There have always been many female executives, leaders, and entrepreneurs who are a part of Shaklee. And to celebrate International Women’s Day, we put a spotlight on five of the many successful women who run their own Shaklee businesses. We asked them about their stories, what empowerment means to them, and any advice they have to offer to younger women.
What does empowerment mean to you as a woman?
Diana Carrero: Empowerment is this given authority within me to keep doing something meaningful for myself, my family, and my community…to grow stronger in the pursuit of becoming my best version and having control of my life. Yesterday’s women came from a place of staying at home to raise their families despite whether that was their desire or not. Today, “we have become our ancestors’ wildest dreams.” Our voices were raised together to empower each other to be bold and strong. We challenged our own to prove that we can make our mark in this universe. We are closing the gap on gender equality, and our daughters are being born in a world that provides options for them.
Mary Ann Hanson: Empowerment means being able to make a vision and dream a reality, to make an impact and difference for myself, family, community, and hopefully the world. I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference in someone’s life and made them a better person.
Dale Hatchell and Elizabeth Hatchell Burt: As a mother and daughter, we need to look back no further than just a few generations in our family to know that women’s roles have positively changed. While we both have degrees, only a few of our female predecessors had some college education and only two received degrees. Dale’s fraternal grandmother, Catherine, born in 1896, was one of those exceptions. She had a college degree and was a board member of her family’s successful business. Catherine was an inspiration to the young girls and women who knew her to dream bigger! We believe that seed of our family tree was planted and has continued to grow with each generational branch.
How has Shaklee helped you feel more “empowered”?
Mary Cunningham: Shaklee has made me feel more empowered by giving me such an amazing business for over 25 years. Shaklee allows me to teach other women to organically take care of their families’ health, the health of their home, their skin health, and their financial health!
Dale Hatchell and Elizabeth Hatchell Burt: While women’s rights and the empowerment movement have miles to go, much progress has been made. As Shaklee business owners, we cherish the opportunity to help other women achieve the many benefits and amazing opportunities that this business offers—to design the life they need and desire in today’s hectic and ever-changing world.
Agnes Abbo: This is what empowerment means to me: knowing and changing things about myself to get on the right path, and watching out for family, friends, and community. Shaklee helps me by offering us remarkable products and helps others by giving back to our communities and protecting our planet!
Who is your role model, or “shero,” who has helped support you in your personal and professional life, and how?
Mary Ann Hanson: My role model, or “shero,” was my aunt. She was a nun and she was always there for me, supported my dreams, was one of my biggest cheerleaders, and most importantly, believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Even now that she has passed, I always think of her and know that she’s cheering me on and praying for my success. I can still feel her presence. She taught me a lot about business—that it requires a lot of patience, tenacity, service to others, and courage and that no matter what happens, to never give up!
Diana Carrero: My role model is not one but a group of inspiring women: “las mariposas de hierro,” a name given to my tribe—my Abuela and her four daughters. I am the first daughter, granddaughter, and niece of these Iron Butterflies. I was showered with love and spoiled with attention and experiences by them and their friends. They showed me the path, encouraged me, nurtured my curiosity and passion. They cheered front row and center at every swim competition, exposed me to my first concert, and prepared me to face the world the best they could. Like butterflies, these ladies born in poverty transformed into beautiful, intelligent, colorful, and inspiring women.
Dale Hatchell and Elizabeth Hatchell Burt: Our mutual shero was our mother and grandmother, Mary Dale Wilson. She had a strong faith that guided all that she did. Her life exemplified gratitude, grace, and service to others. In 1972, one of her neighbors introduced her to Shaklee, the company, the products, and the mission. Now, 47 years later, her daughter, her granddaughter, and her three great-grandchildren (and so many more in her family) are all receiving the benefits and blessings of Shaklee.
What advice would you give young girls today to help them envision a more empowered future?
Mary Cunningham: Dig deep within your heart’s desires. What makes you tick, smile, and feel fulfilled? Go after that! Helping others can be the most gratifying feeling you can have. I love showing younger women in my life how positive and fun it is to share wellness. Everyone needs it! Go after life without fear, hesitation, or concern over what others will think. Just be you, the beautiful, unique, and best version of you!
Agnes Abbo: Never give up, be courageous, be self-disciplined, and listen to your inner voice. You can call it Faith or Intuition or The Universe; it doesn’t matter. We all have that voice in our soul and if we listen to it, this voice guides us on the right and unique path designed for us.
Diana Carrero: Step forward with courage, pushing through fear, for you have the power to change circumstances. Growth follows that process, guaranteed! Walk with integrity, with the principles we would love to see in the world. Put your energy and enthusiasm into the pursuit of your goals and most of all…mindset. For the world is going to try to tell you how to feel. Stand up and speak your voice.
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Agnes Abbo: Malala Yousafzai, Wangari Maathai, and Joan of Arc are three women whom I find particularly inspiring in the way they have lived their lives, and I would love to interact with them and have them share their experiences and wisdom with me.
Mary Cunningham: If I could have dinner with three women, it would be Beth Moore, Tosca Reno (the queen of clean eating), and Jillian Michaels.
Mary Ann Hanson: (1) Oprah. I would love to have dinner with her to just listen to her talk, ask her about what keeps her going strong, and ask her personal questions. Oprah was a big part of how I got started with Shaklee. I was watching her show when I saw and heard of Shaklee for the first time. (2) Princess Diana. I always remember a picture of her walking through the landmines and showing people the impact of those landmines to villages and especially to children. She was a trendsetter, a philanthropist, and she used her fame to bring attention and awareness to many humanitarian issues. I would love to have dinner with her and ask her what else she would like to do and accomplish and how she wants to be remembered. (3) My aunt, the nun. She’s my favorite aunt and I’m her favorite niece! I love saying that in front of my siblings and cousins, because in my family to be considered her favorite is a big deal! She held a very high position in her congregation. She was also the founder and president of the university she helped build.
This International Women’s Day, let’s take the time to celebrate and appreciate the many strong women in our lives and the powerful influence they’ve had on all of us.