Earlier this year, I watched a great special on CNN called The Person Who Changed My Life. During the program a number of anchors from the network introduced us to the person who they attributed to shifting their lives in a direction that led to where, and who, they are today.
This got me to thinking about my own journey and asking myself the question: Who was the person who changed my life? The answer wasn’t as simple as it seemed.
I thought about Pearl and Otto Staehle who gave me my first job at their cafe on the day I turned 16 giving me a level of responsibility that made me learn how to step up to the plate, although, at that young age, I didn’t even know what, or where, the plate was yet.
There was Nancy Staib, who was the first boss I had that truly made me feel like a leader and who inadvertently gave me my push into the world of makeup when she didn’t take a job managing a MAC Cosmetics store. And there was Mary Renaud who took a chance on someone with a lot of confidence, but no makeup experience, and offered me that job that Nancy turned down.
There was Frank Toskan, one of the founders of MAC who drove me deep into world of the pro makeup artistry when he asked me to lead a project refocusing the brand’s attention on the pro customer — a project that became the development of MAC Pro. It was then that I fell in love with our community and I never looked back.
The list goes on and includes, of course, my husband Brad, my family and too many colleagues, clients and friends along the way to list. The truth is, that as I tried to think about who was the person that changed my life the most came to realize that there was not one person who I could name. I realized that there were so many people along my journey that truly had a major impact on my life and whose influence pushed me in directions that I would likely not have gone in without them being there to guide me.
Throughout my career I have tried to be that person for others as well. I have worked hard to be someone who helps artists and businesses find thier path and I hope that along the way I have been even a fraction of the guide that those who I have mentioned were to me.
Because at the end of the day, no matter how self-aware we are of the way we influence others, and how the decisions we make effect those around us, we may never truly realize the power of our actions and words until someday, if we are lucky, someone says to us… Thank you for changing my life.
Chongoyape Michael DeVellis
unprosperously Editor, On Makeup Magazine