Over the years, there have been many successful business leaders but none as unique as Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Inc. Her accomplishments left an unforgettable mark on American business and opened the door for women around the world to experience success on their own terms. She proved, without a doubt, that One Woman Can.™

A Dream Company

When Mary Kay Ash “retired” from a successful career in direct sales in early 1963, she decided to write a book to help women survive in the male-dominated business world. She made two lists. One contained things the companies for which she had worked had done right; the other included the things she felt they could have done better. When she reviewed the lists, Mary Kay realized that she had inadvertently created a marketing plan for a dream company – one which would provide women with open-ended potential to achieve personal and financial success.

With her life savings of $5,000 and the help of her 20-year-old son Richard Rogers, Mary Kay launched her dream company on Friday, Sept. 13, 1963.

Guiding Philosophies

Mary Kay adopted the Golden Rule as her guiding philosophy, determining that the best course of action in virtually any situation could be easily discerned by doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. She also steadfastly believed that life’s priorities should be kept in their proper order, which to her meant putting faith first, family second and career third.

She stressed the importance of recognizing the accomplishments of others. And she constantly encouraged both the corporate staff and the independent sales force to act as if each person they met was wearing a sign around his or her neck that read “Make me feel important.”

Today, Mary Kay, Inc. remains true to the principles of Mary Kay Ash.

Mary Kay Ash’s Honors

Countless business leaders, authors, politicians and members of academia have recognized the pure brilliance and determination of Mary Kay Ash. She received numerous prestigious awards during her lifetime and many more following her death on Nov. 22, 2001.

Some of her honors include:

  • “100 Greatest Women of 100 Years” by the YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas (2008)
  • A&E Television produced “Mary Kay” which aired on the Biography Channel (2006)
  • PBS and the Wharton School of Business’s “25 Most Influential Business Leaders of the Last 25 Years” (2004)
  • Baylor University’s “Greatest Female Entrepreneur in American History” (2003)
  • “Most Outstanding Woman in Business in the 20th Century.” Lifetime Television (1999)
  • National Business Hall of Fame, Fortune (1996)
  • Pathfinder Award, National Association of Women Business Owners (1995)
  • One of “America’s 25 Most Influential Women,” The World Almanac and Book of Facts (1985)
  • Horatio Alger Distinguished American Citizen Award (1978)
Mary Kay adopted the Golden Rule as her guiding philosophy.

Learn more about Mary Kay Ash


Mary Kay has helped countless women throughout the world find success on their own terms and be their own bosses. Learn more about her timeless principles and influence in The Mary Kay Way and other powerful books.
Mary Kay Ash wrote The Mary Kay Way, a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Mary Kay Ash built a global independent sales force that today numbers more than 3 million women and is respected by business and academic leaders. How? The secret is in her book, The Mary Kay Way, a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

For forty-eight years, the principles in The Mary Kay Way have helped the Company succeed through changing economic times and explosive global growth. It has been said that no company wholeheartedly embodies the values and reflects the beliefs of its founder more than Mary Kay Inc.

Recognized today as America’s greatest woman entrepreneur, Mary Kay Ash stepped out into a man’s world in 1963 to blaze a new path for women. She grew her business based not on the rules of competition but on The Golden Rule. By “praising people to success” and “sandwiching every bit of criticism between two heavy layers of praise,” this energetic Texan opened new opportunities for women around the world and built a multibillion-dollar corporation. And after nearly fifty years, her timeless people-centered philosophies drive her global Company and continue to touch the lives of people worldwide.

Find Out More About Mary Kay Books

The Mary Kay Way is available everywhere books are sold and online at the following retailers.

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