Gloria Mayfield Banks is a legend in the multilevel marketing beauty industry has made history in or by becoming the first African American woman to hold the highest sales position at Mary Kay Cosmetics out of more than 2.4 million consultants. She is consistently breaking records and has overcome challenge after challenge to become a direct-selling multi-millionaire. 

But that title hardly reveals all the layers to the accomplished executive. Mayfield Banks overcame dyslexia to obtain an MBA from Harvard University. She is also a mother of four, a former top-level IBM sales executive, success strategist, entrepreneur, internationally recognized author and speaker. Her team of over 6,000 sales professionals spans over six continents. 

For Mayfield Banks, relationships, whether with family, friends, or in business, are on the top of her priority list. As a child, Mayfield Banks enjoyed a happy upbringing and a strong bond with her parents. When she first married and started her own family, however, her experience was far different. Over the span of 10 years, Mayfield Banks survived domestic abuse. “The darkness is always deepest before the light comes. It’s like going through a tunnel,” she said. “Pay attention to what you’re thinking, because what you’re thinking will dictate your attitude, your words and your future.”

With her trademark, radiant smile, Mayfield Banks now inspires others with her story of courage, resilience and faith. Her program, Queendom, teaches women confidence-building techniques and how to create a plan to increase income and manage stress while identifying and achieving their life goals. “There is so much that can shift if you become intentional about being confident and louder about what you are creating,” she explained.  

Through hard work and tenacity, Mayfield Banks has built an empire. Most impressively, she is passionate about sharing the wealth with others: Her mission is to show ordinary people how to achieve extraordinary lives, and help women tap into their brilliance to create their own Queendom. 

Trigger warning: This article contains topics on domestic violence. 


Gloria Mayfield Banks: I grew up with a phenomenal childhood. My parents were very intentional about our self-esteem. They raised four girls who are all entrepreneurs now. Neither one of my parents were entrepreneurs. It wasn’t in our family at all, but my parents were very wise. They took us all around the United States, made us go to every single museum and were extremely intentional in our Black history. It gave us a great foundation of strength and fortitude. All of us are well-educated, and they were too. We had a lot of extracurricular activities and faith was a big part of our upbringing. We had a solid foundation in our church. 


Gloria Mayfield Banks: When other women look at me, they’ll see a very smart and successful woman, but they don’t see that I was in a domestic violence situation for 10 years.

My parents were just shy of 60 years married when my father passed. I didn’t see bad marriages––I didn’t understand them, I didn’t understand arguing. But on my very first day at Harvard Business School, I started with a black eye. And I tell this story now because I’ve seen how many people it has helped. 

I knew something was wrong before I went down the aisle. This optimistic attitude that I have did not serve me well in that marriage, but has served me well in life. I know that I’m connecting with some women who look up one day and think, “How did I even get here?” Sometimes we stay in that conversation instead of entering a new conversation of, “How do I navigate through here?” 

I would never want to encourage someone to leave a situation that they don’t want to leave. But I do stand strongly as an example of someone who decided that staying wasn’t the right choice for me. With all the fear, all the unknown and all the uncertainty that comes with going through something like that––I decided to step out. 

This is where network marketing came into view for me. This is why I’m so passionate about my course called Queendom. Because I know for a fact that you have to fight to become the best version of yourself, and when you become this, you then become your best for your family, your community and your career. 


Gloria Mayfield Banks: Well, first I want to say that I learned how to build a No. 1 team through my journey. I studied a lot of people and I studied a lot of business. The other thing that I love is that when you deal with people, you are never bored because no two individuals are alike.

There was the journey from being a single parent for seven years to meeting my husband, Ken Banks, and falling in love. He is a very successful entrepreneur and during this time he was building his business. We built our businesses together. We merged two businesses and the lifestyle of entrepreneurs––I had two children and he had two children. 

I want to share that because right now, this is a big conversation for women when building a team. The family dynamics are important to talk about in terms of creating a top team. Because for me, if I invested time in my business, it was time away from my family and if I invested time in my family, it was time away from my business. This helped me with my time management. I was very intentional. 

I’ve broken record after record, because I happen to know that if you pick something where other people can operate in the participation of the win, they gain so much more. We tend to give up on ourselves faster than we will give up on someone else’s dream. One of the most magnificent lessons I learned and I teach is when you help someone else create their dream, your ego gets moved out of the way and you start working towards what you can give. You start working towards how you can serve and how you can win. And so does everyone that’s associated with you.


Gloria Mayfield Banks: I think we need to be okay with saying that the world has changed a lot. People need to be aware of their own feelings, their anxiety and their uncomfortableness. 

Women need to understand that we are all leaders, even if the most important person and the only person you’re leading right now is yourself. As powerhouses, we have a responsibility not to shy away from this and to learn to watch our minds. Pay attention to what you’re thinking, because what you’re thinking will dictate your attitude, your words and your future.

Interview by Tricia Love Vargas
Photography by Sammy Santillano

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