When I was growing up I used to identify with South Carolina because I was born there, but I left as a baby after my mother gave birth to me during WWII at the Navel Base in Charleston. After that, I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma where my family worked in the oil business except for two years in Virginia when my dad was called up for the Korean War and moved his family with three children to Arlington, Virginia. After first and second grade, I returned to Tulsa until I graduated from Nathan Hale High School where I was student body president and belonged to many, many organizations and clubs.
Fast forward to Stanford University where I joined no organizations and no clubs and where I majored in Economics and Pre-Med. In addition I had almost a double major in American History. However, as I was late in coming to the realization that Medicine was for me, I was short two classes. I applied to medical school anyway, but faced amazing discrimination for the first time in my life when the interviewing doctor asked me why I should take the place of a man in medical school. We never got off of that topic as it morphed into “did I have a boyfriend” (yes) “was I planning to have children” (probably but I wasn’t married) and “how I would take care of them?” I remember saying that I wouldn’t just leave them in the street.
This was a very disappointing experience, but I went on to work at a technical company, Raychem, while taking the missing classes. I wrote draft deferments for Viet Nam for the company, hired temporary employees and then moved into finance. I was a statistical analyst in manufacturing and then a financial analyst before I left to have my first child.
It seems I always had an interest in business. After I married I applied to Stanford Business School and didn’t get in in 1970. That year they only had three women and I had applied very late and the class was virtually filled. The next year, the class was one-third women, but it was too late for me and I was pregnant with my first child and didn’t go back to work. Three years later I had twins and I didn’t leave any of them in the street!
Always an Entrepreneur
When I was three years old, I was reported by neighbors for selling my mother’s Christmas cards door to door. She wasn’t through with them, however and they had personal messages on them, but I was congratulated on my enthusiasm. Later I had lemonade stands befitting the hot climate of Oklahoma and put on plays in the backyard with sheets hung on clotheslines in the evening, and selling seats on a blanket to neighbors. Such was life in the 50’s.
First Home Business
While raising my children I started a little home based business called “The Pillow Farm” and made first sewn and then hand painted and silkscreened pillows, aprons, cushions, T-shirts and Christmas ornaments. After doing that, until my children went to school, my interest in gardening came to the fore and as president of the Palo Alto Garden Club led the effort to establish a non-profit garden center on a property with a Victorian house left to the city of Palo Alto by Elizabeth F. Gamble and it became a great success. As a Junior League member, I was on the founding board of the Tech Museum in San Jose which highlights and encourages interest in science and technology in Silicon Valley and surrounds and visited science museums in Munich, Paris and London to see what they had done.
Second Home Business
In 1985, I began another business enterprise called Marde Ross & Company which sells flowering bulbs and peonies and is now twenty eight years old. It was and is a very small business and has been neglected periodically when more interesting things came up, but I am now very interested in Attraction Marketing and internet sales and am working on it to see what it can become. In addition I want to help bring a prominent network marketer to India in 2014 and help young Indians of age 18-26 as my target audience to the opportunities provided by early entry into this kind of marketing (which used to be stigmatised as pyramid marketing but it is really horizontal marketing). Hopefully this can make a difference to many in this beautiful country.
One of my children is an expert on selling and has a compelling story at pebblestorm.com and uniquegenius.com. Another son is a marketing expert who has lived in Brazil and is now back in San Francisco and started VivenciaBrazil.com which helps U.S. companies enter the Brazilan economy, and his twin sister has a new baby and is also entrepreneurial.
Interests: Travel and Photography
Travel has been of great interest to me all of my life. I used to “go walk about” from the earliest of ages (3 and 4!) following neighbors to school or just walking off in one direction or another. When I was put down for a nap, I often opened windows and climbed out to play. The police found me more than once, and it must have driven my mother frantic. Now I have visited every continent and still have a desire to keep wandering the earth. After many trips to Asia, the U.K. and Europe, I discovered India and have visited the north, west and center of the country and am eager to see more. Brazil, where I was an exchange student in high school, is also a great love, and I have returned another half a dozen times including visits to my youngest son who lived there for five years. My newest interest, Attraction Marketing is focusing on bringing a new business opportunity to India.
Photography has been a major interest of mine and I have taken workshops with many U.K. photographers, some of whom worked with the National Trust, in landscape photography using 35 mm and medium format. We worked in France, Italy, The Hebrides Islands in Scotland, India, and in the United States in Yosemite, Death Valley and all over Utah’s red rocks and canyons. I began taking courses in 1985 as an aid in marketing my flowering bulbs and it grew far beyond that, although I still enjoy close up opportunities as well as the atmospheric.