Click here to order the October 2015 issue in which this article appeared.
Last month, the Direct Selling Association (DSA) launched an important new collaboration with our members to share insights on the modifications to our Code of Ethics that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016, and best practices in key areas of business ethics. The campaign was introduced with an hour-long webinar for direct selling executives featuring DSA staff, the Chairwoman of our Ethics & Self-Regulation Committee and the Code of Ethics Administrator. Over time, this effort will provide resources to member companies for use directly with members of their salesforce, as well as customers.
While continuing to provide resources to members on ethics will always be mission critical, we also have continued to focus on building support for the channel among policymakers. DSA was excited to host an important event here in Washington: U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Marc Veasey (D-TX) launched a new Direct Selling Caucus in Congress, with the support of approximately 30 other members from around the country. This bipartisan forum will help the association continue to demonstrate that millions of independent entrepreneurs involved in direct selling matter, by discussing issues and ideas relevant to the channel and its continued success.
Direct selling benefits not only sellers themselves, and their families, but also the economic output of America in every state, congressional district and community. As policymakers, opinion elites and the media continue to scrutinize independent work and what the nature of the changing workplace should mean for workers, the caucus will emphasize the many ways in which direct selling, one of the oldest ways to work independently, continues to demonstrate value.
Now that the final quarter of 2015 is upon us, we’re continuing to build upon our momentum from September. I am excited to share with DSA members and the direct selling community details about this fall’s opportunities and events that, like the Direct Selling Caucus, help show the value of the channel and educate stakeholders on key issues.
On Oct. 14 and 15 in Washington, D.C., our Global Strategies Summit promises DSA members and the broader direct selling community a chance to learn from regulators and industry experts about business opportunities and challenges both at home and abroad. The summit will begin with a special session hosted by the Canadian DSA to discuss the market for direct selling north of the border.
Additionally, attendees will gain the perspectives of Lois Greisman of the Federal Trade Commission and Bobby Hunt of the Internal Revenue Service, who are both scheduled to speak. There will be sessions devoted to international, tax and legal subjects. Each presentation contains valuable insights that can help guide business decisions, such as market entry, expansion, salesforce development and tax policy.
Later this month, hundreds of independent salespeople and executives from DSA member companies will descend upon Washington, D.C., during our third annual Direct Selling Day Capitol Hill event on Oct. 28 and 29. This year’s event is packed with opportunities for direct sellers to engage with policymakers, including a speaking program featuring members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate; a Direct Selling Marketplace, an educational demonstration of products and services; and congressional meetings to explain how the opportunity to work independently adds value and impacts direct sellers’ lives.
DSA is dedicated to supporting our members by providing education on opportunities to engage their salesforce. On Dec. 9-11, DSA’s Sales and Marketing Conference: Focus on the Field will provide executives with resources on salesforce development, communications, marketing, field training and social media. The event includes a critical SmartStart Seminar for new and growing direct selling companies. The seminar brings together industry experts to guide company executives on how to build a corporate team, structure operations, develop a company culture and grow in the ever-changing direct selling industry. The conference provides executives with information on new techniques and best practices for reaching today’s consumers.
DSA is excited for the eventful months ahead. More information about DSA meetings and events is available at www.dsa.org.
Joseph N. Mariano is President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association.