It's the people that make the difference

04-16-2009 4:31 PM

I was asked to give the closing keynote speech at a Global Business Summit yesterday, conducted by the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the American Marketing Assocation.  On Tuesday evening, there was a reception at a local university for the speakers, several marketing industry professionals and faculty from the university.  One of my staff members from Mary Kay's market research team is the President-Elect of the local AMA chapter, so she also attended the reception.  I don't get many opportunities to socialize with my team, and I was glad to have the chance to visit with her outside the normal work day environment.

As we were talking, she shared with me her dream of continuing her education and pursuing a PhD, and then the conversation somehow turned to getting out of school and trying to figure out where you fit in the business world, and all the things that they don't teach you in college that you wish they would.  She said they didn't teach her in college how to find the right organization that would be a fit with who she is. She went on to tell me a story about going to work in "Corporate America" and being totally excited about finding something that would allow her to utilize the market research skills she had studied and worked so hard to develop.  However, she would soon learn that while the opportunity gave her a chance to use those skills, and she actually liked the work, that company wasn't a "fit" for her.  She realized she would never be happy there, no matter the opportunity she was provided.  She left that company, and found Mary Kay.

(Now we're coming to the part of the story that inspired me to write this post.)

She's now been with us for just under two years, and she's found a fit.  In fact, she says that all her friends (the ones who DON'T work at Mary Kay) are always talking about how "disgustingly happy" she is since she went to work at Mary Kay.   They often question the reason behind her extreme happiness, and here's what she tells them:

"When I worked at (the other company), I would walk from my cube to the ladies restroom.  On the way there, I would walk past no less than 10 other people's workstations, and every one of them would look down, start shuffling papers or pick up the phone, not wanting to make eye contact with me, let alone say anything.  At Mary Kay, I also have a long walk to the ladies room.  Everyone I pass by looks up from what they are doing, smiles, offers a greeting or starts a conversation.  In fact, sometimes it can make for a real feeling of desperation by the time I finally get there!"

When I heard this, of course I immediately had to agree.  There is something special about Mary Kay people.  When the fit is right, you know it.  And more often than not, it is the people that make the difference.  

Michelle, I'm glad you've found a home at Mary Kay. Keep telling your story to everyone you meet.  And don't give up on pursuing that dream.