The multi-day educational event offered new insight and strategies for connecting with a rapidly evolving market.
After a multi-year hiatus, Direct Selling University was back in-person at the Omni Hotel in Frisco, Texas, infused with more energy and excitement than ever before. The educational and networking opportunity, which has been held virtually during the pandemic, offered experience-based, high-impact insight into everything from improving communication and onboarding practices to the importance of sustainability and diversity.
“Being back in person for the first time in three years was incredibly energizing,” said Shelley Rojas, Publisher and Chief Brand Officer for Direct Selling News. “The human connectivity and interaction reuniting with our in-person attendees was inspiring and a lot of fun.”
Headlining the event was Jason Dorsey, author, speaker, researcher and President of The Center for Generational Kinetics, who shared an extensive data-backed look at the generational trends in consumer purchasing, recruitment, communication and engagement. His keynote address inspired an enthusiastic conversation among attendees about how companies can leverage their culture, technology, digital footprint, messaging tactics and customer service strategies to successfully reach even more people.
“It’s always important to have outside, expert perspectives to help everyone learn, grow, stretch and evolve individually and as a channel,” Rojas said. “Jason’s insights and research on generational trends are fascinating.”
Technology was by far the most discussed category among the generational divides, with Dorsey highlighting how each age group interacts with online platforms in unique ways. By honoring every generational segment within the industry, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, and acknowledging their separate needs and preferences, Dorsey illustrated how the channel has the opportunity to become not only more relevant, but more effective as well.
“Direct selling has and will always be a people business,” Rojas said. “The more companies focus on how to understand and embrace people from every generation for their strengths and communication styles combined with diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in their decision making and culture building, we believe significant shifts and evolution can happen.”
Edify and Inform
This year’s lineup featured more than 30 speakers from top performing direct selling brands, rising stars within the industry, marketing experts and innovators, with thought leaders and top executives from companies around the world gathered to network, learn and share insights throughout the two-day event.
“At DSN, we strive to edify, inform and educate the channel and the executives that lead it,” said Stuart Johnson, Direct Selling News Founder and CEO. “Direct Selling University serves as a strong foundation for that goal by bringing together some of the channel’s most prominent executives, champions and thought leaders. We create an open, transparent environment that’s designed to foster the sharing of ideas and best practices for the betterment of direct selling as a whole.”
Carrying that mission beyond the event, Direct Selling News also shared its new opportunities for connection, through the DSN VIP Community, a fully customizable text messaging platform that sends news alerts based on user preferences, and the DSN Membership Program, which provides exclusive training and educational opportunities to keep corporate staff members one step ahead with the most important trends and breaking news.
“We’re in the midst of a strategic renaissance here at Direct Selling News and are eagerly looking for ways to share practical solutions to common challenges with the executives who are leading the future of this channel,” Rojas said.
Jason Dorsey, Author, Speaker and President of The Center for Generational Kinetics, brought decades’ worth of data to the stage, sharing the generational angles that no one is talking about and how paying attention to the differences in these segments can help companies future-proof their businesses.
Stuart Johnson, CEO, Direct Selling News, Direct Selling Partners & NOW Technologies, pointed out how the pandemic accelerated trends that were already in motion within the industry and how the channel can use sampling and referrals to capitalize on that customer-centric momentum.
Rolf Sorg, Founder & CEO, PM-International, illustrated how he used solution-oriented thinking to find opportunity within the challenges of the past year to exceed $2 billion in sales.
Sarah Shadonix, Founder & CEO, Scout & Cellar, shared some of her young company’s biggest mistakes and how learning from previous fumbles can help leaders build better businesses.
Brian Underwood, Co-Founder & CEO, Prüvit, and Terry Lacore, Founder & CEO, Lacore Enterprises, in a Q&A panel with Wayne Moorehead, Host of The Direct Approach Podcast, explained how their innovative partnership with Sunbasket is driving consumer engagement while building cost-effective and simple onramps for complicated products that develop loyal customers.
John Parker, West Region President and Chief Sales Officer, Amway; Mark Pentecost, Founder & Chairman, It Works!; and Tarl Robinson, Founder & CEO, Plexus Worldwide, participated in a panel led by Stuart Johnson, and shared why investing in growth amid incredible momentum is critical; offered an inside look at Amway’s approach to sustaining an entrepreneurial culture while leading one of the most well-known brands in America; and how to embrace every phase of a company’s growth.
Ami Perry and Noah Westerlund of NOW Technologies leveraged their data analytics to illustrate how to improve adoption of digital platforms and increase recruitment and retention numbers.
Russ Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer, Xyngular, taught a Personal Development 101 course on stage, sharing how to involve distributors through quick, digital engagements while monitoring perceived value.
Shelley Rojas, Publisher and Chief Brand Officer, Direct Selling News, shared the many free resources available to direct selling executives to connect with breaking news, inspiring stories and education to find answers to everyday leadership challenges through DSN’s VIP community and vast masterclass archives with the DSN Membership Program.
Mike Lohner, President and Chief Financial Officer, Direct Selling Acquisition Corporation, provided an update on the first special purpose acquisition company entirely focused on the direct selling channel and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, including its overwhelmingly positive reception on the market that resulted in raising $230 million.
Kelly Bellerose, Senior Vice President, 4Life, used data from recent studies to explain how vital imagery is for brand communications and why cohesion through consistency, familiarity and repetition can form a brand language that draws in customers in a way that text alone never could.
Debbie Bolton, Co-Founder, Norwex, told the story of how she switched her mindset from a perspective of building a dynasty to creating a legacy, and how leading with the future in mind has helped her company stay relevant.
Daniel Picou, Founder and CEO, Vasayo, discussed lessons learned during international expansion into China, and how to build a sustainable business through steady growth built on customer loyalty and a flexible leadership team.
Kindra Hall, Author, Speaker and Storytelling Expert, explained why the stories we tell ourselves can limit our success, and offered an action plan for transforming the lives of potential superstar leaders by teaching them how to change their own storytelling.
Jesse McKinney, Amanda Moore, Genie Reese, Co-Founders, Red Aspen, interviewed by Heather Chastain, Founder & CEO, Bridgehead Collective and new Strategic Advisor at DSN, shared how they drive engagement through constantly refreshing their product offerings and why sharing all of their marketing assets and training materials publicly has decreased skepticism.
Kevin Guest, Chairman & CEO, USANA, talked about how 30 years of successful business has illustrated the importance of focusing on active customer counts rather than revenue to maintain the overall growth and long-term sustainability of a company.
Sinan Tuna, CEO North America, Farmasi, shared his perspective as a Gen Z leader and how his company has crafted a winning expansion strategy by being nimble, responsive and fast moving.
Wayne Moorehead, Marketing, Brand Strategy & Direct-to-Consumer Industry Expert and Host of The Direct Approach podcast, discussed the changing competitive landscapes direct sellers operate in and how companies can deliver a timely, relevant message across a growing array of customer touchpoints.
Katy Holt-Larsen, President and CEO, Kyäni, talked about how to take the industry to the next level by fighting back against “business as usual” and casting a resilient vision.
Stuart MacMillan, President, MONAT, pointed out the uniqueness of the channel and how an unwavering commitment to acquiring and satisfying customers is the best engine for growth and an effective defense against an ever-changing regulatory environment.
Crayton Webb, Founder & CEO, Sunwest Communications, shared lessons from pop culture about crisis preparedness and how quick, clear communication can prevent damage to a brand’s reputation.
Kirsten Aguilar, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and SeneCare, SeneGence, shared how they have leveraged a collaboration with distributors who have massive social media followings to promote products in a budget-friendly, viral way.
Paul Adams, Founder & CEO, Adams Resource Group, offered a blueprint for how to create, own and defend your company culture.
Deborah K. Heisz, Co-CEO, Neora, explained the importance of leading rather than reacting in a crisis and shared the key components of their success amid a lengthy battle with the FTC.
Heather Chastain, Founder & CEO, Bridgehead Collective, encouraged leaders to manage field expectations through realistic stories and thoughtful transparency to help them reach their goals.
Kindsey Pentecost, Chief Marketing Officer, It Works!, shared how authenticity, caring for their corporate team as well as the field, being willing to fail, and aligning their culture with their brand accelerated their growth and gave them a competitive advantage.
Don Thompson, President, LegalShield, discussed the challenges of being an established subscription-based service company with aging field leadership and their innovative solutions that honor these legacies while infusing energy into new recruits.
John Addison, Chief Executive Officer, Addison Leadership Group, called people to take charge of their thoughts and attitudes to cultivate a better life and become a person that people want to follow.
From the June 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.