As hedge-fund investor Bill Ackman continued his disparaging commentary on Herbalife at a recent appearance at Oxford University, Rafael A. Fantauzzi—who serves as President & CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC) and a Board Member of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)—offered a very different perspective on the company.
Fantauzzi has been lobbied by various groups who claim Herbalife is taking advantage of Latinos, which prompted his response in Herbalife: A Successful Business Model for Latinos or a Predatory Pyramid Scheme?. He investigated the claims by meeting with Herbalife executives and distributors, making an all-access visit to the company’s headquarters, researching the multi-level marketing model, and speaking to Hispanics who participate in the industry.
In the course of his due diligence, Fantauzzi found that Herbalife, in fact, empowers motivated and hard-working individuals to take control of their lives. Distributors value the ability to set their own hours, readily achieve promotions within the company, improve their own quality of life and make a positive difference in the lives of others.
“The big problem I see is that the critics of Herbalife and multi-level marketing companies are confusing business ventures with a welfare program. They assume that everyone must have equal outcomes, not just equal opportunity,” Fantauzzi writes of the industry’s detractors.
“It is clear to all the people I’ve spoken to that you reap your rewards if you work hard at selling and at building your downline network, and that is the foundation of American entrepreneurship. I’m a firm believer that Hispanics are smart enough to ascertain risk,” he adds.