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Success Newsletters

Volume 3, Number 4 July-August, 2003 Issue

In This Edition
1. The Mary Kay Ash Story
2. Four Lads From Liverpool
4. Recommended Reading

The Mary Kay Ash Story
Mary Kay Ash, one of the most famous and dynamic women in American business, died recently at the age of 83. She was well known for her flamboyant personality and media savvy, as well as her generous rewards program for her cosmetic sales force. She rewarded her top sales performers with gifts, which included diamond rings and pink Cadillac cars. She loved the color pink, so much so that the 19,000-square foot mansion she once owned was painted pink, and included a gigantic pink marble bathtub. She certainly stood out from the crowd with a style all of her own.

Mary Kay was born May 12th, 1918 in Houston, Texas in humble surroundings. By the age of 6, Mary Kay was caring for her seriously ill father while her mother worked 14 hours a day at a restaurant to make ends meet. After her first marriage failed, and with three small children to support, she moved to Dallas and started selling household wares part-time at parties at women’s homes. She was a driven sales person, to the point of writing her weekly sales goals on her bathroom mirror so she would have to face them every morning. Back then she saw the opportunity that would eventually become her cosmetic empire, but lacked the financing to start her company.

For 11 years she worked as a top sales rep and later as a national sales director. She quit her job when a male colleague, originally hired as her assistant, was promoted above her at twice her salary. This forged her determination to create a company that would bring equal opportunities and respect for women. A month before she was about to launch her cosmetic business, her then husband died of a heart attack, but she would not let her dream die and her determination created Mary Kay Cosmetics in 1963 with a sales force of 11.

When once asked about her company, motivation, and business model, Mary Kay said, “I wasn’t interested in the dollars-and-cents part of the business. My interest in starting Mary Kay Inc in 1963 was to offer women an opportunity that did not exist anywhere else.” What a legacy Mary Kay Ash left. She inspired devotion in her sales force, which also grew from 11 in 1963 to 750,000 in 37 countries with wholesale revenue of $1.3 billion (U.S.) in 2002.

Some of her comments and teachings on leadership, management and dealing with people are fascinating. Among them are:

“Whether speaking with a work associate, a customer or a friend, look at people directly in the eye at all times- a wandering eye equates to a wandering mind”

“Treat people fairly and always be truthful with your employees. If they ask for information that you cannot reveal, say so. If they ask something that you don’t know, say that as well”.

“Be consistent in facts and attitude. Be relaxed and confident when dealing with others. Whenever possible use the word “we” instead of “I’ when discussing your people with others, and finally always remember where you came from. Your future in management depends on your ability to work well with people”

“Make every person you come in contact with feel special and important”

Her legacy, in the words of her son Richard Rogers, who is now the CEO of Mary Kay: “The world has lost one of the greatest champions of women and one of the most loving and inspirational business leaders.”

We could learn much from the simple yet profound wisdom of Mary Kay Ash, a visionary who left an incredible lasting legacy.

Four Lads from Liverpool
In 1963 four young lads from Liverpool, England led by their ambitious manager Brian Epstein and fresh from playing the club/disco scene in both the United Kingdom and Germany, submitted a demo tape to Decca Records in London, in the hope of securing a recording contract. They were called in to the studio for a live audition, and were subsequently turned down. Dick Rowe, an executive with Decca at the time said, “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out anyway”.

They were also turned down by most of the big recording companies at that time in England including HMV, Columbia and Philips.

Finally an up and coming producer by the name of George Martin saw their talent and potential and signed them to a long term recording contract with a small studio, named Parlophone.

Those four lads, John, Paul, George and Ringo, went on to do rather well for themselves. In fact the Beatles became the most famous and arguably the most influential band in the history of popular music. Their music is timeless and they have been the inspiration for many of the most famous bands around the world that have followed in their footsteps.

“May your life be as beautiful as a summer’s day with just enough clouds to make you appreciate the sunshine.” Unknown

“Selecting your major definitive purpose in life is the starting point of personal greatness” Brian Tracy

“There are two types of people to market to, those who know and love you, and those who have never heard of you” Patricia Fripp

And Dignity For All; Unlocking Greatness with Values-Based Leadership by James Despain and Jane Bodman
The authors provide a model for becoming a leader with integrity; one who leads by example and builds an organization around a vision and values that others are proud to share. A great read.

The Nordstrom Way; The Inside Story of America’s #1 Customer Service Company by Robert Spector with Patrick D. McCarthy
The title says it all, anybody who is in any form of customer service needs to read this book, the insights and mindset one gains about how Nordstrom’s have built their business and reputation around quality, recognition and service is a fascinating read and they are ideas that can be applied to any business.

Speak Out: Life and success strategies by women for women Editors: Adele Alfano and Kathy Glover Scott
This is a wonderful book written by thirteen women who are experts in their respective fields. They offer their individual perspectives on how you can excel and make your dreams real. In addition their suggestions and solutions for coping with the realities of the workplace and home are invaluable.

Permission is granted to reproduce this newsletter in whole or in part provided the following byline below appears along with the article and that a copy is sent to me after publication. Thank you: To check previous issues for publication, please go to and click on articles/newsletters.

Charles Marcus is an international motivational speaker. To subscribe to his FREE success newsletter, please send an email to An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month. For more information on how Charles, his book and his programs can benefit your organization or group, please call 905-847-2323. Toll-Free in North America at 1-800-837-0629, or visit his website:

Date Added: July 23, 2003 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Newsletters

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