Jean Nidetch
Nidetch believed that her efforts to lose weight would be enhanced by talking to others going through the same process. What began as a small support group meeting in her New York apartment in 1963 turned into a phenomenally successful international business. As word spread about the success of Nidetch’s group, a booming franchise business was born. Weight Watchers was the first organized self-help program targeted to the overweight population. By the time she sold the operation to Heinz & Company in 1978, it had revenues of $1 billion and franchises in every state and dozens of countries around the world.