The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) was founded in 1978 and is a voluntary global organization made up of representatives from the Direct Selling Associations (DSAs) in individual countries. Tamuna Gabilaia, Executive Director of WFDSA, explains the mission of the organization is to build understanding and support for direct selling worldwide. The goals are “to make our DSAs stronger, to advocate on the industry’s behalf, to provide good credible information, and to facilitate interaction between direct selling executives.”
Previous to this year, the WFDSA held a world meeting on a three-year cycle. This past October, the meeting, titled “East Meets West,” kicked off the new strategy developed by the WFDSA CEO Council to hold an event every year, rotating among the following world regions: Europe/Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and Latin America.
Held in Istanbul Oct. 5-6, the meeting brought together representatives from DSAs across the globe, regulators and consumer advocate groups of the region, as well as individuals representing member companies. The regional meeting had nearly double the attendance that was expected, prompting Gabilaia to say, “The agenda and content of the meeting was superb. Everyone was thrilled with the meeting.”
One of the key initiatives of the WFDSA’s Long Range Plan (approved at the end of the 2008 World Congress) is to “strengthen direct selling’s image” in the global community. During the CEO Panel Discussion, WFDSA Treasurer and President of Amway Corporation Doug DeVos emphasized this goal to regulators and officials present in the audience by saying, “In realizing our industry’s [global] potential, our objectives are to be an honorable guest in any market where we do business and … to become more woven into the fabric of the communities and economies where our companies operate.”
Another panel discussion was held on the topic of direct selling and consumer protection—a concern that is common worldwide—examining how setting and abiding by its own code of conduct and ethics helps local DSAs and their member companies solve consumer problems before they become complaints.
Kim Drabik, Regional Sales Operation and Support, Global Sales Division for Amway Corp. and WFDSA Advocacy Committee member, reminded the audience from the panel about the socioeconomic impact of direct selling, saying that this industry “makes a meaningful difference every day in every type of economy and political system, generating substantial tax revenues and making an enormous impact beyond the individual sale.”
A critical part of this meeting was the transference of Chairmanship from Andrea Jung, Chairman and CEO of Avon, to Alessandro Carlucci, CEO of Natura, a cosmetics company headquartered in Brazil. Carlucci will lead the WFDSA until 2014, focusing, he said in his acceptance speech, on “the opportunity to show society the strength of our industry … [making] a positive impact on the lives of millions of people.”
Visit the WFDSA website (www.wfdsa.org) for information concerning the WFDSA 2012 Regional Meeting.