Recipient of the 2022 Bravo LEADERSHIP Award
This year’s Bravo Leadership Award was given to David Holl, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mary Kay for his visionary leadership and the strategic direction he has provided the company since coming on board 29 years ago.
Mary Kay is one of the largest direct sellers of skin care and color cosmetics in the world, and David oversees all operational and fiscal initiatives for the multibillion-dollar company. He is a member of the Mary Kay Inc. board of directors and leader of the company’s executive committee.
With nearly 60 years of history and operations in nearly 40 international markets, David is at the helm of a top beauty brand with more than 700 products in its global portfolio, thousands of employees and millions of independent sales force members worldwide.
David joined Mary Kay Inc. in 1993 and in 1996, served as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer where he was responsible for the overall financial growth of Mary Kay across the globe. In 2001, he was named President and Chief Operating Officer. And in 2006, David assumed the title of President and Chief Executive Officer.
Under his leadership, the powerhouse cosmetics company has expanded into numerous new markets and successfully diversified its revenue across Mary Kay markets worldwide. The company has also made significant progress on key strategic initiatives including global rebranding and global standardization of core systems and processes.
During David’s tenure as Chief Executive Officer, Mary Kay’s global revenue has more than doubled with markets around the world regularly setting sales and independent sales force records.
He is a past Board Chair of the Direct Selling Association, as well as a member of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) Board and the World Federation of Direct Selling Association CEO Council. An active community volunteer, David serves or has served on numerous civic boards including the Nature Conservancy, the Southwestern Medical Foundation and the Dallas Citizens Council.
It should come as no surprise that DSN honored and celebrated David’s history of leadership, innovation and philanthropy by selecting him to be this year’s recipient of the Bravo Leadership Award. We were honored to sit down with David and get his thoughts on the past, present and future of the channel and what he has learned during his time at Mary Kay.
An Industry in Transition
Because Mary Kay as a company has been around for nearly 60 years, and David has been on hand for approximately half of those years, he has seen enormous shifts in external factors such as consumer preference, culture and product trends. But David feels that perhaps the biggest change he has observed during his tenure in direct selling has been a relatively recent one: the ongoing digital transformation of the channel.
“We’re constantly tasked with helping our independent beauty consultants meet customers where they are, and where they are is constantly shifting,” he explained. “It’s a challenging—but exciting—opportunity.”
Even as the channel evolves to meet shifting consumer expectations and preferences, David remains confident and excited about Mary Kay’s future. For him, it all comes down to staying true to the values that have served the company so well for 59 years.
“When you have a solid foundation, it’s easy to grow with the times. All of Mary Kay’s success—from the first makeup party in 1963 to our digital efforts of the past few years—can be traced directly back to our rock-solid foundation,” he said. “It’s not just lip service for Mary Kay. Our thousands of employees and millions of independent beauty consultants truly believe in the ideals we were founded upon.”
The synergy that exists between field and corporate is a vital asset to Mary Kay’s ongoing success according to David. “I learn from the independent sales force every single day. Their adaptability, creativity and entrepreneurship continue to amaze, and I certainly hope I’ve been able to integrate some of those qualities into my leadership style.”
A Bright Future Ahead
In spite of the uncertain global economic conditions facing the channel, David believes the future for Mary Kay—and direct selling in general—is bright. “Now is a great time to start a direct selling business.”
David thinks the unique opportunity and tools his company has developed make Mary Kay a particularly smart choice for aspiring entrepreneurs. “Through our digital transformation, we’re finding creative and out-of-the-box ideas for introducing the Mary Kay brand to everyone—anywhere, anytime—so customer relationships are nurtured by sharing an immersive beauty experience,” he explained.
One of the innovations David is most excited about is Mary Kay’s ongoing digital transformation. “We recently launched Suite 13. The experience leverages the use of virtual reality to digitize Mary Kay’s pop-up showroom,” David shared. “Independent beauty consultants and their customers can tour a 360-degree, 3D beauty experience where users can virtually browse our skin care portfolio as well as explore the company and learn more about our iconic founder, Mary Kay Ash.”
Leading with Integrity and Purpose
David was able to join us at the DSN Global Celebration to accept his Bravo Leadership Award in person. He expressed his gratitude to the team at Mary Kay who he has worked so closely with for 29 years. The team’s bond of lasting friendship and shared purpose has been a tremendous help to him throughout his tenure at Mary Kay.
As he shared in his acceptance speech, “You don’t get an award like this without surrounding yourself with great people. When you are in a business that’s all about creating leaders to be successful, to receive an award like this means something to me—and to the company as well. Thank you!”
Congratulations to David as he keeps one eye on Mary Kay’s future, while honoring the company’s legendary past.
From the June 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.