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Mary Kay Ash is the quintessential example of a Phoenix rising from the ashes. After 10 years at World Gift Co., a direct sales organization, Ash resigned when an underling she had trained was promoted ahead of her--because he was a male. Ash, a 45-year-old unemployed divorcee with three children, was at her nadir. But a few months later, she formed what is now known as Mary Kay Inc., a cosmetics company that grew into a behemoth with current annual revenues in excess of 2.4 billion. And she did it with verve, panache, tenacity, hard work and endless faith in her ability to succeed. She was a master saleswoman. Mary Kay was independent as a child and never faltered despite setbacks and tragedies. The story of Mary Kay Ash is as colorful as the pink Cadillacs she gave to her most successful "independent consultants." [3,169-word Titans of Fortune article].

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