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Honoring Women Entrepreneurs In Spirit Of Mother’s Day

I have always believed that the traditional role of a woman, as a full time mom, is one of the least appreciated jobs on the planet. It seems as if society has made it that way due to the fact that moms dont earn big six figure salaries for their time and efforts, they dont get big signing bonuses when they are drafted into the mom corps, and most often their job does not provide them with a cadre of employee benefits such as two weeks paid vacation, a 401(k) plan, a car allowance or an unlimited expense account.

However, we have seen many women become tremendous successes and balance their family life at the same time. In honor of the moms of the business world, including our very own fulltime domestic engineers, I want to highlight a few women entrepreneurs who have excelled in the business world while balancing their personal life.

Mary Kay did it

Even in Boca Raton, we see a few of Mary Kay Ashs legacy success stories flaunting their pink Cadillac around town. Mary Kay Ash is the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ashs company is one of the largest beauty products firms in the United States. Her story is the common tale of hard work and perseverance.

Ms. Ash sold a child psychology book door to door in the late 1930s and then was a sales representative and manager at the Stanley Home Products Co. from 1939 to 1952. Afterwards, she was national training director at the World Gift Co.

Wanting to be her own boss, in 1963, with $5,000, she founded Mary Kay Cosmetics in a Dallas storefront. The company began to sell its products door-to-door using nine saleswomen, called beauty consultants. The business grew steadily, helped by Ms. Ashs positive philosophy and her generous use of incentives, such as free pink Cadillacs and diamond jewelry, for successful sales people.

Mary Kay Ash was active in her company until she suffered a stroke in 1996. Her son, Richard Rogers, then took over the reins of the company. At the time of her death in November 2001, Mary Kay Cosmetics had over 800,000 representatives in 37 countries and more than $2 billion in retail sales.

Another great example is Brenda C. Barnes who is currently the president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation. What most may not be aware of is that Ms. Barnes left a top position at PepsiCo in 1997 to spend more time with her children and ended up returning to the business world as a member of the board of directors and chief operating officer of Sara Lee after a seven-year break.

A working mom

Ms. Barnes was president and chief executive officer of Pepsi Cola North America from 1996 to 1998 and chief operating officer since 1994. Prior to joining Pepsi Cola North America, she served at other PepsiCo divisions, including Frito-Lay as vice president, marketing, and Wilson Sporting Goods as business manager.

Ms. Barnes was also an executive in the hotel industry between November 1999 to March 2000 as interim president and chief operating officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Finally, let me introduce you to Rochelle Shelly Lazarus, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, who has been quoted saying, It is certainly possible to be both a mother and a CEO. You learn how to set priorities, and you learn how to enjoy the ride.

During her 30-plus years with Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest advertising and public relations firms in the world, Shelly Lazarus has worked in both the general advertising and direct marketing disciplines. She has managed many parts of the company, running both Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and Ogilvy & Mather Direct (now known as OgilvyOne) in North America, prior to becoming its chief executive officer, and then the chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

Shelly Lazarus has been responsible for bringing some of the worlds largest and most respected companies to her business including American Express, BP, Coca-Cola, Ford, IBM, Morgan Stanley, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever, among many others.

These are major examples of extremely powerful and successful moms who have distinguished themselves in the business world. However, remember that there are millions of single working moms and full time moms that are equally as successful in their lives and should be admired just the same. Thanks to all of you moms out there for all that you do, sometimes I just dont know how you do it.

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