CEO, The WW Group, Inc. (formerly Weight Watchers)
Florine Mark is likely the most high-profile, recognizable Jewish woman in the Detroit Jewish community at this time. As President and CEO of The WW Group (formerly Weight Watchers), she frequently speaks publicly, appears on the radio and television, and is known for her involvement with numerous boards and Jewish or civic organizations.
But Florine's commitment and energy is not expended only in public. To her family and friends, she is incredibly generous, loving and available. Florine is the ultimate wife, mother, grandmother, entrepreneur and businesswoman.
Florine was inspired by her grandmother, "Bubba Better." (Florine's daughter, as a young child often asked, "Bubba, better?") Bubbabetter, Rachel Bagel Grossberg, born in Poland and married to Moses Grossberg, worked at Grossbergs Market in Detroit five days a week. She bought produce and worked tirelessly in the store as a salesperson while maintaining her home where 13 family members lived, and while she dealt with osteoporosis. Saturday for this Orthodox family was a day of rest and on Sundays, Rachel stood on the corner collecting funds for various Jewish causes.
"When I was good, I was allowed to help her," says Florine. "She taught me that women can do anything they want and my father taught me to give back."
As an entrepreneur and businesswoman, Florine has always worked in a male environment - often the only woman, in later years one of few. She did not consider this to be an obstacle, merely a fact. In the early years, when seeking a loan of $5000 to start a business, she was denied the funds because she was a woman. She refused to ask for a male sponsor but talked her backers into trusting her skills. She obtained the money and proved they were right in backing her.
Even as a child, Florine expected that she would take care of her family. Her sister, Sondra, contracted polio at age 9. Prior to her death, Sondra was always seen with Florine by her side. She is close to her remaining sister, Micki Berg, and her nieces and nephews, her children and grandchildren. Florine is grateful that she was able to fund the college education of her family members.
Florine Mark has been the Chairman of the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit, and serves or has served on many boards including: Jewish Federation of North America, Jewish Federation and United Jewish Foundation of Metro Detroit, Business Leaders for Michigan (formerly Detroit Renaissance), Henry Ford Health System Foundation, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government Women's Leadership Board. She was the Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago after serving on the board for three years and was the first woman to be inducted in the National Management Association Hall of Fame. She has received many honors and awards including the William Davidson Lifetime Achievement Award. She was the first woman to receive the Neil Shine Award and Crain's Detroit Business Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Detroit.
Florine Mark is recognized for her business prowess and her community service. She promotes women leaders and has a radio program on WNIC called Remarkable Women, where she interviews extraordinary women. She is also seen each week on the highly popular “Ask Florine” segment, carried on NBC’s local television station, WDIV’s Local 4 News.
The consummate volunteer, Florine does not wait to be asked to serve. "Here I am," she says. I've got some time to give. My expertise is marketing."
As matriarch of her family, she continues to promote three aspects of life that are important to her: movement or exercise, good nutrition, and sociability or human contact.
Florine Mark is a role model as a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, a Jewish activist and volunteer, a donor and citizen. She is forever young.
"I do not talk about years. I talk about days. Each day is measured in what I can do and what I am grateful for."
Submitted by: Jeannie Weiner