It's not long before she's the CEO of her own publicly traded company. Along the way she earns millions, globe-trots on the company jet and becomes one of the richest women in Texas selling more than $70 million in stock over two years.
An American fairy-tale? Perhaps it could have been. But the Fortune 500 company in this story is Enron. The boss and mentor is Enron's now former CEO Kenneth Lay, and the Missouri farm girl who made millions eventually loses her job. The company she ran, Azurix, takes its shareholders to the cleaners.
In the sordid saga of Enron, the story of Rebecca Mark and Azurix, a water utility company that she headed, when it was spun off from Enron is particularly enlightening. What emerges is a company I call "Enron Jr."
With Mark at the helm, Enron took Azurix public in June 1999. The IPO prospectus reads like a who's who of Enron insiders: The same auditors, lawyers and, incredibly, the same board of directors.
Like Enron's secret partnerships, Azurix played an important role in off-loading debt from the Enron balance sheet and funneling cash back to the mother ship. However, because Azurix was a publicly traded company, some of the shenanigans had to be disclosed.
In June 1999, Enron and two partnerships identified in SEC documents only as "Marlin Trust" and "Atlantic Water Trust" took Azurix public raising $800 million.
One month later, with Azurix trading right near an all-time high, these same insiders sold more stock to the unsuspecting public, raking in another $140 million.
But when Azurix failed to live up to the hype, the stock plunged - giving the company an opening to buy back shares from the public for a steal. The cost to shareholders for this 18-month round trip to the NYSE and back - nearly $500 million.
Was there no one standing up for the little guy? Certainly not Mark - in August 2000, she left the company, with a fat severance package and at least $70 million she earned after selling her Enron stock, most of it while she was running Azurix.
(Mark did not return calls to her New York home, or her Houston office.)
Certainly not Ken Lay-as a board member of both Enron and Azurix it's hard to believe there were many discussions about whether Azurix shareholders got a fair shake.
In the end, there are few, if any, fairy tales to come out of the Enron mess, but still plenty of multi-millionaires who used Wall Street as their own lucrative playground.
TERRY KEENAN is senior business correspondent and anchor of Cashin' In, an investing program that appears on the Fox News Channel on Sunday mornings at 8:30. E-mail: email@example.com