She didn’t allow dyslexia and domestic violence be the end to her story…
Q. Earlier in the interview, you mentioned your dyslexia. In your bio, one of the things you mentioned were the odds you had to beat to get to where you are today and I know that dyslexia is one of them. Now, for those who aren’t familiar with dyslexia, can you explain what it is and then talk about the challenges it’s created for you and how you were able to overcome those challenges?
A. Dyslexia can mean many things, but for the most part, it’s a reading disorder. It can affect the way you read. It can affect the way you do math. The way you see numbers. The way you see words. The way you hear annunciation. It’s hereditary. I found out that I was dyslexic in the seventh grade. The challenge with it is in order for you to really learn how to read, you have to have a teacher who understands how to teach dyslexic students and who doesn’t view it the same way that they view other learning disabilities.
When you’re dyslexic, you learn differently. So, not only do we need to be taught differently, we learn differently and we hear things differently. I don’t hear words the way others might. The only thing I can spell is what I have memorized.
When I was in Harvard Business School, someone read to me. I think my strength has been transparency. I never hid it. I talked about it and trained about it in humor.
Q. Something that some might not know about you is that you were once a domestic violence victim, but you’re also a domestic violence survivor. There’s women out there today who are in those same situations and some of them feel that they can’t overcome that obstacle. What’s your advice for those women?
A. First, I want them to know that they’re not always going to be stuck in that same spot. They just have to make a decision. Sometimes those decisions are big. Sometimes they’re small. Sometimes they’re scary, but the victim doesn’t have to be stuck.
The second thing I want them to know is that as smart and as capable as I am, I was not able to leave that situation for myself. I was able to walk away because of my children, who were one and two years old, at the time. It was a journey. It was a big journey, but eventually I was able to say ‘No.’
Three, I was around the right kind of people. I was in Mary Kay, so I was in a very encouraging environment. I was in a position where I could increase my income, and that’s the problem for a lot of women. A lot of women are stuck because they don’t have any income or because they don’t have enough income and they need him.
Q. Speaking of overcoming a major obstacle in your life, you’re now out of that situation and have now been happily married for 20 years and have four adult children. That being said, how important is family to you?
A. Family is really important to us. For us, it’s not about the amount of time as much as it’s about the joy because we still have very full individual lives. We’ve gone through the blended family, the house full of teenagers, them going to college one at a time, and they’re now grown and on their own and now we have grandchildren. But, the time we spend together is so much fun. So much laughter. So much support. It’s very powerful.
So, family is really big because it’s the core of our lives really.