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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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Compared to my past two summers working with The Pittsburgh Project, this summer's job is A LOT of sitting, a lot more than I am accustomed to. Thankfully, one positive angle to the office life is having the motivation to get some exercise.

This past weekend was one such weekend when my cousin Taylor and I were feeling ambitious enough to go to LA Fitness. Now, if you know me, “athletic” is not in the top 10 adjectives that describe me. I just try not to embarrass myself too terribly when I participate in athletic activities. At the gym, I ran on the treadmill and biked a few miles, which is considered a good workout for me.

Then, I thought it'd be a good idea to venture to the intimidating section of the gym, where there are only machines with 100-pound weights with nondescript pulleys and levers. It's that section of the gym where everyone has six-pack abs and knows what they are doing...except for me.

Thankfully, I found one machine that seemed less complex than the others, the triceps machine. After a few reps and feeling like I was on my way to having chiseled arms like Jullian Michaels, I wiped the equipment off with the disinfectant wipes the facility provided.

That's when I heard a booming voice say, “Excuse me. Excuse me. Yeah you. Can you please come here for a minute, Miss?”

I peek to the other side of the triceps machine to see a big African American man. He was obviously one of the trainers at the fitness center, bearing the LA Fitness logo on his shirt.

My initial thoughts were, “Oh no. He's probably going to ask me what I was doing using that triceps machine and then tell me everything I was doing wrong.”

To my surprise, he just said, “Thanks for wiping the handles off on the work out machine. We really appreciate it.”

After a sigh of relief, I explained to him that my school's fitness center stressed the importance of sanitizing the machines after using them, and that was why I did it. We shook hands and introduced ourselves. His name is Dexter, if I remember correctly.

I'm not sure if I'll ever see Mr. Dexter again, but he taught me something valuable. This week, I learned that the greatest lessons are not always learned during an internship in the office (or even during school in the classroom for that matter).

The smallest things can make a great impact on people. A simple “thank you.” Holding the door open for someone. Giving someone a compliment. Maybe it's wiping off the work out equipment.

Don't be afraid to do the small things because the small things do matter, even if you may not see it.

 

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MK MyCubicle resized 600

In orientation seminar for first-year high school students, my high school principal Mr. Krol had a mantra that he made my entire class repeat again and again. There we were, in the auditorium slumped down in our seats repeating, “First impressions count! First impressions count!”

Assuming the thoughts of my other classmates sitting around me, I thought the phrase was quite silly to say over and over and over again, especially when we knew already that first impressions were important. After all, high school kids know everything, right?

Thinking back on Mr. Krol's words now as a senior in college, I see a lot more value in them.

Walking into my first day interning with Mary Kay Inc. in Dallas, Texas, I wanted to make a stellar first impression on my supervisor and my peers. I wanted to make sure I was attentive and proactive, personable but not overdoing it. Above all else, though, I wanted to show my supervisor that I was able to learn and adapt quickly and complete tasks above expectation.

Within the first two days of my internship, I could see that my daily tasks leaned toward a technical knowledge of web design, rather than aesthetic, which required me to learn a lot more than I'd initially thought. Mary Kay IT employees are in the finishing stages of launching a new web site application in Kazakhstan in mid-June which require a lot of tests to ensure all web elements function the way they are intended. I am on the team of people who run those tests and report if each test passed or failed.

Because my tasks are heavily technical, my first week involved a lot of learning. I had to familiarize myself with new terms and acronyms, learn how use new computer programs I've never seen before and learn how to pace my 40-hour work week. Before starting, I had thought I would mostly apply to my internship tasks what I had already learned in school, but I now know that I need to simultaneously learn and apply what I've learned.

At the end of my first week interning with Mary Kay, I learned that great first impressions can include a willingness to learn something new. Stepping out of my comfort zone was scary, and I felt a little helpless at times asking so questions each day. Thankfully, with perseverance and a lot of help from my supervisor and co-workers, I finished my first week feeling accomplished in what I had learned.

As far as great first impressions go, I can only assume I made a good first impression on my supervisor and peers at work. After all, they kept me around for a second week, and the third week is looking promising as well…

Kimber Blair, senior Interactive Design and Public Relations major.

Above photo features my cubicle at Global eBusiness at Mary Kay Inc.


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