[heading] by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography [/heading]

When Marie Connors walked into her first Weight Watchers meeting, she had no idea that the organization would become such a big part of her life. “After I joined Weight Watchers, I lost 25 pounds. The organization only hires from within and in 1984, I went to an open house at the request of my leader and the rest is history. Now, I lead 14 meetings a week as a leader, attend one meeting as a receptionist and am one of four coaches who help to mentor and train new leaders,” stated Marie. As a leader, Marie’s goal is to facilitate the Weight Watchers lifestyle by educating members about the benefits of a healthy eating program and the importance of being active. She has seen her team members reach weight loss goals of five pounds to over 180 pounds.faces_Marie

Over the years, Marie has held many positions in Weight Watchers and has been recognized for the past seven years as a Diamond Leader, an award given to members of the Weight Watchers team who have exceeded performance standards. Two of those years, she was also a recipient of the Jean Nidetch award, one of the organization’s top recognitions. “In May, I celebrated 30 years as a part of Weight Watchers. Although it would surprise most people, I never saw myself speaking in front of groups of people all the time. I’m actually a pretty shy person,” revealed Marie.

Marie stays motivated and inspired by the people she helps and is especially proud of a team that she created about five years ago called Team Happy Feet. “This group joins area walks and supports causes, but also shows members that there is an inner athlete in all of us,” related Marie. At one recent walk, about a 100 members walked around Miramar Lake. According to Marie, some participants had never walked five miles before and some were well into their 80s!

When Marie isn’t making a difference at Weight Watchers meetings or with Team Happy Feet, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. “I have twin daughters, Teresa and Marsha, two sons-in-law, Kai and Arnie, and three grandchildren Kiley, Kade and Connor. I’ve been married to my husband for 42 years,” exclaimed Marie. “We met in the seventh grade!” Marie also enjoys camping, playing bingo, archery and taking trips to the desert and the mountains.