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

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • 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...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Isaia Fall Trunk Show

    2014.09.19
     @ Richards

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • SoulCycle GWCH for Make-A-Wish CT

    2014.09.20
     @ SoulCycle

    Make-A-Wish Connecticut is thrilled to be partnering with SoulCycle's Greenwich location for a charity ride on Saturday, September 20th!...

  • Wall Street Tennis Challenge

    2014.09.20
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    The goal of The Wall Street Tennis Challenge is to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts while spreading awareness...

  • Nam Cho Trunk Show

    2014.09.20
     @ Richards

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

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  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...


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