On Opportunity, Freedom, and Equity for All…

This year has landed us all amid events larger than any of us as individuals, community members, and businesspeople might have imagined, not the least of which is the galvanized awareness of inclusive diversity and equity issues across the country.

Years ago, thoughtful industry leaders established the DSA Diversity and Empowerment Committee as a permanent part of the DSA Board with the goals of broadening the opportunity we offer and better reflecting our constituents (who come from every background and skin color) in company, industry and Association leadership. We have made progress, but it hasn’t been enough. The events of recent months have highlighted the need for all of us, including direct sellers, to take the next necessary steps to ensure that the American dream of opportunity, freedom, and equity that direct selling embodies, is a reality for all.

That is why I have been so gratified to see the universal commitment to these ideas, in theory, and practice, being espoused by direct selling leaders in our initial discussions among CEOs and the DSA Board. As a result, DSA had committed itself to providing resources to direct selling companies as they work to ensure that we are the best examples of equal opportunity and inclusion for all, regardless of race or other considerations.

Our Diversity Council, chaired by Jeff Reigle of Regal Ware, and a committed team of DSA and DSEF management executives, have embarked on the first steps of an ambitious program of activities to support the industry in its efforts, including:

• data gathering on racial demographics for benchmarking,

• coordination with other business groups committed to diversity,

• creating a forum for direct sellers to publicly announce their commitments and actions,

• educational programming for direct selling companies about inclusive diversity and equity,

• support of minority-owned small businesses and suppliers, and

• fostering industry commitment to enhancing minority leadership in our companies and in our Association.

To that end, DSA is collaborating with Ameli Global Partnerships. Founder and principal Mona Ameli is not only nationally certified in Diversity & Inclusion and a globally certified Cultural Transformation consultant, but she also knows our industry intimately. She has 20-plus years of executive experience with several large and medium-size companies and served as the Chair of the DSA’s Diversity and Empowerment Council for three consecutive terms. She has been committed to and a leading voice in our industry’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Mona, Jeff, and a wide array of DSA member company executives have begun the hard work of turning their commitment into concrete, measurable action through a series of webinars and discussions designed to provide member companies with tools to assist them in efforts to successfully increase and retain participation of a more diverse base of employees, field members, and suppliers. These sessions are our first step in a series of tangible activities and resources the DSA is providing all its members to keep our ongoing commitment to this cause and to provide direct sellers with the tracking and strategic tools to measure the business efficacy of company D&I initiatives.

Ultimately, though, our efforts aren’t about merely dollars and cents, SKUs or productivity rates. Ultimately, this is about what has always been at the heart of direct selling—our commitment to the American dream and promise of inclusion, equity, and opportunity in which everyone can share. #stronger together #community