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Life in the Spotlight

A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Edna Ostafinski


Edna Ostafinski, an Independent Mary Kay Sales Director, has always loved working with people in her community. From her time as a social worker in Michigan to her career helping women find happiness and beauty in who they are, Ostafinski has devoted her career and life to being a caring and dedicated member of the community.

Born and raised in Kouts, Indiana, Ostafinski attended Kouts High School. She participated in a number of clubs and activities like the National Honors Society, Pep Club, the Girls Athletic Association, and 4-H. But her true passion was in music.

“I played the clarinet in the school’s band,” Ostafinski explained. “I also took piano and organ lessons from a teacher up here in Valpo. Music is one of my favorite hobbies; it offers me a great outlet to be able to relax.”

After graduating from high school, she went on to study at Purdue University and received her Bachelors in Sociology with a focus in Social Work in 1979, the beginning of a new-found passion that has continued today.

“I originally wanted to be a music major, but I soon realized that I didn’t have the right skill set like my classmates,” she said. “So I decided on Social Work because it seemed like it was the perfect fit for me.”

After graduating from Purdue, Ostafinski continued her education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she received her Masters in Social Work with a focus in Gerontology at the university’s Institute of Gerontology.

“Gerontology is the study of the elderly,” Ostafinski explained. “You’ve heard of geriatrics, which is more of the medical side, while gerontology is more of the social side of the field.”

This field seemed like the perfect fit for Ostafinski, who spent her childhood spending quality time with her grandparents and other elderly family members.

“I remember every night, my grandparents would be at the dinner table eating with us,” she explained. “Family has always been important to me; always.”

Ostafinski’s family began to grow while she continued her education. While studying at University of Michigan, she met her husband, Joe, who was also receiving his Masters in Social Work at the Institute of Gerontology.

After finishing her Masters, Ostafinski began working as a medical social worker at a hospital in Flint, Michigan. Her time there was short; she worked at the hospital for a year as her husband finished up his Masters.

“Joe was still at University Michigan, so I was commuting 50 miles every day!” Ostafinski explained. “It was horrible! But the job was a really great experience.”

After getting married in 1981, the couple moved to Oak Lawn, Illinois where her husband took a job as a social worker and Ostafinski worked for a temp agency, eventually getting a job as a secretary for Mitus Mufflers, a job that she loved and enjoyed every minute.

Over the next 10 years, the two moved multiple times. As her husband began his time at Seminary to become a pastor, the growing family moved from Fort Wayne to Nebraska, back to Fort Wayne, eventually landing in Elmhurst, Indiana.

During that time, Ostafinski was a stay-at-home mom for their four children, Lauren, Hilary, Sam, and Kevin. But not long after moving to Valparaiso in 1991, she fell into a career that allows her to utilize her love for people, her family, and her role as a pastor’s wife.

“I had been using Mary Kay products from the time I was in college,” she explained. “When we moved to Valpo, I was still getting my products from my sons’ godmother, who was a consultant in Elmhurst. After a while, she told me that I should just become my own consultant! So I started selling Mark Kay products in 1992 and have been doing it ever since!”

Now as an Independent Sales Director, Ostafinski’s role is of a mentor and coach to a team of Mary Kay consultants. The company sells a wide range of products, including cosmetics, skin care, and much more, all the while having a positive effect on women’s lives daily.

“As a Sales Director, I enrich consultants’ and clients’ lives and their families by being home-based employees and by sharing products and opportunities with them,” she explained. “When women feel good on the outside, they feel good on the inside. Honestly, it’s the best social work I’ve ever done.”

Along with the positive influence Mary Kay has on women around the world, it also allows for flexible schedules for everyone in every situation who either want to bring in some extra money every month, or want a career that allows them to wear multiple hats.

“I wanted a flexible schedule so that I could work from home, so I really fell into it at the right time,” Ostafinski explained. “I was still able to be home for my kids and I’m still able to be a pastor’s wife.”

Since moving to Valpo, her husband, Joe, has been the pastor for Heritage Lutheran Church, and while he leads the congregation every Sunday, Ostafinski is leading in her own way.

“I lead a women’s bible study group and I’ve been the Music Director for our Sunday school for 20 years,” she explained. “I also led music for Vacation Bible School for 17 years, which I always loved. It felt good to help out and I loved singing with the kids.”

Ostafinski is able to bring her passion for music to Heritage Lutheran Church. Along with being the Music Director, she also is the substitute organist.

“Music is very important in the Lutheran religion,” she explained. “Plus, it’s a great way to meet and get to know people.”

While she isn’t mentoring Mary Kay consultants, Ostafinski is spending time with her husband, her children, and her five-year old grandson, Henry, any chance she gets.

“I love doing things with my family,” she explained. “I’ve always been really family oriented.”

Reading biographies and historical fiction that revolve around women like Queen Victoria and or any of Jane Austen’s characters is another hobby of Ostafinski’s. And when she’s not reading, you can find her watching Downtown Abbey.

“I’m definitely a history buff when it comes to anything that focuses on women,” Ostafinski said. “That’s one of the many things I love about Mary Kay is the focus on women.”

As she said before, it’s the best social work she’s ever done. And as Edna Ostafinski celebrates her 25th Anniversary as a Mary Kay Independent Sales Director this month, it’s important to not only celebrate her commitment to this career, but also her dedication to the women and the community she helps every day.

“There is so much more to Mary Kay than just lipstick,” Ostafinski explained passionately. “It’s about treating women well and it’s about praising women for all of their success, rather than tearing down.”

Copyright © 2017 Ideas in Motion Media