While Amway Chief Sales Officer and Regional President West John Parker is a celebrated leader, he prefers to see himself as part of a team, and not just Team Amway, but a part of something even bigger—the direct selling community.
“Direct selling is a team sport,” he shared. “We may have individual roles, but it really is a team sport. And I think for me, that’s been so much of what has shaped how I approach my career and the role that I play as a teammate and being a part of Amway as an organization and the industry more broadly.”
Destined for Direct Selling
Parker began his career with Amway in 1993, in an entry level customer service role. This job was both his first exposure to corporate culture and the direct sales industry, so he came in with a blank slate.
“I feel like direct sales chose me, not the other way around,” he joked. “And I suspect a lot of us in the industry would have similar experiences. I was really young when I started here at Amway. And it was just the experience of coming in with no knowledge of direct selling and finding myself at a company where the culture was really a good fit for me. I didn’t have a lot of perspective on what companies or corporate cultures were like. And the deeper I got into direct selling and the deeper I got into Amway, the more I liked it. The more I liked it, the more I felt at home. I felt there was a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow and develop.”
Amway has been Parker’s home for three decades, giving him the opportunity to expand his sales and marketing experience from a small regional role to President of Amway Japan to his current position as Regional President West and Chief Sales Officer. He’s had a front row seat as both Amway and the broader direct sales industry have navigated the evolution of online sales, changing customer expectations, different management styles and even a global pandemic. But he sees those shifts and changes as the rule rather than the exception.
“As I reflect back on the 30 years that I’ve been a part of the industry, what’s most interesting to me is the way in which our businesses and the individual entrepreneurs that make up our businesses have collectively adapted over time to changes in the marketplace. Sometimes we have this perspective that our model is so distinct that we’ve had to change or adapt more than other industries, but I believe that need for change is true across a lot of other industries as well.”
In Parker’s estimation, adapting is just an integral part of business as usual. He explained, “As an industry, we don’t view change as a periodic thing that we have to implement when there’s some kind of milestone or in order to react to some sudden change in the marketplace. Change is a part of operating a business day-to-day. There are times we want to be a step ahead. But there are times we want to be in step with what current expectations are.”
A Life-Long Learner
During his time in leadership at Amway, Parker has learned from hundreds of great leaders from around the world but believes that the best leaders are simply the best listeners—and that they can learn from anyone.
“As an Amway employee, I’ve learned so much from so many leaders and executives at Amway. But I’ve learned just as much from people at all levels in the organization. Our best leaders are the ones that take a 360-degree view of learning. I feel like I’m growing and learning as much today as I did 25 years ago.”
And that culture of constant learning provides Parker with the energy and inspiration that is still at the heart of the work he’s done for the past three decades. “It’s been helpful for me to be surrounded by such great people. I feel consistently compelled to maintain the standards of those I am so privileged to work with. It’s a good push for me personally to recognize that I have as much to learn today as I did when I started at Amway 30-plus years ago.”
The Bravo Excellence Award is a new award this year, designed as a way to recognize executives with a long history of leadership, excellence and integrity. We couldn’t think of anyone more fitting to honor than John Parker.
DSN salutes and respects his years of industry leadership and uncompromising integrity and belief in the channel.
From the June 2023 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.