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2007-12-07 - 10:03 a.m.

Sometimes beauty comes from the inside out, and sometimes from the outside in.

I am so pleased to have found a personal mentor. Through my volunteer work I met a wonderfully dynamic woman who has devoted this phase of her life to seeking out women and encouraging them NOT TO ALLOW WORKING FOR CORPORATE AMERICA TO CONSUME THEM.

Her story is that after a very successful career, she developed breast cancer.
She fit in chemotherapy while still working insane hours. Then she lost her job. Without any empathy or provisions for the future. Without appreciation for what she brought to the company. She was a VP of International Sales at the time.

She told me parts of this story, but with wonderful humility never shared all of it. She never shared her bio that I found which is from years ago. So does not name, nor malign the last company she worked for. She said she could write a book about the glass ceiling and being a successful women, but to do so would be to focus on the negative and she prefers to choose to focus her energy on the positive and instead seeks to empower women to a better way- the path which she found that led her to not only maintaining financial and professional success but allowed time for other aspects of life as well. She attests most of her experience was fighting against the attitude that women CAN NOT achieve THAT SUCCESSFULLY... she speaks of the glass ceiling, and how she had to be that much better to break through it. To be honest she doesn't see corporate America as evil, just ENTRENCHED in company cultures which are not aligned with values of PRO FAMILY and supportive to working women maintaining balance. She sees the work she is doing now as different where the values of family come first, where WOMEN are valued as equal as men. I see it as different as the company she is now aligned with professes the values of GOD, Family, and then career in that order of priority.


has over 22 years of experience in field Sales, Sales Management, and Marketing, while selling advanced information technology solutions involving hardware, software, systems, and services. Her broad experience includes working for entrepreneurial high growth companies such as Cricket Software and most recently IMRglobal, as well as Fortune 500 companies such as Sterling Software and Cap Gemini America, with a vertical market emphasis in the Insurance, Financial, Medical, Communications, and Hospitality areas. Ms. ??????? has held numerous Sales Management positions including District and Regional Sales Manager, National Sales Manager, Director of Business Development and Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Throughout her career, she has developed and implemented successful strategic Sales and Marketing Plans and worked with Senior Management in resolving a broad range of business and marketing issues. Ms. ?????????? holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Psychology from the University of Texas. She has also lectured to various groups nationally with a specific focus on "Breaking into the Selling Game" and "Women in Sales".

Now what is funny is that she has recruited me to work with her. She said "Honey if you want a job you have one."

I was skeptical.
When talking on the phone (before having found this bio) when it got wavy she commented on that ... then in her sharp manner she started asking me about the VOIP service, and I explained how it works and that I think it remarkable but that I think it really came to market just a bit too early and that can be the death of a great technology. I commented it would work in a place with reliable internet, and redundancy, and that some of these towns that are installing their own towers are brilliant and if they build well and wise and have that redundancy they can bundle services and sell them the way towns now manage water and utilities.

BLAH BLAH... she played dumb, not telling me her former life WAS TECHNOLOGY

Then she asked me if I thought of seeking work in that sector, and as quickly as she said it stopped herself and said "I CAN't believe I just said that! HERe I've devoted the past few years encouraging women TO LEAVE corporate America and work for themselves."

I loved her story. I loved hearing how she started out telling me "If you want a job honey, you have one."
Then said "It has amazing potential for someone who thinks of it in those terms- A CAREER. Or it could just be a part time thing, that is up to you."

For you see, my mentor who at minimum can offer me a chance to network with other women, and who is devoted to connecting women to each other-

I love the way she tells the story of how she met a Mary Kay Lady who tried to recruit her, and how she just laughed and said "You have been selling lipstick for over twenty years?"

She says she told her "I'm an Estee Lauder/Lancome girl" and as she says
"I was the ultimate snob. I mean, I was ALREADY successful and thought I am not putting that on my face!"

She said she was too highbrow for it.

But then she got cancer. So she did the AVON BREAST CANCER WALK one year. And then she rediscovered MARY KAY.

And she is thrilled that even when she was struggling with her health, it enabled her to maintain her lifestyle here in Northern VA.

What I thought interesting most of all was that I had noted her MARY KAY blurb on a Master Gardener e-mail she sent out. I had followed her link and read about the company over a month before meeting her, thinking "Well if all else fails and I still get no interviews, there is always cosmetics!"

I went to the site and was impressed when I read about the company's values, how it started, and that they make domestic violence the issue they make a priority.

So it struck me as interesting that I ended up working next to her at a volunteer event and she wanted to recruit me, after I had already bookmarked her site and had it in the back of my head as my back up plan.

I used to laugh about when I organized food drives, and volunteering at the local soup kitchen in Buffalo where I was a recreation coordinator in the dorms, that it blew my mind I would have little turn out- but when I organized a MARY KAY party at the dorms I had thirty young women show up.

I found it frivolous then.

My perspective changed when I walked into LAWS (Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter) feeling broken and damaged.

There were cosmetics that had been donated available for women there. I was touched when I picked up a few and for the first time understood there is value in transforming how we women feel at moments like that-- from the outside in when we can't internally do it in our most broken moments from the inside out.

It moved me that someone thought of those in my situation, and cared enough to fill a whole table overflowing with cosmetics for the taking. And it moved me there was not one sales associates name on the boxes-- so it wasn't for anyone's ulterior motive-- IT was sheer good will. It was because of the understanding that WE ARE VALUABLE SPECIAL WOMEN WHO SHOULD BE HONORED AND CARED FOR AND WHO DESERVE TO SEEK OUT OUR OWN SELF CARE. IT sent the message that WE ARE WORTHY AND BEAUTIFUL AND DESERVE TO FEEL SUCH.

When in that moment of pain and sadness and resignation that even facing homelessness as a possibility would be BETTER than being abused, the knowledge that I AM WORTH RESPECT - it was so validating for me to pick up a lipgloss and eye makeup that I hadn't worn for years. I didn't even have any makeup in the moment before that- because I had minimized any value in it at all. Because I bought into the myth that for women to do anything FOR THEMSELVES, just because it made them FEEL GOOD was not of value. I bought into the myth that our needs as women not only should be on the back burner-- but are in and of themselves not valuable.

So for me, it was a moment of re-claiming my own value in the simple act of putting on makeup that day.

The only cosmetics I had were a few hand me downs my sister in law gave to me- things she bought but never really used. I thought it sweet then as I got the impression she bought them just to support a fellow teacher on her limited income who was selling makeup to supplement income. They were Mary Kay products.

I have used them, along with the one item of cosmetics that I had purchased around eight years ago which I only now am running out of: Its a facial cleaning system I bought from a fellow grad student when I supported her in her efforts to earn tuition money. It was a $60 splurge for me at the time, but I decided to take that leap and trust her advice on skin care and went for the facial cleanser, toner, moisturizer and face mask. They have been the only four cosmetic products in my cabinet, and I have been very pleased with them.

SO it didn't take me long to be convinced.


I don't wear makeup often. But Mary Kay was there for me to wear when it mattered. One day I put on the donated lip gloss and eye makeup and walked out of that bathroom of LAWS feeling a little stronger. I walked away with dignity and pride knowing I AM BEAUTIFUL AND CAPABLE AND WORTHY OF RESPECT AND HONOR BOTH ON THE INSIDE AND OUT.

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