I’m delighted to announce the beginning of our Utah Valley Women Spotlights. There are thousands of women in Utah Valley deserving of this honor! We are looking for women who are truly exceptional.

Our spotlighted women will be diverse in their backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, talents, skills, hopes and dreams.

Some women will be entrepreneurs, others will be teachers or students, inventors, actresses or stay-at-home moms. All will be amazing!

Our first Spotlight shines on Melanie Huscroft, a powerful leader in her home and at Younique, her multi-million dollar business.

Huscroft’s answers to our five questions demonstrate how authentically transparent and loving she is. Yes, she is beautiful on both the outside and the inside.

Utah Valley Women: What was your life like growing up?

Melanie Huscroft: I had a traditional childhood with two parents who loved God and each other. I am the third of seven children. My mother stayed in the home while my dad worked hard to provide for our large family. I grew up in a Christ-centered home with strong family values.

Though my father was an extremely hard worker, we had very little money. We couldn’t afford things like vacations, cinemas or restaurants. I remember thinking that only "rich people" could afford things like conditioner for hair, Ziploc baggies, new clothes, and real toothpaste (we used baking soda). I hated being invited to birthday parties, because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to bring a gift.

I figured out at a very young age, that if I wanted things like hair conditioner, real toothpaste, and new clothes I would need to get a job and buy them myself. I got my first part-time job at age 12. At the age of 13, I received my first promotion.

I learned to be self-reliant and saved most of my money. I paid my own way through college, with zero financial help from my parents; not because they didn’t want to, but because they weren’t able to. I also received a healthy-sized government pell grant.

Despite my seemingly perfect childhood, I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse from extended family members. I was 19 years old when I received counseling and faced the trauma and allowed my healing journey to begin.

I am grateful that I was blessed with parents who were actively invested in my healing journey and taught me the value of forgiveness. I am also grateful that my parents taught me the value of hard work. I learned to love being rewarded for hard work.

UVW: What is your life like now?

MH: I am a wife and mother first, and always. I am a business owner and entrepreneur second. Especially during the past few years I have been reminded that true happiness comes from finding life balance in all of our roles.

Women are masters at multitasking and I am constantly trying to keep my priorities in check and remember what’s most important. My proudest accomplishment is most definitely my family. I have four children, ages 19, 14, 14, and 10.

When my brother approached me to partner with him in business about four years ago, we had big goals and we were optimistic about the future success of our venture.

Our goal was to build a company that would become so successful that it could ultimately fund a foundation for women who were sexually abused. This was a cause that we were both passionate about. Now, in our third year of business, we have been able to hire good people. We have more than 400 employees.

During the early years, I was working 60-plus hour weeks. For the first two years, I was director of product development, marketing and sales. My life is much more balanced now, and I’m able to leave the office by 3:00 p.m. on most days so I can be home with my children after school and carpool them to their various activities.

The financial success and explosive growth of Younique has far exceeded my wildest expectations. Though I would love to take credit for the success, I can’t deny the hand of God in our business. He approves of our mission to uplift, empower, and validate women, and more importantly of our philanthropic efforts at the Younique Foundation, that helps women overcome the effects of childhood sexual abuse.

UVW: What are your biggest challenges?

MH: To be completely honest, my biggest challenge is making sure I am fulfilling my responsibilities as a mother. I don’t want to have any regrets. I tend to feel guilty when I’m at work that I’m not home with my family. And when I’m home with my family, I tend to feel guilty that I’m not giving more time to my work. I am mindful of my desires to be home more every single day.

However, my single biggest challenge in my life has been my struggle with infertility. I honestly believe there is no greater anguish on the earth than a woman who longs to be a mother, but feels denied of that opportunity.

UVW: What are your biggest successes?

MH: First, my children. Few know that I struggled with infertility for many years. I was told by doctors and infertility specialists that I would never be able to conceive naturally due to an emergency health challenge that I had in my youth. Three surgeries, exploratory procedures, two in-vitro fertilizations, a failed adoption, and one successful adoption later, I have four miraculous children.

Second, Younique is the fastest-growing company in the nation right now. November 2015 was our highest sales month ever exceeding $53 million in a single month.

Third, the Younique Foundation. The financial success of Younique has been the conduit to a cause that is greater than myself. The Younique Foundation inspires hope in women who were sexually abused as children or adolescents by hosting them at a retreat, where they are uplifted by each other and learn skills that can help them find individual healing. We also educate parents and empower them to protect their children from sexual abuse while leading a public dialogue to bring the epidemic of abuse to light.

To learn more about Utah Valley Women, visit www.UtahValleyWomen.com. To contact Paula Fellingham, email Paula@UtahValleyWomen.com.

Keri Lunt Stevens covers Community News in Utah County.

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