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#UpWithHer: Sparking curiosity in science with Mary Kay

Dr. Lucy Gildea is sparking curiosity about STEM and upping everyone's beauty game all while wearing a lab coat and safety goggles in this edition of #UpWithHer.

As Mary Kay's Chief Scientific Officer, women expect Dr. Lucy Gildea to have all the beauty secrets you can't find online. 

One of the big questions women often ask her is how they can look ten years younger. 

Her advice: start a skincare routine and commit to it early. 

Gildea served as our teacher and tour guide as we explored Mary Kay's new manufacturing and Research & Development facility in Lewisville.  

One of her jobs as a mentor, Gildea said, is to help educate people on the atypical career paths that can exist in science.     

Sort of like hers.

Gildea interned in a crime lab, she's a former professor and she led a team at Procter & Gamble. It's all led her to her current position at Mary Kay. 

From packaging to processing, it takes years for Gildea and her team to develop the right product. 

"You have the idea, you create the formula and then you have to figure out how to make it on a large scale," Gildea said.

And, don't forget, they have to fine tune every lotion and lipstick in a smaller size inside one of Mary Kay's laboratories. 

In an environment that could easily feel cold, Gildea's approach strikes the type of balance you'd like to find in a fancy formula.

“I lead an organization that’s about creativity, and I need people to come in everyday to feel like they’re supported and empowered to stretch the boundaries,”  Gildea said.  

Leaders like Gildea help others see untapped potential in themselves. 

“What I try to remind people is innovation is rooted in curiosity and inspiration, and you can bring that to bear in any aspect of your life,” she said.

Gildea does have a life outside the lab, too. She's a wife, mom to four boys and has three rescue dogs. 

She admits, chaos is her norm. 

“Learning how to manage unpredictable outcomes, you have to do that as a scientist, but everyday I’m thrown a curve ball at work or at home,” she explained.

And managing curve balls takes communication and honesty.  

“I don’t try to pretend to be perfect, and I don’t ever try to convey to anyone at work or in my personal life that everything goes perfectly,” Gildea said.  

Vulnerability isn't weakness, it's risk. Mary Kay scientists like her are taking big risks to stay a leader in the beauty industry. 

And they're building confidence one lipstick at a time. 

Want to meet up with Gildea? WFAA's Kara Sewell is hosting a leadership event as part of #UpWithHer on Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. For more information, click here.

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