7 Questions for a Sustainability Professional: Nichole Jones-Dooley

A native of Hot Wells, Texas, Mary Kay Ash is known as one of the original glass ceiling breakers for her iconic brand, Mary Kay. A true disruptor in business, Mary Kay’s mission since 1963 has been to enrich women’s lives and empower them with the opportunity to define their own futures. Today, Mary Kay operates in more than 35 countries and its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy weaves business excellence, product stewardship, responsible manufacturing, women’s empowerment, and social impact to their growth.

Mary Kay’s commitment to intentional and sustainable initiatives to address the global challenges threatening future generations is thanks in part to the behind-the-scenes work of strategists like Nichole Jones-Dooley, Plant Manager, Richard R. Rogers Manufacturing and R&D Facility, Mary Kay.

Nichole Jones-Dooley, Plant Manager, Mary Kay

How would you explain the importance of ESG strategy to someone who wasn’t familiar with it?
ESG strategy is vital because it represents a holistic approach to doing business that prioritizes not just financial gains but also positive impacts on the environment and society. At Mary Kay, it guides us in making decisions that are good for the planet and its people, ensuring a sustainable future for all while staying true to our core values. It’s about creating a balance between economic success and the well-being of our communities and the environment.

When planning environmental sustainability targets, what do you use as a guide to set these goals and commitments? 
In setting our environmental sustainability targets, we’re guided by a combination of successful industry models, stakeholder concerns, and our natural resource use. We align our goals with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring our efforts contribute to global priorities. Our approach is collaborative, involving key stakeholders to ensure our goals are ambitious yet achievable, reflecting our commitment to making a meaningful—and realistic—difference.

What is the first step for implementing ESG strategy for a company looking to engage in environmental sustainability for the first time?
The first step is understanding the intersection of your business operations with environmental, social, and governance factors. For Mary Kay, this meant assessing how we could leverage our influence for positive environmental change while empowering women and ensuring ethical governance. Starting with a commitment to sustainability that aligns with core company values is key, followed by establishing clear, measurable goals and integrating these into all aspects of the business.

Mary Kay’s commitment to sustainability by the numbers:
Mary Kay uses 100% biodegradable packing peanuts
Mary Kay’s manufacturing centers are powered by 100% renewable energy
Mary Kay’s global manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and China operate as zero landfill sites

In 2023, what was your most interesting lesson learned in your work as a sustainability professional?
The most interesting lesson was the power of collective action, especially the role women play in driving sustainability efforts. Our initiatives, from water stewardship to supporting female-led conservation projects, underscored how impactful partnerships and community-led actions can be. It reinforced the idea that when we empower women, we can accelerate progress towards sustainability goals.

What component of working in environmental sustainability is your favorite and why? 
Our commitment to water sustainability. Our manufacturing facility has a direct and tangible impact over this resource, with the ability to drive substantial improvement and conservation advancements through operational processes. It’s a fundamental resource that’s under increasing stress globally, and our efforts in water stewardship have shown tangible benefits. It’s gratifying to work on something so essential to life, knowing that every improvement contributes to the well-being of communities and ecosystems.

When Mary Kay Ash said she wanted to change the world, this included protecting it for future generations. Because she embraced those values, Mary Kay has been making systematic changes across our operations and value chain for more than 60 years with the goal of becoming a more sustainable business. We’ve made significant progress—but there’s still work to be done and together we can accomplish our goals.

– DEBORAH GIBBINS, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER FOR MARY KAY

From the eyes of an environmental sustainability professional, what makes a conservation project stand out? What can conservation projects do to make it easier to partner with them?
A standout conservation project is one that combines innovative environmental solutions with social benefits, especially those that empower communities. Projects that facilitate partnerships by demonstrating tangible impacts, scalability, and inclusivity always stand out. Making it easier to partner involves clear communication of goals, transparency in operations, and showcasing how collaboration can amplify results.

What sustainability goal are you most looking forward to working on in 2024?
In 2024, I’m most looking forward to expanding our efforts in responsible water use and conservation. Building on our successes, we aim to implement more advanced water-saving technologies and practices across our operations. Enhancing our water stewardship not only reflects our commitment to environmental sustainability but also supports our broader goal of empowering women and communities through improved access to clean water.

Texan by Nature’s vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation, and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world. 

We’re grateful to Nichole, Mary Kay, and the many sustainability professionals and companies who are future-proofing their businesses and our state with operational innovations and conservation investments that advance environmental sustainability in their sectors and provide successful models for the globe to follow.

Learn more about the annual TxN 20 program, which recognizes leadership in environmental sustainability in industry, by visiting the TxN 20 website, and keep an eye out for more insight from other sustainability professionals to come.

More about Nichole Jones-Dooley

Nichole holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and Nuclear Medicine Technology. She has over 15 years of experience in Cosmetics manufacturing and Supply Chain Management. She began her career as a Chemist for L’Oréal USA at their manufacturing site in North Little Rock, AR. While there, she worked in multiple roles across Operations and Supply Chain including Manager of Industrial Quality, Manager of Packaging Operations, and Manager of Master Scheduling.

In 2015, Nichole joined Mary Kay Inc. as Manager of Production Operations at the Dallas manufacturing site. During her tenure with the company, she served as Director of Operations and is currently Plant Manager for the site, overseeing all of Operations, Warehousing, and Site Engineering at the new Richard R. Rogers Manufacturing and R&D Facility in Lewisville, TX. Nichole is an active member of the Board of the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce as well as a member of the Board of Trustees for Medical City Lewisville.

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