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Another Special Life in Christ

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Mary Kay Ash:

Christian Businesswoman Mary Kay Ash Dies
By Candice McGarvey
Women's Channel Editor

Her legacy will be far more than a profitable company. Women's Channel - Christian businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Mary Kay Ash died of natural causes at her Dallas home on Nov. 22, 2001, after years of fragile health. She is known by the world for the company that bears her name and for her best-selling brand of facial skin care and cosmetics in the United States. But to those who knew Ash, she will be remembered for her faithful perspectives on life, work, and people.

" Many women have made the mistake of changing their beliefs to accommodate their work. It must be the other way around. No circumstance is so unusual that it demands a double standard or separates us from our faith. No matter how fast the world changes, exemplary values must remain constant."

~Mary Kay Ash

She was born Mary Kathlyn Wagner and demonstrated a penchant for selling at a young age when became a top seller of Girl Scout cookies. Her talents and perseverance paved the way to a successful 25-year career working in direct sales for Stanley Home Products and World Gift. During that time she won so many sales awards that she had to cram them into her closet, and she was promoted to national sales director of World Gift. But when male colleagues she had trained were promoted ahead of her, she decided to retire, a move that lasted a month. Inspired to use her retirement years to write a career book for women, she realized that her research made not just for decent book material but a promising business plan. Ash then decided to launch Beauty by Mary Kay.

Competing for her professional concerns were a steady stream of real life incidents, including caring for her seriously ill father when she was a child, raising and supporting her three children after a failed marriage, and the death of her second husband the month before her Beauty venture was scheduled to launch.


"My priorities have always been God first, family second, career third. I have found that when I put my life in this order, everything seems to work out. God was my first priority early in my career when I was struggling to make ends meet. Through the failures and success I have experienced since then, my faith has remained unchecked."

~Mary Kay Ash

Ash's insisted that her personal priority system become the company motto, a move that has inspired Mary Kay's 600,000 independent beauty consultants to live by the words, "God first, family second, career third."

Ash launched the company in 1963 with her life savings of $5,000. Mary Kay Inc. is currently one of the largest privately held firms in the country. It has been recognized numerous times by Fortune magazine as one of "The 100 Best Companies to Work For in America." Mary Kay offers women the flexibility and motivation to successfully balance career and home life. In addition, the business opportunities for women are lucrative with many of the company's national sales directors earning career commissions of over $1 million.

Ash's company has fulfilled her dreams of not only enriching women's lives through financial opportunity, Mary Kay has succeeded in providing its consultants with motivation, recognition, and support. In fact, the Walt Disney Co. asked for and implemented the advice of Mary Kay leadership on motivating their staff. Ash gave credit for her successful management style to the simple truth of the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12). Today, her organization is full of women who strive to treat their customers and each other with the kind of respect and love that they hope to receive. By all measurements, that formula seems to be working as the company continually surpasses its goals. Those who work for Mary Kay Cosmetics are quick to acknowledge that their founder definitely surpassed her own ambitions:

"We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don't know where you're aiming, you don't have a goal. My goal is to live my life in such a way that when I die, someone can say, she cared."

~ Mary Kay Ash

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