09/11/2015 09:26 GMT | Updated 09/11/2016 05:12 GMT

Women in Business Q&A: Mary Ershadi, President, TruActivs


Mary is proud to lead TruActivs, a company that is dedicated to creating superior products using the optimal percentage of active ingredients to deliver impressive and unrivaled results. A driven and insightful entrepreneur, Mary started her first beauty-enhancement company from her home in 1996. The company quickly grew, propelled by her business know-how and passion. After consulting with a variety of manufacturers to help expand the product line, Mary soon made a game-changing decision to oversee the manufacturing in her privately owned lab.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

I think several things played a role in making me the person that I am today. To start I'm the youngest of four so I always had to prove myself to be taken half as serious as my older siblings. When I was about 9 years old there was a revolution in my country and we had to leave everything behind and start a new life in a new country with a different language and culture. I had to figure it out quickly, adapt and adjust in order to survive. I think that was an important turning point in my life. I worked hard to overcome being a minority as a woman and immigrant, helping me become the leader I am today.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at TruActivs?

I've successfully launched other lines so this was not a new experience although it is the most fun. I know the dedication it takes to get a new line off the ground. I think we have a unique situation with TruActivs because the we know the science behind our products, making it easier to educate the consumer on the benefits of the product line.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at TruActivs?

It's funny because the highlights and challenges are one and the same... making a highly effective, active packed, result driven product line that is affordable for the average woman.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?

Do it only if you love it and you feel you can bring something to the table. Don't get off the path because of difficulties or mistakes. Get up, shake it off and continue. Mistakes are not necessarily a bad thing. I've learned from every mistake so I look at everything as a learning experience. Although some have been expensive lessons, in the end I have been able to look back and smile about it. I work with a lot of women owners and it's great to see clients grow from home based businesses to multi-million dollar companies.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?

Never give up and never have just one plan. Things are always changing, and it's best to be prepared with back up plans because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

It's very difficult. I work full time and have 3 little girls that need me as well. I try to spend as much time with them as possible. I don't work when I get home until after they've slept, and don't work on weekends. Conversations at home have nothing to do with work. So when I'm home I'm just mommy.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?

Unfortunately I think many women limit themselves and don't know their full potential. I meet with a lot of women entrepreneurs and I encourage them to keep pushing ahead. I think if every woman realized her full potential we would take over the earth. There's been a lot of growth for women in business in the past 30 years, just imagine where we'll be in the next 30. It's very exciting.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

I never had a mentor in my professional life but I can tell you in my personal life it has helped keep me grounded. It's easy to get caught up in business successes and forget about what's important in life. Luckily my husband and family keep my feet on the ground.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?

I've learned not to admire people from afar because I don't know their full story. The one woman I admire is my mom. She is a very solid person. I've watched her go through different situations for years to become a loving, nurturing mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her kind heart and fighting spirit has helped mold me into the woman I am today.

What do you want TruActivs to accomplish in the next year?

I want to raise brand awareness and help the brand grow. I'd like women out there to know that there is an affordable line of products that actually do deliver the results that we constantly seek. I want to educate people about the science behind how each product works and what they are putting on their skin.