The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling

Click here to order the March 2014 issue in which this article appeared.


Cover | March Issue

This issue of Direct Selling News is dedicated to celebrating the women of direct selling. Tenacity has certainly been a consistent trait among the women of our nation, as well as the women of the world. Always fighting to better the situation for their families, and for themselves, women have had to be tenacious to overcome all of the obstacles in their paths. Take into consideration that women couldn’t even go to college, vote, hold professional positions or practice law or medicine until our very recent past, and you will see that entrepreneurial stubbornness has been a necessity to get where we are now.

It is important to reflect on the past, in order to make the future better. It is especially important now since opportunity for women has become so much more widespread, and the daughters of this generation may struggle to even believe that their great-grandmothers couldn’t vote or have options in the professional world.

It is in celebration of all the women who fight for opportunity—those in the past and those currently fighting—that we bring you this issue. We asked 21 of the most influential executive women in direct selling questions about their specific journeys, their motivations and inspirations, and their preferences for mentoring other women along the way.

The path each woman took to the heights of direct selling corporate management is as unique as the individual. Yet all 21 are inextricably linked by the influence they have on the lives of hundreds of thousands, even millions of women across the globe who work in direct sales to enrich their families, make a difference in their communities and in the lives of others, and reach for their own dreams.

Direct Selling News selected this group of women based upon their executive leadership roles in companies that achieved inclusion in the DSN Global 100 list and the $100M Club. It comprises women who help guide our industry through their leadership and vision. There are many women hard at work in far more companies than we’ve listed here. But by proudly honoring these 21, Direct Selling News salutes every female leader—corporate or field—who strives for more, respects those who blazed the trail, and reaches out to those on the way up.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Sheryl Adkins-Green’s profile here.


Mary Kay

Mary Kay


Sheryl Adkins-Green
Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Kay Inc.

The multi-dimensionality of the “big picture” connects with Sheryl Adkins-Green every time. Within that broad arena she can mesh her natural proclivity for leading, developing and inspiring people with the strategic creative, operational and financial elements of her job to take on more responsibilities each year at Mary Kay Inc.

Being a woman enhances Adkins-Green’s effectiveness as a leader. “I am very comfortable drawing on a broad set of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills and abilities that have enabled me to successfully lead organizations and consistently deliver top-line and bottom-line results in a variety of consumer categories,” she says.

As she sees it, her role is to clearly define the organization’s vision and mission in a way that engages each team member and then helps that person see how their strengths can make a difference. “I determine how best to coach leaders in my organizations based on their individual talents and development needs versus their gender,” Adkins-Green says. “I believe that organizations benefit from leveraging diverse talents and experiences, so I make myself available as a mentor to both women and men who are interested.”

Sheryl Adkins-Green, Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Kay Inc.She offers straight talk and insists on accountability. “While leaders can train, encourage and inspire, at the end of the day the individual is responsible for their passion and level of commitment to succeed.” So individual career development plans within Mary Kay Inc. are typically co-created and include a combination of on-the-job growth assignments, as well as external conferences and international projects when feasible.

Organizational goals are met when properly engaged and inspired individuals with unique skill sets have the resources they need to succeed. As Mary Kay Inc. moves forward in 2014, Adkins-Green says, “Our goals are to continue to invest in the development of innovative beauty products and best-in-class business and education tools for the Independent Sales Forces and to expand the positive impact that Mary Kay has on communities around the world.”

Despite Mary Kay’s status as a major global beauty brand in more than 35 countries, many people are just getting acquainted with all that the company has to offer. Adkins-Green says, “The most important thing that I’m focused on is inviting more women—a lot more women—to discover Mary Kay. I believe that if they experience the customized service of an Independent Beauty Consultant and learn about the Mary Kay ‘Pink Changing Lives’ initiatives in the community, they will fall in love with the brand!”

Sheryl Adkins-Green on personal development…

“I regularly refer back to the wisdom of Mary Kay Ash for inspiration. Her principles and philosophies regarding establishing and building lasting business relationships are truly timeless.”

Sheryl Adkins-Green on obstacles for women leaders…

“Reflecting back, I do not feel that any of the challenges or obstacles that I faced and overcame were a result of being a female executive. All executives face challenges, and I have learned to look at obstacles as opportunities to excel.”

Mary Kay Inc.

Founded by Mary Kay Ash in 1963, the long-standing direct selling beauty powerhouse is now a worldwide corporation with global sales exceeding $3.5 billion. More than 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants currently do business in more than 35 countries.

Starting with just five products, Mary Kay now offers more than 200 advanced skincare, modern makeup and fragrance items that are produced for the most part at Mary Kay manufacturing facilities. The technology and design behind the company’s current product catalog is protected by more than 800 issued and pending patents, and MaryKay.com was recently recognized as Best Beauty Website at the Innocos Beauty 2.0 Awards in Paris.

Last year Mary Kay Inc. celebrated its 50th anniversary, posting record sales growth. This year it added the BMW 320i to its career car line-up that started with the company’s iconic pink Cadillac—an independent beauty consultant’s trophy on wheels.

Since the company’s early days, Mary Kay has advocated the idea that “One Woman Can.” One woman can transform her own life while becoming a beautiful success and helping to transform the lives of others. The Addison, Texas-based company’s history of social responsibility includes a corporate initiative called “Pink Changing Lives,” which is the embodiment of their commitment to prevent and end domestic violence.

In 2012, Mary Kay enjoyed sales of $3.1 billion and ranked No. 6 on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list of the top direct selling companies in the world for 2013.

Order and share reprints of Sheryl Adkins-Green’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Claire Bancino’s profile here.


Univera Products

Univera


Claire Bancino
Chief Marketing Officer, Univera Inc.

From the time Claire Bancino became the first female executive in a very large corporate, male-dominated structure back in the 1980s, she felt obliged to be a role model for other capable women coming up in an organization.

“I’ve never been in a company that had a formal female mentoring program, but I’ve always made myself available to other women as a mentor and sounding board,” Bancino says about countless hours behind closed doors with women who sought her counsel and advice on successful behaviors and attitudes that would establish them as credible leaders.

Having lived her entire career in a predominately male corporate environment and among male field leaders, Bancino has created a personalized leadership philosophy that allows her to be, “confident, clear, concise, compelling, decisive and direct, without being labeled a witch!”

Claire BancinoIt begins, she says, by showing respect and being gracious, even to those for whom you have little respect. Twice in her career, Bancino faced the unenviable position of loving her job but working for someone for whom she lacked respect. She says, “I needed to change my attitude! I started looking for and focusing on his strengths, which were different than mine, rather than his weaknesses—shifting my behavior and attitude from indifferent to collaborative, from resistant to supporting.” In so doing, she says, you can learn to respect the person, and that “vibe” subtly changes the relationship and their behavior toward you.

Bancino put the same philosophy to work in a previous position as the leader of a marketing team inherited from a previous CMO, to whom the staff was very loyal. She won them over by “communicating clear goals, showing respect, being gracious and empowering them as much as possible to get their jobs done. It works!” she says.

“I try to start relationships with trust: Trust the person’s character, intent, and competency until proven otherwise,” Bancino says. So she tends to set goals and rules like budgets and deadlines, and then lets her staff members run. When they succeed, she believes in the power of recognition. “It’s free, it shows support, and it goes a long way in building an individual’s confidence and pride in their work.”

“I love watching someone in action who has just presented an idea or proposal or passionately stated a position in a really compelling way,” Bancino says. Scenarios like this are growth opportunities for even the most dynamic leader. “Absorbing what and how they communicated and how they successfully influenced others in the room—I think that’s really powerful.”

Bancino surrounds herself with passionate people. Even when she disagrees with their positions, she finds they help her continue to develop as a leader and a person. But words of caution: “Opinions are worthless if they are not based on solid knowledge or information to power smart decisions,” she says. “Do your homework!”

A stellar 2014 is in store for Bancino and the marketing team she leads as they prepare for three strategic growth initiatives: a proactive and highly communicative 90-day startup for new associates, a loyalty and incentives program for regular auto-ship customers, and Univera’s international expansion into Southeast Asia. 

Claire Bancino on personal development…

“My No. 1 personal development goal as I grow older is to make sure that I don’t lose my sense of adventure, and wonder, and willingness to try new things. My 24-year-old daughter, my current inspiration, lives a life of adventure that is a daily reminder for me to relax and enjoy the moment.”

Claire Bancino’s favorite part of the job…

“Brand strategy, and new product launch strategy, and campaigns are very rewarding to see come together, and more so when your distributors also love what you’ve done, applaud your efforts and sell a ton.”

Univera Inc.

Unlocking the medicinal and health benefits of nature and then sharing those benefits with others is the cornerstone of Univera, a nutrition and health company founded by Yunho Lee, who has dedicated his life to discovering, developing and delivering botanically derived revitalizing compounds.

Univera is an industry leader in natural product research and applying pharmaceutical science to natural medicinal plants. Impressed with their success with aloe vera, Univera perfected technology used to uncover the bioactive compounds within any medicinal plant.

Today, Univera offers products that promote energy, digestive and heart health, joint comfort, immune system support, weight management and much more. In 2013, the company ranked 79th on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list of top direct selling companies with sales of $121 million. They are headquartered in Seattle, Wash.

Order and share reprints of Claire Bancino’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Meredith Berkich’s profile here.


Viridian Products
Viridian


Meredith Berkich
President,Viridian Energy

Ten years in the field building a successful direct selling business became a masterful lesson in balance for Meredith Berkich. “It’s all about the time/value proposition,” she says. “Taking all the things that are important in your life and making sure that your priorities remain your priorities.

“Obviously, the more passionate you are and the more committed you are to your career, the easier it is to get caught up in it and really take your eye off what’s incredibly important, which is your family.”

Realizing her susceptibility, Berkich began running decisions through what she calls a “regret filter” years ago and schedules everything, so that short-term decision-making doesn’t mean trading happiness for success. “Am I going to be sorry that I made this decision a year from now, five years from now?” she perpetually asks herself.

Friends and family appointments hold equal weight on Berkich’s calendar. Like their corporate counterparts, she doesn’t miss them, she’s not late and she prioritizes taking the time. “I’m happy in life, and I have a great 30-year marriage and two beautiful children that are off at college, and I think it’s worked out living that regret-free mindset,” she says.

Meredith Berkich, President,Viridian EnergyWhat you see is what you get with Berkich, who is “extremely transparent” and admits being prone to over-communicating. The advantage: No second-guessing or searches for hidden innuendo are necessary. Hers is a servant leadership philosophy based on integrity, listening and respect, which fosters a culture of open communication among everyone at Viridian Energy.

“That dialogue is not always easy. But you’ve got to make sure as a leader that you’re always open to hearing those truths. You’ve got to understand that life is a journey for all of us and it’s all about personal and business development. The moment you think you’ve arrived and you shouldn’t be looking to improve yourself and your business every day, that’s when you stop growing. That’s the beginning of the end in my mind, and I don’t want to ever find myself in that place,” she says.

All people are works in progress, and Berkich believes leaders should be life coaches for the men and the women in their organizations. But some challenges, often self-inflicted, are unique to women and, reflecting on her past, she aims to help Viridian’s young females avoid gender pitfalls.

“I think as women, we have habits we fall into that cause us to not get taken seriously,” Berkich says. She sees women yield to male counterparts of equal stature because men are more aggressive about going after what they want. That, Berkich says, is a coachable moment where she can make an impact on a young woman’s career, especially within Viridian Energy’s male-dominated field.

But beyond the women at Viridian Energy, Berkich aims at a broader collective impact on people and the planet. The company runs “mean and lean,” and in so doing they focus efforts in 2014 on empowering and compensating the sales field for effectively communicating the impact Viridian has on the environment by avoiding billions of pounds of carbon emissions each year. “We really feel connected to our vision. We are passionate about the environment. Viridian Energy is known as the ‘green company,’ and everything we do is about social responsibility,” Berkich says. Raising the level of awareness in the community by connecting with people through stories and videos is a big 2014 focus. Viridian Energy is about balancing three things, she says. “It’s about profit. It’s about people. It’s about planet.”

Meredith Berkich on personal development…

“I still read personal development books once a month—20 pages a day—and listen to CDs and inspirational speakers. I make sure that I’m infusing myself with positive energy from great music, and I avoid junk television and things that show you the negative side of humanity and the uglier side of life.”

Meredith Berkich on being green…

“We like to say that we didn’t inherit this planet from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our descendants. We take that extremely seriously in education and again in promoting global change.”

Viridian Energy

In just five short years, Viridian Energy has made a name for itself by offering environmentally friendly and affordable energy options. The company’s vision is to change the way Americans buy and consume energy in order to ensure a better and greener future.

The company more than doubled the renewable content in their Everyday Green electricity, created a more responsible natural gas product and launched the Clean & Simple solar program through an affiliation with SolarCity in 2013. Two billion pounds of carbon emissions were avoided last year thanks to hundreds of thousands of Viridian customers.

Initially launching service in Connecticut in 2009, Viridian now offers residential and commercial electricity and/or natural gas service in nine states (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia) and the District of Columbia, with plans to expand. Solar is also available in six of Viridian’s current markets. Viridian’s parent, Crius Energy Trust, is publicly traded on the TSX.

Domestic and international giving is a company focus and includes a Residual Fundraiser Program for 501(c) nonprofits, as well as annual reforestation missions to the Brazilian rainforest.

Viridian Energy posted $182 million in revenue in 2012 and ranked 63rd on the Direct Selling News Global 100 for 2013.

Order and share reprints of Meredith Berkich’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Lori Bush’s profile here.


Rodan + Fields products

Rodan + Fields


Lori Bush
President, Rodan + Fields

In many ways, Lori Bush and the social commerce company Rodan + Fields are synonymous. She’s been there from the beginning, when its founders repurchased the company from Estee Lauder and relocated its products from prestige retail to create a brand-name direct selling opportunity.

There’s an advantage to that kind of continuity, but Bush is well aware of its challenges, too. Fire in the bellies of 10 people and a vision to get it done grew the company, but there are organizational and cultural differences between a startup and a mid-market company. As Bush likes to say, “Scrappy isn’t scalable, especially in this world of direct selling.

“It’s really easy to be thrown off because of an emotional response from the field, as well as internally, when you try to build and change,” Bush says. “Being open enough to receive feedback, being certain that you understand the difference between what has made you successful and the chains that are holding you back, and strengthening the great while cutting the chains is a huge part of where we are right now in our business trajectory.”

Alongside the company, she too must transition, refocus and continually grow to lead Rodan + Fields through a 2014 expansion beyond the United States. The company’s build-out of a global platform, Bush says, calls for an operational focus, which will include cultural and technological components as well as the building of a positive corporate middle management.

Lori Bush, President, Rodan + FieldsNo stranger to getting her hands dirty, Bush often takes on proxy or surrogate roles when there is a void or a risk to the company. “I learned the hard way that ignorance is not bliss. You really need to at least understand some core fundamentals of every aspect of the business,” she says.

When Bush realized she was unable to have crucial conversations about her company’s IT challenges, she reached beyond the direct selling industry and into Rodan + Fields’ own community. “Silicon Valley is right here!” she says. “So I joined an alliance of primarily technology companies so that I could assimilate myself into not just that discipline, but more importantly the community here so I could tap into it. I never take anything at face value in that area anymore.”

As a female CEO, Bush understands there are hard-wired cultural differences between men and women. She says, “For women, there’s a narrower window in terms of behaviors that are effective in an organization and when building a career. There are still aspects of command-and-control style leadership—sometimes necessary to run a company effectively—but they are not considered especially feminine. They are even considered unattractive or off-putting when coming from a female executive.” It’s a fallacy that Bush remedies by making herself present and visible, engaging and connecting with people, inspiring true belief and working very, very hard. “So when I do get tough, it is clear it’s without any kind of personal agenda.”

Engagement and connection is part of the fabric of the company. Bush relishes teachable moments for both employees and the sales organization, so the company creates cognitive learning opportunities based on core values in an effort to quickly on-board employees. But the desire for engagement runs so deep, Bush says, that the company’s new headquarters with a view of the Bay Bridge at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, incorporates “huddle spaces” and “idea paint” on walls to encourage impromptu discussions among staffers and visiting members of the field.

Lori Bush on personal development…

“I’m a business book junkie. I read. I read. I read.

When I read something that resonates, I always try to put it into action.”

Lori Bush on networking…

“I believe in this idea of independent partnering, knowing who you can pick up the phone and call when you have an issue or need another perspective. Innovation comes from diversity in thinking, so I make a point to extend to a lot of people.”

Rodan + Fields

Rodan + Fields was the first prestige skincare line to exit the department store for the world of direct selling. The company was founded in 2008 by world-renowned dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, the creators of Proactiv® Solution.

What the pair did for acne, they are now doing for sun damage and anti-aging skincare. The patent-pending MACRO Exfoliator™ and AMP MD™ System make real results possible at home without injections or other invasive procedures.

The company’s demographic continues to lean toward affluent consumer groups, while their business opportunity attracts and empowers tens of thousands of personal enterprises, and in the process defines the future of social commerce. Consultant growth (compound annual growth) is up 105 percent from 2008.

Rodan + Fields has earned several Direct Selling Association awards for product innovation and excellence in salesforce development, as well as the 2010 Rising Star. Direct Selling News ranked the company No. 83 in its 2013 Global 100, based on $108 million in sales reported in 2012.

Order and share reprints of Lori Bush’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Dr. Oi-Lin Chen’s profile here.


Sunrider Products

Sunrider International


Dr. Oi-Lin Chen
President and CEO, Sunrider International

Leadership is not just for the extroverted. A shy introvert can learn how to step out from the crowd and be noticed for friendly, professional and patient behavior as well as preparation and communication skills that help form the kinds of relationships necessary for effective leadership.

Role models make the growth into leadership easier, and that’s a designation Dr. Oi-Lin Chen gladly assumes for the women at Sunrider International. “You do it first then lead them. Find out the problems and help them, cheer them and recognize them, and then hold hands together to face the challenges,” she says.

Back in 1982, Dr. Chen seemed an unlikely leader to those working to form Sunrider. She was in her early 30s, young and a female foreigner with no business management experience. “At the time, I told them, ‘I am a medical doctor, and I’m in training to be a leader. I’m really detail-oriented, and I like to serve people. I think I can do it well,’” she remembers.

And Dr. Chen was correct. More than 30 years later, she’s learned, “If I fail it doesn’t mean that I fail forever. I believe in standing up and facing the challenges. We only fail sometimes because we don’t have enough confidence or we don’t have enough courage for ourselves. It doesn’t mean that women have less talent.”

Dr. Oi-Lin Chen, President and CEO, Sunrider InternationalThe once introverted leader, with a brain that processes and analyzes at lightning speed, still struggles with things like effective communication and the social responsibilities of her job as President and CEO. She says, “After years of experience, I listen to people and their complaints or comments or suggestions, and I learn. I take a deep breath and think about it before I talk to people. I try to make sure everyone understands, so I try to talk slowly and not talk too much.”

When it comes to mentorship, she says, “I cannot say everybody is perfect or gives 100 percent, but if you try your best this is a very good thing for everybody.” This is the attitude she carries forward when reaching out to women in the corporate offices at Sunrider. She uses her own experiences to help women who aspire to executive careers and advises them: “Have good knowledge, go to college, and get a good degree. You don’t have to be so fashionable, but you need to be professional—not too elegant. Remain friendly and humble. Follow the work step-by-step, do well and ask questions.”

Dr. Chen goes on to say, “The thing with any organization, especially nowadays, is to find talent. If I can find somebody good, no matter if they are a man or a woman, different race or different age, it’s all the same to me.”

In fact, Sunrider’s strategic plan for 2014 includes a salesforce recruitment focus. “It’s very important to recruit and attract people to come in. We plan to really focus on recruiting new people, to bring them in and promote them and give our opportunity to more people, especially here in the United States,” she says.

Organizational improvements are also slated for 2014. With operations in some 50 countries, Dr. Chen understands greater use of technology will increase efficiency and recruitment, optimize operations and training, and save the company money. Developing IT may involve strengthening Sunrider’s staff or the use of outside consultants so that a growing Sunrider salesforce is better trained for the future.

“Direct selling really emphasizes the personal touch—to get to know them and be in warm and close contact. It’s very important, and that’s why we plan to travel around the United States this year and bring our new systems and technologies into our company and the field,” Dr. Chen says.

Dr. Oi-Lin Chen on personal development…

“I have to learn from others. If we are stuck in the office, sometimes we don’t know the outside world that well. So I call my friends and my partners regularly and ask them questions about new promotions or what kinds of challenges they are facing. I learn from them. I gather it all together, and this becomes my experience so I can teach other people.”

Sunrider International

Sunrider International was founded in 1982 by Dr. Tei-Fu Chen. His vision was to develop, manufacture, distribute and market the finest health and beauty products through a strong business opportunity that would help people around the world achieve success and financial independence.

Today, Sunrider manufactures more than 400 health and beauty products, including a newly launched weight-management program called Vitalite® and is a diversified global company distributing products in nearly 50 countries and regions.

The company calls Torrance, Calif., home but has offices and manufacturing facilities in multiple countries. Beyond direct selling, Sunrider has franchises, company stores and even luxury hotels.

Through diverse philanthropic efforts in education, health, the arts and environmental causes, Sunrider International is committed to making the world a better place and making a lasting difference in people’s lives.

Order and share reprints of Dr. Oi-Lin Chen’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Doris Christopher’s profile here.


The Pampered Chef

The Pampered Chef

Doris Christopher
Founder and Interim CEO, The Pampered Chef

When Doris Christopher founded The Pampered Chef, she wanted to make it easier for families to sit down to dinner together, for Mom and Dad to engage in lively conversations with their children and for kids to feel they could share.

Today, stepping back into an interim CEO role, Christopher not only wants families, but also the thousands of people within The Pampered Chef family to talk amongst themselves as well.

Energized and happy to be back at the helm of a company that’s forever been in her heart, Christopher says, “I’ve been delighted to find that our vision is as relevant as it ever was, and the people here at the home office are eager to build and grow the business as we go into the future.”

Her focus during these months she sits in the company’s leadership role is to highlight and hold up the importance of communication. “It’s the importance of listening to those people—our salesforce—who are the frontline to the customer. I think there is a lot of wisdom to learn from them, and sometimes it’s a matter of just really understanding what they see as their opportunities and challenges. They are our very best window into what’s going on out there and opportunities that we are not tapping into,” Christopher says.

Doris Christopher, Founder and Interim CEO, The Pampered ChefLeadership transition can be challenging, but Christopher brings history and perspective into her role, as well as connections to leaders in the business and not-for-profit worlds whom she respects and admires. “These people have been able to lead organizations through times of change and times of turmoil, through times when they have just accomplished amazing things. I know people like that. I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with them and talk to them and listen to the strategy and the things they have used to move their organizations forward,” she says. To be part of a supportive Berkshire-Hathaway family also provides incredible strength.

While Christopher’s collaborative leadership philosophy hasn’t changed since she last held the CEO role, the tools at her disposal are vastly different. They allow for such speed and clarity in communication, as well as provide remarkable visual elements, which Christopher believes make the job easier. “The technology that we have allows us to connect with light speed and in ways that are very satisfying and very rich,” she says.

With tools like these, Christopher says this is a time for The Pampered Chef to sharpen its ability to get feedback and interface more effectively with customers, the field salesforce and the home office team. “Clearly what I need to do is collaborate with the many, many talented people that we have in our home office and in our field organization to understand what they know, interpret that and help our team to interpret that for a positive impact on the business.”

Doris Christopher on being female…

“In my position, either starting the company or running the company or now coming back in a role that is once again leading the company on an interim basis—in every one of those things—I have felt that I had an advantage by being a woman.”

Doris Christopher on gender balance…

“I remember in the very early days, at one point we were probably 90 percent female. I always felt like, ‘I have to attract a few good men!’ One of the things that I really think is important when running a business is to have both perspectives. I felt that as we started to attract men to be in some of the roles in our business and we had a good mix of gender, we were more effective.”

The Pampered Chef

In 1980 Doris Christopher, an educator, home economist and mother, launched The Pampered Chef, which is now part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of businesses. The Addison, Illinois-based company develops and sells multipurpose kitchen tools, provides expert cooking tips and creates simple recipes that enhance shared mealtime and suit busy lifestyles.

The company’s product line includes more than 500 offerings from entertaining to cookware, cutlery to cookbooks, and stoneware to pantry products. More than 60,000 Independent Consultants market The Pampered Chef products at in-home cooking shows and serve the needs of some 12 million customers.

In 2013, for the first time in company history, two independent consultants celebrated company milestones: a career achievement award for reaching $3 million in sales and another for recruiting 300 independent consultants into the business. Facebook proved a more than effective tool as The Pampered Chef page surpassed 500,000 likes.

The company’s Round-Up from the Heart campaign has donated nearly $24 million to Feeding America since 1991. They also contributed more than $11 million as part of their Help Whip Cancer campaign to benefit the American Cancer Society since 2000.

The company ranked 28th in the Direct Selling News Global 100 for 2013 with 2012 revenues of $500 million.

Order and share reprints of Doris Christopher’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Angela Loehr Chrysler’s profile here.


Team National Products
Team National


Angela Loehr Chrysler
President and CEO, Team National

As a woman, Angela Loehr Chrysler trusts her heart and instincts and believes in herself. “Women often feel they can’t have a heart or emotions in business, and they try not to have these feelings,” she says.

“I think we as women need to embrace the gifts we are given just like we need to appreciate the gifts men are given.”

When a female follows in the footsteps of a male CEO, as Chrysler did upon the passing of her father—Team National Founder Dick Loehr—transition includes both personality and gender differences. “There are things that you do differently,” she says. “There’s a comfort level, and sometimes there are things you would say man-to-man that you wouldn’t say man-to-woman and vice versa.”

Men are usually the dominant leaders of Team National businesses. To successfully navigate relationships with the many men in her sales field and at the home office, Chrysler looked to an unlikely resource, a book called Love and Respect, intended for married couples. “There’s a similar dynamic. When you are married, you have to show respect to your husband. I applied this idea to my relationships at Team National. Once I focused on showing them respect and giving them respect that really helped my relationships with them and showed them how I felt,” she says.

Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO, Team NationalIn so doing, Chrysler fostered an open communication style that allows both men and women an opportunity to offer their strengths to the company. Her servant leadership style has been important to the company’s team culture and overall growth.

“I want to be the one who is serving and trying to grow as a leader, trying to develop the people around me, trying to help them have opportunities for feeding their strengths,” she says.

Sometimes this means Chrysler must step back from responsibilities that no longer make sense for her role in the organization and use the opportunity to identify someone else’s strengths to bolster their skills and help them grow.

A person’s value to an organization, she says, depends upon how much he or she has to give, and personal development is much like money management. “You need to be able to manage $5 before you can manage $500. You might start out reading one personal development book a year, but you can increase that. As you do, you become more valuable, and you’re an asset to any organization.”

No matter the role within the company, she stresses, “Never underestimate the power of growing yourself. Too often people do underestimate the power of doing it today!”

Chrysler’s intuitive skill to zero in and find the path to make something happen is one of her greatest strengths, but those details she loves can bog her down when big thinking is in order. “I don’t necessarily need to be focused on the details every day anymore. It’s not necessarily what’s best for me to do. Allowing someone to take on those roles has really helped me to see other areas that I’m good at,” Chrysler says. It takes time and practice stepping back so others can step forward, and still once in a while she admits to her team, “I was building the clock. I wasn’t telling anybody what time it is.”

Ultimately though, it is this CEO’s job to tell the rest of the team “what time it is,” and for Team National, 2014 is a year focused on analytics. “Although we have done it in some areas effectively, we have not been consistent throughout every aspect of our business in every department,” Chrysler says. Data paired with sales field discussions will “help us learn more and be a better company. The best way that we can support people is if we continue to learn what it is they want.”

Angela Loehr Chrysler’s personal development secrets and advice…

The Maxwell Leadership Bible (by John Maxwell) helps me grow my faith, and in business I see things in a different light.”

“Monthly calls with top leaders, blogs and writing newsletters—all those aspects of communicating in your field—make you a better a leader. They make me do my personal growth, even when I get busy, because I know it’s part of what I need to be giving to my team.”

Team National

Team National provides membership savings for both businesses and families for a wide variety of products and services, including factory direct pricing for home furnishings and some 20 other industries. Dick Loehr started a benefits package company in 1997 and later merged it with a direct selling company to form National Companies, headquartered in Davie, Fla.

Minor changes in Team National promotions triggered quadruple results in 2013, which in turn caused double-digit growth in membership sales for the year. “We find when we focus more nationally—on the big picture, the whole company, the whole U.S.—we provide value in our membership sales, and that provides great growth, which benefits the whole sales field,” Chrysler says.

In 2012, Team National reached total product, service and membership sales of $301 million, and the company ranked 43rd on the Direct Selling News Global 100 in 2013. There are currently more than 390,000 Team National members.

Order and share reprints of Angela Loehr Chrysler’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Kathy Coover’s profile here.


Isagenix Products

Isagenix


Kathy Coover
Co-Founder, Isagenix International

Getting the fluff out of the way and prioritizing things that produce results for the company and the field—that’s the kind of breakthrough Kathy Coover works toward every day. Mapping out the most and eliminating the least productive things keep Coover moving forward, both personally and professionally.

“I learned a lot about time management and balancing priorities from being in the field—balancing huge organizations and a child and a spouse,” she says.

She travels the world as the face of Isagenix and deems herself its “custodian of culture.” When Coover alights in the company’s Chandler, Ariz., headquarters, she tends to play Mom. “I’m always in there, asking questions and making sure that they really understand the things they are doing, because if it’s not right for the field, it’s not right for the company,” Coover says.

Sales and marketing are her innate strengths. “It’s kind of something that was natural to me. I was gifted at that,” she says. “But when we started the company, I did wear a lot of hats. We did everything.” Now with the rapid growth of 2013 and a goal to grow by 40 percent this year, Coover is enthusiastic about the future. “It’s a very exciting time. We are in momentum, so we want to keep building our field and our leadership in the field. I personally am building my infrastructure in the office to take on a lot of responsibility.”

Kathy Coover, Co-Founder, Isagenix InternationalClear communication with the people both inside the corporate offices and outside in the field assures Coover that the Isagenix collaborative culture will remain intact. “Our values are very important, and as we expand and grow internationally it is important that we keep those values as we go into the new countries,” she says. Making that so takes consistent messaging and collaboration. “We need to look at our staff to make sure that message gets to the person answering the phone—the direct contact with the field. The communication we portray to our field is so important as we get larger and larger.”

Virtually anyone in the world within Isagenix’s open international markets can join, learn from home and run a business thanks to what Coover calls the company’s “window to the world.” She says, “We have everything online, even our recruiting system.” Fine-tuning that already successful system is an ongoing priority in 2014. “We have our business development system for our field, and we know if we keep perfecting that and working with our field, they’ll keep growing.”

Isagenix also has an entire department dedicated to developing both the consultant field and the corporate team. “We were really early adopters of personal development with the field and in our office. Mentorship is very important,” she says. Even Coover has an in-house coach that mentors her, sometimes long-distance over the phone. She adds, “Also my husband, Jim, is one of my strongest mentors. We’ve been married 30 years, and if it weren’t for his belief in me, his mentorship, I would not be where I am today.”

Kathy Coover on personal development…

“I read a lot. I take classes. I listen to audios, and I go to other network marketing events to see what other people are doing. It really keeps me in touch, and it also validates what we’re doing.”

Kathy Coover on keys to growth…

“Keeping it really, really simple. That’s been one of the reasons for our growth—simplicity of our messaging, simplicity of training, and simplicity of really understanding what we have.”

Isagenix International

Isagenix offers health and wellness products for weight loss, energy and performance, and healthy aging in 10 markets around the globe. Founded in 2002 by John Anderson and Jim and Kathy Coover, Isagenix sells high-quality, natural, no-compromise products, engineered for safety, purity and potency through more than 250,000 active associates. Associates have experienced weight loss, increased health and improved athletic performance. The company’s products are not only for health, but wealth creation, too.

Located in Chandler, Ariz., Isagenix is a fast-growing direct selling company. Domestic growth was up 30 percent in 2013 and overall worldwide growth was 34 percent. International expansion continued in 2013 with Singapore, Malaysia and Colombia opening, as well as Chinese retail operations. Next in line are Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Company revenues of $334 million for 2012 ranked Isagenix 36th on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list of top direct selling companies in 2013.

Order and share reprints of Kathy Coover’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Shelli Gardner’s profile here.


Stampin' Up! Products

Stampin' Up! Products


Shelli Gardner
CEO and Co-Founder, Stampin’ Up!

Shelli Gardner takes her cues as a leader from her experiences as a mother. “I remember when I was teaching my girls to make their beds; I could teach and show, but at some point, I had to step back and let them make the beds by themselves,” she says.

“That’s the philosophy I have about leadership—as long as our employees are remaining true to our values, I try to let them do their jobs. I know mistakes will be made, but lessons will also be learned.”

Like everyone, Gardner’s faced challenges in her 25 years at Stampin’ Up! In the early days, her lack of a college education and business experience weighed heavily on her. “I occasionally felt that people sometimes judged me on that. I was certainly conscious of it, and maybe wasn’t as confident as I might have been—but clearly it didn’t stop me!” It’s not so much that Gardner overcame the challenge, she says. “It’s simply something that time and experience have taken care of.”

Shelli Gardner, CEO and Co-Founder, Stampin’ Up!In fact, it’s amazing how time changes things. Gardner says, “The first time I walked into a bank looking for a loan, the loan officer looked around and asked me where my husband was! That was 20 years ago, and I doubt—or certainly hope—that wouldn’t happen today!” It’s the only incident that she remembers when she ran into an obstacle simply because she was a female businesswoman.

Today, she is thrilled to mentor her own daughter Sara, who is now part of the Stampin’ Up! corporate team. “I love working alongside her, discussing business opportunities and challenges. Envisioning the future of the company and making decisions together has been a rewarding, fulfilling experience,” Gardner says.

The company takes personal development of all its employees seriously and provides companywide training and incentive programs in communications, physical fitness, emotional health, and education. More and more, Gardner finds herself drawn to her colleagues at Stampin’ Up! for her own personal development, rather than outside leadership conferences and classes. “I trust the people in our organization to understand our vision and values and to do their jobs. I learn from and am inspired by them every day!” she says.

Admittedly, Gardner is not captivated by the entirety of her job—she is grateful for people who are drawn to logistics, operations and order fulfillment. “I recognize that each of those pieces are incredibly important, and I certainly have a high-level understanding of those things, but because I trust the people who are overseeing those areas, I don’t have to worry about them,” she says. What she is passionate about is the creativity associated with Stampin’ Up! “I naturally gravitate toward the look and feel of our products, the projects that can be made from them, and the creativity we explore and express when we use them.”

Growing, stretching and innovating are what 2014 is all about at Stampin’ Up! After an economically challenging past few years with flat-line and declining numbers, Gardner says, “We’ve worked hard to stay viable where we could be positioned for exciting growth when the time was right. We feel like we’re moving forward toward stronger economic growth. We’ve discovered lots of challenges and opportunities as we’ve looked at how we can find the new—new customers, new demonstrators, new leaders—and we’re committed to supporting our existing demonstrators in their efforts to grow and strengthen their businesses in every way we can.”

Shelli Gardner on executive challenge No. 1…

“To find the right people and make sure they’re in the right place at the right time.”

Shelli Gardner on her personal development wish…

“To spend more time reading books and eating Rocky Road ice cream!”

Stampin’ Up!

In 1988, two sisters had a dream to enjoy meaningful relationships and express creativity. Stampin’ Up! fulfilled that dream, and 25 years later thousands of demonstrators around the world use Stampin’ Up! products to create handmade cards, scrapbook pages, craft projects and home décor, while making their own dreams come true.

Stampin’ Up! celebrated its 25th anniversary last year with a yearlong campaign aimed at renewing the company’s mission to make a difference. Service projects were woven into Stampin’ Up! Events, and the company increased its philanthropic efforts with Ronald McDonald House Charities from a national to an international sponsorship.

Stampin’ Up!, headquartered in Riverton, Utah, is an international company with distributors in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Austria and the Netherlands. Most recent revenue numbers indicate in excess of $100 million in annual sales.

Order and share reprints of Shelli Gardner’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Jessica Herrin’s profile here.


Stella & Dot Products
Stella and Dot


Jessica Herrin
Founder and CEO, Stella & Dot

Because Jessica Herrin never looked at gender as an obstacle, she says, “It doesn’t really manifest. I never thought, ‘Hey, I can do anything a man can do.’ I just thought, ‘Hey, I can do anything, period.’ ” It’s little wonder exclusively female executive challenges don’t exist in her world.

There are, however, “challenges as a parent when you have a demanding job and executive challenges like hiring great people who are mission-driven and passionate about joining your cause.”

Atypical of most direct selling companies, Stella & Dot has a predominately female executive team. It reflects the nature of the company’s products and their mission of empowerment, but presents challenges of its own. “What is very interesting to realize is that with females you have a very particular communication style that’s wonderful and productive, but it’s also one that tends to avoid conflict—healthy conflict—a little bit more than on a predominately male team,” Herrin says. “We’ve learned how to play to our strengths and be aware of personality traits that need to be watched and monitored to be really effective when you lean toward one gender versus the other.”

As a company, Stella & Dot is one part fashion and one part technology with people as its overarching priority. “The highest and best use of my time is spent on coaching and motivating our field and on the ideas and innovations of our brand and product that help our stylists thrive,” Herrin says. Their blended board of directors, which includes Alfred Linn, former CEO of Zappos, and Leslie Blodgett from Bare Escentuals, adds phenomenal expertise and insight to the company.

Jessica Herrin, Founder and CEO, Stella & DotHerrin surrounds herself with “great sounding boards”—trusted advisors, young executives from outside the direct selling industry, and Stella & Dot customers—whose voices mix to nurture her own personal development. Within the company she encourages corporate employees and field stylists to lean into their individual strengths, meet new challenges, and own the empowerment associated with their experiences. “We invest a lot in our people to make sure we’re doing the development and the coaching and the facilitation to make great female leaders,” she says.

Offering this opportunity of empowerment to greater numbers of stylists across the globe is Herrin’s key objective in 2014. And much of that kind of recruiting starts with the Stella & Dot Trunk Show. It was 10 years ago that Herrin, who was pregnant with her first daughter, opened her cases to the public for the first time. To this day, she considers herself Stella & Dot’s “chief stylist,” and relishes each experience. She says, “It keeps me incredibly in touch with our customers, our products, our tools, and our services, and it’s my greatest source of excitement, energy, and inspiration.”

Infrastructure improvements, including a new fulfillment center in Ohio and a call center in Arizona added in 2013, are creating excitement around the speed at which Stella & Dot will reach its goals. Herrin says, “We have only two out of 10 Trunk Show guests that have ever shopped with us before, so we have so much room to grow, and that’s why we’re very excited to really take off!”

Jessica Herrin on flexible corporate work environments…

“We really empower people and judge them based on their results, not based on any face time. We’re a very family-friendly environment, which is something I believe is not just of benefit to females, but certainly males love that, too.”

Jessica Herrin on personal development…

“I love the classic business books. I’m a huge fan of everything from Jim Collins to Michael Porter and very old-school business books. I read Harvard Business Review and TechCrunch and other media that keep me informed about what’s going on in the world. That always keeps me curious about how we might be innovative and break out new ideas.”

Stella & Dot

Stella & Dot’s mission is simple: Give every woman the means to style her own life. It was Founder and CEO Jessica Herrin’s vision 10 years ago to create a new career alternative for today’s busy woman. Now, Independent Stylists offer Stella & Dot’s jewelry and accessory lines exclusively through in-home Trunk Shows. Roughly half of the company’s product line is priced at $50 or less, and all products come with a “delight” guarantee.

Stella & Dot is one of the fastest-growing companies in America with more than 18,000 active stylists. Through the Stella & Dot Foundation, the company has proudly funded causes that support economic, educational and health-related benefits for women and children.

Stella & Dot is a worldwide operation with design studios in New York, Sausalito, corporate offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, and international offices in the U.K. and France, among other locations. Infrastructure changes put into place in 2013 will make possible the company’s planned expansion across America and Europe in 2014.

Order and share reprints of Jessica Herrin’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Wendy Lewis’ profile here.


Jenuesse Products
Jeunesse


Wendy Lewis
Founder and CEO, Jeunesse Global

For a female executive visiting an international boardroom for the first time, interaction and respect in a male-dominated culture is never a given. “Sometimes, I feel I have to prove myself,” says Wendy Lewis, Founder and CEO of Jeunesse Global.

“However, I feel very comfortable and confident when answering questions about our business and the industry, in general, so after I speak they seem to relate to me and trust my competence.”

Lewis spends a great deal of time abroad, traveling to the company’s many international offices. Developing personal relationships with distant employees and learning about the cultural differences in the people and within the international industry is what she loves most about her job. “Meeting new people from around the world and connecting with them on different levels is an amazing learning opportunity for me,” Lewis says.

Wendy Lewis, Founder and CEO, Jeunesse GlobalJeunesse looks to Japan, Europe and Latin America this year for major business growth and with that will come even more opportunities for Lewis, who says, “I am extremely excited about continuing to grow the overall culture of Jeunesse, while enriching thousands of people’s lives around the world.”

As a leader, Lewis lives what she believes in and tries her best to set the example she wants others to follow. “I try to listen and be compassionate while at the same time establish parameters that we all have to live within,” she says.

Her comfort zone in her role as CEO is planted firmly in people and mathematics. Lewis thrives on solving personnel issues and working with programmers. “We can react more quickly to promotions and enhancements than most companies due to my understanding of compensation plans and our actual database and code. In other words, I can speak the same language and react accordingly to support their needs,” she says.

In anticipation of significant international growth, expanded domestic business, and some “lofty” financial goals, Lewis wants to add executives this year, while strengthening existing regional executives. “With the current number of available top-level people in the marketplace, I feel we have a good possibility of finding excellent top management candidates,” she says.

According to Lewis, while it seems to be easier to find top women executives internationally than it is within the United States, she sees the search as worth the challenge. “I think with our particular products and our predominance of women in the field, it would be wonderful and truly ideal to find more women for executive positions within our company,” she says.

“I do target finding and developing female executives, but I find it difficult to locate the right people who are female,” Lewis says. Mid-level female executive candidates are more plentiful, and Jeunesse proudly promoted two women to director-level positions at their corporate headquarters last year. But still, Lewis frets, “The applicant pool for top-level executives for headquarters seems to be populated by mostly men.”

Wendy Lewis on personal development…

“I attend seminars and try to learn from others who have been in the industry longer and have proven track records. This allows me to keep in touch with the industry as a whole, and it gives me new, fresh ideas that I can take back to headquarters and share.”

Jeunesse Global

Jeunesse, based in Altamonte Springs, Fla., is a direct selling leader offering anti-aging and beauty products in more than 80 countries around the world. Jeunesse combines breakthrough science and innovative product formulas to create a skincare system that enhances youth by working at the cellular level. By focusing on the health, longevity, and renewal of cells, Jeunesse helps people enjoy vibrant, youthful results that last.

In 2013, the company launched two new, science-based, clinically proven products, Luminesce ultimate lifting masque and Finiti, within the Jeunesse Youth Enhancement System (Y.E.S.).

On the heels of winning the Direct Selling Association’s Rising Star Award in 2012, Jeunesse more than doubled its sales last year. They earned the trust of 28,000 new members in December alone, and some 8,200 members flocked to the 2013 Annual World EXPO hosted by the company’s Thailand market.

Jeunesse Kids, the company’s corporate charitable foundation, contributed over $1 million in donations in 2013 and provided over 10 million meals to hungry children across the globe.

With $126 million in sales in 2012, Jeunesse ranked 78th on the Direct Selling News 2013 Global 100 list.

Order and share reprints of Wendy Lewis’ profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Candace Matthews’ profile here.


Amway
Amway


Candace Matthews
Chief Marketing Officer, Amway

Candace Matthews learned early on that performance isn’t everything. “I was introduced to the ‘performance pie’ from the book Empowering Yourself by Harvey Coleman. The concepts are: Perform exceptionally well, cultivate the proper image and manage your exposure so the right people know you. It’s the percentages of importance that are the distinction,” she says.

Surprisingly, performance is only 10 percent of the “pie.” Image is 30 percent, and as it turns out, exposure outweighs everything else at 60 percent. “It’s not just what you do, but how you do it and who knows about it.”

Learning to be heard in a way that earns respect, builds credibility and ensures that a female leader is taken seriously can be a struggle. Thanks to her mother’s nurturing character, Matthews created a leadership style that joins head and heart. “I pride myself on being demanding without being demeaning,” she says. Matthews’ mother—who raised 18 children alone following the death of their father—instilled “the ability to develop people, to bring out the potential in them, and to lead them to accomplish great things.”

Matthews came to Amway in 2007 to create a global marketing organization that placed greater emphasis on consumers without losing focus on the company’s greatest asset—distributors or ABOs (Amway Business Owners). She brought with her classical marketing disciplines from previous marketing leadership roles at Coca-Cola, Cover Girl and General Mills. “My goal is to ensure marketing is partnering with sales to build brands, experiences and communities that support our ABOs in growing successful businesses,” she says.

Candace Matthews, Chief Marketing Officer,  AmwayThis year, Matthews will help galvanize ABOs and employees around the world to celebrate the 80th anniversary of NUTRILITE, the world’s first and largest-selling multivitamin/multi-mineral brand. Amway will also extend their nutritional expertise into the weight-management category, as well as introduce a skincare product, which cares for the skin from the inside out.

“Everything Amway does, from developing innovative brands and products to opening business centers around the world, is in support of millions of Amway Business Owners in their own communities. Not only do we help people achieve their potential through business ownership, we also provide opportunities for our employees to grow personally and professionally,” Matthews says.

“I am passionate about helping women develop to their desired potential, both in the workplace and in the broader community,” she says. Matthews leads the Amway Women’s Inclusion Network, which includes women at all levels of the organization. It is one of three newly formed networks focusing on women, multicultural and multi-generational groups.

“Our inclusion networks are just one way Amway is working to advance diverse thinking, increase inclusion and provide avenues for employee development,” she says. “Because our industry attracts so many women, both as distributors and as employees, it is especially important for direct selling companies to promote and advance women within our organizations.”

Matthews considers herself a student of world cultures, and in her role at Amway it is a key strategy. “Learning and understanding other cultures is critical and helps me work with and influence colleagues all over the world,” she says. “I believe when you stop learning, you stop growing.”

Candace Matthews on entrepreneurship…

“The global economy continues to present opportunities for entrepreneurs everywhere. The entrepreneurial spirit transcends borders and cultures, as we found recently with our Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, which explored the appeal of business ownership in 24 countries. People are motivated by a desire to control their time and future, setting their own hours, goals and priorities.”

Amway

Amway, the No. 1 direct selling company in the world—as ranked in 2013’s Direct Selling News Global 100—had a record-breaking year in 2013 and continues a period of tremendous growth that is highlighted by annual sales increases for seven consecutive years.

Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos founded Amway in Ada, Mich., in 1959 and launched a relationship-based business model selling the first concentrated, biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning product. Amway is now a global leader in the categories of health and beauty, and in 2013 it launched a line of weight-management products, continued a global rollout of skincare products and gained momentum with water purification products in its Asian markets.

Integrating physical locations in recent years met with success at Citi Field in New York City, and now all four company regions have shops or business centers, including a new 2013 addition in Berlin, Germany. Additionally, a $375 million manufacturing and R&D global expansion got underway last year with new facilities in Washington, California, Michigan, India, China and Vietnam.

Late last year, some 15,000 people in 57 countries participated in public service projects during Amway Universal Children’s Day and impacted 100,000 children globally. This day was the culmination of a year’s worth of philanthropic events that celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Amway One by One Campaign for Children.

Amway (Alticor) ranked No. 1 on Direct Selling News’ Global 100 for 2013 with sales of $11.3 billion in 2012.

Order and share reprints of Candace Matthews’ profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Sheri McCoy’s profile here.


Avon Products
Avon


Sheri McCoy
CEO, Avon Products Inc.

Leaders must know their business. They must know what products meet consumer need, what the selling cycle is and how best to market, and Sheri McCoy says, “You also have to know your people. You need to understand your teams and what motivates them. You have to be able to help them stretch and also know what might derail them.”

One of McCoy’s greatest challenges happened early in her career when she was passed over for a promotion. “My work was better, my results consistent,” she says. “When I asked what I should have done differently, the feedback I got was that I was too focused on the work and I was not spending enough time developing relationships with peers or building my team’s skills and experiences. It’s critical to know your business, but just as important to know the people around you.”

Today, she surrounds herself with diverse opinions and seeks input from direct reports, peers, mentors and Associates at various levels within the Avon organization. “I have built a network of people who think differently than I do and who are courageous enough to share their opinions. I listen, carefully, to all points of view before making decisions,” she says.

“I’ve learned not to just solve the issue immediately in front of me, but to have the insight to anticipate future impact and have the courage to make difficult decisions now that will have the longest lasting effect,” McCoy says.

Sheri McCoy, CEO,  Avon Products Inc.With McCoy’s guidance, Avon undertakes three strategic priorities in 2014. “The first priority is executing our growth platforms, which include innovating the consumer proposition to ensure our customers have the right products; transforming our Representatives’ experience; and optimizing our geographic footprint. The second priority is to drive simplification and efficiency to get cost out, and the third is to improve our organizational effectiveness in terms of capability and talent,” McCoy says.

Because Avon proudly identifies itself as “The Company for Women,” it focuses on leadership and personal development within its ranks. This mission resonates on many levels with McCoy, who remembers a time when so few women held leadership positions in corporate America that it was difficult for young businesswomen to find mentors. That is no longer the case; many women hold senior executive positions at Avon, and seven sit on their 11-member board of directors.

“It is so important to have mentors, both women and men, because mentors are people who can help develop you and many times they see something in you that you don’t see in yourself. I think it is the responsibility of all leaders to be role models and mentors; we must reach behind us to bring up the next generation of leaders,” McCoy says.

To that end, last year Avon created an internal network for women called Avon Women Empowered (AWE) made up of community outreach, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), networking, career paths, mentoring and workplace committees. AWE events, workshops, and seminars engage and support women in their career development and help Avon retain talented and promising leaders. Female Avon board members and senior leaders talk about work-life balance and share their career paths regularly.

Sheri McCoy on personal development…

“I am constantly pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and challenging myself to learn.”

Sheri McCoy on her favorite job responsibilities…

“I started my career in R&D, so I’m always drawn toward roles where there is a customer orientation, and where I can have an opportunity to drive innovation and be hands-on in product development. Equally important to me is my role in motivating people and teams. I feel that it is critically important in all aspects of the business to bring people together and work toward aligned goals.”

Avon Products Inc.

Avon, “The Company for Women,” was founded in 1886 by traveling salesman David H. McConnell after female clients showed more interest in his free perfume samples than the books he was selling. Soon he recruited women as sales representatives, encouraged their natural abilities to network and market products to other women, and gave them employment options never before available. The Avon earnings opportunity was a revolutionary concept in its day.

Today, Avon is one of the world’s largest direct selling companies, with beauty, fashion and home products available in over 100 countries. More than 6 million active independent Avon Sales Representatives sell Avon products.

Of late, Avon has faced business challenges and to curtail some of them, the company announced late last year a $400 million, multi-year cost saving initiative to reduce costs and improve organizational effectiveness.

The Avon Foundation for Women is a mighty philanthropic entity, raising millions of dollars for breast cancer research each year through walking events all over the U.S. In the fourth quarter of 2013, they awarded more than $10 million to breast cancer and domestic violence organizations. Also last year, Avon launched 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, a human rights-based movement to educate bystanders and victims on the signs of domestic violence and how to safely intervene or seek help.

In 2012, Avon generated $10.7 billion in sales, placing them at the No. 2 spot on the Direct Selling News Global 100 for 2013.

Order and share reprints of Sheri McCoy’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Cindy Monroe’s profile here.


Thirty-One Gifts Products
Thirty-one Gifts


Cindy Monroe
Founder and CEO, Thirty-One Gifts

When Cindy Monroe talks about leading by example, she’s all in—or, maybe it’s out. Rather than leading a sales initiative from a posh executive office, she’s out on the floor in a cube like everyone else. “I am one who is willing to do the same thing that I’m asking anyone else to do,” she says.

As Founder and CEO of this fast-growing, party-plan company, Monroe says, “I’m really good at setting the vision and telling them that I can roll up my sleeves and be there to help them now, but I do know when it’s time to back off and let them shine.” Only by learning on their own and occasionally falling, she says, do people learn how to pick themselves up and depend upon others on the team.

Monroe has been in the thick of an infrastructure build-out at Thirty-One Gifts for several years, which included warehouse management, order entry and inventory systems. “We took the time, energy, and resources and invested it, and now we have a solid foundation. The next two years are really going to be all hands on deck and focused on our sales field to really make them feel like they are No. 1,” she says.

Cindy Monroe, Founder and CEO, Thirty-One GiftsBuilding that foundation took Monroe out of her “wheelhouse” of sales, marketing and product, but that shift in focus allowed her to grow and better grasp areas like operations, finance and IT. “You can’t, as an owner or CEO, be spending millions of dollars without understanding where that money is being spent. There’s a responsibility as an executive that you have to get in and understand it from the inside out,” Monroe says.

With sales, marketing and communication as a priority in 2014, Monroe once again steps into her comfort zone to figure out how best to apply tools and technology to support relationships, the party, the business model and 120,000 Independent Consultants. Finding the right balance of technology in a relationship-based industry is tricky. Too much is distracting, and Monroe believes that can put the entire industry at risk.

On a personal level, striking balance between work and family has been one of Monroe’s greatest challenges. “I personally take all my roles very seriously, and I really want to make sure I’m delivering and being the best at all of them,” she says. “One of the things I’ve been able to do is to practice and learn how to be present with whatever I’m doing—being in the moment and focusing on who I’m with and what role I’m playing. It’s something that you have to work at. You have to hold yourself accountable and have other people to help hold you accountable.”

Monroe puts work and family on one calendar. Sometimes they overlap, but that keeps her head in both worlds in case her daughter texts photos of her winter formal dress or her son checks in. She says, “If I’m planning a date night, I put that on my calendar, and I think it helps me mentally shift gears. I’m preparing for 6 p.m. when I’m going to dinner with Scott, instead of waiting until 5:59 p.m. and saying, ‘Oh, no! I’ve got dinner with Scott!’ ”

Cindy Monroe on personal development…

“I’m really hard on myself and trying to accept that I’m always growing and maturing. The business has grown so fast that as a person I’ve had to constantly assess where I am and make sure that the business is not outpacing me. So I’m very careful with my own development and very purposeful with it. I don’t have one strategic system, but I have multiple in place.”

Thirty-One Gifts

Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe started Thirty-One Gifts in the basement of her home 10 years ago with a mission to empower women, strengthen families and change lives. Today, there are over 120,000 Independent Consultants, who last year presented the company’s line of personalized bags and accessories at over 1 million home parties.

The company believes strongly in giving back. In 2013, Thirty-One Gives again worked with the Direct Selling Association and NBC’s TODAY Show to deliver 250,000 items to an annual toy drive. Over the last four years, that partnership has gathered some 750,000 items, equaling about $20 million, for American children in need.

Thirty-One consultants distribute the toys through local nonprofit partnerships that carry forward the company’s mission of celebrating, encouraging and rewarding women and girls. The effort truly impacts local communities.

Some 16,000 Independent Consultants and guests gathered last July for the largest national conference in Thirty-One history, and the company hosted its first Canadian national conference as well.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company is the second largest woman-owned company in central Ohio with nearly 2,300 employees between its headquarters and distribution centers.

Thirty-One Gifts ranked No. 18 on the Direct Selling News Global 100 with sales of $718 million in 2012.

Order and share reprints of Cindy Monroe’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Kay Napier’s profile here.


Arbonne International Products
Arbonne


Kay Napier
CEO, Arbonne International

Turning points exist in everyone’s life when lessons in strength are nearly obscured by difficulty. Kay Napier was more than a decade into her corporate career, years before her position as CEO of Arbonne International, when she faced hers head on. “I went to work my first day at P&G Germany, and I had 12 young German men reporting to me. You would have thought I was from another planet,” she says.

The men ignored her and chose to speak exclusively in German during an introductory lunch. Napier sized up the situation and chose to let the behavior slide. “I didn’t say anything about it. I just kept engaging them as their boss, and within two months we were all getting along great.”

Regardless of the obstacles Napier has faced in her decades-long career, memory always returns her to that meal and the weeks that followed when she now talks about overcoming obstacles. “It prepared me for doing much more complicated things going forward because it toughened me up in a good way. It told me a lot about persistence and leadership, and a lot about believing in yourself and learning about cultures. All those things have been important in my job as CEO of Arbonne,” she says.

Kay Napier, CEO,  Arbonne InternationalToday, Napier spends her time navigating the male-dominated world of private equity, working with an exclusively male Arbonne board, and turning the once troubled company around during her nearly five-year tenure. “I have found it is the best board with whom I have worked and interacted. I don’t think about the fact that they’re men, and I don’t think they think about the fact that I’m a woman. It’s very much dealing with what it is that we have to get done, how we lead through those issues, and it’s very results-oriented in a good way,” she says. Napier has found that results—how you respect people and how you make the world a better place—matter far more than gender.

This highly innovative and creative CEO is a problem solver. “I try and place my time in areas where I can get the most value from that investment in time. Personally, I like innovating around brand development and product development because I’m a huge believer that innovation is the lifeblood of a business. If you look at companies that haven’t innovated, that haven’t zigged when everyone else zagged, there are very few that have survived. I don’t think you can put a strategy together, a bunch of lines on a page and execute against it. I think the secret sauce is in how you execute it,” Napier says.

To that end, Napier confesses a maniacal focus on the field for the last four years, supplying Arbonne consultants with everything they need to be successful and for the company to move from “significant declining growth to stabilization to growth.” In 2014, Napier exits crisis mode to move the company toward a developmental focus. “I’ve decided the only way this company is really going to grow is to make sure that every employee has passion. So now I’ve turned my attention to focus as much on the employees as I am on the field by making sure our employees feel as good as our consultants do,” she says.

Kay Napier on communication…

“You have to communicate your strategy and your philosophy, and share everything in public that you can, repeatedly, because whatever you think is enough communication is not enough, and that is true for both the field and the people in the office.”

Kay Napier on growth through 360-degree peer review…

The process reveals “lots of good things that maybe I didn’t give myself credit for and things I’m doing wrong that maybe I didn’t really understand or perceive. So it’s always a growth experience, and it’s made me who I am as an executive and as a leader.”

Arbonne International

Arbonne International strives to minimally impact the earth through innovative and responsible manufacturing of its pure, safe and beneficial beauty aids, skincare products and fragrances, as well as nutrition and health supplements. The Irvine, California-based company has an international reach and collectively experienced accelerated consultant recruitment last year up 54 percent over 2012.

After a pre-packaged bankruptcy in 2009, Arbonne is once again finding its footing with double-digit growth in all markets in 2013, including the most successful fourth quarter since 2008. Sales of an innovative, new botanically based retinoid product called Genius skyrocketed, making it the company’s No. 2 best-seller.

The company’s financial bottom line was helped significantly in 2013 with the refinancing of corporate debt at more attractive (post-bankruptcy) lending rates eliminating several million dollars. That, CEO Kay Napier says, speaks volumes to the financial health of the business.

Arbonne International ranked No. 33 on Direct Selling News’ Global 100 list with global sales of $377 million in 2012.

Order and share reprints of Kay Napier’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Joani Nielson’s profile here.


Tastefully Simple Products


Joani Nielson
Founding Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Tastefully Simple

Over time, Joani Nielson has learned to trust her intuition because it is derived from her personal passions and strengths. She is a woman who strives to live a life in which she gives more than she takes, allowing others to shine and be successful as a result of her leadership.

Serving as a model, Nielson says, is a key component to leadership, and every challenge faced is an opportunity for the leader to grow personally and professionally. For her, no person defines leadership better than Mother Teresa. “She was a woman of enormous power and influence, yet exemplified total humility; leading by example,” Nielson says. “I believe that we were all created equal, and although as leaders we need to make many decisions, the voices of others are equally important. To succeed, you must have a team around you that is supportive and trusts you.”

“Our primary goal,” she says, “is to focus on our leaders. We have strong, passionate consultant leaders, and we need to ensure we are supporting them even better.”

Last year, Nielson took on a greater company-wide leadership role, allowing CEO Jill Blashack Strahan to spend more time with consultants. “In taking on a closer day-to-day role with team members here at HQ, it’s been valuable to me to seek input and feedback from across the company,” Nielson says. She is excited about the intensive strategic work the corporate team has been doing to identify priorities, opportunities and goals. “As an organization, we’re focusing on innovation and simplification of our brand and processes, which will benefit our consultants, HQ team and clients,” she says.

Joani Nielson, Founding Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Tastefully SimpleThe field in direct selling, especially among home party companies, tends to be predominately female, something Nielson is mindful of when interviewing candidates for positions in Tastefully Simple’s corporate office. “While we always choose the candidate best qualified for the position, regardless of gender, I’m pleased that Tastefully Simple has been able to fill several key organizational roles with women,” she says.

What Tastefully Simple wants above all else is to supply simplicity “for our clients, who are looking for simple and delicious foods; for our consultants, who want clear direction and support for their businesses; and for our team members, to enhance their satisfaction and productivity.” After all, Nielson says, “The word ‘simple’ is part of our name.”

Joani Nielson on success…

“I believe many in my generation have challenged themselves to redefine what it means to be successful—as executives, parents and human beings. My own definition of success, which helps balance the professional and personal areas of my life, is to live and model a faith-filled life.”

Joani Nielson on personal development…

“At the end of the day I always ask myself, ‘What did I learn today that can make me a better person tomorrow?’ In the past few years I have worked with a life coach, served as a director on the DSA Board, and been involved in our local legislative committee and a Vistage group (executive coaching). I learn from my team and my children. We learn so much by our interactions with others we admire.”

Tastefully Simple

Tastefully Simple, an easy-to-prepare foods direct seller based in Alexandria, Minn., refreshed their brand this year with a new logo, product packaging and a “Simple. Delicious. Fun.™” tagline, while still maintaining their mission to help people spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the rest of their lives.

The company offers a wide range of goods and products from assorted beverages to breads, soups, sides, desserts, dip mixes, spices, oils, and dressings with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. In 2013, Tastefully Simple launched a gluten-free line, which will expand in 2014.

All of Tastefully Simple’s foods and gifts are available through nearly 24,000 independent consultants online or at home tasting parties that encourage “trying before buying.”

Tastefully Simple proudly partners with Share Our Strength®, a national non-profit working to end child hunger in America, and has donated over $1 million to their No Kid Hungry program. The company’s national corporate team has raised over $1 million since 2009 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Tastefully Simple ranked 90th in Direct Selling News’ 2013 Global 100 and reported company sales of $96 million in 2012.

Order and share reprints of Joani Nielson’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Meg Sheetz’s profile here.


Medifast, Products
Medifast


Meg Sheetz
CEO, Take Shape For Life
President and COO, Medifast

“How do you step into a leadership role when the person who was there before was such a huge figure?” Meg Sheetz kept asking herself this when she replaced her father, Bradley MacDonald, after his 2012 passing. He had been Chairman and CEO of Medifast Inc. and Co-Founder of Take Shape For Life.

“In direct selling a lot of these founders are very dynamic and have a lot of presence to them, so really trying to figure that out was interesting. Our field was wonderful about that. I think the family tie and family unity were certainly a big help,” she says.

Sheetz, however, brought strengths of her own, too. “I think women have the ability to sense things. I think men may drive harder at a particular thing, item, or goal; whereas women may have a more feeling aspect to business. I think in some cases that is a gift,” Sheetz says.

As a woman and as a younger person, in general, Sheetz has learned the value of smart generational leadership—the importance of respect and learning from people who are older and to some degree wiser. “It was a wonderful thing. It taught me that, for my teams, I want to hire people who are better and smarter than I am. I don’t know if I would have had that lesson if I hadn’t been in the situation that I was in. I learned so much from them, and from a leadership perspective I was able to balance the accountability piece with the respect and understanding of what they brought to the table and their talents,” she says.

Meg Sheetz<br />
CEO, Take Shape For Life, President and COO, Medifast” height=”318″ width=”250″ style=”float: left; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-right: 10px;” border: 0;” />The autonomy to get things done is paramount to Sheetz’s up-front and honest leadership philosophy. “I try to give our teams the freedom to make decisions they need to make. Results, though, are extremely important,” she says. “In our world, we have a strategy—a five year strategy. We update it on a year-over-year basis and come up with an implementation strategy. We use that tool to help us work together to make sure that priorities are aligned and that everyone in the organization it supports knows what needs to get done by when.” Big goals, even audacious ones, are easier to meet when measures are firmly in place and the entire organization pulls together.</p>
<p>Enabling the Take Shape For Life field organization to focus and grow, while expanding consumer knowledge of the brand, is important this year. From an internal perspective, this means gaining feedback from field leaders and offering up the right support infrastructure to facilitate that growth, like apps and a simplified back office. “The business should be at their fingertips and easy to do, and they should have reminders that come to them really quickly,” Sheetz says.</p>
<p>Brand enhancement comes through the new “Stop Challenge Choose” campaign for participants to share transformational stories with the public. She says, “It’s not just a before-and-after picture sort of thing. Yes, we help people lose weight, but our biggest goal is to help people keep it off and to really start learning the habits of health.” </p>
<h3>Meg Sheetz on developing women…</h3>
<p>“Our executive team sits down on a quarterly basis and has a discussion about who in the organization we see as having huge potential. We call out the promising aspects, no matter the rank within the organization. We have a conversation about what we see as their skill set and why we think they have potential. </p>
<p>In that process, we are able to bring forward strong women within the organization. And the great thing is we don’t have to purposefully search out women—they just happen to <br />
be exceptional.”</p>
<h3>Meg Sheetz on personal development…</h3>
<p>“I have a coach, someone that I meet with monthly. We go over goals and what I am doing to get these goals accomplished. Sometimes it can be a tactical conversation, and sometimes it’s very much a psychological discussion about the role, what’s happening or maneuvering a situation. You practice it and get pointers that help lead you down the path.”</p>
<h3>Take Shape For Life</h3>
<p>Take Shape For Life changes people for good. Some 11,000 Health Coaches guide consumers toward weight loss quickly and safely using the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan, while teaching healthy eating habits that keep the weight off.</p>
<p>Last year, the Baltimore, Maryland-based company partnered with Villanova University’s Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE) to provide all interested Health Coaches training and certification through the university’s nursing school.</p>
<p>Co-Founder Dr. Wayne Andersen’s book, <em>Discover Your Optimal Health</em>, hit both the <em>New York Times</em> and Barnes & Noble best-seller lists in 2013, while the company launched Healthy Happy Hours meant to engage people in a healthy living social environment. The single-day events included 900 happy hours and 2,000 community walks.</p>
<p>Take Shape For Life is the coaching division of Medifast Inc. Since 1980, Medifast has developed, manufactured, and marketed portion-controlled, nutritionally balanced meal replacements for weight loss. Medifast products and programs have been recommended by over 20,000 doctors since 1980. Medifast is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.</p>
<p>Take Shape For Life posted revenues of $216 million in 2012, which ranked them 52nd on the <em>Direct Selling News</em> Global 100 in 2013.</p>
<h3><strong><a href=Order and share reprints of Meg Sheetz’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Pam Sowder’s profile here.


It Works! Global Products
It Works! Global


Pam Sowder
Co-Founder and Chief Networking Officer, It Works! Global

Pam Sowder often feels like she straddles two worlds. She comes from the field, a direct-selling veteran who understands the everyday challenges associated with building a team. But at It Works! Global, she resides in a corporate world now, where the daily needs of distributors must mesh with the company’s big picture strategies.

“I’m out there every day building with our distributorship, but I am not a distributor. I think understanding and appreciating the field and being grateful for my role is important,” Sowder says. Stepping into direct selling corporate took some adjustment on her part. “I’ve never had that role before. I’ve never been in that type of position before. But I understand what my gifts are and what my challenges are.”

Sowder has learned to stay focused, listen, balance her emotions and, above all else, communicate effectively. “I feel like I’m a big part of the field, but then I go back to corporate and feel that I can really communicate and execute there as well,” she says. Striking a balance between both worlds is challenging, but it’s made easier for Sowder because she has a tremendous belief in herself, the product and the company.

Pam Sowder, Co-Founder and Chief Networking Officer, It Works! Global“I was the first to try the wrap, recruit distributors and train them,” Sowder says. She spends nearly 100 percent of her time working with a distributor field that is 80 percent female. “I have a real passion for who they are, what they do daily and all the ups and downs of belief they have in themselves.” As she sees it, her job is to inspire these women to be great and make real connections with them as people.

“Women are powerful in this industry. We can have a home and care for our spouses and children while building strong businesses without feeling guilty. We are worth a six-figure or more annual income,” Sowder says. It just takes support, which she works to provide each and every day.

Bridging the field with corporate will grow in scope and fun in 2014, when the company moves into its new Palmetto, Fla., headquarters situated on the water and sporting an adult slide the likes of Google. This new venue for the company’s Green Carpet Experiences, where members of the whole It Works! Global team get to know each other, will undoubtedly help the corporate office and the field connect. “One doesn’t work without the other, and we want them to all feel that they are acknowledged and vital,” Sowder says.

“Our business is a blast, and we do everything we can to keep it simple and keep it fun. That doesn’t mean that selling is always crazy fun, but we keep it light. We talk about life and the things that we’ve learned about each other’s families, what we’re wanting for our kids, and the life skills that we’re building. I like being around our people. They’re not just colleagues. They’re not just distributors. They’ve become our best friends,” Sowder says.

Strengthening those bonds is of utmost importance to the company in 2014. “I want our team to know that we care. We are there with them. We know what they go through every day. We have been there and we get it,” Sowder says.

Pam Sowder on personal development…

“I’m an avid reader. Now it’s Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. I love Daniel Pink and John Maxwell too. I’m reading a lot right now on social media and trying to get a grasp on teaching the etiquette of Facebook.”

Pam Sowder on staying connected…

“I answer all my own Facebook messages. I just don’t feel comfortable delegating that out. I am still very much in touch with my leaders, and we text message throughout the day and week. If they need me, they have access and I have access to them. I think that’s important.”

It Works! Global

It Works! Global offers the world’s first naturally based body contouring line of products that delivers maximum results in minimal time. The company’s first and still most popular product, The Ultimate Body Applicator, is a site-specific body contouring treatment commonly called a “wrap.”

In addition to body contouring, It Works! Global offers products designed to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars, while making the skin look younger. Other products include nutrition supplements, as well as those designed to help detoxify impurities, relieve menopausal symptoms, provide muscle and joint relief, and lose weight.

It Works! Global products are marketed by a team of primarily female direct sellers through home “wrap” parties. Recently 10,000 distributors gathered for the company’s largest conference ever.

In 2011, the company made the move from Grand Rapids, Mich., to the Sunshine State. In 2014, they will move into a brand-new, waterfront headquarters in Palmetto, Fla.

It Works! Global had $200 million in sales in 2012 and ranked 56th on the 2013 Direct Selling News Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies.

Order and share reprints of Pam Sowder’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Jill Blashack Strahan’s profile here.


Tastefully Simple Products


Jill Blashack Strahan
Founder and CEO, Tastefully Simple

Smiles, laughter, stress and heartache have filled Jill Blashack Strahan’s life over the last 18 years, and as a result, she’s concluded, “There’s no extracting our personal life from our business life. When we’re happy and fulfilled in our personal life, it flows into our work. When we’re miserable and unhappy in our work, it spews into our personal life.”

Strahan’s greatest challenge and also greatest blessing has been personal tragedy. Her two brothers, Mike and Patrick, died at the age of 28, and her husband Steve passed away just eight months after Patrick in 1998. “There were moments when I questioned how I would be able to keep the company alive and raise my son, Zach, who was 5 years old when his father died,” she says.

But fear is a great motivator, and she refused to be consumed by it—instead, she used it as fuel. “During those times, I came to understand that the best way to let go was to think about something else, and I began living my life one minute at a time and living it with more intention,” Strahan says. “You always have a choice. You can get better or get bitter.”

Jill Blashack Strahan, Founder and CEO, Tastefully SimpleDeveloped over time and ever evolving as the sum of her experience increases, Strahan’s leadership as CEO is based on three principles, which are the distillation of Tastefully Simple’s core values:

  • The Law of Abundancy – fostering peace of mind through win/win attitudes
  • The Law of Magic – creating positive energy through celebration and excellence
  • The Law of Realness – building trust through humbleness

As Tastefully Simple advances their opportunities and continues to utilize their strengths this year, these principles will drive every decision Strahan makes. Changes in her role at the company allow her to spend more time in the field, where she is working to engage consultants by providing extraordinary service and connecting and binding them more closely to the corporate team. Simplification is key, and the company is working hard to streamline their processes to help consultants grow in their strengths and succeed.

“I believe everyone has the capacity to shine. It just takes the right spark to stir that fire,” she says. Here is where Strahan excels. “My greatest strengths and the aspects of my work that I find most rewarding involve creating and inspiring.” She loves the creativity of brainstorming, finding synergy and building on each other’s thoughts and ideas, then taking the finished work to the people, sharing it and creating relationships that help others shine.

Decades ago, Strahan hired Mike Haynie, a personal coach who taught her she was allowed to shine. The relationship changed her life. “He helped me realize that I did not feel worthy of having a life I loved. He was the catalyst that helped me change my thoughts and, most importantly, my actions,” she says. “I’ve definitely found that hanging out with the ‘motors,’ instead of the ‘anchors’ makes a big difference in how satisfied and productive I am.”

It’s vital to Strahan’s continued development as a woman and leader to retreat alone for a few days each year to consider her future and her past. “I review my goals, paying special attention to my victories and achievements. I think about what I’ve learned and how I can apply those lessons in the future. I take the time to feel, whether it’s a heart full of gratitude or healing tears. I dream big dreams and little ones. I let myself really see my perfect life. I thank God for the gifts and blessings I’ve been given and for all the people who’ve been put in my life. I leave feeling whole and totally filled.”

Jill Blashack Strahan on company culture…

“The culture of any company is driven by our personal life, our personal beliefs and our personal values.”

Jill Blashack Strahan on accountability and networking…

“Since 1994, I’ve been part of an accountability group of women called InterQuest (IQ). Over the years they’ve supported me, challenged me, filled my bucket. In addition, I am eternally grateful for my participation in Vistage (a CEO and executive coaching company), which I consider the best investment you can make in yourself and your company.”

Tastefully Simple

Tastefully Simple, an easy-to-prepare foods direct seller based in Alexandria, Minn., refreshed their brand this year with a new logo, product packaging and a “Simple. Delicious. Fun.™” tagline, while still maintaining their mission to help people spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the rest of their lives.

The company offers a wide range of goods and products from assorted beverages to breads, soups, sides, desserts, dip mixes, spices, oils, and dressings with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. In 2013, Tastefully Simple launched a gluten-free line, which will expand in 2014.

All of Tastefully Simple’s foods and gifts are available through nearly 24,000 independent consultants online or at home tasting parties that encourage “trying before buying.”

Tastefully Simple proudly partners with Share Our Strength®, a national non-profit working to end child hunger in America, and has donated over $1 million to their No Kid Hungry program. The company’s national corporate team has raised over $1 million since 2009 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Tastefully Simple ranked 90th in Direct Selling News’s 2013 Global 100 and reported company sales of $96 million in 2012.

Order and share reprints of Jill Blashack Strahan’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Connie Tang’s profile here.


Princess House Products


Connie Tang
President and CEO, Princess House

Princess House

Expectations can be tough to manage and, as women, “we tend to overthink,” Connie Tang says. “Every time you take on a role, you act on your own assumptions.” She remembers coming into Princess House as the first female president and CEO of a 50-year-old company and drawing her own conclusions of what people expected.

“That can be extremely overwhelming and daunting, so setting expectations for yourself and meeting and managing them is key.”

Strong women leaders, no matter the title on the business card, tend to be independent free thinkers, but often they struggle to exhibit the same levels of confidence and independence in the boardroom that they do within their personal lives. Tang says, “I have learned that independence is not a sign that you are not a collaborator. It doesn’t mean you are not a team builder. Independence is a sign of strength. It takes courage and confidence to exercise independence and free thinking when it is necessary.”

Tang considers herself a “diplomatically candid” leader that shares the vision and shows the way without pushing. “You might feel that you could make more progress if you push, but pushing is hard and doesn’t engage. Pushing repels and doesn’t foster ownership and accountability,” she says. Ultimately, she wants everyone to own the success and be able to identify exactly what has been accomplished. To Tang’s way of thinking, this is a very good way for leaders to bring people along.

Connie Tang, President and CEO, Princess HouseAs a steward of a company and a brand, as well as the thousands of Princess House businesses that independent business owners run, Tang understands her fiduciary responsibilities and the importance of managing both the person and the professional during times of transition, evolution and innovation. “Popularity is not what defines you in terms of your effectiveness or your ability to lead or your productivity,” she says.

Tang’s goals for Princess House in 2014 revolve around consistency. “It’s very hard to stay the course, to not be distracted and stray. But the foundation of the business is about the building blocks of developing a sales field and opening up the opportunity even more,” she says. Princess House set out to expand three years ago by re-instilling a recruiting culture. “That’s the lifeblood of our business!”

It’s with deep appreciation that Tang speaks about the opportunities she’s been afforded on the corporate development track within the direct selling industry, and the ability as a female executive to help such a resilient gender continually craft who they are. A gratified and humbled Tang says, “A very positive transformation goes on emotionally, mentally and physically within our sales field members. They look and stand differently, they talk differently, and they walk into the room differently. That’s what’s brilliant about what we do.”

Tang believes that moving up the executive track changes the look and feel of personal development. She says it becomes more about people development and management mixed with good practical skills. About cultivating future female executives she says, “We have to work more intentionally on the development of skills in managing and influencing people as part of the team, as well as leadership development.”

While Tang encourages female growth, she says Princess House is a gender-neutral company. “I develop mentors here, offer advice, listen to, and advise equally across the board. As the CEO, I feel responsible for the success of both genders.”

Connie Tang on personal development…

“I have a voracious curiosity to know things, to learn things. I stay up on the beauty and personal-care side, as well as nutritional supplement development because that’s my history. I read a lot—international relations and regulatory, omni-channel consumerism, CEO strategy and Harvard Business Review. I’m constantly reading.”

Connie Tang on leadership…

“A leader offers opportunities for individuals to draw their own conclusions from information and helps them weave through the minefield of distractions. Projects come up, and when you look at them piecemeal it might seem like just another thing to do, but leaders help others understand how projects line up toward achieving strategic goals.”

Princess House

It’s been 51 years since Charles Collis founded Princess House, a direct selling pioneer offering hand-blown, cut-glass crystal and collectibles. Today, the company is a leading provider of quality home and entertainment products, including its line of Princess Heritage Stainless Steel Cookware.

Leveraging its strength and honoring its heritage and traditions, while revitalizing and refreshing its business going forward, is the company’s priority. Last July, Princess House hosted the company’s first bilingual national leader summit for all top U.S. leaders. It was the first national business conference of any kind in over a decade. The event, which was a stepping-stone to an inaugural national convention slated for July 2014, provided networking and sharing opportunities as well as integration of learning and company synergy.

About 25,000 consultants, two-thirds of whom are of Hispanic descent, market Princess House products in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. To better serve them, the company is in the first stages of new back-end technologies and a third-party logistics facility on the West Coast.

Princess House ranked 73rd on the Direct Selling News Global 100 for 2013 with revenue of $148 million in 2012.

Order and share reprints of Connie Tang’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Order and share reprints of Heidi Thompson’s profile here.


Scentsy Products
Scentsy Family


Heidi Thompson
President and Co-Owner, Scentsy Inc.

Entrepreneurs improvise on a daily basis, and Heidi Thompson remembers what it was like in the throes of launching Scentsy Inc., worrying how she could properly nurture her young children while working 20-hour days. Where Mom went the kids tagged along.

That meant less time with friends, homework and piano lessons at the office, and even splurging on cable TV so they could watch Disney in the evenings.

Thompson second-guessed herself frequently, and “mommy guilt” set in. To this day, the memory of her then 12-year-old daughter’s New Year’s resolution brings tears to her eyes. “Find a way to get rid of Scentsy,” it read. As much as it pained her, Thompson knew she and her husband, Orville, were doing what they had to do as adults and were teaching their kids lessons in hard work, determination and perseverance. It wasn’t long before a matured version of their daughter spoke up and finally said, “I get it. I see how Scentsy is changing lives, how it changed our lives and how it has blessed us,” her mom remembers.

But as a mother, keeping her kids at the top of her priority list remains Thompson’s biggest challenge. Today, she takes time for conversation every morning en route to their school and frequently steps out of meetings to answer texts and tend to their needs. This is simply who Heidi Thompson is as a person and a leader. “I live my life according to values,” she says. “Our employees here in our home office and our field, they all hear us talking about simplicity, authenticity and generosity, but we also live it in our lives.”

Heidi Thompson, President and Co-Owner, Scentsy Inc.Those values come through in Scentsy’s leadership development, too. “Leading with Authenticity” is a new series of three, nine-month classes for emerging leaders in the home office. “We have a good mix of men and women who have gone through this program,” Thompson says. The personal leadership philosophies presented on graduation day reflect the positive image these new leaders have for the company and its values.

Simplicity, authenticity and generosity are the filters Scentsy uses for all functional planning for the company’s growth. Last year, Thompson says, the company’s focus reflected the brain more than the heart. This year, fun-focused Scentsy hashtags will pop up on social media platforms to help the company celebrate its 10th year, connect the field, and promote sales and recruiting. “We want to have that connection and culture—Scentsy Spirit—be our focus in 2014. We want to make sure that everyone at Scentsy knows how much we love them and appreciate them in our lives. We feel if we do that, then other things like recruiting and sales will follow,” she says.

Thompson’s embodiment of the Scentsy Spirit teams well with her husband’s business acumen in the leadership of the company. “We do complement each other. Sometimes Orville has the louder voice, I think, but I am really good at kicking under the table or talking at midnight. I’m really good at waking him up in the morning and saying, ‘Hey, all night I thought about this, and here’s what I think we should do.’ He’s really good at listening and understanding that I might not be able to explain why I feel this way, but he’s very good at knowing that we should do it. We are a very good team.”

Heidi Thompson on personal development…

“I feel that if I am spiritually in balance then everything else falls into place around that. I have a little calendar that sits by my desk with quotes from the Bible and John Maxwell, a faith-based person. Every morning when I come in, I flip the calendar to that day and read that scripture and quote to get my day started. It’s always uplifting and linked to leadership.”

Heidi Thompson on fear of public speaking…

“For someone who doesn’t like speaking in public, it’s very hard. I still struggle. I get really nervous. But baby steps help. Try to do the things that you’ve never done before, do the things that scare you and do them over and over again. I can’t say that it will ever be easy or that I will enjoy it, but it gets better.”

Scentsy Inc.

Launched July 1, 2004, by Orville and Heidi Thompson, Scentsy Inc. is an international direct selling leader in fragrance, offering a variety of home and personal fragrance products.

The simplicity and value of its scented, wickless candles heated in decorative ceramic warmers provide a better alternative to burning wicked candles. Scentsy Fragrance also offers the Scentsy Buddy, plush animals with a fragrant Scent Pak inside, and Layers by Scentsy, a personalized fragrance experience comprised of 17 body and laundry care products. Scentsy Inc. also includes the Velata brand of simple and stylish kitchen products as well as the Grace Adele brand of women’s style accessories.

Scentsy is headquartered on a beautiful, brand-new campus in Meridian, Idaho. Three years in the making, Scentsy’s new facilities allow their home office staff of more than 1,000 to enjoy the collaborative benefits that close proximity offers.

The company boasts more than 120,000 independent consultants worldwide and in 2013 launched additional international markets in Australia and Mexico.

Last year, Scentsy CEO Orville Thompson became Chairman of the Direct Selling Association’s Board of Directors.

Scentsy Inc. ranked 23rd on the Direct Selling News Global 100 for 2013 with sales of $560 million in 2012.

Order and share reprints of Heidi Thompson’s profile here.


Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson

Please follow and like us:
error

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.