They represented a young woman starting a new business, a working mother who has run a thriving Mary Kay enterprise for 28 years and a mature company chair who has excelled in male-dominated fields.
While their experiences in the business world have been different, three women, all Chaves County natives, gathered Saturday morning at the MECA Therapies building on West Second Street to encourage others to achieve personal and professional success.
Mycah Moody, owner of the Butter Box bakery; Jacqueline Roden, the head of a Mary Kay enterprise in Roswell; and Betty Young, owner and chair of Read & Stevens, an oil and gas producer, talked with women as part of the 2019 “Women Strive” speaker series.
The series is in its second year and is funded by a grant from United Way received by the Roswell office of WESST, formerly known as the Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team. Saturday’s event was the first of three for 2019. The second is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Feb. 21 at the same location, when three other women business leaders will speak.
“We want them to know that they can do anything that they want,” said WESST Regional Manager Rhonda Johnson, “and that they don’t have to do it alone.”
Formed 30 years ago, WESST is now part of the U.S. Small Business Administration Women’s Business Center network and has six offices in New Mexico. WESST helps both men and women interested in forming businesses by providing expert consulting, training, networking and access to capital.
Moody talked about how she felt overwhelmed when she went to college at West Texas A&M University near Amarillo and needed to choose a life path. She decided on business management and economics, figuring that no matter what she did in life, the coursework and experience would serve her well.
Working many different types of jobs during college so that she could graduate debt free, she said, “I learned a lot about business and a lot about how I never wanted to run a business.” She said there were several reasons for that, including, “It’s like the old saying, you work 60 hours a week for yourself so you don’t have to work 40 hours a week for someone else.”
But after a few jobs and a major life challenge, she found herself “scrambling for the next step in life.” That’s when a woman offered to pay her to bake some cookies for the school that the other woman’s child attended.
Soon enough, Moody found herself cooking all the time and delivering her baked goods all over the city. Good job offers came along, but Moody decided in early 2018 to launch the Butter Box, receiving support from other local business people and working with WESST to implement the business plan she had created.
While the Butter Box is home-based now, with goods delivered to customers, for the most part, Moody does plan to open a shop on West Fourth Street next to Martin’s Capitol Cafe this year.
Roden shared a message from the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics Inc., Mary Kay Ash, who trained Roden.
“The body of the bumblebee is too heavy for the wings to fly, but, she said, it does it anyway,” Roden said. “And that’s what she taught us women, to do it anyway. Even if you’re worried, even if you’re scared, even if you aren’t sure how to do it, go out and do it anyway.
Roden said she now has 100 sales consultants from 13 states in her sales group and says the work is not just about selling cosmetics and skin care products but about changing lives. The Mary Kay network does $3 billion in sales a year in 35 countries with 2.4 million consultants, she said.
Roden started the enterprise after having a child and leaving an oil and gas industry job. She built her business while raising three daughters and says some of what she has gained has been personal growth to get beyond rejection, to manage time efficiently and to build teams.
Young now heads the oil and gas production business once run by her father, Charles Read, and his partner. Read & Stevens Inc. is a privately held company that owns 130 wells in the Permian Basin and participates in about 170 other wells, mostly in New Mexico and Texas.
Young said she has to overcome the chauvinistic attitudes of some men, who dismissed her not only as a woman but because her professional background is in accounting and computer science, not geology or engineering.
But Young also has overcome a hearing impediment and a breast cancer diagnosis. Deaf since a young child, she said she never considered herself disabled or disadvantaged. She learned to lip-read and to talk while still in her youth and was able to earn a bachelor of science in math, with minors in accounting and computer science, from the University of Oklahoma.
She learned she had breast cancer while pregnant with her second child and was one of the first women in a research study that tracked the success of pregnant women undergoing chemotherapy. Her daughter is now 29 and Young has been cancer free for almost as long.
She began her career as a computer coder of large IBM mainframe computers for a Chicago-based bank, where she met her husband. They moved back to Roswell to run a business providing computer coding services to businesses and then, after personal computers were introduced, teaching people how to use the new technology for accounting and other business purposes.
In 2001, her father asked her to fill in for an absent employee at Read & Stevens, a temporary position that turned permanent about six months later, when she became chief financial officer of the company, heading up a department with six people. Eventually she became a company owner and the chair of its board and has learned to make her way in an industry that is “90 percent male.”
She recommended to others that they exercise, sleep well, balance family and friends with work, take care of their appearances, practice good customer relations, value the advice and experiences of senior citizens and follow the 17 principles of personal success as described in the book “Napoleon Hill’s Keys to Success.”
She also encouraged people to rate themselves on the principles and then re-evaluate each year.
“You may have gone through adversity,” she said. “You may gone through a great opportunity. Stepping stones in your life will help you to progress to your next level.”
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.