Born near Houston in 1918, Mary Kay Ash watched her mother work long hours to support the family. At a time when few women worked outside the home, Mary Kay, too, pursued a career. She flourished as a saleswoman but quit when a man she had trained was promoted above her. In 1963, Ash launched her cosmetics business in Dallas with nine independent beauty consultants. Today, 2.5 million women sell her products in thirty-five countries.