The spirit of collaboration was alive and well as direct selling professionals gathered in Dallas March 3–4 at the 2016 Companies in Focus event held by the U.S. Direct Selling Association.
More than 200, numerous top executives among them, attended the two-day seminar, which provides a firsthand look at some of direct selling’s leading companies. This year the spotlight was on Dallas-area firms AdvoCare International and Mary Kay Inc. Each company opened its doors for a day to share tradecraft and operational expertise with the wider direct selling community. Between visits to AdvoCare and Mary Kay, attendees also heard from the leadership of another area company, Stream, on building a dynamic marketing team and fostering a production-based culture.
Day One of Companies in Focus brought attendees to AdvoCare headquarters, where a drumline and a throng of employees, led by chief executive Brian Connolly, greeted the new arrivals. Throughout the day AdvoCare executives, and even top Independent Distributors, expounded on the company’s philosophy—“We Build Champions”—and how it informs all aspects of the business, from sales training to product development. Guests also were treated to a surprise appearance by Dallas Cowboys tight end and AdvoCare Endorser Jason Witten, who shared leadership insights gleaned from his 12 seasons in the NFL.
The focus then shifted to Mary Kay, a global beauty brand that led its direct selling peers in dollar growth in 2014, generating annual revenue of $4.0 billion. Welcoming attendees to Mary Kay headquarters, CEO David Holl set the tone for the day, and indeed the entire seminar, with the assertion that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As with AdvoCare and its late founder, Charlie Ragus, Mary Kay has built its culture on the principles of Mary Kay Ash, who founded the cosmetics company in 1963. The day’s presentations, whether on public affairs or salesforce recognition, were sprinkled with aphorisms and business wisdom imparted by Ash, and as a parting gift, each guest received a copy of her business manifesto, The Mary Kay Way.