Homa Ahmed's Story
FEBRUARY 11, 2021
I’m starting this new year grateful for a life, that in retrospect, has been perfect in every way. This realization is relatively recent, however, because for most of my life, I’ve lived with anxiety, a sense of isolation and lack, and a feeling that my life was not in my control. My shift started about 18 years ago when I chose to walk away from a career in architecture, to start a new business as a Mary Kay independent beauty consultant.
Never in a million years would I have thought that my dream of being a world-famous architect, would instead change to something much bigger than myself - a career of leading and empowering women to grow into their God given strengths and talents, and as a result, serving humanity as a whole.
I came to America from Qatar to pursue a degree in Architecture at UT Austin. I was full of hope and anticipation for a lifelong career as an architect that would incorporate my love for both art and science. Unfortunately, six months before my graduation my mother passed away unexpectedly. Despite pressures to drop out and return home to take care of my baby sister, I resolved to finish my degree amidst heartbreak and grief. It was the best way I could honor my mother who was my number one encourager. I then moved to Dallas to start a corporate career as an architect with the ultimate goal to run my own architecture firm. I knew that the only way I could put my family before my career was to be my own boss.
Growing up Iranian-Indian in the Middle East, I was told that although I was free to pursue my career, I would also be expected to “marry well” to a man who would “take care of me”. I was not really expected to support my family with my own income. The undoing of this and many other cultural beliefs about the role of women and my own power, would become my ultimate life work.
Being a feminist at heart, I’ve always been drawn to empowering women and girls to aspire to higher levels of education and career success, despite family and societal expectations set for them. I came from a part of the world where women were second-class citizens, to America where women had earned equal rights and could literally be “all that they can be”; only to find that women here are still being held back from fulfilling their greatest potential. It hit me that women in this country suffer from low self-esteem, and systemic gender discrimination.
During my tenure in a male-dominated profession, I experienced firsthand the inequality between the way men and women were treated, compensated, and promoted. Gender discrimination and sexism was all around me. I tried changing things from within by networking with women architects so that we can support and empower each other. But I still felt like I was constantly fighting an uphill battle within the corporate structure.
Then divine intervention happened in 2002. Within 3 days my life was turned upside down. On day 1, I ended a toxic 4-year relationship. The next day my father died unexpectedly. On day 3, I was laid off from my job.
Suddenly, my master plan of going to college to get a job that will lead to upward mobility and a comfortable retirement was interrupted; my plan B of getting married and being “taken care of” was over; and finally, I lost the emotional, and financial, support of my father. To pile things on, I was now responsible for supporting my baby sister.
Six months later I met a Mary Kay beauty consultant who introduced me to the Mary Kay products and opportunity. An opportunity created by Mary Kay based on the values of putting Faith 1st, Career 2nd, and Family 3rd. Those were the values that I believed in, but never thought it was possible to live them working at my job.
I was invited to an event where I watched women of all walks of life, age groups, ethnic and educational backgrounds, share their successes and six figure incomes. This many women making this kind of money in a company did not happen in the corporate world. I saw that this was a company created by a woman for women to enrich their lives and empower them to grow into their God given gifts and power. I finally felt at home, I had found hope.
I’d love to tell you that what followed was a smooth ascending ride to success, nope, it was actually the beginning of the most difficult and important journey of my life. The journey of self-discovery, healing, personal and spiritual growth. Being an entrepreneur in a women-centered company like Mary Kay has helped me confront and work through all the negative messaging I grew up with about the role of women in society, and my own experiences of disempowered from a very young age. I’ve learned that owning a business is a spiritual journey, and that what Mary Kay meant when she said “Put God first” was to work from complete spiritual alignment and to walk in faith.
Now, almost 18 years as an entrepreneur in Mary Kay, I’ve learned that my true purpose is to help raise women’s self-esteem and self-confidence; to help women gain financial independence so that they can make better choices, and live based on their values and not their circumstances. But most importantly, to help develop women into leaders.
This journey also led me to The Athena Circle, where I found a tribe of fellow spiritual, heart-centered women who want to run their business from the heart and spirit, so that we can uplift the collective consciousness of our world.
I’m excited to finally be living my true life-purpose of empowering women and leading them by example. I believe that this is the best way to make the world a better place.
Homa Ahmed is an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay, an artist, architect, and the founder of Homa Ahmed Design Studio. She is married and lives in the Dallas area.