All posts by TheDSEF

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.

 

 

 

DSEF to Host Multi-Industry Panel on Self-Regulation

DSEF to Host Multi-Industry Panel on Self-Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

DSEF Creates Consumer Toolkit for National Consumer Protection Week

DSEF Creates Consumer Toolkit for National Consumer Protection Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Note from Gary

A Note from Gary

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Gary M. Huggins
Executive Director, DSEF

 

 

Helping Women Business Owners Achieve Financial Fitness

Helping Women Business Owners Achieve Financial Fitness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Friday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Friday!

It’s National Consumer Protection Week! Direct Selling Association member companies of the direct selling industry have long been consumer protection supporters, which is why we’re excited to promote this important event each year. You can learn more about avoiding fraud and scams in the marketplace on our National Consumer Protection Week 2015 page here. And tell your friends on social media, too, by using the hashtag #NCPW2015.

To help you learn a bit more about how the direct selling industry protects consumers and consultants, we’re having a contest! Visit our site each day this week to enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card! We’re giving one away each day this week, Monday – Friday, March 2-6, 2015.

To enter, answer the question below. We’ll choose one correct answer at random to win. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Carrie, our winner for Friday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Thursday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Thursday!

It’s National Consumer Protection Week! Direct Selling Association member companies of the direct selling industry have long been consumer protection supporters, which is why we’re excited to promote this important event each year. You can learn more about avoiding fraud and scams in the marketplace on our National Consumer Protection Week 2015 page here. And tell your friends on social media, too, by using the hashtag #NCPW2015.

To help you learn a bit more about how the direct selling industry protects consumers and consultants, we’re having a contest! Visit our site each day this week to enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card! We’re giving one away each day this week, Monday – Friday, March 2-6, 2015.

To enter, answer the question below. We’ll choose one correct answer at random to win. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Tracy Wolski, our winner for Thursday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Wednesday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Wednesday!

It’s National Consumer Protection Week! Direct Selling Association member companies of the direct selling industry have long been consumer protection supporters, which is why we’re excited to promote this important event each year. You can learn more about avoiding fraud and scams in the marketplace on our National Consumer Protection Week 2015 page here. And tell your friends on social media, too, by using the hashtag #NCPW2015.

To help you learn a bit more about how the direct selling industry protects consumers and consultants, we’re having a contest! Visit our site each day this week to enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card! We’re giving one away each day this week, Monday – Friday, March 2-6, 2015.

To enter, answer the question below. We’ll choose one correct answer at random to win. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Wednesday’s winner, Carmen M. Garrett!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Tuesday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Tuesday!

It’s National Consumer Protection Week! Direct Selling Association member companies of the direct selling industry have long been consumer protection supporters, which is why we’re excited to promote this important event each year. You can learn more about avoiding fraud and scams in the marketplace on our National Consumer Protection Week 2015 page here. And tell your friends on social media, too, by using the hashtag #NCPW2015.

To help you learn a bit more about how the direct selling industry protects consumers and consultants, we’re having a contest! Visit our site each day this week to enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card! We’re giving one away each day this week, Monday – Friday, March 2-6, 2015.

To enter, answer the question below. We’ll choose one correct answer at random to win. Good luck!

UPDATE : Congratulations to Tuesday’s winner, Jessyca Hovendick!