Mary Kay Summit Speaker Vanderveldt’s
‘Secret Sauce’ for Success

The serial entrepreneur tells women how she found success, lost it, and came back again from nothing.


Ingrid Vanderveldt, CEO and founder of Empowering a Billion Women 2020 (EBW 2020), shared her recipe for success Friday at the inaugural Mary Kay Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit in Dallas.

Vanderveldt was one of the keynote speakers at the all-day event where nearly 200 women came together at the Fairmount Hotel to learn how to start their own business, build a successful brand and team, and how to get funded. 

“Mary Kay is an amazing example of the epitome of an entrepreneur,” Vanderveldt said, adding that she has long been inspired by the late Mary Kay Ash.

As a child, Vanderveldt said she knew she wanted to help girls and women and thought she would someday become a missionary. However, she discovered a love for capitalism and entrepreneurship, so she started her own business, which she eventually sold.

Then she did it again. And again.  

But the third time around she ended up broke and homeless.

Vanderveldt spent two weeks curled up, drinking wine, she told the crowd, and “I know what it takes.”

Vanderveldt spent two weeks curled up, drinking wine, she told the crowd, and “I know what it takes” to start over from the bottom. 

“[Many] women don’t know how to execute [their dreams],” she told Dallas Innovates during a phone interview earlier this week.

She credits having a good friend to help her get up and start over again.

There’s power in mentorship, and 80 percent of women want a mentor to help guide them, Vanderveldt said.

Here’s what she calls “the secret sauce” to becoming a successful entrepreneur. 

Mentor mindset:
How can I help you?
How does it help me?
Set a timeline and deliverables. 

Dealmaker mindset:
Build relationships.
Money; the amount you need and the value for the investor.
Set a timeline and deliverables.

Innovator mindset:
How am I going to be of service for you?
What am I going to get out of it?
Set a timeline and deliverables.

“You must have all three pieces,” Venderveldt said. “Focus on them first.” 

This is the formula she used when she approached Dell about her dream of putting cell phones in the hands of a billion women around the world by 2020. She landed the deal and became Dell’s entrepreneur in residence (EIR).   

“It’s what I eat, sleep, drink, and pray,” she said.

EBW 2020 kicked off in 2015 and has grown into a global movement to inspire women through access to mentorship, community, education, financial literacy, and a powerful network to succeed as leaders and entrepreneurs, according to its website.

“I want to spread this [mindset] to as many women as I can,” Vanderveldt said.  “Women who follow the plan will be able to land a deal in 30 days.”

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