In this month’s Executive Connection, Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming speaks with Erik Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Hy Cite, about leading his company as the second generation, recognizing people as his greatest asset and welcoming change.
DSN: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being the CEO of Hy Cite?
EJ: The wonderful relationships I have been able to develop with our distributors.
DSN: What has been your proudest accomplishment?
EJ: Taking over a family-run business and successfully moving that business forward as a second- generation family leader. Often the second generation doesn’t succeed. It doesn’t have the same view, knowledge, or respect for the business, and the statistics for their success aren’t very good. My brother also works in Hy Cite, and we are very proud of continuing the family’s success.
DSN: What do you tell Hy Cite/Royal Prestige distributors to lead and inspire them?
EJ: The main thing we talk about is that they have a real business opportunity to change their family’s and their children’s lifestyles. Success is in their hands. If they want it, their work effort and knowledge will bring them success. Their future depends on their motivation and their work ethic. They can be as successful as they want to be with Royal Prestige.
DSN: If you could give a single bit of advice to the CEO of a young direct selling company that would help the company reach the 55-year mark, what would you say?
EJ: Invest in your people, both within the company and in the field. Your people are your greatest asset.
DSN: If you could relive one period of time—a year, a week, whatever—since you’ve been working full time at Hy Cite, what would it be? You could choose a great time to relive or a period where you’d change something.
EJ: I would relive the years right after my father’s retirement. They were wonderful times of acceptance and success. Those early years working with the mature markets and starting up in Mexico as a new territory—those were great years. I like change and new things. I had a blank canvas. It was a great time in my life.
DSN: Is there one basic principle that has governed your leadership at Hy Cite?
EJ: Your distributors’ successes are your success. When they fail we all fail. Once distributors are with us three or four years, they don’t leave.
DSN: What do you see as the direct selling industry’s greatest challenge?
EJ: Attracting the new generation of direct sellers. Our challenge is always recruiting new talent to continue our growth.
DSN: When you’re not at work, where are you most likely to be found?
EJ: At home with my family. I’m very focused on work and family. Both of them bring me great joy.
DSN: What is your long-term vision for Hy Cite?
EJ: We have a vision to reach $500 million in retail business.