Photo: Southwestern Advantage Director of Communications Trey Campbell (left) and Greg Boucher, President of Southwestern subsidiary ThinkingAhead.
Southwestern Advantage was recently recognized for its ethical business practices by the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee (BBB), where the company has operated since its founding in 1868. The Nashville-based brand was one of two large companies to receive the 2015 Torch Award for Ethical Commerce, based on a unanimous vote by a panel of judges.
“We believe in building people. We also know that we are not what is important, but what we do is important,” Southwestern Chairman and CEO Henry Bedford said in a statement. “Integrity and ethics are a very important part of our mission to help people develop the skills and character they need to reach their goals in life.”
The educational brand markets a learning system that features homework guides, interactive books, and CDs to help children build knowledge and life skills outside the classroom. The company is known for selling its products through college students enrolled in the Southwestern Advantage Sales & Leadership Program. Each summer, the company signs on nearly 2,500 students across North America and Europe as independent contractors and trains them to run their own Southwestern Advantage business. Alumni of the program include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, author Max Lucado and Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
Southwestern Advantage joined the BBB of Middle Tennessee in 1961 as a charter member. The company has since gained accredited member status by adhering to the ethical principles outlined in BBB’s Standards for Trust.