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I am truly looking forward to my first Annual Meeting as President of the Direct Selling Association. How fitting that this year’s theme, “Inspiring Entrepreneurs,” reflects what I and other leaders of our industry have tried to instill in each and every person we encounter. For the past quarter century, I have witnessed firsthand how those who pursue their entrepreneurial dreams have personally prospered while contributing so much to the prosperity of our country. That direct selling enables so many to pursue these dreams is a testament to the importance of our industry to the economy here, and around the globe.
There is another reason I am excited about this year’s June annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, and that has to do with a very special guest from the Lone Star State who will join us and lead a conversation about direct selling—George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States.
President Bush has often referred to the essence of our nation—the freedom for each individual to pursue his or her unique dream. Our Founding Fathers understood these principles when they wrote that we are endowed not only with the right to life and liberty but the right to use that liberty to pursue “happiness.”
Of course, finding true happiness is more than just having a dream. America’s economic prosperity is rooted in the freedom of every individual to use his or her gifts to the fullest. Every direct seller who goes door to door, hosts a home party, or speaks patiently with potential customers explaining how a product can improve their lives, knows that rewards are not handed out, but rather hard-earned. Freedom provides the opportunity for success. Success is earned by working hard every day—and 16 million American direct sellers do just that.
I share President Bush’s view that governments cannot spend a country into prosperity, nor can philanthropists donate enough to charity to eliminate poverty. Individual ideas and the freedom to choose and pursue dreams have led to every great historical innovation. A government did not invent the light bulb, automobile, airplane or iPad. Nor were these invented by committee. Every breakthrough, every great idea, begins with an individual and their dream. The genius of America is to have developed a culture that nurtures those dreams and that honors and rewards the dreamers.
That’s why I’m enthusiastic about this year’s annual meeting. Not only is it my first as the Association’s President, but it represents an opportunity to recharge our energies through conversations with industry legends, important outside supporters of direct selling and peers with whom we have more in common than not. This will be an opportunity to celebrate direct selling and what it offers to millions of Americans: the power to choose to pursue individual dreams, the ability to achieve them, and the tools to prosper.
These core principles affirm my conviction that America is indeed the land of opportunity, and it will be as long as we remain a place where hard work is rewarded and where dreams come true for those who are willing to work hard to make it so.
As other Americans do, direct sellers work hard to better their lives. But in doing so they also change the lives of millions of others and contribute immeasurably to ensuring America remains the most prosperous nation on Earth. They do it one person at a time, day by day, relying on themselves and their hard work. It is a formula that works.
I hope you will join President Bush and me in Texas this June!
Joseph Mariano is President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association.