People often save little from their business revenues for philanthropic causes. But it is truly rare to find someone who actually commits herself to rear up a business so that she can contribute more to social causes. That is where Mary Ahrens is different from the rest. She donates a substantial amount from her company’s profit, Hair4Good, to causes that focus on making the world a better place for children.
(Link to Article) The company will share half of its profits with various charities like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Autism Speaks, Make a Wish, and Lifting Up Westchester. But she is also careful in maintaining a stand and taking a green route while developing her business. She uses recycled papers for the packaging of all her products.
What Inspires Her? There are very few people in the world who would share Mary’s perspectives on her life and lives in general. She has a financially-secured background and she feels blessed for that. Most people, with the same sort of conditions, stop here. But Mary went a bit further. She wanted to share this blessing with those who are lesser privileged and find themselves in deprived conditions. At the same time, she was looking for a sustainable solution. Something that would not just increase the amount she can contribute but can ensure a steady influx. That is when she came up with a plan to set up a business. The revenue earned from it could become a steady source of funding for charities. She chose to start her own site, where she would sell hair accessories and styling tools. Why this market? The answer is simple. Mary shares a deep bond with the sector as she is passionate about the hair industry. So far, her business is doing great. But there are times when an entrepreneur ponders upon facts that he or she could have altered for a better outcome. Mary’s handling of such moments shows how matured she has become. She takes each day as a learning experience and derives inputs that she can use in her strategic moves to grow.
In fact, she doesn’t even want to alter anything from her past. Mary is proud of her background and feels lucky to be blessed with such fortunes. Mary feels, “The events in my career and personal life have been a combination of many positive decisions, taking advantage of opportunities and good Karma.” Such an affirmative approach to life often leads to better outcomes.
The Future Path As an entrepreneur, she does not want to limit herself in any way. She wants to expand not just to make her presence felt but also to ensure a hike in her contribution as a charity. That is why she wants to expand “to brick and mortar retail domestically and internationally.” This would turn her donations from thousands of dollars to millions. This would also help her in bringing more organizations under the purview of her donations.
Her Idea Of A Leader As a leader herself, Mary has some definite ideas about how a leader should operate. This clarity in vision helps her in running her business. She feels that a leader should never ask others to do something that he or she would not do. He or she should lead by setting examples and achieving goals. As an entrepreneur, the person helming projects would often face situations far from his or her expectations. In such cases, it is better to stay open-minded, honest, and enthusiastic.
Being a good listener is a must for a leader. In addition, they should also express eagerness to learn things in which they are not proficient. By doing so, they can inspire their subordinates to follow their footsteps and emerge as a better human being and an employee. The broader outlook creates space for a better understanding of diverse ideas, which one can then use to predict possible future outcomes. This will also help in developing strategic means to counter challenges.
Mary believes that aspiring women entrepreneurs should behave like a sponge where they will absorb anything and everything on their path only to filter them later and choose the right materials to move forward. It will help them in broadening their horizon and develop better strategies.
Women entrepreneurs should also communicate using phone, video calls, or in person to build a lasting bond with their clients. Mary feels that this is imperative as emails and texts do not share the same level of impact. But the most important thing is perseverance. This is something an entrepreneur should possess as they have to dodge a lot of bullets to reach their goal.
As an entrepreneur, Mary’s stand is unique for her charitable causes and her efforts are getting more and more lauded. Moreover, people are now showing interest in collaborating. The signs are promising and soon, her venture can become a trendsetter for many.