March 06, 2014
The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling
by Beth Douglass Silcox
Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Kay Inc.
The multi-dimensionality of the “big picture” connects with Sheryl Adkins-Green every time. Within that broad arena she can mesh her natural proclivity for leading, developing and inspiring people with the strategic creative, operational and financial elements of her job to take on more responsibilities each year at Mary Kay Inc.
Being a woman enhances Adkins-Green’s effectiveness as a leader. “I am very comfortable drawing on a broad set of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills and abilities that have enabled me to successfully lead organizations and consistently deliver top-line and bottom-line results in a variety of consumer categories,” she says.
As she sees it, her role is to clearly define the organization’s vision and mission in a way that engages each team member and then helps that person see how their strengths can make a difference. “I determine how best to coach leaders in my organizations based on their individual talents and development needs versus their gender,” Adkins-Green says. “I believe that organizations benefit from leveraging diverse talents and experiences, so I make myself available as a mentor to both women and men who are interested.”
She offers straight talk and insists on accountability. “While leaders can train, encourage and inspire, at the end of the day the individual is responsible for their passion and level of commitment to succeed.” So individual career development plans within Mary Kay Inc. are typically co-created and include a combination of on-the-job growth assignments, as well as external conferences and international projects when feasible.
Organizational goals are met when properly engaged and inspired individuals with unique skill sets have the resources they need to succeed. As Mary Kay Inc. moves forward in 2014, Adkins-Green says, “Our goals are to continue to invest in the development of innovative beauty products and best-in-class business and education tools for the Independent Sales Forces and to expand the positive impact that Mary Kay has on communities around the world.”
Despite Mary Kay’s status as a major global beauty brand in more than 35 countries, many people are just getting acquainted with all that the company has to offer. Adkins-Green says, “The most important thing that I’m focused on is inviting more women—a lot more women—to discover Mary Kay. I believe that if they experience the customized service of an Independent Beauty Consultant and learn about the Mary Kay ‘Pink Changing Lives’ initiatives in the community, they will fall in love with the brand!”
Sheryl Adkins-Green on personal development…
“I regularly refer back to the wisdom of Mary Kay Ash for inspiration. Her principles and philosophies regarding establishing and building lasting business relationships are truly timeless.”
Sheryl Adkins-Green on obstacles for women leaders…
“Reflecting back, I do not feel that any of the challenges or obstacles that I faced and overcame were a result of being a female executive. All executives face challenges, and I have learned to look at obstacles as opportunities to excel.”
Mary Kay Inc.
Founded by Mary Kay Ash in 1963, the long-standing direct selling beauty powerhouse is now a worldwide corporation with global sales exceeding $3.5 billion. More than 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants currently do business in more than 35 countries.
Starting with just five products, Mary Kay now offers more than 200 advanced skincare, modern makeup and fragrance items that are produced for the most part at Mary Kay manufacturing facilities. The technology and design behind the company’s current product catalog is protected by more than 800 issued and pending patents, and MaryKay.com was recently recognized as Best Beauty Website at the Innocos Beauty 2.0 Awards in Paris.
Last year Mary Kay Inc. celebrated its 50th anniversary, posting record sales growth. This year it added the BMW 320i to its career car line-up that started with the company’s iconic pink Cadillac—an independent beauty consultant’s trophy on wheels.
Since the company’s early days, Mary Kay has advocated the idea that “One Woman Can.” One woman can transform her own life while becoming a beautiful success and helping to transform the lives of others. The Addison, Texas-based company’s history of social responsibility includes a corporate initiative called “Pink Changing Lives,” which is the embodiment of their commitment to prevent and end domestic violence.
In 2012, Mary Kay enjoyed sales of $3.1 billion and ranked No. 6 on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list of the top direct selling companies in the world for 2013.
Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson