom [recommended] facility. I came to realize that finding the right fit for your loved ones is a struggle that so many families and caregivers go through; it is really essential to have support and guidance from real experts.  

On founding Camp Reveille, a summer camp for women…

My husband [Jeff Kongisberg] owns summer camps and for as long as I’ve known him, I’ve tried to spend a good part of my summer with him in Maine. Then one summer, all the little boys left at the end of the last session and I said to Jeff, “We have the three best weekends of the summer coming up and look, the place is empty.” And that’s how we started talking about the idea. I love the idea that we provide a place where women can recharge. We’re so often in the role of caregiver that we don’t take the time to do anything for ourselves. I tapped into some of my husband’s best people. We have absolutely great exercise classes, tennis, relays, archery, crafts, campfires at night and an amazing waterfront—all the things you would expect from a camp. We have campers who range in age from twenty-one to eighty; mothers and daughters, lots of sisters and friends who come together for reunions.

On being the first major television anchor to be “publicly” pregnant…

I didn’t have a choice!  I sat behind a very low coffee table with a very large belly, and I was the first woman to do that. But it was always a delicate balancing act. The network said, “Don’t talk about the pregnancy. Don’t talk about the baby.” But when your announcement is covered by everyone and every magazine wants to ask you about it, you don’t have a choice unless you want to alienate everyone. Back then, I kind of made it up as I went along. I came to work on my first day back with a baby in my arms, and I always had them with me, even when I was traveling.

On her new business collaborator…

Right now, my second-oldest daughter [Lindsay Krauss Weinberg] is working for my company. And what’s interesting is I didn’t ask her to work for me. She came and said, “I see what you’re doing, and I want to help you build this brand.” It’s an amazing thing to have your daughter invested in your dreams and hopes.

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • SAT & ACT Prep Classes

    2014.08.02
     @ Greenwich Education Group

    If you are planning on taking the SAT or the ACT in October or November, this is an ideal time to start your preparation! Once school begins,...

  • Family Fun Art Activities: Roz Chast - A Cartoon Creation

    2014.08.20
     @ Bruce Museum

    This is a free, drop-in program for families. Pick up a self-guided gallery hunt for the featured exhibition -- Roz Chast, Beyond The...

  • Seaside Center: Shoreline Seining and Plankton Tow

    2014.07.20
     @ Seaside Center

    Help us gather plankton and see what creatures are living in our ocean’s water! Examine microscopic organisms caught in our plankton net...

  • Cool and Collected ‘14

    2014.07.10
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    (Gallery 1) Featuring artists:  Carla Goldberg, Melanie Kozol, Francis Sills, and Eve Stockton Summer exhibition at Kenise Barnes...

  • Summer Vacation Day Programs- Grades K-6

    2014.08.18
     @ Stamford JCC

    Monday August 18 To Friday August 22, 8am – 6pm Monday-Baking a Mitzvah Tuesday-Scavenger Hunt Wednesday- Ice Cream Craze....

  • TREEHOUSES: Look Who's Living in the Trees!

    2014.06.21
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Saturday, June 21 - Monday, September 1 Hidden in the leaves, snug in the trunk or burrowed under the roots, what types of animals actually...

  • Exhibit: Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.03
     @ Bruce Museum

    May 3 – August 31, 2014 Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing This exhibition focuses on two of the world’s leading...

  • Seaside Center: Squid Disection

    2014.07.16
     @ Seaside Center

    Join us for a special opportunity to learn all about these fascinating mollusks! Call (203) 637-3515 or email seasidecenter@brucemuseum.org...

  • Wine Time Social Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.27
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    $4.00 select wines, $4.00 well drinks, and $3.00 beers.

  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.26
     @ Morello Italian Bistro

    Refresh yourself with our famous Red & White Sangria! Don’t forget that during happy hour every day 4:30pm-6:30pm your 2nd drink...

  • Pregnancy /Baby Fair

    2014.08.21
     @ Gigge Store

    Happy Healthy Pregnancy and Baby Fair August 21st ;30-8;30 pm Giggle BabyStore 102 Greenwich Ave. Greenwich CT Personlized shopping,...

  • Greenwich MakerBot Store Innovator Session with Jess Chung

    2014.08.21
     @ Greenwich MakerBot Store

    Teachers, students, parents, and everyone interested in modern education and technology is invited to hear Jess Chung, a teacher and MOUSE Squad...

  • Happy Hour Beauty Thursdays!

    2014.06.30
     @ ELLELA Cosmetics & Lashes

    Our Summer Happy Hour Beauty Thursdays are back at ELLELA Cosmetics! Hit the top of Greenwich Ave from 4pm to 8pm for the BEST Blowouts before...

  • Tree-Mendous Treks

    2014.07.10
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Thursdays, July 10 - August 21, 3:30 - 4:30 pm After visiting our new exhibit, TREEHOUSES: Look Who's Living in the Trees, join one of...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Seaside Center: Coastal Scavenger Hunt

    2014.07.03
     @ Seaside Center

    Timed for low tide exploration. A scavenger hunt for nature’s treasures. 11:00 am: July 3, 17, 31, Aug 14, 28 3:00 pm: June 26, July...

  • Seaside Center: Seaweed Pressing

    2014.07.18
     @ Seaside Center

    Look at the different seaweeds around Greenwich Point and learn about their role in the marine ecosystem. We will end with a seaweed pressing...

  • Seaside Center: Arts and Crafts

    2014.07.18
     @ Seaside Center

    Let your creativity float free! Practice the art of Gyotaku fish prints; make a sundial, a shell wind chime, or fish bowl! Activities vary every...

  • Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.09
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    Each Friday we feature new wines just released and new to market for you to have an opportunity to taste and learn about through our sponsored...

  • Saturday Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    We will feature an array of new and different International wines that are selected by our staff as “Staff Picks Favorites” in...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Best of Greenwich
    Delamar Greenwich Harbor
  2. A Picnic for Every Occasion
    Where to picnic in town + what to pack
  3. Island Time: Nantucket
    Even if you’ve been visiting this little slice of paradise for years, here are a few gems you may not know about
  4. 10 Things Greenwich Teens Can Do This Summer
    One Greenwich teen shares some suggestions for summer fun!
  5. Save the Children Benefit
    Riverside Yacht Club