Archive for March 27th, 2015

DSEF to Host Multi-Industry Panel on Self-Regulation

DSEF to Host Multi-Industry Panel on Self-Regulation

National-Press-Club-300x199As consumer expectations for transparency and corporate responsibility continue to evolve, so too must the approaches industries use to safeguard the public. To highlight the critical role of self-regulatory initiatives and their benefit to consumers, DSEF is convening a multi-industry public discussion on consumer protection and self-regulation on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The event will feature opening remarks by the Honorable Maureen K. Ohlhausen, a Commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

“This important public forum illustrates how different industries institute self-regulation frameworks that ensure a commitment to high ethical standards and consumer protection,” says Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director. “Direct Selling Association President Joe Mariano will represent the direct selling industry at the event and will discuss the Association’s proactive efforts to protect consumers through its Code of Ethics.”

The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Howard Beales, Professor of Strategic Management & Public Policy, Regulatory Studies Center, George Washington University. In addition to Joe, panelists are Lynne Omlie, Senior Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States; and C. Lee Peeler, CEO, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council and Executive Vice President, National Advertising, Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The audience will include policymakers, regulators and consumer leaders. Industry executives are also encouraged to attend. You can find more information here, or contact Nancy Laichas.

DSEF Creates Consumer Toolkit for National Consumer Protection Week

DSEF Creates Consumer Toolkit for National Consumer Protection Week

DSEF Consumer Protection Toolkit_Page_01Each year in March the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its partner organizations commemorate National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), held this year March 1 -7, by offering a wide array of consumer education events and resources to educate the public and encourage people across the country to take full advantage of their consumer rights.

“The FTC is one of the direct selling industry’s most important regulatory constituents and, by supporting their efforts during NCPW, DSEF demonstrates our firm commitment to consumer education and protection, and individual economic empowerment,” said Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director.

This year, DSEF created an NCPW-themed Consumer Protection Toolkit that includes various materials from the FTC and other state and local consumer organizations on topics such as identity theft, job scams and shopping online. The kit also includes materials highlighting the consumer protections measures afforded by DSA’s Code of Ethics.

DSEF delivered the Toolkit to members of Congress and Commissioners and staff at the FTC, among other important constituents engaged in consumer protection issues.“It’s great to know that DSEF is using the FTC’s consumer education materials in such an effective way,” said Lisa Lake, FTC Consumer Education Specialist. “This is a great example of how the FTC’s resources can be adapted and used to support programmatic goals. I think those in the DSEF network are going to be equally impressed and will find the information— and how you packaged it – very helpful.”

In addition to the Consumer Toolkit, the Foundation hosted a NCPW-themed Twitter Chat on March 5, and was joined by the Council of Better Business Bureaus and Chicago-based ABC News consumer reporter Stephanie Zimmerman (@ABCNewstheFixer). During the one-hour chat, DSEF, CBBB, Stephanie and more than a dozen local BBBs shared information and answered questions about frauds and scams, shopping online and the FTC’s cooling-off rule.

The Foundation also promoted NCPW through its website and social media channels. DSEF created a web page that aggregated NCPW-related content most relevant to our audiences, and promoted the content through a Facebook contest held March 2-6. Each day of contest, DSEF posted a question related to DSA’s Code of Ethics to Facebook, and participants viewed one of the Foundations Ethics Vignettes in order to learn the answer. Five $50 gift cards were awarded to entrants chosen at random.

A Note from Gary

A Note from Gary

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DSEF is ramping up our efforts to educate external constituencies about the value of the entrepreneurial opportunity associated with direct selling. The DSEF team is growing and moving with renewed urgency and focus to advance our long-standing mission to engage and educate key audiences about how direct selling empowers individuals, supports communities and strengthens economies. To accomplish that mission, the Foundation is moving aggressively to ensure that there is a “big tent” of credible voices beyond our industry that are educated, empowered and equipped to effectively speak on our behalf.

An important element of that work includes the partnerships that DSEF is forging with key academics, consumer influencers and regulators. For example, the Foundation’s relationships with the Federal Trade Commission and organizations like the Council for Better Business Bureaus help us shine the light on the ethical standards the industry works to promote and uphold.

We are excited to see some of these leaders in action as participants in the Foundation’s upcoming event on consumer protection and self-regulation featuring key consumer regulators, a national leader among academics in the field of regulation studies and a multi-industry panel discussion that will include DSA President Joe Mariano speaking on behalf of direct selling. Additional details on the event and how to participate are here. We hope that many of you can join us.

I’m also excited to announce that Regina Clay has joined DSEF as our Director of Consumer Initiatives. Regina spent more than 12 years in state and local government, most recently as Community Liaison for former Howard County, MD, Executive Ken Ulman. She will play an important role in expanding the reach of partnerships with consumer organizations to touch those at the state level, particularly in states with high concentrations of direct sellers, and pursuing new organizations, such as those focused on economic opportunity, women and Hispanic Americans that can help our stakeholders appreciate that direct selling is an entrepreneurial opportunity for all.

You can read more about our upcoming efforts in my recent column in Direct Selling News. I’m excited by what I see on the horizon and hope you will join with us on this important journey.






Gary M. Huggins
Executive Director, DSEF



Helping Women Business Owners Achieve Financial Fitness

Helping Women Business Owners Achieve Financial Fitness

ginaWomen’s Money Founder Gina Robison-Billups knows firsthand the financial challenges women face.

“Women’s Money actually got its beginning when I was doing research on women in business,” Gina says. “I discovered that business organizations were focused on increasing revenue, but no one was teaching women business owners how to convert business income into sustainable personal profit.”

For the third year, DSEF is providing four hundred scholarships for women business owners – including direct sellers—to attend the National Women’s Money Conference in Las Vegas on April 18. Scholarship recipients can also participate in the Women’s Money Program for ongoing mentoring and support to help them improve their financial knowledge.

We especially encourage direct sellers to take advantage of this scholarship opportunity. If you have salesforce members in the Las Vegas-area who might benefit from the Women’s Money conference, they can register here and use the code DSEF2015. For more information, contact Regina Clay.

Sponsored by the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office and DSEF, the Women’s Money Conference provides women with the opportunity to learn how to reduce financial stress; feel confident with money matters; fix credit; pay off debt; maximize income; save for college and retirement; develop a financial support network; and build a more secure financial future.  A distinguished lineup of well-known women financial management experts will focus on providing each attendee with information on financial well-being.

Long an advocate for women business owners, especially those with fewer than five employees, Gina was asked to serve as council member of the National Women’s Business Council—a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.

“Eighty-four percent of women say they are not receiving the financial messages they need, and I suspect that this is higher for women business owners and direct sellers,” Gina says. “After all, which organizations out there are addressing the unique personal financial perspective of women with variable income? That is why Women’s Money for Business Owners is so powerful. It’s for women with the unique financial challenges of business ownership.”