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DSEF’s 3rd Annual Pack a Present Toy Drive Is Just around the Corner!

DSEF’s 3rd Annual Pack a Present Toy Drive Is Just around the Corner!

In just a few weeks, many of you will be packing your bags to head to the Los Angeles area for DSA’s Communications & Marketing Conference (Dec. 5-7). Make sure you leave room in your suitcase for a gift for a child in need. To help make the holidays a little brighter for area kids, The Direct Selling Education Foundation is once again sponsoring “Pack a Present Toy Drive,” this year partnering with the South Bay chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs.

“Now in its third year, DSEF’s Pack a Present event is becoming a December tradition for direct selling company and supplier company executives,” said Charlie Orr, DSEF Executive Director. “I encourage every conference attendee to “Pack a Present,” and help us demonstrate our industry’s giving spirit to the local community.”

DSEF will collect the toys at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, from Dec. 5-7. On Thursday, December 6, Boys & Girls Club representatives will bring a group of children to the hotel to have cocoa and cookies with Santa and receive the gifts.

“The holidays can be a tough time for kids in need,” said Tamara Ingram, DSEF Community Program Manager. “DSEF’s Pack a Present not only provides a memorable experience for the kids who join us for the event, it ensures hundreds of area children will feel the joy of the season.”

DSEF’s Pack a Present event is one of the many ways the direct selling industry gives back to those less fortunate during the holidays. In the past eight years, direct sellers have donated more than $85 million to the TODAY Show Holiday Gift Drive, according to Amy Robinson, DSA’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The TODAY Show Holiday Gift Drive is just one example each year of how direct selling serves as a force for good in our communities, across the country and throughout the world,” Amy said. “DSEF’s Pack a Present provides a heartwarming opportunity for direct selling executives to offer a personal donation, and we’re thrilled that the Foundation is hosting the event at our upcoming Communications & Marketing Conference.”

DSEF wishes to thank Pack a Present’s generous sponsors AmwayTeam National and 4Life, and extend our special appreciation to John Killacky of Bartha for portraying Santa Claus at this year’s event.

While donated gifts may be for children of any age, gifts for teens are especially needed. Cash gifts are also welcome and all gifts should be in their original packaging and not gift-wrapped.

If you haven’t yet done so, you may register here for DSA’s Communications & Marketing Conference. For more information about DSEF’s Pack a Present Toy Drive, or to inquire about available sponsorships, contact Tamara Ingram.

How To Manage Your Time on Social Media

How To Manage Your Time on Social Media

As a business owner, social media marketing is an important element of your business. It’s a way to generate conversations that may attract more people to your business, and it’s an easy way to let people know what’s going on with your business in a social setting. Yet there are many activities you need to do to run a successful business, and social media is only one of them. How do you put in the time that is required to maintain an effective social media presence, while still running your business? Here are some tips:

  • Start From the Results You Want: Instead of just jumping online, spend a few minutes thinking about what you want social media to do for your business. For example, if you are hoping to introduce new customers to your business, you’ll want to spend time planning posts that encourage existing customers to tell their friends about your business. As a result, you might decide to run a contest that rewards people for sharing. If you would like to encourage existing customers to purchase again, then you might focus on offering Facebook-only specials on your Facebook Page, and creating lots of conversation with people who already know what you have to offer. Knowing what you want can help you decide what to do online.
  • Plan Ahead: Nothing is a bigger time waster than sitting at your computer wondering what you’ll post that day. Create an editorial calendar for your online business presence, writing out your main posts at least a month in advance. By writing them all at once, you’ll get the creative juices flowing so that the posts come easier, and you will also be able to get a sense of the overall flow of your content. Are you too salesy? Not enough? Looking at an entire month’s worth of posts will not only help you be more efficient, but will also make your content better. (Also spend some time looking back at previous months’ posts. Did a particular type of post generate results? Then create more posts like it!)
  • Go Mobile: Don’t limit your time on social media to the minutes you can steal away to sit down at a computer. Use your mobile device to check in on your sites regularly, and jump in on conversations often. Instead of one block of time, you might spend a few minutes several times a day. Your customers will feel like you’re more responsive this way.
  • Avoid Spreading Yourself too Thin: Ask your customers where they spend their time online, and then set up one or two social media presences on the sites they use the most. One of these places is probably Facebook, but should you also be on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter? By understanding how your customers want to connect with you, and where, you’ll use your time most efficiently instead of doing more than you need to.
  • Stay Focused: It can be very easy to get distracted on social media sites and waste time. Keep a list of the activities you want to accomplish that will help you reach your goals online, and when you’re using social media for your business, stick to the list. This will help you avoid distractions that take you away from your primary purpose.

By being strategic about your use of social media, you can use these highly effective tools in a way that helps you build your business and reach your customers.

How do you manage your time on social media? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Making Facebook Work For Your Business

Making Facebook Work For Your Business

Do you use Facebook for your business? With nearly a billion people using the social network internationally, it’s a great tool to connect with existing customers and prospects, while also finding new ones. But you can’t just advertise your business indiscriminately on the service. Keep these points in mind when using Facebook for your business:

  • Start with a Plan. Before you begin using Facebook for your business, be sure you know what you want to gain as a result. Are you trying to encourage repeat business? Find new prospects for your business opportunity? Get customer feedback? By starting with an end in mind, you’ll ensure that the actions you take on Facebook are focused and results-oriented.
  • Engage Regularly. Facebook is a SOCIAL network. You can’t be social if you don’t show up. So be sure to set aside time daily, even if it’s just 10-20 minutes, to engage with people on Facebook. Ask and answer questions, comment on photos and status updates, listen to what others have to say, share interesting content that the people you’re connected with may enjoy. The point is to be social, and not just post an update and move on to the next thing.
  • Set Up a Business Page. Facebook Terms of Service is very clear about where businesses are allowed to promote themselves, and it’s NOT within a personal Profile. (SEE: What is the Difference Between a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page?) If you are planning to ask people to do anything on Facebook from which you will make money, you MUST do those posts within the context of a Facebook Page. (Don’t know how to set up a Facebook Page? SEE: How to Create a Business Facebook Page)
  • Run Contests Within Facebook Guidelines. Contests are a fabulous way to build momentum for your business, and create addtional awareness. But you must follow the rules. Rules??? Yes, Virginia, Facebook does have requirements when it comes to contests. You may NOT use any Facebook feature (liking, commenting, etc.) as an entry for a contest. Instead, you must use a 3rd party application to administer your contest. (SEE: How to Run a Great Contest on Facebook.)
  • Consider Facebook Advertising. Facebook advertising can be a great way to generate additional awareness of your business. Be sure you’re advertising in a giving spirit, however. Give away something free (such as an ebook or a coupon) to encourage people to click and learn more. (SEE: 8 Tips for Effective Facebook Advertising.)
  • Have Patience. Rome was not built in a day, and neither will your Facebook community. It takes time and nurturing to build an engaged community. Focus on providing great content, listening to and connecting with others, and making relevant offers that are interesting to your community. And ask your community to share your Page with their friends! If they find you valuable, they’re more likely to do so.

How do you use Facebook to build your business? What additional tips would you give? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

The Power of the Success Mindset

The Power of the Success Mindset

As a small business owner, you work hard. But sometimes it seems that no matter how much effort you put in, your business is not growing in the direction you might hope. So you work even harder, but don’t get the results you’re seeking.

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself why?

It’s because the act of simply doing things isn’t enough to grow a business.

So what else is missing? What does it take to build a successful, thriving business (without killing yourself in the process)?

It’s about mindset.

You see, it’s very easy to be busy all day. To be a “reactionary” business owner that responds to each situation as it comes. But that’s not what successful business owners do. Instead, they are very intentional about setting each day’s agenda so that it corresponds with their goals. It’s not that they don’t deal with things that come up. But they choose the tasks and the direction most in line with their goals. Without taking the time to do this, you will never grow in the direction that you hope to.

So where do you start?

Fortunately, we at the DSEF have produced a free downloadable workbook that will help you with this process. Simply complete each of the activities in the workbook to focus your business efforts in the right direction. This is an essential activity for every business owner.

This workbook will guide you through the following steps:

  • Defining your why
  • Tuning out negativity and committing to positive self-talk
  • Making a plan
  • Building in accountability
  • Using visualizations
  • Making a plan for when you fall
  • Focusing on excellence instead of perfection

By printing out this workbook and completing each of the activities, you will find that you are much more intentional about each of the business activities you choose, and will find that your business grows in the direction you desire.

Download the workbook for yourself from our Facebook Page, and share it with your business associates and loved ones. It’s an incredible gift you can share. Here’s a link you can share with your friends, so they can get their copy too: http://bit.ly/dsefebook2

How do you create a mindset for success for your business? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

p.s. This is just one of the many free business resources we at the DSEF provide, no strings attached! We are committed to helping entrepreneurs with the resources they need to build strong, ethical businesses. It’s one of the cornerstones of our non-profit Foundation, so we hope you’ll enjoy this free resource, and check our Facebook Page daily for even more free resources and tips. Here’s to your success!

On Board with DSEF: Rigoberto Reyes

On Board with DSEF: Rigoberto Reyes

Each month we’ll visit with a member of DSEF’s Board of Directors to learn how their experience and expertise helps the Foundation build trust in the market place by standing up for consumers and championing ethical entrepreneurship.

This month we visit with Rigoberto Reyes, who works for the Department of Consumer Affairs, L.A. County, and is President of the California Consumer Affairs Association (CCAA), which promotes consumer protection for Californians through education, collaboration and advocacy. Rigo serves on DSEF’s Board of of Directors and is a member of its Consumer Committee, which helps to build a broader understanding of direct selling’s channel of distribution and partners with consumer advocates, educators and public policy leaders to ensure the direct selling voice is heard throughout the global marketplace.

DSEF: How did you become involved with DSEF?

RR: I met Bettie Smith at a consumer event and heard her talking about the great work DSEF does on behalf of consumers and the direct selling industry. We have been continuously working together for the past 10 years. DSEF has been a terrific partner.

DSEF: What do you feel is DSEF’s value to the public and the direct selling industry?

RR: Everything we do has to do with consumer protection. I think the value of working with DSEF, and the DSA, is helping them to understand some of the concerns and issues that pop up from time to time, and working with them to put in place some policies. We encourage them to fix any problems that come up dealing directly with customers. We always say that it is a lot easier to prevent an issue than to have to deal with it down the road. I think DSEF is instrumental in working with the industry in strengthening consumer protection, ethics and policies in general. In the end, I think it is a win-win situation, certainly for a company in being recognized as treating customers fairly. For those companies that go out of line, we remind them that long-term business&#8211customer relationships need to be built on trust and definitely on fair treatment.

DSEF: What specifically does your organization do to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses?

RR: The L.A. County Department of Consumer Affairs is a government agency and the issues really don’t change. We see companies that are deceptive, either through misrepresentation or omitting information. From deceptive practices to outright fraudulent activities, our department helps consumers and helps good companies remediate disputes, when remediation is appropriate. When we see some fraud pattern, or when we see companies that have to change the way they do business in order to do it legally, we do investigations—whether for civil or criminal charges—that are then brought to the attention of the district attorney’s office, the attorney general and federal agencies. We feel that that type of service helps the good companies as much as the victims who are being impacted by bad operations out there.

DSEF: How important is it for business leaders to support and promote consumer rights?

RR: I think it is critical. Any business leader who has a long-term vision for his or her company and who does not have a strong consumer protection plan in place is not in a good place. What is good for the company is obviously good for the consumer. When you have strong business leaders who create an industry that is known for fairness all around, that creates business growth, it creates customer trust and, in the long term, it creates strong success for anyone in that industry. When the big players in an industry don’t promote or advocate for good business practices and consumer protection, eventually the whole industry gets tainted and anyone who goes into it, long-term, is in trouble.

DSEF: What new challenges do businesses face in the online consumer marketplace?

RR: One of the big challenges agencies like ours face is managing customer expectations. Consumers expect almost immediate fixing of problems. For instance, if you have a dispute or complaint online, the consumer expects that the minute he enters the complaint somebody is going to resolve it or someone is going to get back with him—someone is going to give him the resolution he needs. We see it here. Consumers submit complaints and the next day they are calling for status. In the old days, 30 days to 60 days was the window, the expectation. I think companies that are not responding quickly are going to lose that customer, and then the customer is going to go on and tell others, and eventually the bad service will snowball when the consumer starts passing around information.

DSEF: What specific challenges do you see affecting direct sellers in the marketplace?

RR: I do not think they are any different than your regular stores in the sense that everyone is going online. Everyone has to capitalize on the new technologies and certainly the efficiencies that online selling and interaction create. However, I think that opens doors for possible friction, especially in regard to privacy. The collection, the selling and the safeguarding of consumer information is an issue. Companies need to ensure that information is being used for the originally intended purpose. For instance, if I go to a company’s website and sign up for a survey and they ask for my personal information, I want to be secure in knowing that information is being used for what I expected, what I authorized. I think that is becoming a major issue, and it needs to be worked out because it is not going to go away. We have to look for solutions and we have to work together to implement those solutions. At the end of the day, consumers will get a better deal and will be more inclined to do business with whomever is selling them goods and services.

DSEF: In what ways can DSEF and the industry further strengthen relationships with consumer regulators nationally and globally?

RR: I think one way is for DSEF and the industry, who are on the front lines working with consumers, to look for ways to be more responsive, to look for ways to address issues and try to anticipate those things before regulators have to get involved. It would be really helpful for companies to report to the appropriate authorities and try to work together. I think when it really gets out of control is when a problem comes up and they do not do anything about it, or worse, try to hide it. When the government comes in and it becomes a big fight, customers are the ones who get harmed in the process.

Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur: DSEF Launches Community College Course for Direct Sellers

Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur: DSEF Launches Community College Course for Direct Sellers

When Thirty-One Gifts Independent Director Lisa Sloan enrolled in DSEF’s Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program at Cayuga Community College last fall, she had a team of two and looked at her direct selling venture as a hobby. Today, eight months after participating in the pilot phase of the 30-hour course, her perception has changed. “You know what? I’m an entrepreneur now,” Lisa says. “I remember sitting in that class and having a ‘wow’ moment. ‘I’m a professional. This is a business.’ I have carried back that excitement from the class to my team (which now numbers 50) and they are all feeling like entrepreneurs now.”

This fall, community college classrooms across the country will have the opportunity to help direct sellers like Lisa unleash their inner entrepreneurs.

The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program (DSEP), a 10-module, non-credit course, focuses on the entrepreneurial skills that are both universal to small businesses and specific to direct selling. Its aim is to build the business skills of direct sellers by introducing them to the fundamental components of small business management and entrepreneurship, including marketing, finance, legal issues, planning and ethical business practices.

The course was developed in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE)—an organization dedicated to helping community colleges nationwide link their traditional role of workforce development with entrepreneurship—and represents DSEF’s years of relationship-building and trusted programming.  NACCE only aligns itself with organizations that share its commitment to teaching ethical entrepreneurship, and in April 2010 it approached DSEF with a proposal to create a direct selling curriculum.

“NACCE was hearing from its members—instructors of entrepreneurship—that direct sellers were coming to them asking for entrepreneurship classes,” says DSEF Program Director Robin Diamond. “And NACCE said ‘We really don’t have the right thing for them. We feel like there is an opportunity here.’ So the request bubbled up from the market; there was a groundswell because the economy had changed.  People needed options and opportunities.”

Robin assembled a talented group of individuals—including staff, industry executives, curriculum experts and volunteers—to take the program from an idea, through a successful pilot phase and finally to the upcoming nationwide rollout.

NACCE couldn’t be more pleased with the pilot results and the potential for future success. “I was thrilled with the outcome,” says Ron Thomas, NACCE Board Chair and President of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn. (a pilot site for the curriculum). “I think we hit a homerun with this one. It was pretty clear when you look at a $30 billion-dollar industry, with nearly 16 million people involved in direct selling, that there was a niche. If we could help remove barriers to help make direct sellers more profitable and stay in the business longer, then we would be helping not only them but the organization and, more importantly, the entire U.S. economy. We are glad to be part of this.”

Lisa was so intent on being part of the pilot phase that she drove an hour to and from her home in Syracuse to Auburn, New York, each week to take the classes. And it paid off. “The program truly gave me confidence to be in direct sales,” she says. “It taught me time management. I was running my business 24 hours a day before, and the class taught me how to set office hours, and really helped me increase my productivity with my family, with my team, with everything.”

One of the major components of the program is its focus on ethics. For Lisa, learning how direct sellers uphold the Direct Selling Association’s Code of Ethics was a big part of her learning experience. “I had no idea what ethics even was before I took the class,” she says. “I was able to teach my team—which was only two people at the time—that direct selling could be a really positive experience if you followed the ethics rules.”

An added benefit of the program for Lisa was the relationships she built with her fellow direct sellers. “Networking wasn’t part of the curriculum, but I had the opportunity to meet other direct salespeople. We started our own Facebook group and we held each other accountable to everything we had learned in the class—and everyone has become very successful with their business since the class.”

Robin, who on behalf of the Foundation has long worked with the academic, small business and entrepreneurship communities, says the curriculum helps participants engage their inner entrepreneur. “That is a state of mind—being entrepreneurial in your work, in your life, thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur, as an innovator—that is what we are doing here. We’re helping direct sellers think of themselves as entrepreneurs and succeed at their businesses.”

Ron says whether you’re a direct seller or a small business owner, you still need the same skills. “You are going to need to know how to market, you are going to need to know how to manage your books and you’re going to need to know how to communicate with people,” he says. “So all of those learning modules are part of this program, as well as they should be for any kind of business startup.”

For Robin, the entire experience of creating the curriculum is a victory for the direct selling industry, the Foundation and the community college community. “It’s a win for community colleges to have an entrepreneurship course to offer to a new audience—direct sellers; it’s a win for the direct selling companies, their salesforces and their customers; and it’s certainly a win for DSEF—producing an entrepreneurial curriculum is a perfect example of the Foundation’s ongoing work to champion the ethical business practices not only to help direct sellers realize success, but also to develop a wider understanding of the industry among business leaders and educators.”

On the Road to Success: A Resource for You

On the Road to Success: A Resource for You

Starting a direct selling or small business is a lot like driving a car. You are in complete control of where you are headed and how fast—or slow—you get to your destination.

But on those days when the road gets a little bumpy and unfamiliar, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a road map to help navigate through those roadblocks that can cause your business to stall?

Well, guess what? There is.

DSEF has added another tool to its rich archive of resources to help small business owners implement innovative ideas to take their businesses to the next level: the Business Owner’s Road Map to Success, a free, downloadable ebook.

The Foundation continuously provides informative and helpful content on its blog that offers direct sellers insight on a variety of topics, from finance and ethics to sales and personal development. Those blog posts form the basis of the 53-page ebook.

“The DSEF blog posts collected in the Business Owner’s Roadmap to Success reflect the Foundation’s commitment to championing ethical entrepreneurship and standing up for consumers on behalf of the direct selling industry,” says Nancy Laichas, DSEF Director of Marketing & Communications. “This free e-book gives direct sellers—and any small business owner—actionable techniques to increase their confidence, reach their goals, deliver outstanding customer service and operate with the highest of ethics.”

Jennifer Fong, the Founder of Jen Fong Media LLC, worked with her team to create the ebook, which was made available in May through DSEF’s Facebook page.

“We looked at all of the great content that DSEF had been putting out, because there is so much that business owners can use to build their businesses,” says Fong, whose company manages DSEF’s social media presence. “We wanted to put it together in a package that would make it easy to take to the field.”

The Foundation’s goal was to help entrepreneurs, including direct sellers, learn the skills necessary to become successful small business owners, and provide seasoned veterans with techniques and ideas to help them grow their businesses. The ebook offers success tips for everything a small business owner needs to master—from business planning and ethical selling to creating a success mindset. Sections include:

  • Do What You Love
  • Business Planning
  • Targeting and Identifying Your Customers
  • Finding Prospects and Customers
  • Ethical Selling and Marketing Yourself
  • Generating Leads
  • Leading a Team
  • Success Mindset

“The response has been tremendous,” Fong says. “We’ve had a ton of people download it and people call us to tell us they love it.”

Leigh Bordelon, Field Training Specialist at Shaklee Corporation, is one of those people who found the ebook extremely helpful. Bordelon, who teaches Shaklee Independent Distributors how to market their businesses online and use back-office tools, incorporated the ebook into her training.

“I found it easy to understand and easy to implement,” says Bordelon. “My audience is, for the most part, new to any form of technology, even the computer itself. So they can use this book to take specific steps to build their businesses and reputations online.”

Coletta Haskin, a long-time Shaklee distributor, says the ebook helped her improve her leadership skills.

“I learned that, in spite of my mothering spirit (wanting to help them rather than letting them go), I may be holding them back,” says Haskin. “The ‘Leading a Team’ section reinforced what I needed to do years ago, which was to delegate the task so their reliance is not totally on me. Yes, be there for them, help them, show them, and say now it’s your turn.”

Learning to challenge her team was another tip Haskin picked up from the ebook. “I have challenged them to think outside of the box with Bold Goals and Dreams,” she says. “They might have been fearful in sharing them, but each member was made accountable for what they really wanted. When the team member accomplished their goal, the whole team would get excited.”

Haskin also liked that she could show her distributors that they don’t have to run a blog themselves, but could partner with several bloggers and write a single article every so often to drive traffic to their retail sites. “That takes a lot of pressure off of a distributor so they can continue to focus on their core income-producing activities,” she says.

“I learned for myself so many easy ideas to help distributors find even one marketing idea that ‘fits’ for them. This ebook will build confidence in our distributors because you’ve made it so easy to understand and follow,” Haskin says.

If you feel like you are spinning your wheels in regard to generating new ideas for your business, download the Business Owner’s Road Map to Success ebook today.

DSEF Welcomes John Parker, New Chairman of the Board

DSEF Welcomes John Parker, New Chairman of the Board

John Parker is used to being in situations that are a little scary and uncomfortable, whether it is surfing the world’s oceans or spending several years overseas in a completely different culture.

What he likes about those situations are the challenges posed—the process of getting through them, to him, is the ultimate reward.

This month, Parker, Vice President and Chief Sales Officer for Amway, will take on another challenge as the new Chair of the DSEF Board of Directors: to guide the Foundation as it works with its many partners to execute programs that promote ethical entrepreneurship and champion consumers rights on behalf of the industry.

“The DSEF does so much in terms of bringing credibility and understanding about our industry to key influencers,” says Parker, who is also a member of the Direct Selling Association Board of Directors. “By building those relationships with individuals and establishing partnerships with some really respected organizations, it creates an environment in which we can have others tell our story in a compelling way and speak for us in times of crisis. I think there is just a lot of power to that.”

Parker assumes his new position with a focus on a few key initiatives, such as the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program, a new community college curriculum developed in partnership with NACCE (National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship), and the CBBB  (Council of Better Business Bureau) program, which helps DSEF spread the message of the direct selling industry’s commitment to ethics and trust in the marketplace.

Parker would also like to expand the global relevance of DSEF, which already successfully supports consumer welfare globally through such programs as APEC /CEPI (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Consumer Education and Protection Initiative). From his extensive international experience, Parker knows that international markets could benefit from a variety of DSEF programs.

Charlie Orr, Executive Director of DSEF, thinks Parker’s knowledge and experience will be a great asset to the Foundation and its Board. “He brings both a domestic and global perspective,” says Orr.  “And he knows and respects the distributor mindset as well as anybody in our industry.”

Parker’s knowledge of the distributor mindset comes from nearly two decades of working with Amway distributors around the world.  Parker joined the company in 1993 as a Distributor Relations Sales Manager and assumed several management roles within the company over the years, including Chief Marketing Officer.

In 2007 he was named President of Amway Japan, where he led all operations for one of Amway’s largest affiliates. “It was a fantastic experience, both personally and professionally,” says Parker. “It was an opportunity to experience a very different culture. I think my children will forever see the world differently. Certainly I will forever see the world differently.”

Parker’s time in Japan provided him with a new global perspective of the industry. “It was interesting to see the challenges the direct selling industry is going through in Japan. Some markets are a little more organized than others, but as a whole the industry has very similar issues around the world,” he says. “I had a better understanding of that within the context of Japan, and now that I’m back here, we’ll be able to support our business and the industry as we try to improve the environment for direct selling in Japan.”

Living in a foreign country was similar to his time spent at the University of Notre Dame, where Parker was a member of the varsity golf team and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “The two experiences are not all that different,” he says. “Being an expat in another country—typically folks are there four or five years—you are thrown into a strange environment with other people going through the same thing at the same time, which is kind of like college. You build these deep relationships quickly and build on the friendships, just like you do in college.”

And just as he sees similarities in those two experiences, Parker also sees a connection between sports—he is an avid surfer and golfer— and the direct selling industry.

“We think about our industry as individual distributors doing their thing—and they are—but it’s also a community, a team environment,” Parker says. “If direct selling were a sport it would be a team sport. because the encouragement, the community and the social dynamic of direct selling make it more than just people selling products and getting compensated for it.

“The relationships are probably the things that make the industry so special,” Parker continues. “And I think that’s true in sports as well. You have a feeling about your friends and your teammates that you carry with you your whole life. I think our industry is very much the same way. We are out building businesses but we are also out building friendships. I think that is a pretty great part of the industry and a pretty special part of life.”

Parker’s new team at DSEF will include two new members to the Board: Orville Thompson, CEO of Scentsy, who will also serve on DSEF’s Executive Committee, and John Wadsworth, President of Morinda Bioactives.

“As we welcome our new Board members, I am looking forward to having their perspective and guidance as we continue to grow our existing signature programs and pursue several new exciting strategic opportunities,” says Orr.

Orr also acknowledged outgoing Board members Heather Chastain (Celebrating Home), Al DiLeonardo (CUTCO/Vector Marketing), Sandy Spielmaker (Amway) and Jim Stitt (CUTCO/Vector Marketing) for their contributions. “I thank them for their service and their support over these last several years,” he says.

DSEF by the Numbers

DSEF by the Numbers

The Direct Selling Education Foundation has a tremendous impact on the way people view the direct selling industry. Since it was founded in 1973, the Foundation has been building strategic partnerships to create educational programs that serve the public, champion ethical entrepreneurship and protect and support consumers.

“It is through our partnerships that DSEF continuously preserves and improves the market climate of trust, which helps direct sellers prosper and thrive,” says Charlie Orr, DSEF Executive Director.

Here is a look at some of DSEF’s accomplishments over its 39-year history:

Executive Spotlight: Heather Chastain, the President of Celebrating HOME

Executive Spotlight: Heather Chastain, the President of Celebrating HOME

From the DSEF: We’re excited to continue our blog series featuring top executives in DSEF-supporter direct selling companies today! Every few weeks we’ll introduce you to another top executive, and they’ll share their thoughts on Direct Sales, Ethics, Social Good, and why they support the DSEF. 

Today we’re thrilled to continue this series with Heather Chastain, the President of Celebrating HOME. We’re thrilled to have Heather share her thoughts with you today. Enjoy!

Executive Spotlight: Heather Chastain, Celebrating HOME

Heather Chastain

What is the name of your company, and how did you become involved with the company? 

The name of my company is Celebrating HOME.  Celebrating HOME was formed 4 years ago through the combination of Home & Garden Party and Home Interiors.  I served as President of both Home Interiors and Home & Garden Party and the opportunity to combine the best of both and relaunch  under a new brand was extraordinary.

What did you do before you got involved with the company?

I have been involved in direct selling for the past 17 years serving at BeautiControl (a subsidiary of Tupperware) before moving to Home Interiors in 2006. My background includes experience in several disciplines including manufacturing, operations as well as marketing and field sales management.

What do you love about your company?

I love that Celebrating HOME believes in supporting the total person. We recognize that men and women are many things – they are parents, friends, neighbors, members of their community as well as direct selling professionals. We are committed to helping people become stronger individuals – regardless of their background, education or income level.

What makes your salesforce amazing?

Our salesforce is truly remarkable. Their resilience during such massive change has been very impressive to see. They have passion for what they do and, most importantly, a heart for everyone. They are real people, many from humble backgrounds and they are living first-hand the transformative impact that this industry can have on an individual life.

Ethics is an integral part of DSA membership. How do you ensure your company maintains the highest level of ethics?

Our company has a strong foundation in Christian values and we promote honesty and integrity in all that we do. This makes it fairly easy for us to ensure that all our representatives keep a standard that DSA can be proud of. Of course, we talk a lot about it, too. We make sure that we remind all our leaders at every opportunity that this adherence to a high ethical standard is what sets us apart from so many other organizations out there.  We link to the DSA code on our website and make sure that our field promotes that to their prospects as well as customers.

Social good is another essential element of direct sales. What kind of social good campaigns does your company participate in or run?

Our company launched the Celebrating Hope foundation last year.  This was a way to focus our long history of giving under a common umbrella.  While our field has raised significant money for charities like Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society, Make A Wish, Wounded Warrior and Living Water Foundation over the years, they are all linked by the common element of helping bring families together.

Your company has been a Direct Selling Education Foundation supporter. Why do you think the DSEF is important?

The DSEF is a critical element for DSA member organizations. They are on the front lines, building trust in the marketplace and enhancing the industry’s reputation for all of us. The real question is why would a DSA member company NOT support the work that the DSEF does? They are committed to educating government officials, consumers and prospects alike about all the good things that Direct Selling brings to so many people across the nation.

Thank you, Heather, for sharing your thoughts with us. We are grateful for the support of companies like Celebrating HOME, that help us to spread the message of ethics, entrepreneurship and integrity around the world. We appreciate you!

 

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