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“Gloria Mayfield Banks: Winning Big with Mary Kay”

Gloria Mayfield Banks has no doubt that she made the right choice in pursuing a career with Mary Kay-one of the nation's leading cosmetics companies. According to Banks, what raises eyebrows about her choice of professions is that she graduated with a MBA from Harvard University's Business school.

Before coming to Mary Kay, Banks was a top sales person with IBM, worked as a Marketing Manager with Stratus Computers and even worked as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Harvard's Business School. Her road to the top of the Mary Kay Company, however, began with a friend's invitation to attend a skin care class. “I fell in love with the products,” said Banks. “At that time, I was going through a divorce and could use some extra money. I had a one year old and a two-year old. Although I still had my full-time job at Harvard, I enjoyed having the extra money and having fun, too. Within five months, I earned the use of a luxury car with Mary Kay,“ she said.

Banks points out that she really likes being around powerful women. That is, women who like to make things happen. “I came from an environment with men at the top. I knew that I could operate in the good old boy network. Now, I wanted to see how things would be with a bunch of women in sales,” she added. She found that the difference was “they were all interested in helping others feel fabulous.”

Banks apparently was a risk-taker, too. She decided to quit her job at Harvard and go out on her own. “I have dealt with domestic violence but no one knew what was going on in my home. I had a desire for something higher,” said Banks. “I did not want to give up my quality of life either.”

Now, Gloria mentors others on how to build their business with Mary Kay. She has a high six-figure income and has not worried about looking back. She has remarried and her husband owns a successful contracting company in Yonkers as well.

According to Gloria, a large part of her success is directly linked to the culture of Mary Kay. “They put faith first, family second, and career third. Their golden rule is 'treat everybody the way you want to be treated.'”

“This is permeated throughout the company,” declared Banks. “We have a sales force of over 650,000 in the United States, she indicated. Apparently, a lot of other people want to be a part of this outstanding company.

It seems that Mary Kay is really on the forefront of treating its employees well and giving back to the community. For example, the company gave all of its consultants that were affected by Hurricane Katrina new beauty kits free. In addition, they gave the consultants a check reflective of what their typical commissions would be over a four-month period. According to Banks, the cost to the company was about $2.5 million dollars.

Aside from that Banks indicated, “I am still amazed at how much Mary Kay did and how quickly they reacted to other victims of Hurricane Katrina. The company gave $5 million dollars in cash and product donations. We were one of the first companies to initially commit one million dollars to the relief effort.”

“Since our company is headquartered in Dallas, we did a lot there too. We gave $40,000 in free day care to the YMCA ” Banks explained. That was not all. Banks had a long list of other things the company had done for the community. Mary Kay, Inc., donated $100,000 to domestic violence shelters affected by the hurricane. Another $107,000 went to the Dallas Habitat for Humanity. Mary Kay employees and volunteers help put over 1,200 survivor kits together for hurricane victims. Those kits included basic staples such as toothpaste and shampoo. Other major contributions from the company included donating 18-wheelers to help the Salvation Army with transportation and paying for planes to get doctors to areas impacted by the hurricanes.

Gloria's passion for a higher calling in the work that she does has reaped tremendous rewards for her, both financial and personal. “Although I entered Mary Kay for some extra cash, I like the recognition, the personal growth and what comes with competition,” she said.

“I loved being mentored and I love mentoring others. People can see the impact of my values by the way I live my life and the work that I do. We share our information. This environment is just so great. You know my daughter sees all of these powerful people. She sees me getting recognition. She has a ton of pride. When she grows up, she knows she can develop herself just like the women she sees around her,” noted Banks.

Despite Gloria's hectic schedule, she finds times to travel, scuba dive, and go to the movies. She has been featured in such national magazines as Working Woman, Black Enterprise and Glamour.

Gloria Mayfield Banks has managed to break several company records. As she moved up the ladder quickly from consultant to her present position as National Sales Director, those around her saw her team doing millions of dollars in sales year after year. Gloria gives a lot of credit to the teamwork fostered by the company.

“Also, I attract well-educated people who choose to do this. They want to go out and get it all,” she says.