mary kay ash

This portrait of Mary Kay Ash was created in August 1995 by artist Nancy Januzzi to illustrate an article describing the enthusiastic reception of Ash's third—and final—book, Mary Kay: You Can Have it All. The author, founder of a highly successful cosmetics company bearing her name, described the benefits she believed her corporation offered women: "full-time pay on part-time hours."

Ash went into business for herself in 1963, having watched her male assistant at another company be promoted above her for twice as much pay. "I couldn't believe God meant a woman's brain to bring 50 cents on the dollar," she later explained.

Ash introduced a revolutionary concept into business: taking advantage of the talents of women by providing flexible schedules and financial incentives. While encouraging her salespeople to "become the highest-paid women in America," she asked them to abide by her "Golden Rule": "God first, family second, career third." In 1976 Mary Kay Cosmetics earned a slot in the New York Stock Exchange-the first company headed by a woman to achieve the distinction.