Arianna Huffington is no one-trick pony. Yes, she's best known for her global media site, The Huffington Post, which is reportedly valued around $1 billion. But she's also authored fourteen books, taken a swing at running for office, and pursued a number of large-scale projects on the side.
So the big question is: What, if anything, will be Huffington's next move now that HuffPo, where she currently presides as editor-in-chief, is owned by Verizon? The telecommunications company scooped up HuffPo's parent company AOL last month for $4.4 billion. Huffington has yet to renew her contract and according to a recent article in The New York Times, she has reportedly said that she's unsure whether her plans for the site can be executed under Verizon's mantle.
HuffPo is known as a liberal bastion--often lauded as the birthplace of new media--whereas Verizon has a reputation for leaning right. For example, Verizon is anti net-neutrality, and has cooperated with government court orders to hand over telephone records. The Huffington Post, for its part, campaigned against the NSA collection initiatives in 2013.
Even if Huffington steps down as editor-in-chief, it's doubtful that her career would end there. Based on her many past achievements, causes, and several past interviews with Inc., we decided to come up with a few ideas for a second act:
1. Launch a wellness or health brand.
Huffington has long been vocal about her belief in what she calls "The Third Metric" of success, which includes first, and foremost, health and well-being. "[For] any entrepreneur, the most important thing we have is human capital. If we exhaust it, we are going to make bad decisions, and we are going to affect our own health, which will have long-term consequences," she said in an Inc. Live interview. To that end, Huffington created "nap machines" at HuffPo, and even told The New Yorker that she hides her smartphones in her bathroom at night so that it won't affect her sleep cycle. She was inspired to shift her priorities when she collapsed from burnout at her office one night, broke her cheekbone, and woke up in a pool of her own blood.
It would make a lot of sense, then, for Huffington to launch a health and wellness startup--or meditation center--perhaps something along the lines of health-focused companies. At the very least, she could continue to advocate for (and implement) corporate wellness regimes.
2. Create her own "Huffington Foundation," focusing on global women's issues.
Huffington famously advocates for a new women's revolution, as she writes in her book "Thrive: The Third Metric To Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder":
"...we simply can't wait any longer for the third revolution to get under way. That's because women are paying an even higher price than men for their participation in a work culture fueled by stress, sleep deprivation, and burnout. That is one reason why so many talented women, with impressive degrees working in high-powered jobs, end up abandoning their careers when they can afford to."
To that end, if Huffington leaves the site, she could very well start a foundation along the lines of Bill Clinton's not-for-profit Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together leading figures in business, NGOs, and others to tackle pressing issues such as education, poverty, and the environment.
3. Run for political office.
At a recent event honoring U.S. senator (D-NY) Kirsten Gillibrand, Huffington said: "We are so used to leaders making terrible decisions, so when you're with Kirsten, you feel like you've discovered something that had been rumored to exist: A political leader who actually has the wisdom to lead, to do good, to find solutions, and to help us tap into our better angels."
Huffington has run for office once before--as an independent candidate for Governor of California in the 2003 recall election--which she lost. She also supported (and is rumored to have convinced) her ex-husband, Michael Huffington, to make a run for senator in 1994, also unsuccessfully.
Perhaps she'll make another bid herself, to help other entrepreneurs "tap into their better angels." She's previously discussed wanting to broaden the GNP to measure happiness, for instance, and supports progressive legislation such as the Family Leave Act.
4. Write another book.
Huffington is a prolific writer: Before "Thrive," she undertook several biographies including "Picasso" and "Maria Callas," as well as some more provocative titles, such as "How to Overthrow the Government."
Another book could certainly be in Huffington's future, perhaps one dedicated to the later years at HuffPo or all that she's learned about journalism since the advent of the website in 2006.
It will be interesting to see how the media maven's tenure at HuffPo plays out--and whether or not any of these pivots are on the horizon.