Mary D. Ahrens: Spreading Love and Happiness
(Digital Magazine) (Web Link) Hair4Good’s Founder and CEO, Mary D. Ahrens, describes success as “love and happiness.” Professional, personal, and spiritual happiness are all important aspects of life. Mary considers herself extraordinarily lucky in life to have had so many people support her and share their expertise, goodwill, respect, and generosity, both personally and professionally. She feels that it is only right to pay it forward and help others in the same way. She developed a philanthropic haircare business to achieve this goal.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between World’s Leaders and Mary D. Ahrens:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader. What challenges you had to face to reach where you are today?
I was very fortunate in my career to have many mentors that helped me on my journey. There of course were many challenges along my 27 year corporate career. I started as a secretary, and worked my way up the corporate ladder to Vice President in eight years. Of course, there were many challenges along the way, I could write a book. I prefer to think of the challenges I faced as well as mistakes I made, as learning experiences that made me stronger. Without these challenges, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am so very grateful everyday for a life filled with love, happiness, friendship, and opportunity.
Describe Hair4Good offerings that address the need of your customers.
We offer products, many of which incorporate patent pending features. These include hair brushes, hair accessories, combs and barber shears. Our concentration is on fashion forward designs at affordable price points. We have a small, efficient team, since our mission is to donate 50% of our profits to Children’s charities. We have two corporate focuses – Our philanthropic mission / charities and our product. These are the principals that guide us.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in this industry through your expertise in the industry?
I am fascinated about materials and processes never before used in the design of hair care products. My experience in this industry was the springboard for further research to creating products that have a point of differentiation and meaningful consumer benefits.
What are the challenges you and your team at Hair4Good come across in your day-to-day operations?
Because of our philanthropic mission, we do our best to keep costs down. Our formula is rather simple, the greater our profits, the more we can contribute to our halo of charities. To help with this effort, I don’t take a salary from the company. The entire reason for the existence of Hair4Good is to help make the world a better place for Children in need. We hope that using our products will add beauty to the lives of our customers and support of our community of charities.
One of the biggest financial drains on the company is legal fees. Filing and maintaining intellectual property is expensive and time consuming. Product development also requires a great deal of our resources.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
People who have impacted me:
Personally – The love of my life, Frank. His constant love and support make me believe all things are possible.
Our son Daniel, was the motivation for Hair4Good. When he was born healthy and perfect, I made a promise to God and myself that my life’s mission (as soon as I was able), was to help children in need. Twelve years later, Hair4Good.com was born.
In my past career, those in authority sometimes lacked loyalty, conviction, and faith in team members. After witnessing this lack of loyalty and basic human kindness, I promised myself to never let greed or ego take hold of me. Kindness and giving back is central to our business philosophy. Life is hard enough, so, we want our team to come to work, be happy and productive – No politics and No games.
There is a book I read some years ago which conveyed a very simple message and had a lasting impact on my philosophy of life. “All I Really Needed To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum reveals tenets that can serve as roadmap to a happy, fulfilling life. This book prefaces uncommon thoughts on common things – Be kind, Politeness and Gratitude go a long way and not to mention, wash your hands (perfect for these times).
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives Hair4Good.
Respect for each other. Pride in our mission. Willingness to dedicate oneself to worthy endeavours.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for Hair4Good?
Our goal is simple. To maintain a continuous giving stream that increases yearly to our charitable organizations and to make products that will hopefully put a smile on your face.
What would be your advice to budding Business Leaders?
Always be kind
Treat others as you would like to be treated
Don’t loose sight of your goals
Communication is essential
Be prepared to work hard
Make failure a stepping stone to success