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The Pennsylvania Transplant (that'd be me) has officially survived nine weeks in the Texas heat! I must say, I don't mind it, especially in comparison to all the rain, rain and more rain I hear y'all have had in western Pennsylvania. I hope all that rain clears up by the time I return in a couple of weeks.

Now, don't worry, Pennsylvanians. I have no desire to move to Texas right now. I have had an absolutely wonderful stay with my Texas family this summer; I would not trade it for anything. However, it is just not the same as home.

In Texas, you have to turn on the sprinklers every day if you want to have green grass in your front lawn. This was a new concept for me. Even the grass that is green is still rather prickly to walk on in bare feet. Green grass (and rain for that matter) are common elements of western Pennsylvania, and I have certainly missed seeing green on the ground and full trees dressed in emerald.

Speaking of trees, that's another difference between Texas and home. The trees were one of the very first things I noticed upon my arrival. They are rather scraggly in my personal opinion. Their branches don't spread as far, and their leaves aren't as... leafy. The leaves here aren't as full and don't provide as much shady relief from the sun as the leaves do at home. (To any Texas readers, please don't be offended that I dislike your trees.)

Despite the lack of greenery in Texas, it sure makes up the difference in warm weather. Of the nine weeks I've been here, only about seven or eight days have produced rain, and the majority of the time, it rained only during the night. The Texas heat is much less humid, too, which I could certainly get accustomed to!

Overall, Texas gets a four star rating from me. I have not seen as many cacti as I expected, but I won't count that against its rating. The people are very friendly here; strangers will wave to you as you pass by on the road, which is not something I typically see while driving down I-79. It's a little drier and less green than Pennsylvania, but it still feels like a second home.

Although I've lived with my Texas family in the Texas heat for the summer, I am still a Pennsylvanian on the inside. I am really looking forward to being back in Pittsburgh, visiting the Pointe and seeing the Pirates play at PNC Park. However, if you measure a true western Pennsylvanian by his or her use of "yinz," then you may consider me convert.

Yes, I do say "y'all" now... just without the Texas twang.

 

 

 

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David Holl and interns at iLunch

My first week of interning with Mary Kay, it occurred to me that I would be working in a building full of seasoned professionals. Those seasoned professionals have obtained an array of experiences from backgrounds such as brand development, legal issues, marketing and information technology. If I chose to neglect the opportunity to reach out to those people in Mary Kay, I would be missing out on a lot of valuable insights from them.

Taking advantage of that opportunity, I and another intern created iLunch, which is an abbreviation for Intern Luncheon. Another intern and I have worked together all summer to coordinate speakers for the weekly lunch event for the other 30+ summer interns and so far have had prominent people such as Vice Presidents Bill Brown and Nathan Moore speak with us. If you ask me, this past week marked the peak of speakers for iLunch.

Appropriately sporting a pink tie, CEO David Holl walked into the room wanting no formal introduction speech and spoke with us during iLunch to share some of his experiences. Mr. Holl has been with Mary Kay for 20 years and has been CEO for seven years, working his way up the corporate ladder from CFO to COO and finally to CEO.

Mr. Holl shared with us interns the value of accountability and “straight talk” with coworkers and shared stories about his experiences as a leader of one of the top private corporations in Dallas. He also spoke about being courageous enough to respectfully disagree with other people, having a plan with room for flexibility and accepting changes that will come whether you like it or not.

One main point that I took away from Mr. Holl's speech and conversation with the interns was concerning leadership. He said leading in a way that primarily aims to please or appease other people will result in failure. As a member of the Bonner Leadership Team and President of the Design Club at Waynesburg University, I really valued David Holl's insight about being a leader because I hope to use his insights to guide me as a leader on campus and in the work place.

By the way, I hope you all had a great holiday weekend; happy belated Independence Day!

 

 

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MaryKay Infographic

One aspect of my internship that I appreciate is how much we interns are encouraged to familiarize ourselves with the background and culture of Mary Kay. Since I started my internship in mid May, I have learned more about the woman and visionary who began the company than I have learned about products or profits.

Mary Kay was a strong woman and leader in so many ways. With only five thousand dollars and her own ambition, Mary Kay Ash started a company in 1963 that would inspire and change millions of people's lives throughout the following 50 years.

Learning about Mary Kay Ash as a person has proven to me that strong morals and values can be successfully woven into a business (and an international business at that). I really appreciate her ethic of “God first, family second, career third” which I can clearly see is still practiced in the Mary Kay workplace today.

Being able to see the values of Mary Kay still upheld and practiced today is amazing to see in a business. It also makes me feel like a valued part of the company, even though I am only a summer intern. Understanding the culture of the company I am interning with motivates me a little more to get out of bed at 6:30 a.m. every week day to make the one-hour commute to the Mary Kay Building. I'm not sure what I expected from my internship experience, but I was pleasantly surprised to feel such a part of what Mary Kay strives to accomplish everyday: to improve the lives of women and help them succeed.

Passing along what I've learned about Mary Kay Ash, I wanted to share a few of her other words of wisdom that I believe show her heart for helping other people, her ambitious work ethic and vision for her company(Infographic Photo Above).


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This past week marked the halfway point of my internship with Mary Kay. Five weeks finished; five more to go. In between my 40-hours of work per week, I have either been eating, sleeping ... or playing softball with the Cross Timbers Community Church members.

No, playing softball is not included in my internship for credit, but I consider it a part of my summer internship experience. If not for my internship opportunity bringing me to this neck of the country, I would not be in Texas for the summer, able to play softball with Cross Timbers.

As I have already disclosed in previous posts, I am not an athlete. Sometimes I like to dress the part and pretend to be one, but my lack of knowledge about the finer points of the game in combination with my inability to run fast or jump high will always speak the truth.

I am not an athlete.

During one particular softball game, my athleticism and know-how of the game was put to the test. It was one of those times when the bases were loaded, my team had 2 outs and I was next to bat.

Terrific.

As I approached the plate, I made it my goal to hit the ball as hard as I could and run.

Just hit the ball. Just hit the ball. Just hit the ball and then run fast! I thought.

First pitch was a strike. I told myself I had two more pitches to swing at, but when the umpire judged the second pitch a strike and an out, I was confused. I thought I had another chance. Three strikes and then you're out, right?

Well, it was that moment when I learned a new rule in slow pitch softball: you approach the plate with 1 strike and 1 ball already under your belt. I felt like an idiot for playing more than half of our games completely ignorant to that rule.

As easy as it was to beat myself up about it, I decided to make a positive experience out of it. The silver lining to being the third out with the bases loaded was that I would be sure to never make the same mistake in future softball games.

It turned out to be a great learning experience because I played my best in our last softball games, and my team (appropriately called the Blue Team because, you guessed it, we wore blue jerseys) went undefeated in the tournament to end our season! Blue Team even received t-shirts that name us as the 2013 Tournament Champs.

While rookie mistakes can lead to disappointment, they can also lead to far more improvement with a slight adjustment of perspective. After all, even champions have made rookie mistakes before.


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Clip-clop. Clip-clop. Clip-clop.

In a 13-floor building where women represent 63 percent of the employees, the sound of both high and low heels echo throughout the building. It is the very first thing I noticed on day one of my internship. The sound of women's shoes is especially prominent in the mornings, when everyone moves from the parking garage to the Mary Kay Building to their offices.

Now, I know heels are not a novelty item in American society. Yes, I have worn heels in places besides the halls of the Mary Kay Building. But when I wear heels at school or to other events, all I think about is when I can take them off. If you've ever visited the Waynesburg University campus, you would agree that heels and hills do not work well together.

At Mary Kay, however, the sound of heeled shoes represents hundreds of women making a difference in the workplace. It represents a company of people celebrating 50 years of progress and success. It represents women being bold in the workplace and being leaders. The sound of clip-clopping heels reminds me of the founder Mary Kay Ash, a woman with a great vision and heart for helping others.

Mary Kay is an organization that values people and values women. The Mary Kay Foundation helps in the fight against domestic violence and strives to see the elimination of cancer from our society. The company was founded on the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Even in the office, I see men always holding the elevator doors open for ladies. It is a simple gesture, but it makes me appreciate the culture within the Mary Kay Building even more.

Hearing my shoes clip-clop in the hallways with the other ladies in the Mary Kay Building reminds me every morning that I can make a difference as a female in the workplace, that I can be a leader. It reminds me that one woman, Mary Kay, took a huge step of faith and leadership 50 years ago and has since influenced and impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of women.

Including me.

I unfortunately did not have the honor of meeting or talking to her, but I like to imagine Mary Kay took that first step wearing a pair of heels... Maybe even pink heels.


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