Born May 12, 1918, in Hot Wells, Texas, Mary Kay Ash left the traditional workplace after watching yet another man whom she had trained get promoted over her. She started her own cosmetics company, using incentive programs and other strategies to give her employees the chance to benefit from their achievements. Mary Kay's marketing skills and people savvy soon led her company to enormous success.Business leader, entrepreneur. Born Mary Kathlyn Wagner on May 12, 1918, in Hot Wells, Texas. Ash was a pioneer for women in business, building a substantial cosmetics empire. In 1939, Ash became as a salesperson for Stanley Home Products, hosting parties to encourage people to buy household items. She was so good at making the sale that she was hired away by another company, World Gifts, in 1952. Ash spent a little more than a decade at the company, but she quit in protest after watching yet another man that she had trained get promoted above her and earn a much higher salary than hers.