Jennifer Staubach Gates grew up in one of the most high-profile families in the neighborhood. The 1984 Ursuline Academy graduate — as everyone in the neighborhood knows — is the eldest daughter of football great Roger Staubach, who earned the Heisman Trophy in 1963 before spending 11 seasons as the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, including five Super Bowls.
But despite that prestige, Gates did not grow up a princess. A strong work ethic was instilled in all five Staubach children at a young age. While she definitely defines her childhood as “idyllic,” she was tasked early with responsibilities to ensure she knew the value of hard work.
“We had a cleaning lady, but she wasn’t ever allowed in our rooms. We always cleaned our own rooms and bathrooms. We always had summer chores,” Gates remembers. “We always had a lot of responsibilities at home, but we were also expected to work.”
So when Gates was a high school student, probably a sophomore, she says, she jumped at the opportunity to work at Lady Love Inc., a Mary Kay-style competitor famous for its aloe vera skin care line, which had a distribution center in Addison at the time.
Gates was approached by a teacher at Ursuline who sold Lady Love products on the side. There was a job available at the distribution center, and Gates would be perfect for it, she said.
Never one to miss out on an opportunity, Gates applied.
“I worked in their stock room. The sales reps would drop off their orders and I would fill them,” she says.
She learned a lot from watching their business acumen and sitting in on sales meetings. She stayed with it for three or four years, learning as much as she could about the business world.
“It taught me all about leadership and how to work with people,” she says.
Lady Love was the perfect first job, she says, because it allowed for flexibility in schedule to account for her extra-curricular activities. Plus, like most teenage girls, she was stoked to get to try all the products.
“That was a good perk,” she remembers.
Another perk was, of course, the paycheck, which Gates was allowed to spend on whatever she liked. She coveted Lancome mascara, Ciara perfume and Indian Earth bronzer. Money also went to movie tickets and ice cream at Kaiser’s.
“The new mall at the time was Prestonwood and also a favorite destination to spend our hard earned money,” she says
She stayed with Lady Love through high school. Once she began nursing school, she spent her summers working at the Cooper Clinic and in the nursery at Medical City
Gates eventually became a registered nurse and, obviously, a city councilwoman representing Preston Hollow in the 13th district. But she fondly remembers her Lady Love days when asked to look back.
“It was really friendly and I learned a lot about business there,” she says.