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Living Fresh’s Commitment to Sustainability Inspires Florida State Students

Living Fresh’s Commitment to Sustainability Inspires Florida State Students

Randi_FarinaDSEF’s most recent Campus Event at Florida State University (FSU) showcased one company’s extraordinary commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Randi Farina, Vice President of Business Development of Living Fresh Collection, shared her company’s story with more than 500 FSU students on October 22.

“College students are aware of the competition in today’s job market,” Randi says. “I was honored to be able to use my passion for the direct selling industry to share with them an opportunity they might not have otherwise considered. Being able to interact directly with them was a wonderful experience.”

Living Fresh Founders Diana Dobin Kauppinen and Michael Dobin created a healthy line of luxury linens made from Tencel+Plus™ Lyocell (fibers from eucalyptus). “It was amazing to see so many students at FSU share in our mission of sustainability, which gives us confidence in the next generation of business owners and entrepreneurs who truly want to make a difference,” Randi says.

That message resonated with American Marketing Association FSU Chapter President Marliese DeMauro. “Living Fresh’s sustainability tactics and mission to give back to the world are both admirable and inspirational,” she says. “I think any one of our members would be proud to work for such a company.”

Dr. Lucas Hopkins, FSU Professor of Marketing, hosted the Foundation’s event for his undergraduate students in two different courses and the AMA student meeting. “My classes thoroughly enjoyed the speaker’s presentation as it was a perfect blend of information about direct selling, background on her company and the concepts we discuss in class,” he says. “Randi’s talk was very refreshing and enjoyed by all!”

DSEF’s campus programs help students better understand direct selling, a global channel of distribution with annual revenues of more than $180 billion world-wide. “Randi’s presentation brought up a unique side of the marketing world that is sometimes overlooked by college students,” says Marliese. “I learned how the industry of direct selling plays a large role in strengthening today’s economy. It also has the ability to empower those individuals working in the field.”

DSEF campus programs are designed to go beyond the one-day interactions between executives, professors and students and create layers of value and opportunity. For students, additional benefits include talking first-hand to business professionals in their field, internships and experiential learning opportunities. After each presentation, Randi generously shared her time with every student who approached her and invited them to take a tour of Living Fresh Collection in their new, green business place.

Since 1989, DSEF has partnered with dozens of universities across the country to bring senior executives to campuses and classrooms. Direct selling company executives speak to students about their companies, the industry and the important issues and challenges relevant to most businesses. For professors, DSEF provides access to leading industry executives as well as access to industry data that can drive academic research. “The support we received from DSEF is quite extraordinary!” says Hopkins. “I am looking forward to having DSEF and companies like Living Fresh visit my classes again.”

DSEF Launches Guide to Academic Engagement

DSEF Launches Guide to Academic Engagement

3dGuideStrategic investment in academic partnerships can challenge and enrich academic thinking about the direct selling industry. That’s why the Direct Selling Education Foundation created the Executive Guide to Academic Engagement. The Guide provides direct selling company executives all the information they need to partner with the Foundation on academic initiatives and serves as an executive resource for company-to-university partnership development.

Academic engagement, whether through the Foundation or on your own, can benefit your company in a variety of ways. Mary Kay is among the many companies that have experienced success through academic partnerships. “Sharing your company’s business model and leadership principles can lead to case studies at top business schools, sections in college textbooks and company brand awareness and image enhancement in your community and among academics and civic influencers,” says Kerry Tassopoulos, Mary Kay Vice President of Public Affairs, Compliance and Risk Management and DSEF Board Member Education Committee Chairman.

When the Foundation partners with professors on academic research, sponsors direct selling education programs on college campuses or provides students with experiential learning opportunities, there is much to be gained. ““By demonstrating that direct selling companies have the same business challenges as their traditional market counterparts and are competitive on a level playing field, you’re advancing understanding of your business—and of the industry,” says DSEF Director of Academic Initiatives, Kimberly Harris Bliton. “Joining DSEF in its academic engagement efforts brings direct selling to life for future leaders of business, finance and government, and the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

To complement the Guide and support direct selling executives in building presentations for the classroom, DSEF developed additional Campus Program resources, which are available for download.

“Through DSEF academic engagement, you’re not only benefitting your company and the direct selling industry, you’re providing professors and students with valuable opportunities,” “says DSEF Executive Director Gary Huggins. “Together we are demythifying the direct selling model and winning hearts and minds,”

Download the Executive Guide to Academic Engagement today. For printed copies or to learn more, email Kimberly Harris Bliton, DSEF Director of Academic Initiatives, or call 202-416-6407.

Industry Execs Tell UGA Students How to “Start Something…On Your Own”

Industry Execs Tell UGA Students How to “Start Something…On Your Own”

Britney Vickery, Founder and CEO, Initials, Inc.

For more than 25 years, DSEF’s Campus Days at colleges and universities across the country have connected direct selling executives with students and educators to advance understanding of our industry.

The Foundation’s most recent Campus Event on March 27 provided a powerful venue to shine a light on direct selling—both as a channel of distribution and as an entrepreneurial and opportunity. Connie Tang, CEO, Princess House, and Britney Vickery, Founder and CEO, Initials, Inc., were featured presenters during the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Thinc Week—an annual campus-wide initiative designed to inspire entrepreneurship among students and faculty.

connie

Connie Tang, CEO, Princess House

“Participating in the UGA Thinc event was an exhilarating experience to meet, see,
hear and talk to tomorrow’s entrepreneurs,” Connie said. “The opportunity to share insights to what independent business ownership means in our direct selling world hopefully opened their eyes to how our industry can be a vehicle to achieving their goal of being in business for themselves, which they might not have otherwise considered.”

DSEF Board Member and UGA Professor Dr. Brenda Cude hosted the Foundation presentations as part of “Start Something…On Your Own,” an event for undergraduate students in five different courses at UGA as well as students from Athens Technical College.

Britney and Connie shared their “real world” experience with more than 400 students who will be among tomorrow’s entrepreneurial and business leaders.  “The enthusiasm, encouragement and strong personalities of these powerful women are so inspiring!” one student said. “I have always had an interest in starting my own business but was afraid to try as I don’t feel ‘smart enough.’ After hearing these women, I am motivated and driven to ask for help and live my dream.”

Britney and Connie capped off their visit with a panel discussion attended by more than 130 students as well as UGA faculty and staff. Rich McCline, Senior Public Service Associate for UGA’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, moderated the panel.

“It was a remarkable day!” Britney said. “Not only was I given the platform to talk about being an entrepreneur, but I was also able to show students how I harnessed my passion for entrepreneurship through a very unique business model. Many of the students knew someone who had sold products through direct sales, but they had no idea how large and far reaching our industry was.”

FTC Commissioner Commends Direct Sellers at DSEF Self-Regulation Event

FTC Commissioner Commends Direct Sellers at DSEF Self-Regulation Event

Here’s something you don’t hear every day: “FTC Commissioner Praises Direct Sellers”

That’s exactly what a reporter from The Hill wrote after attending DSEF’s April 6 event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC: Consumer Protection: A Multi-Industry Conversation on Ethics & Self-Regulation.

The event featured opening remarks from Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and panelists from several industries—including Direct Selling Association President Joe Mariano.  “This public forum not only demonstrated our industry’s commitment to ethics, it embodied the Foundation’s mission to advance understanding of the direct selling business model and our industry’s leadership role in consumer protection,” said Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director.

FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen

Federal Trade Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen

The roundtable discussion on consumer protection issues and the role of self-regulation was moderated by George Washington University Professor Howard Beales, former director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. Joe was joined on the panel by Lynne Omlie, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) Senior Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel;  and C. Lee Peeler, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) CEO and Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) Executive Vice President of National Advertising.

Kicking off the discussion, Commissioner Olhausen described ingredients necessary to successfully protect consumers. “Consumer expectations for transparency and corporate responsibility continue to evolve, so too must the framework used to safeguard the public,” she said. “There are three elements that must be present to provide effective consumer protection: law enforcement, education and self-regulation. I like to think of it as a three-legged stool. If any of these factors is missing or not functioning effectively, the stool will at best be off-balance and at worst, topple over.”

Introducing the panelists, Dr. Beales noted there is no “one right way” for industries to self-regulate and Lee Peeler agreed.  “Today’s discussion is an excellent opportunity to share best practices in three successful self-regulation models and how we might adjust our approaches to better meet the needs of consumers,” he said, adding that the hallmark of effective self-regulation include clear standards, transparency, accountability, industry support and adequate funding.

All three panelists stressed the importance of adapting to changing consumer needs and market atmospheres. “It is critical that we continue to perfect our Code of Ethics” Joe Mariano said. “Later this year, we will further strengthen these best-in-class consumer protections by introducing greater transparency around enforcement and enhancing protections against false earnings claims. We choose to lead by example so every direct selling company in the United States has an incentive to do better by its customers. That’s why today’s discussion is so important.”

Lynne Omlie shared anecdotes from DISCUS’s self-regulation efforts, noting that all complaints they receive are resolved within seven days of being logged. She touted the evolution the council’s code, saying, “Our Code is a living document that has evolved over time as social mores and technology change, reflecting our industry’s steadfast commitment to effective self-regulation in both traditional and emerging marketing platforms.”

Lynne Omlie, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Senior Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel; Joe Mariano,  Direct Selling Association President;  and C. Lee Peeler, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council CEO and Council of Better Business Bureaus Executive Vice President of National Advertising.

Panelists: Lynne Omlie, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Senior Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel; Joe Mariano, Direct Selling Association President; and C. Lee Peeler, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council CEO and Council of Better Business Bureaus Executive Vice President of National Advertising.

Thirty-nine people attended the event, including CBBB staff, consumer protection leaders, local county regulators and representatives from Amway, Herbalife and Mary Kay. Attendees received DSEF’s Consumer Protection Toolkit, created to support the FTC’s in their efforts to educate the public about fraud, deception and unfair business practices in the marketplace. The kit includes various resources from the FTC and other state and local consumer organizations, as well as materials highlighting the consumer protections measures afforded by DSA’s Code of Ethics.

As the panel discussion drew to a close, DSEF Executive Director Gary Huggins told attendees that the morning’s discussion marked the first of many such Foundation events as part of its work to advance understanding of direct selling and promote the industry’s commitment to ethics, consumer protection and self-regulation. “American consumers deserve the highest level of ethics from companies they do business with. A commitment to effective self-regulation by industry leaders is critical to safeguarding their rights,” he said. “We thank FTC for its tireless work on behalf of consumers and look forward to continuing to work with regulators and industry colleagues to ensure consumer protections remain a fundamental goal.”

Industry Leaders Work to Advance Consumer Protection

FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen Kicks Off Conversation with DSEF on Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

Washington, D.C., April 7, 2015 – Today, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) convenes an interactive roundtable discussion where industry leaders will focus on the latest consumer protection issues, including the important role of self-regulation.

The roundtable is moderated by George Washington University Professor Dr. Howard Beales, former director of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection, and FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen will provide opening remarks. The panel includes DSA’s Joseph Mariano, along with Lynne Omlie, senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), and C. Lee Peeler, chief executive officer of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC).

“As expectations for consumer protection evolve, so does our Code of Ethics,” said president of the Direct Selling Association (DSA) Joseph N. Mariano. “Later this year, we will further strengthen these best-in-class consumer protections by introducing greater transparency around enforcement and enhancing protections against false earnings claims. We choose to lead by example so every direct selling company in the United States has an incentive to do better by its customers. That’s why today’s discussion is so important.”

As consumer expectations for corporate responsibility grow and change, consumer-facing industries must lead in promoting the highest ethical commitments from their members.

“For more than 80 years, the distilled spirits industry has had a voluntary advertising Code in place with the core principle of ensuring responsible advertising directed to adults,” said DISCUS’ Lynne Omlie.

“Our Code is a living document that has evolved over time as social mores and technology change, reflecting our industry’s steadfast commitment to effective self-regulation in both traditional and emerging marketing platforms.”

The industries agree that meeting the needs of the 21st century consumers is best achieved through self-regulation.

“Self-regulation allows us the flexibility to quickly be responsive to both consumers and the marketplace,” said ASRC’s Lee Peeler. “Today’s discussion is an excellent opportunity to share best practices in three successful self-regulation models and how we might adjust our approaches to better meet the needs of consumers.”

DSEF is hosting the event as a follow up to the FTC’s National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW).

“American consumers deserve the highest level of ethics from companies they do business with. A commitment to effective self-regulation by industry leaders is critical to safeguarding their rights,” said DSEF’s Gary Huggins. “We thank FTC for its tireless work on behalf of consumers and look forward to continuing to work with regulators and industry colleagues to ensure consumer protections remain a fundamental goal.”

For 15 years, DSEF has partnered with FTC during NCPW to empower consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their rights and make better-informed decisions, including producing a Consumer Protection Toolkit that can be accessed at www.dsef.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/DSEF-Consumer-Protection-Toolkit.pdf.

About DSEF

The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), is a non-profit that advances understanding of direct selling and promotes the industry’s commitment to ethics, consumer protection and self-regulation. Nearly 17 million Americans are involved in direct selling in every state, Congressional district and community in the United States. In 2013, direct selling contributed more than $32 billion to the U.S. economy.

Donors Make a Difference: Britney Vickery, CEO, Initials, Inc:

Donors Make a Difference: Britney Vickery, CEO, Initials, Inc:

BritneyDSEF’s programs and partnerships would not be possible without the support and engagement of our contributors and volunteers. We’re pleased to kick off a new feature—Donors Make a Difference—to highlight the tireless efforts of our valued supporters and advocates. Britney Vickery, CEO and Founder of Initials, Inc., ranked No. 762 on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing, privately held companies for 2013, recently spoke to DSEF about her—and her company’s—involvement with the Foundation.

How did you become involved with DSEF?

I had heard about DSEF, but I became more intimately aware and involved when I became Chair of the Direct Selling Association’s Education Committee. My eyes opened to all the opportunities that were right in front of us to help educate new groups of people about the power and magic of our amazing industry.

How do DSEF programs help Initials Inc., its salesforce, and the industry?

I believe that the DSEF programs help to broaden our scope and our influence. Simply put, the DSEF puts the word out there—the good word—about direct selling. The DSEF is more than just education, it is shaping and influencing the awareness of our business model— that gets me, and our salesforce, excited!

What specific DSEF programs are you most excited about?

DSEF’s college partnerships sing to my soul—when we champion our message and story on college campuses nationwide. The amazing students we reach may very well be our next rock star consultants, awesome corporate executives or founders of the next direct selling sensation! However, to be able to bring their gifts and talents to light in our industry, they have to first know about the business model. The students DSEF reaches through its programs are so hungry to see and understand business in a fresh entrepreneurial way— and they are the next chapter for direct selling!

Earlier this year, you joined DSEF Chairman John Parker (Amway), DSEF Vice Chairman Kerry Tassopoulos (Mary Kay) and Jeff Hanscom (DSA) at a Campus Event at the University of Georgia hosted by DSEF Board Member Dr. Brenda Cude, reaching nearly 500 students. Tell us about your experience.

It was a remarkable day! Not only was I given the platform to talk about being an entrepreneur, but I was also able to show students how I harnessed my passion for entrepreneurship through a very unique business model. Most of the students knew someone who had sold products through direct sales, but they had no idea how large and far reaching our industry was. And, since most of the students were focused on business or consumer goods, we engaged in robust conversations about our business model and the future of business in general. It was a day I will never forget and one I hope to have the opportunity to do again—it was electric!

Your company is a DSEF contributor and you also contribute personally. Why do you think DSEF is important?

There is no better model in the world that marries business and people like direct dales—there’s nothing else like it. I am energized by the empowerment that our unique business proposition gives to people. Once you have “caught” the bug you cannot help but want to see that message carried forward in a bigger way. This is what the DSEF provides—the Foundation is our voice to the world about who we are and why we are here. It is an honor to be a part of the DSA and an honor to support the DSEF. We are a blessed industry, and I am excited to see where we can go from here, together! We simply need to continue to fuel the DSEF so they can continue to share the good news of our industry.

Premier Designs’ Bob Bolander Gives Students Insider’s View of Direct Selling

Premier Designs’ Bob Bolander Gives Students Insider’s View of Direct Selling

LATech

For decades, DSEF has held Campus Events at colleges and universities across the country, helping students and educators better understand the direct selling industry—both as a channel of distribution and as an entrepreneurial opportunity—and giving direct selling executives a chance to share their “real world” experience with tomorrow’s business leaders.

Earlier this month, DSEF sponsored such an event at Louisiana Tech University with Dr. Julie Guidry Moulard, the Balsley-Whitmore Endowed Professor, Department of Marketing & Analysis, College of Business. Bob Bolander, Vice President, Marketing Services, Premier Designs, traveled to Ruston, LA, and spoke to more than 250 marketing students and faculty.

“It was great to be able to share the passion I have for direct sales with the students at Louisiana Tech.   There is such a need to educate our future business leaders about the advantages and opportunities that direct sales has to offer,” Bob says. “So few really had any idea what direct sales was all about and I would say none had ever heard of the Direct Selling Association. The faculty of the business school were even more interested to learn about direct sales and appreciated the opportunity the DSEF provided to them for this event.”

Impressed by meeting so many students who have a desire to make a difference and who are hungry for support, encouragement, direction and ideas, Bob plans to continue his involvement with LTU. He will host a group of students next spring at Premier Design’s product design center and manufacturing facility, and will also work with LTU’s Marketing Club to plan a community project.

“Bob’s visit was a tremendous success! Over 250 Louisiana Tech students heard Bob discuss how the direct selling industry affects the overall economy and, more importantly, how it offers individuals entrepreneurial opportunities,” says Julie. “These students now have an appreciation of the direct selling industry and how the Direct Selling Association brings credibility to the industry through its Code of Ethics. Bob also made one-on-one connections with several students and faculty members—connections expected to grow and develop in the coming years.”

DSEF, in partnership with DSA member company executives, will keep the momentum going with additional Campus Events throughout 2015, as well as ongoing engagement with academic influencers in other venues.

A Note From Gary

A Note From Gary

garyAs I approach the four-month mark in my tenure as Executive Director, I am increasingly excited about the opportunities before us as well as the recent momentum in support of our work.  DSEF has a proud 40-year history to build on in advancing knowledge and understanding of direct selling among thought leaders and influencers in both the academic and consumer communities.

With this monthly update, we want to connect you more directly to the Foundation’s work and to the activities of your fellow company leaders who play an important role in our efforts to tell your story to important constituencies.

Continuing and expanding this collective engagement will be critical in the coming year as the Foundation intensifies our efforts to forge productive relationships with those who hold key positions of influence today and to connect with and equip those in academia who are preparing the leaders of tomorrow.

In the coming months, I look forward to meeting many of you personally and learning more about your businesses.  Together, we’ll work to fulfill the Foundation’s critical role in advancing understanding of the importance of the direct selling channel to our economy and in providing entrepreneurial opportunities for millions around the world.

GHuggins_signature
Gary M. Huggins
Executive Director, DSEF

Making the Connection: Why DSEF Matters

Making the Connection: Why DSEF Matters

At the Annual Meeting in June, the Direct Selling Association’s outgoing chairman Orville Thompson, CEO, Scentsy, described how DSEF serves as the bridge to prominent academics and leading consumer protection voices—key influencers and opinion leaders who drive the national conversation about our industry’s reputation and its place in the economy. Watch what he had to say here.

Experience of Lifetime Auction Sets DSEF Fundraising Record

Experience of Lifetime Auction Sets DSEF Fundraising Record

auction

At this year DSA’s Annual Meeting, the Gala Celebration on June 2, held some extra suspense for attendees as they vied for exotic getaways and exceptional products. In addition to the presentation of awards, the evening included an Experience of a Lifetime live auction benefiting DSEF.

“The excitement of DSEF’s auction was literally jaw-dropping as direct selling executives competed for great auction items and the opportunity to support our Foundation,” said DSA President Joe Mariano. “I’m hoping the auction will become a ‘signature’ event for DSA’s Annual Meeting.”

Serving as the event’s auctioneer, Craig Fleming, President, Global Direct Selling Division, ServiceQuest, kept the crowd energized as they bid on items donated by Amway, CUTCO, Mannatech, Nu Skin, USANA and WineShop At Home, raising more than $154,000 for DSEF.

Among the evening’s winning bidders were Truman Hunt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nu Skin Enterprises, and Orville Thompson, CEO of Scentsy Inc.  The two went head-to-head competing 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.

“I was pleased to be able to participate in DSEF’s Gala auction and feel privileged to be a part of the great work that DSEF is doing to educate people about our business channel,” said Truman, who also was the winning bidder for a complete set of knives donated by CUTCO.

In addition to the Amway’s Orlando Magic package, Orville was the winning bidder for the Pirate’s Cove package donated by Nu Skin—a three-night stay for 30 people at a 22,000-square-foot, pirate-themed mansion in Boulder City, NV.

For Orville, whose winning bid for Pirate’s Cove was $20,000, the auction provided the chance to help the Foundation achieve its vision of a global marketplace that respects and appreciates direct selling.  “DSEF serves as the bridge between the direct selling industry and traditional centers of influence such as academia, government and many others,” he said. “Without its outreach and education, the extraordinary work of direct sellers to enhance the lives of millions through great product, inviting cultures and financial opportunities will not be sufficiently understood, represented and appreciated.”

Before the evening was over, attendees also had the chance to bid on a Hawaiian vacation. With a $7,000 bid, Jeannette Mills, Executive Vice President, Take Shape for Life, beat out her competitors and will spend a week on the beach in Maui, courtesy of Mannatech. Stan Fredrick, Mannatech’s Chairman of the Board and Chair of DSEF’s Development Committee, was overwhelmed by the generosity of Jeannette and other bidders. “This was the first auction we’ve held, and we look forward to making it a part of future Annual Meetings,” said Stan, whose $3,000 bid earned him a case of WineShop At Home’s Artisan 5. “Craig did an excellent job of making it exciting and fun for the audience.”

When the bidding kicked off for USANA’s Sky or Ski Excursion, Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO of Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry, said her adrenaline took over. “‘Fearless’ is what I felt when I decided to bid on the skydiving adventure!” said Traci, who bid $5,000 to go skydiving with USANA’s CEO Dave Wentz. “I also have great respect for Dave and trust him to throw me out of a plane. I love the work of DSEF, and my company and I support the foundation. I believe it must be well-funded to continue its educational mission because we all benefit, we all win!”

The Experience of a Lifetime Auction helped DSEF exceed its goal for the 2014 fundraising year, which ends June 30.  “My personal thanks to all who participated in the DSEF Auction at the Gala,” John Parker said. “Thanks to your generosity—and in particular Truman Hunt and Orville Thompson—we raised more than $150,000! This money will help fund the great work done by our Foundation!”