Mary Kay Ash: a Successful Female Entrepreneur

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In the past, people expected to see a male at the top of most organizational hierarchies. At many companies, the proverbial glass ceiling has kept women from gaining access to the highest positions in the company, creating a good ole boys club of sorts within many professional business industries. While several women have shattered the glass ceiling and advanced beyond the limitations traditionally placed on women within corporate America, some have taken an entrepreneurial approach to self-empowerment and success in the business world. This assessment highlights aspects of Mary Kay Ash as a successful entrepreneur and identifies certain personal characteristics that helped make her successful. Most people are familiar with Mary Kay, Inc., yet are unfamiliar with the core philosophies and values touted by the woman who founded the company, Mary Kay Ash. Stuever (2001) noted the following concerning Mary Kay and her legacy: Instead of merely telling women they could have it all, cosmetics empress Mary Kay Ash gave it. Via the quasi-religious baptism of a good facial, she liberated hundreds of thousands of women (and a few men) who had not yet seen themselves in an entrepreneurial light (p. C.01). She was more than an entrepreneur; she gave birth to entrepreneurs, literally and figuratively, empowering both women and men to take control of their lives, careers, and futures. Mary Kay Ash’s personal story demonstrates the power of commitment and risk-taking as part of the entrepreneurial spirit. In 1963, the newly widowed Ash was 45 years old and raising three children while selling home products door-to-door (Stuever, 2001). After 25 years in the direct selling business, Mary Kay Ash resigned from her position as a national training director when a man she trained was promoted above her and paid twice her salary (Mary Kay, 2009). Frustrated

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