Dr. Gloria Mayfield Banks could rule the world one day. In fact, she might already. Her career as a motivational success strategist has her traveling internationally on a regular basis, sharing advice on how to create a better life. What makes Banks a wealth of knowledge? Her personal experiences, for one—they are recipes for a rich story—and then there is her storytelling ability: When Banks speaks, people listen. Even Oprah Winfrey listens. Despite a disability—she overcame dyslexia—she earned a bachelor’s from Howard University, a Harvard MBA and an honorary doctorate in public service and humane letters from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Her career ladder is equally impressive: a corporate position at IBM, an assistant director for admissions at Harvard’s School of Business and now Mary Kay, Inc.’s elite executive national sales director. There’s also her must-read book, Quantum Leaps. Banks is the ultimate go-getter, and she’s here to light a fire under anyone who will listen.
M&V: What is your advice on transitioning between companies or careers?
BANKS: I have three pieces of advice for people trying to make a transition. One piece of advice is to only tell people who are going to support your dreams. People tend to tell people that they think should know their dreams (like their spouse or best friend), but those are not necessarily the people who are going to support their dreams. The second piece of advice is to be clear on the benefits of the change, because if you’re not clear on the benefits, anybody’s opinion can sway you. The third piece of advice would be to make smart transitions. I always tell people that you can do anything for a short period of time, as long as you know you don’t have to do it for the rest of your life. Be willing to make those short-term sacrifices.
M&V: What skill do you find the average person lacks?
BANKS: Throwing positive energy on others. Too many people tend to share more negativity in their life than they share the positive. Everybody doesn’t need to know your story until you are finished with it.
M&V: How do we motivate children to perform better in school, arts and life?
BANKS: I don’t think you motivate children. They are either motivated or they’re not. The key is to place them in motivational environments and around inspirational people that connect with their desires and what’s appealing to them. [Children] don’t know their deep desires until they are exposed to choices. You have to show them art, sports, music, reading and technology.
M&V: What’s the best part of mingling with other powerful women?
BANKS: I love hanging around women who are unapologetic about their massive success. They shift the way you think and open the floodgates of your imagination, because the experiences that they’ve had may be experiences that you have not had yet.
M&V: What is the best career advice you ever received?
BANKS: Don’t take advice from anyone that you are not willing to trade places with.