In 1985, she was named one of “America’s 25 Most Influential Women” by The World Almanac and Book of Facts. In 1999, she was recognized as Texas Woman of the Century. In 2000, Lifetime Television dubbed her the most outstanding woman in business in the 20th century. In 2003, Baylor University named her the “Greatest Female Entrepreneur in American History” in an academic study.
Her name was Mary Kay Ash.
You may know her by the world famous cosmetics line, which allows for others to ‘start their own business.’ Or maybe you know her by her iconic “Mary Kay Pink” Cadillac, used as a sales incentive for top sellers of the line. No matter what comes to mind, though, I’m sure you know her.
Ash learned early on that the business world was supposedly meant for men. She, however, refused to accept that. In 1963 – at 45 years old – she started her own business: Beauty by Mary Kay. She utilized her business to help lift up other women to take control of their own lives and feel more confident than ever before. When she started her Seminars in 1964, Ash wanted to help other women by providing business information, as well as inspiration. She was known for her motivational speeches, imagining that everyone in the room needed to feel important. It must have worked because the women were hitting the pavement, ready to sell. Within two years, sales had almost tripled.
Her drive to help others has been seen in a variety of ways since she started her business. In 1989, Ash began a corporate recycling program. She followed this with ceasing all animal testing. She also began what is now known as the Mary Kay Foundation, which provides cancer research funding and works to prevent domestic violence.
As of 2018, Mary Kay Inc. supports salespeople in almost 40 countries. Ash’s vision to help women has become a global phenomenon, one that no one can deny as extraordinary.
“Never, absolutely never, compromise your principles.” – Mary Kay Ash