Kristin Graham still has a screen capture that lists her in the credits as a producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show. It’s the kind of thing you want to
show your folks. For Graham, who earned her bachelor’s
degree from Purdue in Theatre Stage Management, it was
the culmination of a decade of job applications and an
unwavering focus on finding a way to work with the Queen
Graham arrived at Purdue as a chemical engineering
student. Despite making the Dean’s List, she knew that
major wasn’t in sync with her passions. During a yearlong
study abroad program in England, she pursued film
and television studies, which sparked newfound career
excitement. Without hesitation, she returned to Purdue,
switched her major, and never looked back.
After graduation, Graham landed a stage management
job at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Around the same
time, she became drawn to The Oprah Winfrey Show.
“Oprah has the power of connection. You can learn from
her, but you can also laugh with her. The rich and poor
wanted to connect to Oprah. All just wanted to be heard
and validated,” she says.
Graham had her first brush with the Oprah show in the
most unconventional way. An announcement during an
episode urged viewers to write in to Oprah and tell her their
dreams. Graham’s letter read, “My dream is to be the stage
manager for The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Two months later,
a team of Oprah’s producers and a camera crew surprised
Graham backstage at the Goodman. Oprah’s producers had
chosen her to have her dream come true.
“I was told I had been selected and would be following
Dean Anderson around as stage manager for the day on
The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she explains. Did it land her
the job? No, but it was her first real experience working in