Jill Garrett stood in front of 230 of her colleagues and began her speech. “I want to affirm a lot of you in this room. You are approved already. The only one that really matters approves of you.” For many business leaders, this might be an odd way to open their remarks, but not Jill. She continued, “In the end, there is only one voice that really matters.”
Jill has worked as an independent cosmetics representative since she was eighteen years old. Today, she is a sales director, leading a team of women who consistently achieve financial success. But she measures her work by a different standard.
With her team, and many of her clients, Jill has a deep rapport, focused on the person of Jesus Christ. “It’s not about us,” she tells the ladies that she works with. “It’s about Jesus and his Word.” Jill’s passion for her team and clients is grounded in the hope of the gospel. “Because,” as Jill explains, “he alone is going to be the person who can give them what they need.”
In a culture that routinely promotes an unhealthy view of beauty, makeup is often armor, protecting women from the eyes and judgments of those around them. “When a woman takes off her makeup, she tells you a lot about herself,” Jill says. In this realm of vulnerability and trust, Jill and her team find their objective: ‘Bring hope to the nations as our area of influence is enlarged, knowing that we boast only in the Lord, for he alone is the one who approves of us.’
But, holding fast to a gospel mindset can be tough. Jill says that struggling with a need for approval is common in her industry. Like any other sales business, the pressure to meet targets is constant. Incentives such as jewelry and cars are exciting, but they can also feed materialism. Over the years Jill has grown in her knowledge of the gospel, and she now disciples her team through these challenges. She encourages them to focus on the clients instead of their goals. “Instead of praying that you will meet your goal,” she advises, “let's pray that the Lord brings you to the right women, that you can love them, and that you can actually minister to them.”
Jill coaches her team to value their clients as more than just customers. “When I have an appointment, it's not about selling product. It's about listening to her dreams, or struggles.” For Jill, it is the heart of the woman in front of her that matters, not financial success. “I get a chance to pray with women, to cry with them, to connect.” As they get to know Jill, people tend to make the same observation: You must sell a lot of makeup. She often surprises them with her reply, “No, I serve a lot of incredible women.”
Jill’s passion expands beyond her team and clients. She also prays that the Lord would use her to influence her peers, helping to build a corporate culture that glorifies God. This is not as unrealistic as it may sound. The founder of the company was outspoken about her faith, as are many of the top leaders. Devotion and faith are emphasized, along with the acknowledgement that success and blessings come from the Lord. Jill prays that with her interactions she can model confession, repentance, and a focus on the glory of God.
This brings us back to the podium where she spoke to her peers. Jill looked out over the crowd of sales directors. “In every appointment we have, the end purpose is building that woman,” she declared. Then, with a clear and confident voice, Jill confessed, “I have been guilty of not being intentional in building leaders.” But she did not leave it there, pointing to the sovereignty of God as a comfort. “There is freedom in knowing that in every woman I am sitting in front of, there is a purpose.”
As she drew near the end, Jill pointed her audience back to the truth of scripture. “I want to leave you with something else that has been encouraging to me.” She continued, quoting Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” She looked across a roomful of her fellow leaders and reminded them, “You have a purpose, and the Lord has a purpose for you. When you lean into Him and trust him, he will give you that purpose.”