About 10 years ago, Bethany McDowell was a stay-at-home mom relying on the financial support of her husband, like so many wives do. Even though she had just finished graduate school and had a mind to do something with her education, her husband wanted her to stay home with their infant daughter and four-year-old son. Of course she wanted to be with the children, but she could not deny that inner drive to honor her educational achievements and pursue a career meaningful for her.
“I didn’t want to not work,” she said. “I put in all this effort to get my degree but I also wanted to stay home with my kids too.”
Having earned her undergraduate degree from Washington State University, paralegal certification in Business Environmental Law from the University of San Diego and her MBA in Human Resource Management from American Intercontinental University in Illinois, Bethany had exciting career options in front of her.
When her husband’s job relocated the family to Tacoma from San Diego, Bethany accepted contract opportunities while she searched for a permanent job. During this time, her husband was working overseas and their marriage was on the rocks. When they separated soon after, Bethany and her children moved in with a family member, as she lacked the money to support herself and her children.
Keeping focused and determined, while continuing to pursue her career, Bethany strategically accepted contract opportunities that would move her career in the direction she wanted it to go. She also provided career consulting services as a way to use her knowledge to help people find employment – preparing for interviews, how to “sell” themselves to prospective employers, and the like. Over time she became a full-fledged human resource professional working within Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 Companies like T-Mobile, Amazon and Microsoft, to name a few. Today she works with TrueBlue, Inc., a global company that partners with other companies large and small to provide top-notch staffing and workforce solutions.
While Bethany excels in the white-collar world, this isn’t all that she’s about professionally. She has an artistic side to her as well, with a zeal for fashion and beauty, and a healthy sense of adventure as an entrepreneur. Last year, in addition to her “day job” she dove into her Avon business head-on as well, and her success at it has been exemplary. During Avon’s Representative Appreciation Month last month, Bethany was among the nationwide Fall for Fashion contest winners.
“I really like with Avon that you truly have the ability to build a career,” Bethany said. “I’m putting together a business plan to make it my full time career.”
Bethany was attracted to Avon on a level that spoke to her deeply, she said. “When I did my initial research, I liked that I could take my passion for being an entrepreneur and include my passion for fashion and beauty into one package. It is so much more than I expected it to be.”
With Avon’s multi-tiered business model – offering women’s cosmetics, fashion, products for men, home décor, health and wellness items – Bethany appreciates how this opens up the field to build a wide customer base.
“It is a total package. I love that aspect,” she said.
To network, promote and build her business, Bethany learned how to use social media in its various forms.
“Because I work fulltime and have my family obligations, I literally work my business on my phone,” she explained. “I’m marketing all the time on social media,” showcasing products on Instagram (where she was also featured as an Avon Representative of the Week), posting live videos on Facebook, and she has even held Facebook parties, which received a lot of engagement from people on her friends list who in turn invited their friends as well, which helps her to widen her network even further. She also takes advantage of vendor opportunities, setting up shop full of products at various events such as breast cancer awareness walks coming to Tacoma and Seattle in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“I try to embody the Avon brand in everything I do. I want to make sure that people know that Avon is a great opportunity to give back to their communities. I’m really excited to be partnering with Avon and the American Cancer Society for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I lost family members to cancer so I want to give back in any form whether fundraising, donating, or volunteering.”
Bethany’s two children help her out as well. Daughter Savanna, now in 4th-grade, became her mom’s charismatic and personable business partner from the get-go, and people love working with the little Avon assistant. Son Travis, in 9th-grade, is his mom’s “media director,” helping out with social media and giving her advice on how to market herself via websites like YouTube. Bethany says she loves being a role model for them, an example they can follow as they grow and learn by her side.
“My kids are a strong motivation for me. At the same time, I have always been really determined to not let challenges I’ve faced in life change who I am,” Bethany said. “I made a conscious effort that I wouldn’t let a divorce change my personality – that I’d remain that happy, bubbly and fun person I’ve always been. I try to use the challenges that I face and deal with to keep me motivated and to set an example for my kids. I take my job as a parent seriously because I’m raising them to be successful adults in life. They look up to me.”