5 Minutes With. . . Nancy Hala and Sheri Salata


Nancy Hala and Sheri Salata have spent decades making huge strides in the workforce. Nancy spent over 20 years as the go-to brand strategist, writer and creative director for Fortune 500 companies. Sheri worked alongside Oprah Winfrey, ultimately serving as the final executive producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Their incredible careers have led them to each other to create STORY, a female-led media company producing content for print, TV, film, digital platforms and live events. STORY’s mission is “expanding a vision of freedom, growth, joy and dream-building.”


How did you come to create STORY?

Who wouldn’t love to launch a dream company with one of their besties?  Nancy and I have been having chardonnay chats for years. We’d wonder what would it be like to take our incredible friendship chemistry and create what matters to us. What has lifted the whole experience over the top is that our commitment to radical self-care and redefining the middle of life is not only our shared personal DreamQuest, but the foundation for our company.

How does what you learned from your time with Oprah influence how you run a business today?

All decisions made at the Oprah Show and Harpo Studios revolved around intention. Nancy and I just naturally flow into that philosophy. We have an intentional friendship and now an intentional professional partnership.

Why did you create the podcast?

Our podcast This is Fifty with Sheri and Nancy came about after the enthusiastic recommendation of WME powerhouse agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. She said, “You should be doing a podcast with Nancy about your journey.” Initially I was lukewarm, having spent decades producing television but now I am an evangelist about podcasting. It is truly the new day. Portable.  Perfect for multitaskers. It takes talk radio to a whole new level. We are having the time of our lives taping our show.

What advice do you have for young women trying to become entrepreneurs?

Do it! That’s what I say. I spent most of my life working for others and I have been gobsmackingly inspired by the young women I meet who are launching their own dreams and working for themselves. Running your own thing is the surest way to freedom.


What was the greatest part of creating STORY?

The greatest part of building our own company was the dreaming-it-up part. We sat around the pool at Sheri’s house one weekend, typing on our laptops, putting words to paper about the kind of business we wanted to run and the kind of life we wanted to live. And then we set about making it all come true.

It is the best thing ever to work side by side with my sister-friend of 28 years and give ourselves the permission to work on projects that excite us and with people we are thrilled to know. We have a favorite mantra: Do the work you love, with the people you love, for the people you love.

Can you tell me about the This Is Fifty retreat?

This is Fifty with Sheri and Nancy: The Weekend is our very first live event. In our podcast, This is Fifty with Sheri and Nancy, we talk about the 8 Pillars of our DreamQuest. We are on a mission to live the lives of our dreams and we have 8 areas of focus that keep us on track: Health & Wellness, Spirituality & Happiness, Romance & Sex, Friends & Family, Creativity & Innovation, Adventure & Discovery, Sanctuary & Beauty … and a new one that we are announcing soon. During The Weekend live event in the redwood forests outside of Santa Cruz, we are going to dive into each of these pillars with some of the greatest teachers and wisdom keepers of our time: Deepak Chopra, Nate Berkus, Jeremiah Brent, Kris Carr, Dani Shapiro, Dr. Laura Berman, and Angela Manuel-Davis. It’s an amazing line-up. And we are thrilled to be able to hold our inaugural event at 1440 Multiversity — a breathtakingly beautiful 75-acre campus in Scotts Valley, CA, dedicated to enlightenment and joy and personal growth. The dates are August 24 – 26 and tickets are on sale now at 1440.org/thisisfifty.

What do you hope guests take away from the retreat?

First of all this event is open to absolutely everyone, not just women in their 50s! The Weekend is for everyone who wants to ignite their imaginations and fuel their vision for what life can be. As they return home, we want people to literally sprout wings and fly. Is that too big a dream? We don’t think so.

What advice do you have for young women trying to become entrepreneurs?

Work with people you love and trust. Dive into the work that makes your heart sing. Be persistent and adaptable, because sometimes the road is curvy — there will be twists and turns you did not expect. And above all else, dream big.