Rachel Doyle has built her career around a basic human need - making others feel important. She is one of the hardest working people I know. (Yes, there’s some bias there because she’s my boss, but I’ve seen her in action and this woman never stops!) As the founder and president of the not-for-profit GlamourGals (GG), she works tirelessly to better the lives of women across the U.S.
Rachel started GlamourGals at the age of 17. She and her friends visited nursing homes where she grew up on Long Island, in Commack, NY and gave makeovers to the women there. While painting their nails bright colors and applying lipstick and blush, the GlamourGals would get to know the seniors and ask them about their lives. Rachel would take pictures and tell each woman how beautiful she looked. (You can view a video of the first GG makeover here.) Creating these relationships enabled Rachel to do for these women what she was unable to do for her own grandmother, Teeny, who lived in a nursing home in Nevada. Once she saw how happy the women were to have the attention, to have someone sit and listen, Rachel knew she had started something very special.
Fast forward twelve years and GlamourGals has grown nationwide. There are 68 “chapters” in high schools and colleges across 14 states. Chapter volunteers hold makeovers in their communities each month. Teens who take part in GlamourGals learn organizational and communication skills and see the importance in connecting with older generations of women. The seniors who receive the beauty treatment are often without families or spouses to visit them and look forward to seeing the GlamourGals each month. Rachel has tapped into something so special - a way of connecting two generations of women so that both can benefit and learn from each other.
For Rachel, one of the highlights of this summer was when GG was honored by the New York Yankees during HOPE Week, on Thursday, June 28. To Rachel’s great surprise, players Nick Swisher, David Robertson, Brett Gardner, and Cody Eppley attended that day’s makeover. Just a few hours later, Rachel threw the first pitch at the Yankees game versus the Chicago White Sox.
“I was in shock for that day and the following week after,” Rachel said. “I knew because all I wanted to do was sit and watch reality TV and not talk to anybody, just to process what was going on!”
When it was time for Rachel to make that first pitch, she had to work through the fears that flooded her mind. She wanted to represent herself properly to the world watching, she wanted to do right by all the young women that would take note. According to Yankees representatives, Rachel would be one of less than ten women who had ever made the first pitch. That’s a lot of pressure!
“I couldn’t let myself process that far,” Rachel said. “I didn’t want to say the wrong thing or disappoint the millions of people watching. I didn’t want to disappoint strong athletic women!”
Luckily, second baseman Robinson Cano pulled Rachel aside and shared with her, in 15 minutes, how to properly throw a baseball. So how did Rachel focus in the moment and pull off that first throw in front of more than 40,000 people in the stadium alone? She compared it to how she tackled her first GlamourGals makeover in January 2000.
“At the first GlamourGals makeover, I remember peeking into the room and seeing all these people, television reporters, writers from the New York Times, the nursing home activities director, my parents, volunteers’ parents. I remembered being scared. But then I remembered why I was there. I was going to focus on the task at hand, which was to make these women smile.”
When listening to Cano, Rachel applied the skills she had put to use her whole life, to work hard and listen carefully, and she soaked in every detail she could from the professional as he spoke. Take a look at her historic pitch on the YES network’s video focusing on GlamourGals, featuring Rachel and Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher.
Running a not-for-profit like GlamourGals takes a lot of energy, yet Rachel still makes time to stay active and relax.
“I love working out,” Rachel said. “I read books at the gym, read magazines at the gym, talk on the phone at the gym. I love swimming in the ocean - it has to be clear though! Water I can see through! I also like reality TV. It makes you realize your life isn’t that crazy. It puts things in perspective.”
Rachel's career tips and advice on creating your own business or not-for-profit:
- “Do your research. Be honest with yourself: Is it being done?” Rachel said to keep in mind you’ll be spending a lot of your own resources as well as other people’s, so you’ll need to prove your cause or mission is a worthy and unique one.
- “Most things take a lot of work.” Rachel is proof that hard work pays off. She was brought up with the notion that to make things happen, you have to put a lot of effort in. Being taught this early on by her parents helped shape her into the focused, headstrong woman she is today.
- “Stay organized. I write everything down. I love lists,” Rachel said. To keep her schedule and to-do list organized, Rachel keeps a good, old-fashioned planner, highlights like crazy and checks off lists throughout the day. She has a taped and re-taped, bound book with all of her important dates, reminders, bits of information, even a love note from her husband for inspiration! It goes everywhere with her. “That’s my way,” Rachel explained. “Doesn’t mean it’s the right way.” She insists that whatever organizational method works the best for you is the one to go with, conventional or not. As long as it enables you to be where you need to be and get done what you need to get done, it works!
Interested in getting involved with GlamourGals? You can donate or join the cause here.
Photographs, from top: Rachel in the early GlamourGals days with a resident of a Brookdale Senior Living community; at the Yankees game on June 28; Rachel speaking at a GlamourGals Leadership Training Institute event in 2010, taken by Paul Viet Do.