Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler answers a question from DSA President Joe Mariano during the CEO Panel Discussion.
Direct Selling Executives Come Together with Largest Attendance in DSA History
A record number of attendees—estimated to be more than 1,200—journeyed to the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, to participate in the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting, held June 3–5. The meeting was titled, “Inspiring Entrepreneurs,” and one of the key messages was presented by U.S. DSA President Joe Mariano when he said during his State of the Industry address, “There’s a growing market out there for us because we sell what human nature values most—empowerment.”
The opening general session featured former President George W. Bush, who offered a very candid and specific explanation of the role leadership plays in decision making. Amway President Doug DeVos facilitated the session, resulting in audience members witnessing a very up-close and personal conversation between the former President and the widely respected Amway leader.
At a Press Conference and Investor Forum held on Monday, World Federation of Direct Selling Association (WFDSA) Chairman Alessandro Carlucci (Natura Cosmeticos), U.S. DSA Chairman Jerry Kelly (Silpada) and Joe Mariano unveiled the U.S. and global 2011 annual sales and salesforce figures. The numbers were introduced by Carlucci, who said, “We could not adequately tell the story of direct selling without measuring its reach.” The global estimated retail of direct selling grew from $139.7 billion in 2010 to $153.7 billion in 2011. The year also saw a 9 percent increase in independent direct sellers to 91.5 million.
Several Wall Street analysts and representatives from private equity investment firms were invited to participate in a panel during the press conference to help executives in the audience understand how common misperceptions of the industry can affect the pursuit of investment capital. Additionally, the panelists discussed those elements that attract investors to a company, such as predictable cash flow and solid internal practices and processes.
Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, along with Rodan + Fields President Laurie Bush, present their company story during a General Session.
Brothers Dick and Doug DeVos were inducted into the DSA Hall of Fame for their leadership of industry giant, Amway Corp.
The panel featured Rodney Clark, Managing Director and Co-Head of U.S. Consumer Investment Banking at Canaccord Genuity; Rip Mason, CEO of LegalShield; Frank Schiff, Managing Director of MidOcean Partners; Jason Stoffer of Maveron Partners; and Scott Van Winkle, a Managing Director of Equity Research at Canaccord Genuity.
In the second general session, DSA President Joseph Mariano conducted a panel discussion with industry CEOs, including John Addison, Primerica; Carl Daikeler, Beachbody; Doug DeVos, Amway; David Holl, Mary Kay; Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Gifts; Orville Thompson, Scentsy; and Alessandro Carlucci, Natura. The session revealed the mindset of these leaders as they discussed “being stewards” of the industry, and their visions for how their companies will continue to offer opportunity for entrepreneurs and face today’s challenges.
The annual meeting featured content-loaded sessions and workshops that provided both new and seasoned direct sellers with stimulating information and ideas as well as new and best practices. Attendees were particularly interested in technology sessions, with any session containing the word social in its title resulting in standing-room-only crowds. However, while technology has changed the way many elements of direct selling are approached and executed, workshop leaders and presenters reminded attendees that the fundamentals of direct selling have not changed; in some cases, they are simply approached differently.
On Tuesday evening, the DSA held a formal banquet, during which a new awards standard, the ETHOS Awards, was introduced. These awards recognized companies for demonstrating exemplary performance in numerous categories. Additional recognition was bestowed upon individuals who had made significant contributions to the industry. Jim Northrop, Principal of Winfield Consulting, and Sarah Baker Andrus, Director of External Relations and Academic Programs at CUTCO/Vector Marketing, both received the DSEF Circle of Honor Award.
The evening closed with two generations of DeVos leaders being recognized with the industry’s highest honors. Dick and Doug DeVos were inducted into the DSA’s Hall of Fame. What made the moment special was the presentation of the awards by their father, Amway Co-Founder Rich DeVos, who had been inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.
It was a most historic moment when Rich DeVos was escorted to the stage. Audience members stood and broke into a thunderous ovation that continued for several minutes. An industry icon was in the house; a consummate agent of change was about to speak. As expected, Rich DeVos did not simply present the awards to his two sons, but he also related the story of the industry, of Amway and, of course, of how his sons had guided his company to new heights through global expansion. It was a moment to remember—a very historic moment in the evolution of direct selling that will not soon be forgotten.
After the presentation of the Hall of Fame awards, DSA honored Rich DeVos with the Lifetime Achievement Award, only the second time the prestigious recognition has been bestowed on a direct seller. DeVos was recognized for his key role in strengthening direct selling and increasing its acceptance in the United States and throughout the world.
Mariano sent the crowd home at the close of the evening with the following invitation for the coming year: “May we all continue to change lives, make the world a better place, and inspire entrepreneurs.” Truly a fitting sentiment to close the successful conference.