Archive for May 28th, 2015

DSEF Adds Silent Auction, Doubling the Bidding Fun

DSEF Adds Silent Auction, Doubling the Bidding Fun

In just a few days, direct selling company executives and suppliers will gather in San Antonio for the industry’s premier event.  Returning as a highlight of the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting is DSEF’s Experience of a Lifetime Auction.

Marking its second year as DSEF’s marquee fundraiser, the 2015 Experience of a Lifetime Auction includes a new twist: a Silent Auction to complement the Live Auction held at the Awards Gala on June 2. The decision to include a Silent Auction component resulted from the success of last year’s event, which remains among the most memorable fundraisers in DSEF history—and allows the Foundation to expand its work on behalf of the industry.

“Enhancing the reputation of the direct selling channel begins with advancing understanding of our unique business model,” explains Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director. “Through research, events, partnerships and education programs, DSEF helps establish the direct selling industry’s legitimacy to key audiences—but none of our work would be possible without the financial support of our donors.”

Last year’s event can be described as nothing less than epic.  Truman Hunt, President and CEO, Nu Skin Enterprises, and Orville Thompson, CEO, Scentsy Inc. went head-to-head in a bidding war for the chance to attend an Orlando Magic game in the Founder’s Suite—as the guest of Amway’s Chief Sales Officer John Parker and President Doug DeVos.  When the bidding topped $50,000, John, who also serves as DSEF Board Chair, agreed to offer the package twice, raising $100,000 for the Foundation in a matter of minutes.

Thanks to his winning auction bid, Truman and a group of Nu Skin executives joined John Parker and Doug DeVos in Orlando for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic. “Our friends at Amway treated our Nu Skin executive team to a VIP experience,” he said.  “We thoroughly enjoyed getting a glimpse of the NBA locker rooms, state-of the art work-out facilities and sitting in the VIP box in the arena, however, the best part of the day was interacting with the Amway team. We enjoyed sharing common experiences, valuable insights and celebrating our common vision of improving people’s lives and making a difference in the world.”

The fun, camaraderie and healthy competition that characterized 2014’s Experience of a Lifetime auction are only part of the reason that DSEF moved to expand the 2015 effort.

“The proceeds from last year’s auction funded vital DSEF programs that made a compelling, value-driven case for direct selling such as DSEF’s recent Multi-Industry Self-Regulation PanelCampus Days programs, and National Consumer Protection Week efforts,” says Gary.  “Programs like these show consumer protection advocates, regulators, educators and students the good our industry does wherever you find us.  I thank all who participated last year, and look forward to an equally strong showing next week in San Antonio.”

The enduring excitement from 2014’s auction continues to drive anticipation for this year’s event. In reflecting upon last year’s auction, Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO of Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry, recalls how her adrenaline took over when she submit the winning $5,000 bid for a skydiving adventure with USANA’s CEO Dave Wentz.

“This was a life changing experience!” Traci says. “So glad I made the ‘jump’ and, yes, I will do it again!”



Donors Make a Difference, Connie Tang, President & CEO, Princess House

Donors Make a Difference, Connie Tang, President & CEO, Princess House

DSEF’s programs and partnerships would not be possible without the support and engagement of our contributors and volunteers. Connie Tang, President and CEO of Princess House and a DSEF Board Member, is a tireless advocate for the Foundation. We recently spoke to Connie about her—and her company’s—involvement with the Foundation.

How did you become involved with DSEF?

I’m a great believer in the power of direct selling. I don’t know of any other industry that’s so rich in the range of opportunities it provides for individuals. I became active with the Direct Selling Association as a Board Member, and learned more about how the Foundation’s work reaches beyond the obvious stakeholders into the public arena. That was exciting – the opportunity to open minds and eyes to what this industry can do as a vehicle to entrepreneurship, personal/professional empowerment and realizing the American dream – all through the Foundation’s outreach.

How do DSEF programs help Princess House, its salesforce, and the industry?

I can honestly say that there is not one DSA company that doesn’t benefit from the DSEF, and that includes Princess House! Direct selling is an equal-opportunity business that benefits people regardless of background, culture, age and education. That means people who join our industry may have varying levels of education and professional/life experience.

The outreach programs the DSEF supports and/or conducts in collaboration with educators, consumer advocacy administrators and public policy makers are all meant to provide free, open access to information and education to everyone to equalize some of those potential knowledge gaps. The DSEF serves as a source for potential direct sellers and/or customers to find facts about the industry.

The Foundation’s Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program provides college students the opportunity to experience, learn and discover what entrepreneurship through direct selling means. The plus is that the skills sets that can be acquired through the course curriculum are transferable to any and all facets of business or corporate endeavors.

What specific DSEF programs are you most excited about?

In addition to the programs I mention above—the grassroots, face-to-face opportunities that DSEF provides for us—as industry stewards—to meet, engage and interact with future, would-be direct sellers are incomparable.

Participating in the University of Georgia’s Thinc Program recently gave me just that opportunity to be in the presence of our potential next generation direct sellers and plant some seeds, make some (hopefully, positive) impressions and correct some misconceptions or unfounded assumptions about what we do in the world of direct selling.

You’re involved with DSEF in so many ways: You serve on the Board of Directors, the Executive and the Development Committee; you’ve participated in many DSEF programs, including speaking to students last month at the University of Georgia; your company is a DSEF contributor and you also contribute personally. Why do you think it’s important to support the Foundation?

Direct selling is a powerful industry, but it’s also a misunderstood industry. The role of a “good will ambassador” like DSEF is important in saying to people who are looking at our products and our business opportunities, “This is a real, credible business that deserves your consideration.”

The role DSEF plays in supporting and communicating the ethical standards of the industry is very important. Any industry’s credibility comes from its adherence to a rigorous, fully articulated code of ethics. The credibility of DSEF is also reflected by the level of participants/participation and each one of us can directly impact that credibility in an upward and positive fashion.