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Direct Selling Education Foundation Awards 2020 Doctoral Sales Grants

WASHINGTON, DC—May 15, 2019—The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) is pleased to announce its 2020 Sales Doctoral Student Grant Program recipients. Molly Ahearne from the University of Georgia and Scott Hachey from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa were each awarded grants that will help Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited doctoral granting institutions build, recruit and retain the next generation of aspiring sales-focused faculty and scholars. Molly is working with Dr. John Hulland and Scott is working with Dr. Nathan Hartmann.

“All of us at DSEF congratulate Molly and Scott,” DSEF Executive Director Gary Huggins said. “We recognize the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on sales programs across the country and the disruption on education broadly. We are pleased to award doctoral sales grants for a second year running.”

Dr. Fernando Jaramillo, (Chair, Marketing Department, Professor and Associate Dean for Students and Programs, University of Texas at Arlington) and Dr. Greg W. Marshall, (Charles Harwood Professor of Marketing and Strategy, Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College) administered the grant program, along with Huggins and DSEF Senior Director of Academic Initiatives, Kimberly Harris Bliton.

“Now more than ever, funding for innovative new research on best practices for direct selling is of the utmost importance,” said Marshall. “The DSEF Sales Grant program recognizes and rewards the best of the best of next generation sales scholars whose work can positively impact direct selling practices well into the future.”

The grant recipients were selected from a pool of applicants who submitted proposals relevant to the direct selling channel, DSEF and Direct Selling Association (DSA) member companies. Over a four-year period, the recipients will receive $4,000 to develop and execute a research project focusing on a topic of relevance for DSEF and DSA member companies.

DSEF’s 2019 Doctoral Sales Grant recipients Carissa Harris, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Jen Riley, Kennesaw State University, will receive grant disbursements from 2020 through 2022.

ABOUT DSEF

For more than 40 years, DSEF has partnered with members of the academic community to support research and education programs. These programs expand the knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of direct selling. The Foundation works with 240 professors in a variety of disciplines—including sales, marketing, management, economics, ethics and entrepreneurship—to develop direct selling-related academic research, case studies and teaching content. In 2018, retail sales from direct selling were more than $34 billion annually and currently there are 6.2 million direct sellers building full-time or part-time businesses in the United States.

 

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DSEF Awards Best Papers at USASBE Annual Conference

DSEF Awards Best Papers at USASBE Annual Conference

DSEF, in partnership with the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), held a Best Paper competition at the USASBE Annual Conference, January 3-7.

DSEF funds research and case studies to advance understanding of the direct selling channel. Eight out of the 12 authors of these winning papers are DSEF Fellows.

Social Entrepreneurship & the Direct Sales Channel: Trades of Hope
Dr. Christine Mollenkopf-Pigsley

Predictive Models of Independent Salesforce Performance: The Case of Direct Selling Micro-Entrepreneurs
Dr. Caroline Glackin and Dr. Murat Adivar

Direct Selling as a Path to Business Ownership: Molly’s Mary Kay Journey
Dr. Sara Cochran

Empowering Minorities and Women Direct Sellers through Integrated Digital Marketing Strategies: An Intersectionality Perspective
Dr. Doreen Chung, Dr. Kyuree Kim, Dr. Angie Lee, Dr. Jessica Hurst, Dr. Linda Niehm, Dr. Ann Marie Fiore, Dr. Malvika Rajagopal and Dr. Rebecca Tang

DSEF Fellows received prominent recognition and visibility throughout the meeting. All of the winning papers were selected for presentation at the conference. Congratulations to all!

DSEF Case Study: Connie Tang and Princess House

DSEF Case Study: Connie Tang and Princess House

 

The newest addition to DSEF’s Case Study Series features Princess House President and CEO Connie Tang and was written by DSEF Fellow, Kathy Korman Frey, Entrepreneur in Residence at the George Washington University School of Business.

Connie Tang: Leading Fearlessly Through Crisis, Change & Growth touches on a wealth of topics that DSEF’s 227 Fellows can share with students, including crisis management, community, the direct selling business model, the Hispanic market, leadership, childhood and adult influences and mentors, work/life balance, entrepreneurship and the fine line between “nice girl” and passive observer.

In addition to serving a terrific teaching tool for the classroom, Kathy says the case is a rich resource for direct selling executives as well. “Some of the business insights in the Connie case for DSA executives are, first of all, crisis management,” she says. “This case starts with Hurricane Harvey. What do you do, who do you call, what messages do you want to convey?

“Number two, we’re talking about brand revitalization,” Kathy continues. “How is this done? It’s tricky business, and Connie really walks us through how to do it in the case and the supplemental materials.”

Kathy says number three is a little bit different. “It’s an opportunity to use a case like this to connect with your team. Coaching, mentoring and role modeling are things that our teams want from us these days, and this opens the door to that type of discussion. Whether it’s a big group or a small group, they can read the case and volunteer something right away.”

Coming in Winter 2020 are several videos that will complement the written case, featuring Connie describing how Princess House’s brand continued to evolve. For more information about our Case Series, contact Nancy Laichas.

DSEF Welcomes Its Newest Fellows

DSEF launched the Fellows Program to support educational and research efforts to foster a deeper understanding of the direct selling channel and its impact. We now have more than 180 Fellows around the world from a wide range of disciplines – management, marketing, economics, entrepreneurship, sales, consumer studies – and provide them a rich offering of benefits and opportunities.

DSEF warmly welcomes our newest Fellows:

Mr. Darrin Duber Smith
Senior Lecturer
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Dr. Channelle James
Lecturer
University of North Carolina Greensboro

Dr. Thuy Nguyen
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Midwestern State University

Dr. Vicki Eveland
Associate Professor
Seattle Pacific University

Dr. Natalie Wood
Associate Dean and Professor of Marketing
Saint Joseph’s University

Dr. Caroline Munoz
Associate Professor of Marketing
Mike Cottrell College of Business

Dr. Eileen Fischer
Professor of Marketing
York University

Dr. Tiffany Reynolds
Lecturer
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Dr. Nadia Pomirleanu
Associate Professor of Marketing
University of Nevada at Las Vegas

Dr. Anjala Krishen
Professor
University of Nevada at Las Vegas

Dr. Charles Wood
Associate Professor of Marketing
University of Tulsa

Dr. Gary Futrell
Associate Professor of Marketing
Valdosta State University

Dr. Terrence Brown
Head of Divison, Associate Professor
The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Mr. Les Charm
Senior Lecturer
Babson College

Mr. Jon Duchac
Professor of Accounting
Wake Forest University

Dr. Vivek Natarajan
Associate Professor of Marketing and Management
Lamar University

Dr. Suzanne Altobello
Associate Professor of Marketing
Fayetteville State University

Dr. Jim Blair
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Eastern Kentucky University

Dr. Colin Campbell
Assisant Professor of Marketing
University of San Diego

Mr. John Chapman
Adjunct Professor
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Dr. Ginger Killian
Associate Dean
University of Central Missouri

Dr. Sheela Pandey
Assistant Professor of Management
Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg

Dr. Keith Ferguson
Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Florida State University

Dr. Shelley Davis
Assistant Professor of Management
Troy University

Dr. Daniel “Danny” Butler
Thomas Walter Professor of Marketing
Auburn University

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Ingene
Siegfried Professor of Marketing
University of Oklahoma

Dr. Lei “Lilly” Ye
Associate Professor of Marketing
Frostburg University

Dr. Edward Nowlin
Associate Professor of Marketing
Kansas State University

Ms. Carissa Harris
Ph.D. Student
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Joy Robbins
Associate Professor in Apparel Marketing
Kansas State University

Mr. Jen Riley
Visiting Professor
Alabama A&M University

Dr. Naz Onel
Assistant Professor of Business Studies, Marketing
Stockton University

Dr. Kelly Weidner
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Saint Mary’s College of California

The Future of Commerce: How Direct Selling Fits

The Future of Commerce: How Direct Selling Fits

At the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in June, newly-inducted Circle of Honor award recipients, Drs. Greg Marshall, Linda Ferrell, and Vicky Crittenden, shared the main stage for a dialogue on how direct selling can shape the future of the marketplace.

“The panel discussion was a meaningful way to provide insights in the way business is changing and the way work is changing,” Linda says. “It also addressed some generational challenges that are being faced within the workplace.”

Vicky told the audience that customer satisfaction is key. “We have to keep customers engaged to deepen the relationship with the company since engaged customers are our advocates in the marketplace,” she say. “Part and parcel in that engagement is personalization. When each and every current customer feels a personal connection to our company, our costs will decline and our profits will be boosted.”

Moderating the panel of experts was DSEF Chair and President & CEO of Team National, Angela Loehr Chrysler. “It was a pleasure to moderate an interesting discussion on the future of direct selling,” Angela says. “The panelists shared insightful information from their research about the viability of direct sales today and in the future.”

Seventeen Fellows Share Expertise at Direct Selling Conference

Industry Awards Judges
For the past three years, DSEF in partnership with our sister organization, the Direct Selling Association, has invited Fellows to serve as judges for DSA’s Industry Awards. Each year at the Annual Meeting Gala, DSA recognizes those companies that empower independent direct sellers, fuel business processes or make the world a better place.

By serving as a DSA Awards Judge, Fellows have the opportunity to:

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of direct selling companies, their innovations and best practices
  • Discover business insights that can be applied to the study of business through case studies, classroom content or research

We would like to thank the following Fellows, who served in this capacity:

Dr. Ricky Fergurson
Dr. Paige Beal
Dr. Steven Cohen

Fellows Workshop
Our annual Fellows Workshop is designed to share knowledge of how to get started as a Fellow, whether your interests are in research, teaching, case writing or hosting a guest speaker or campus event. Special thanks to Dr. Robert Peterson, who hosted us at The University of Texas at Austin and moderated the workshop.

Nine Fellows shared their experiences in working with DSEF corporate partners to create teaching content, share real-world examples of business throughout their departments and produce publishable research.

Dr. Adam Mills
Dr. Debra Zahay-Blatz
Drs. Linda and OC Ferrell
Dr. Caroline Glackin
Dr. Vicky Crittenden
Dr. Anne Coughlan
Dr. Sandy Jap
Dr. Sara Cochran
Dr. Wendy Ritz

CEO Roundtable
Dr. Stefanie Boyer, an expert in design thinking, led a group of CEOs in a group exercise to bring creativity to strategic thinking for the problem-solvers of the direct selling industry. “What I found most encouraging was the openness of the CEOs to learn and try something new,” Stefanie said. “This gave me so much hope and confidence to know that everyone in that room is going in the right direction.”

Special thanks to Drs. Adam Mills, Mark Groza and Eric Liguori who facilitated table discussions and ideation.

Academic Insights You Can Use to Grow Your Business
DSEF Fellows Drs. Victoria Crittenden, Caroline Glackin, and Sandy Jap presented their latest direct selling research insights during a panel discussion.

During the panel discussion, Vicky described how her research and book on women’s entrepreneurship help mainstream direct selling by demonstrating the power of the channel and its ability to empower women personally and professionally. Sandy discussed the synergistic effect of increasing in the number of routes to market – home parties, digital parties, online sales, websites and other channels – and their impact on the economic welfare and performance of sales consultant representatives.

“For me, the immediate positive response from key channel leaders, and their offers to collaborate were fantastic and will allow a deeper and more robust understanding of my topic,” said Caroline, who shared findings from her research on Hispanic acculturation of the direct selling salesforce.

The Future of Commerce: How Direct Selling Fits
Newly-inducted Circle of Honor award recipients, Drs. Greg Marshall, Linda Ferrell, and Vicky Crittenden, shared the main stage for a dialogue on the future of the commerce and how companies can prepare and adapt. The panel discussion provided insights on the way business and the workforce are changing, including trends in e-commerce, personalizing the customer experience and how to attract new salespeople in the gig economy.

Third Party Experts Panel
Today’s consumers do not want to be sold to: they want to be engaged, educated and even entertained.
In a workshop on how third-party voices can enhance trust and transparency among consumers, Dr. Greg Marshall, stepping in for Dr. Anne Coughlan, joined Todd Eliason, Publisher and Editor in Chief, Direct Selling News; John Kloosterman, Manager, Amway Brand, Amway; and Mark Stastny, Chief Marketing Officer, Scentsy; to discuss how companies can maximize the range of third-party voices to demonstrate that they are credible, respected, popular and worthy of consumers’ business.

“For my part, I shared specific strategies on how direct sellers can benefit from the credibility of members of the academic community who are doing research on the field, and especially from those of us who are DSEF Fellows,” says Greg.

How to Engage with Third Parties

How to Engage with Third Parties

Today’s consumers do not want to be sold to: they want to be engaged, educated and even entertained.

In a workshop on how third-party voices can enhance trust and transparency among consumers, Dr. Greg Marshall joined Todd Eliason, Publisher and Editor in Chief, Direct Selling News; John Kloosterman, Manager, Amway Brand, Amway; and Mark Stastny, Chief Marketing Officer, Scentsy; to discuss how companies can maximize the range of third-party voices to demonstrate that they are credible, respected, popular and worthy of consumers’ business.

“The panel session at the DSA Annual Meeting on ‘How to Engage with Third Parties’ afforded a very unique opportunity for attendees to hear different approaches to making the most of external-to-industry endorsers,” Greg says. “For my part, I shared specific strategies on how direct sellers can benefit from the credibility of members of the academic community who are doing research on the field, and especially from those of us who are DSEF Fellows. The DSEF Fellows program boasts over 200 academics from across business fields such as entrepreneurship, ethics, management, marketing, sales and others and aims to foster productive partnerships between the academic community and DSA member firms.”

Academic Insights You Can Use to Grow Your Business

Academic Insights You Can Use to Grow Your Business

At the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in June, DSEF Fellows Drs. Victoria Crittenden (Babson College), Caroline Glackin (Fayettesville University), and Sandy Jap (Emory University) presented their latest direct selling insights during a panel discussion led by former DSEF Board Member, Kerry Tassopoulos, Of Counsel—Government Affairs, Sunwest Communication.

“DSA Members learned about the leading edge of research into direct selling and how it can be applied to their businesses,” says Caroline, who shared findings from her research on Hispanic acculturation. “They were given plenty of food for thought. For me, the immediate positive response from key channel leaders, and their offers to collaborate were fantastic and will allow a deeper and more robust understanding of my topic.”

During the panel discussion, Vicky described how her research on women and entrepreneurship helps mainstream direct selling by demonstrating the power of the channel and its ability to empower women personally and professionally. She also highlighted her upcoming monograph, Go-to-Market Strategies for Women, which includes two chapters on direct selling.

Sandy discussed new research on the effectiveness—or lack of effectiveness—of home parties, digital parties, online sales, websites and other channels. She described how top sellers create personas on blogs and social media and, in that space, are not “selling” at all, but creating curiosity to drive people to ask more about the companies they represent.

Using Design Thinking in Decision Making

Using Design Thinking in Decision Making

Dr. Stefanie Boyer, Professor of Marketing at Bryant University, and an expert in design thinking, led a group of CEOs in an exercise to bring creativity to strategic thinking for the problem-solvers of the direct selling industry at the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in June.

“What I found most encouraging was the openness of the CEOs to learn and try something new,” Stefanie says. “This gave me so much hope and confidence to know that everyone in that room is going in the right direction.”

The event brought together dozens of industry leaders engaging with one another in a judgment-free brainstorming session designed to promote innovative and flexible thinking in a rapidly-evolving business environment.

“We worked on breaking through ‘controls’ in thinking to co-create interesting ideas to real business challenges of today,” says Connie Tang, President and CEO, Princess House. “Plus, it was fun getting to know one another on a different level.”

Three DSEF Fellows served as table facilitators during the session: Drs. Eric Liguori, Rowan University; Adam Mills, Loyola University, New Orleans; and Mark Groza, Northern Illinois University.