There is little doubt Kyäni knows precisely who they are. And they are emphatic that their time is now.
Kyäni spun some of their cultural magic this summer gathering together for a long-awaited in-person convention that turned out to be unlike any other. Like so many direct selling companies who rely on these types of events to deliver news and pump up the excitement and field morale, Kyäni’s corporate team threw open the doors to an electric event that celebrated the end of virtual-only business and the beginning of a brand-new era for the company.
Founded / 2005
Headquarters / Idaho Falls, ID
Top Executive / Carl Taylor
Products / Supplements
Wrap-around LED walls and high production value—new methods of inspiring audiences devised during the shutdown days of COVID—added energy for everyone including those streaming the live event from laptops and phones in 20+ languages across the globe. But what delivered the biggest punch and the loudest cheers was the culmination of four months of hard work and anticipation, as Kyäni inched ever closer to the global launch of a new movement.
Whether shoulder-to-shoulder with 2,000 Kyäni Business Partners or viewing from a kitchen table somewhere in the world, it was easy to sense that something new and something big was going to come from that stage. There was palpable joy in Salt Lake City and online too as Kyäni launched Nitro Nutrition.
When world-renowned health expert and best-selling author Mark Macdonald took the stage, Kyäni’s Business Partners knew the time had come to help others reach wellness goals with a simple-to-follow system of mindful eating, easy-to-prep macro-balanced meals, and moderate exercise. They knew the time had come to seize the opportunity called Nitro Nutrition.
“I have been helping people feel better and look better for over 25 years. This has been my life’s mission. And what we have here—this combination of astounding knowledge about how our bodies interact and benefit from our food, how we exercise and move to optimize our health, and how the very best nutrition can be derived from nature—this represents something new,” Macdonald said.
Kyäni’s Business Partners also knew the time had come for a rebirth of sorts, a rejuvenation that enables them and the company to put a bit more distance between today and Kyäni’s unfathomable tragedy of just two short years ago.
No matter the tragedy, there is pain, grief and uncertainty. Pushing forward is fraught with emotional difficulties, and for companies like Kyäni who have come through tragedy, gaining some logistical and strategic bearing during a time of shock can be daunting. But Kyäni’s direct selling family discovered that a mission of hope—long ago put in place and lived every day by their founders—built an undercurrent of resiliency within their organization that was waiting to rise, guide, persevere and grow.
On November 30, 2019, members of the Kirk and Jim Hansen families boarded a small airplane outside Chamberlain, SD. Having just wrapped up an annual bird hunting trip, this happy group of men and boys—aged 5 to 81 years—was eager to get home to Idaho Falls. But 30 seconds after takeoff, the plane crashed into a snow- covered cornfield.
Nine members of the Hansen family lost their lives that day—four generations perished in the tragedy that left 14 children fatherless and seven wives as widows. Among those who died were Kirk and Jim Hansen, two of Kyäni’s founders. A family, community and company were devastated.
Katy Holt-Larsen, who joined the Kyäni family as president a year to the day after the crash, mourned the staggering loss of life as part of the larger direct selling community. “It was in every sense an existential crisis,” she explained. “How does any family survive the loss of so many fathers, sons and husbands? How does a growing company survive the loss of its CEO, half of its board of directors and two of its founders?”
But on the following Monday morning, greeted at the door by remaining founder, Carl Taylor, there was a sense among HQ staffers that everything was going to be okay. There was kindness, calm, humor and tears, then they rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
Moving Forward with Hope
It was hard, and it was tragic. But as set forth in their mission, Kyäni’s purpose is “to bring hope—the promise of a better life—through wellness and opportunity.” Collectively channeling their love and work into that mission of hope was the only logical way forward.
“When I came to Kyäni, employees and Business Partners were moving the business forward. They understood their jobs, and they understood and embraced Kyäni’s mission. There was no wallowing, and there was no confusion. They just got to work. I think Kirk and Jim would be proud of that,” Holt-Larsen says.
“Our people—our Business Partners, customers and employees—are the reason why we have weathered every storm and tragedy and keep coming back even stronger. They’re the reason the Hansens and I founded this company, and they are the reason we continue to rise,” Taylor said.
Kyäni’s unity in mission, as well as mutual trust and respect strengthened their already resilient culture, teaching employees and the field how to adapt, live out the Kyäni mission and push forward.
“Research shows that employees and Business Partners that feel a greater sense of connection are far more likely to ride out volatility and be there to help companies recover and grow when stability returns,” Holt-Larsen said.
They’ve seen this at Kyäni throughout the past two years. As they recouped from the events of November 2019, the coronavirus unleashed a global pandemic creating additional uncertainty and the need for just the type of adaptability and resiliency Kyäni’s staff and field already possessed.
“A thriving business and a thriving Business Partner are going to find a way around an obstacle. That’s what we’ve done in the past, and that’s what we’ll continue to do,” Taylor shared.
So, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Kyäni did what they needed to do and got on with business. They had the leadership structure, communications and outreach in place to maintain business and compliance amid COVID lockdowns in some 50 international markets. Everyone rolled with the punches and adapted to an online world, embracing the technologies that made their products, programs and business opportunity available online and used them more aggressively than they had in the past.
And in adapting to new challenges, Kyäni discovered ways to improve their e-commerce capabilities during COVID, recognizing opportunities to make it even simpler for Business Partners to run their businesses and give customers easier access to their products and programs. The end result is Kyäni’s heavy investment in technologies that will make those experiences even smoother in the coming months and years.
Kyäni has spent the past two years rising together. Everything that they have experienced, all the work they have done and all that they have put in place to serve their customers and their field has pushed them toward a new future—a future that lies squarely with Nitro Nutrition.
Under Holt-Larsen’s leadership, Kyäni embarked on this new nutritional program that they say was a natural evolution for the company’s health and wellness catalog. Created in coordination with Macdonald, Nitro Nutrition takes Kyäni’s existing products along with Macdonald’s approach to eating and exercise, and adds a lynchpin for success—a community where people can support each other.
It is a program that puts all that together in a way that facilitates people meeting their health and nutritional goals. It also embodies Kyäni’s mission to bring hope—the promise of a better life through wellness and opportunity.
Kyäni understands all too well that life can change in an instant. It happened to them; it happens to people every day. But the tragedy does not define what the company is. As Holt-Larsen says, “It simply affirms who we really are.”