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Entrepreneurs in Action Walkathon: Going the Extra Mile for At-Risk Kids

Entrepreneurs in Action Walkathon: Going the Extra Mile for At-Risk Kids

It’s a disheartening statistic: every 29 seconds, one student drops out of the U.S. educational system. Over the course of a year, that equates to 1.2 million young Americans who never graduate—the majority of whom would have continued their studies had the curriculum proved more relevant to their lives.

Sometimes what young people need is a little inspiration and mentoring to show them just how relevant education really is to their future. And that’s where the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) comes in.

Founded in New York in 1987, NFTE currently has 11 affiliate offices throughout the United States that provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to graduate from high school and to learn the necessary skills for creating their own business plans—in essence, helping to shape them into the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

On Sunday, June 3, the DSEF will kick off the Entrepreneurs in Action Walkathon to benefit the Greater Dallas Chapter of NFTE. The three-day event will be held at the Gaylord Texan during the DSA Annual Meeting. DSA members will have the opportunity to support NFTE’s goal of helping at-risk youth find their pathways to a brighter future, and meet some special young people who participate in the organization’s programs.

The walkathon is a first for DSEF, which in the past has hosted a toy drive and organized a beach cleanup as part of its annual charitable efforts. Kate Gardner, Chair of the DSEF Community Partner Program task force and Executive Director of the SUCCESS Foundation, says the walkathon not only allowed DSEF to infuse the entire three days of the DSA Annual Meeting with the message of community partnership, but it also tied in well with its theme: Inspiring Entrepreneurs.

“NFTE inspires kids to complete their education and to go forward, or consider starting, their own businesses,” says Gardner. “The organization is all about teaching the principles and spirit of entrepreneurship. It is a natural tie-in to what the DSA represents.”

Laura Maczka, Executive Director, NFTE Greater Dallas, agrees. “There is a natural connection between what we are trying to encourage our children to do and what the folks in the direct selling business do,” she says. “Our goal is to have disadvantaged youth feel like they can positively affect their future—that they have some control, and through their own businesses change their circumstances.”

Aside from the financial support NFTE will receive from the walkathon, Maczka is just as excited about opportunity for her students to meet members of the DSA. “We are always looking for role models and mentors,” she states. “The people we have met through direct selling have amazing stories that are inspiring to our children. The opportunity for our students to see successful people, hear their stories and hear that they genuinely care about next generation of entrepreneurs is amazing, especially since our students could aspire to be members of the DSA someday.”

DSEF’s support of NFTE is appreciated by top business leaders such as Jim Stitt, President and CEO of CUTCO, who has long recognized the importance of teaching the concept of entrepreneurship to youth. CUTCO is a business that is predominantly college student-oriented, with its focus on young students who can aspire to be entrepreneurs of the future.

“CUTCO has been a longtime supporter of DSEF,” says Stitt. “We think these events are great because they showcase what DSEF does for the industry, and it is a great way for colleagues to get together, learn more about DSEF while working together as well as raise awareness for DSEF.”

The Entrepreneurs in Action Walkathon is sponsored by Herbalife, ALHI, The Pampered Chef, VideoPlus, USANA, CUTCO, 4Life, The Hartford, John A. Parks Co., Inc., Team National, Beachbody, Vantel Pearls and WineShop At Home.

Prizes will be awarded in three categories: Most Miles Walked, Daily Challenges and Most Pledges Collected. The grand prize is a 2-night stay at the Aria in Las Vegas with spa certificates for two. The first place winner will receive a 2-night stay at the Peabody Orlando, and the second place winner will enjoy a 1-night stay at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs with golf for two.


Entrepreneurs in Action Walkathon Kick-Off Networking Event

Sunday, June 3—8 a.m. to Noon
Registration Fee: $100 (Tax Deductible)

Don’t miss this opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of our host city’s youth!

Sign up when you register for the Annual Meeting. If you’ve already registered, click here to edit your registration to include the event

For more information, please contact Tamara Ingram.

Can’t Make the Kick-Off Event? You Can Still Participate!

  1. Collect your pedometer at DSA’s Registration Desk after 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 3.
  2. Start walking!
  3. GO THE EXTRA MILE! (Optional) Before the Annual Meeting, ask your colleagues to support you by pledging any dollar amount for every mile you walk. Click here to download the Pledge Form.

Scam Alert: How to Safeguard Your Business

Scam Alert: How to Safeguard Your Business

Small business owners are constantly besieged by tasks that pull them away from the major day-to-day duties inherent in running a successful business. Those tasks can include:

Task 1: Upgrading contact information to directory services

Task 2: Paying miscellaneous invoices

Task 3: Reimbursing customers for overpayments

Task 4: Updating software and passwords

Task 5: Responding to award notifications

Task 6: Checking email

Those seemingly mundane tasks can disrupt the flow of business, and are most often not given the focus they deserve.

And that’s just what scam artists are banking on.

To help small business owners—especially direct sellers—recognize the most common scams and safeguard themselves against fraud, the DSEF has joined forces with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to create timely and valuable resources that DSA member companies can share with their salesforces, employees and family members.

“For the small business leader to succeed in our current economic climate, they need up-to-date and relevant resources and tools that will enable them to manage their time, finances and business wisely,” said Bettie L. Smith, Senior Program Director for DSEF. “Through our partnership with CUNA, we are developing an abundance of free financial education resources that individuals can access 24/7 in their home via the Web.”

Those resources include an informative video that identifies the six most common scams experienced by small businesses:

Directory Scheme: The free directory update is not so free after all. You’re billed for listings, services or ads you did not agree to. (Task 1)

Supply Scheme: The miscellaneous invoice you received is for office supplies you never ordered. (Task 2)

Overpayment Scheme:  The customer requesting reimbursement used a fraudulent credit card or check. (Task 3)

Data Breach Scheme: The antivirus software you never installed and passwords you never updated allowed your sensitive business data to be breached. (Task 4)

Award Scheme: The industry award you just paid hundreds of dollars for does not exist. (Task 5)

Phishing Scheme: The email link you clicked on just allowed hackers into your computer system. (Task 6)

Professor Brenda Cude, Director of the University of Georgia Center on Economic Education, says the key to safeguarding your business these days is to stay focused on all aspects of your business operations.

“First and foremost we just all need to be aware and stop and think about what we’re doing,” says Cude, who is a DSEF board member and serves as the Consumer Committee Co-chair. “If we are not sure, take an extra moment to think again or ask someone else. There’s so much that appears to be legitimate today that really isn’t, and sometimes it takes another person’s opinion to help you see where the possible flaw might be.”

According to Jan Garkey, Member Education Manager for the Center for Personal Finance at CUNA, the partnership between DSEF and her organization will capitalize on each other’s strengths to reach new audiences through the exploding social media platform, including sharing personal finance articles from credit unions across the country through Facebook and Twitter. “CUNA is proud to partner with DSEF on our shared mission to improve the financial literacy of our respective members, future members and the general public. It’s exciting to see this partnership evolve.”

“DSEF and CUNA share a common goal of empowering consumers,” says Nu Skin Senior Director of Public Relations Kara Schneck, who is a DSEF board member and Consumer Committee Co-chair. “We look forward to bringing our respective strengths together to help consumers, particularly those involved in direct selling, have the information and tools they need to make wise fiscal decisions and achieve their financial goals.”

To learn more about the specific types of small-business scams and how to protect your business from fraud, view the video created by DSEF and CUNA here.

Direct Selling Education Foundation: Making the World a Better Place for Direct Selling

Direct Selling Education Foundation: Making the World a Better Place for Direct Selling

Organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USABE), the American Marketing Association (AMA), and the National Consumers League (NCL), as well as numerous marketing professors at universities across the nation and additional influential organizations and individuals are linked arm and arm with the DSEF in order to spread the word and educate the public on its mission.

Read the full article in Direct Selling News

“Y We Care” about Miami-Dade’s Teens and Tweens

“Y We Care” about Miami-Dade’s Teens and Tweens

(MIAMI—June 3, 2011) – When hundreds of company executives gather in Miami for the 2011 annual convention of the Direct Selling Association, they will do more than take in the Florida sunshine and discuss their direct selling businesses.  On June 5th, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., CEOs and executives from notable companies such as Mary Kay, The Pampered Chef, Avon and more will roll up their sleeves and work by side with the teens and tweens of the Greater Miami-Dade YWCA to help them make their facility a more inviting environment for Miami’s young people.

The event is sponsored by the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), whose community service programs continue the direct selling industry’s rich tradition of giving back to the communities in which they do business. “Y We Care, a partnership between the YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade and the Direct Selling Education Foundation, is an event that demonstrates the deep commitment to corporate responsibility shared by the entire direct selling industry,” said Charlie Orr, DSEF’s Executive Director, “Leaders from our industry will work with the kids on a variety of creative projects.  We’ll be painting, gardening, building bookshelves and helping the kids to document the day through photography and interviews.”

“To anticipate nearly a hundred guests exchanging ideas with our teens and tweens is exciting,’” said Eileen Maloney-Simon, CEO, YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade. “The leadership example and fellowship being shown to inner-city youth is outstanding and we are thankful to the Direct Selling Education Foundation for taking the time out of their conference schedule to do this community project.”

Founded in 1919, the YWCA Greater Miami-Dade of is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.  The organization fulfills its mission with programs that empower Miami’s youth through education, advocacy and unity.  The Miami-Dade YWCA programs benefitted almost four thousand young people from ages six to eighteen during fiscal year 2009-2010.  A more inviting YWCA environment attracts more young people to gather, learn and enjoy activities that encourage educational excellence, independence, resourcefulness and responsibility.

The Direct Selling Education Foundation serves the public interest by advancing the direct selling industry’s support of consumer rights and protection, education about the industry, ethical leadership and individual economic empowerment. Through its partnerships with consumer advocates, educators and students, public policy officials, and members of the small business and entrepreneurship community, DSEF enhances public awareness of direct selling in the global marketplace. For more information, visit,

Learning from Leadership

Learning from Leadership

It’s that time of year when DSEF’s Board of Director’s roster changes. We salute our consumer and academic board members who complete their terms in 2011. These individuals worked passionately to help fulfill our mission, especially in the areas of consumer rights and protection, education and research, and women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. While making their contributions, each of these devoted volunteers has also gained a new perspective about the direct selling industry, and DSEF will continue to benefit from their involvement, support and insight.

Maria E. Canabal Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, serves as DSEF Consumer & Community Program Committee member.

"DSEF has given me the opportunity to familiarize myself with the direct selling industry, its business model and the diversity of the firms and the people involved. As a consumer educator and advocate, it’s important for me to understand both sides of the market—sellers and consumers. It’s also been valuable for me to be able to represent DSEF abroad and to introduce some of my professional organizations to DSEF, forming long-lasting partnerships."

Greg W. Marshall, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing, Rollins College, served as Chair of the DSEF Education Initiative Committee.

"I’ve come to very much appreciate the direct selling business model and the power of the independent salesperson to control her or his own destiny through hard work and tenacity. It’s a brilliant strategy for DSEF to promote such high levels of academic / executive interaction, and I firmly believe that the single most opportunistic initiative for DSEF continues to be fostering research collaboration between top scholars and top industry executives, directed toward addressing critical research questions for the future of the industry."

Susan G. Duffy Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Simmons College, serves on the DSEF Education Initiative Committee, and the Women’s Initiative Committee.

"It has been an honor to serve on the DSEF board. As an entrepreneurship educator, I found the direct selling opportunity to be an ideal, accessible model of new venture creation for my students. Everything we want students to learn about launching, managing and growing a venture is available to them in a direct selling company. I aim to use my energy every day for a net positive gain. DSEF has been an inspiring place to entrepreneur positive outcomes."

Elizabeth Owen, Executive Director, National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, served as Chair of the DSEF Consumer & Community Program Committee.

"I learned firsthand the direct selling industry’s dedication to promoting consumer protection. Its support is generous, unwavering and creative, and for that the entire consumer protection community is grateful. No other industry comes close to that commitment. As I rotate off the board, I am so pleased to see this organization celebrating a renewed mission, defined goals, and an eye for the future. On a personal note, each board meeting was a pleasant reunion with people I grew to call friends."

Community Colleges to Offer a Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program to Foster Business Opportunity with Education

Community Colleges to Offer a Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program to Foster Business Opportunity with Education

Direct Selling Education Foundation and National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Join to Address Educational Needs of Direct Sellers

NACCE logo

 (Washington, DC – February 22, 2011) – Individuals who are considering a career in direct selling or who are in the early stages of their growth in this field will soon have the opportunity to increase their relevant knowledge and skill set by participating in a Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program at their local community college. Through a new partnership, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), a nonprofit public education organization affiliated with the Direct Selling Association, and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) are developing the curriculum for a non-credit program that will be made available to community colleges across the country. The curriculum is expected to be available as a pilot in Fall 2011.

“Direct selling can offer a great career opportunity for a wide array of people” says DSEF Board Member Sarah Baker Andrus, who is director of External Relations and Academic Programs at CUTCO/Vector. “Our objective with this new educational effort is to make sure people entering this profession have the complete entrepreneurial skills set that will support their success. We also believe that a better educated workforce will help improve salesforce retention for Direct Selling Association member companies.”

NACCE, which represents community colleges nationwide that are using entrepreneurship education to boost economic development in their communities, sees the new program as an exciting new option for its members. “We believe our members will be excited to make this new curriculum available to individuals in the regions they serve,” says NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle. “We are excited to participate in this effort with the Direct Selling Education Foundation and look forward to helping them increase awareness of the entrepreneurial opportunities in the field of direct selling.”

More than 16 million people, generating annual retail sales of nearly $30 billion in theUnited States, participate in direct selling, defined as the sale of a consumer product or service, person-to-person, away from a fixed retail location, and marketed through independent sales representatives. This program is designed to assist people entering this field who need to be equipped with knowledge of marketing, time management, finances, and leadership, among other key topics. This educational program will have two main components: the first is a workshop that will provide information on direct selling to help participants decide if this career option is for them. The second component is a content-driven learning program to provide students with the knowledge they need to excel in direct sales.

“As a public service organization, DSEF fosters an understanding of direct selling  entrepreneurial opportunities can empower individuals, support communities and strengthen economies worldwide,” says DSEF Program Director Robin Diamond. “This new educational program will help direct selling entrepreneurs build their businesses by combining strong entrepreneurship skill training with direct selling-specific learning. By engaging publicly-funded community colleges in the process, this program represents a step forward not just for the students participating but for the direct selling industry as a whole.”

About DSEF

The Direct Selling Education Foundation serves the public interest by advancing the direct selling industry’s support of consumer rights and protection, education about the industry, ethical leadership and individual economic empowerment. Through its partnerships with consumer advocates, educators and students, public policy officials, and members of the small business and entrepreneurship community, DSEF enhances public awareness of direct selling in the global marketplace. For more information visit,


The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is an organization of educators, entrepreneurs, and distinguished business development professionals providing quality programs and services in entrepreneurship education at the community college level. Founded in 2002, NACCE is at the heart of the “entrepreneurship movement.” Through advocacy, membership, an annual conference and exhibition, a quarterly journal, monthly webinars and podcasts, a dynamic list-serv, and other resources, NACCE serves as the hub for the dissemination and integration of knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurship education and student business incubation. These programs and courses advance economic prosperity in the communities served by its member colleges. NACCE is a founding member of the White House-led Startup America Partnership. For more information, visit

DSEF’s Pack a Present Toy Drive and Breakfast with Santa Bring Joy to Las Vegas Children

DSEF’s Pack a Present Toy Drive and Breakfast with Santa Bring Joy to Las Vegas Children

The holiday season is a magical time for kids everywhere, but for families in need, finding the resources to put presents under the tree can be difficult. At the Direct Selling Association’s (DSA) Be Connected conference held in Las Vegas December 5-7, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) sponsored the Pack a Present toy drive to help provide a little holiday magic to children in the local community.

DSA member company executives and supplier members gave generously, donating hundreds of presents to benefit members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas. And on Tuesday, December 7, twenty kindergarten-age children from the Boys and Girls Clubs joined attendees for a pancake breakfast complete with gifts for each child and a surprise appearance by Santa himself. A photographer from the Las Vegas Review-Journal was on hand for the breakfast and captured the delight of one of the children.

“It was an honor to participate in the DSEF’s Pack a Present toy drive and Breakfast with Santa,” said Cari Christopher, President, Signature HomeStyles. “Every gift that was donated by DSA members will add a little joy this Christmas and a sparkle in the eyes of a child. Thanks to DSEF for bringing together member companies to make a difference in the local community!”

Dulcinea Almazan, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, accompanied the children to the Mandarin Oriental hotel. “We’re glad to partner with the Direct Selling Education Foundation to bring holiday cheer to our city’s children,” she said. “During this time of year, it’s important for all of us to think about the difference we can make by investing in our community.”

DSA also lent its support, and staff members not only donated gifts, but pitched in as Santa’s elves, cutting pancakes and pouring syrup for the kids.

After the breakfast, the children had the chance to sit on Santa’s lap and have their picture taken. Rick Stambaugh, President and CEO of Fionda, portrayed Santa with gusto, even memorizing the names of Santa’s reindeer to make sure he could answer any questions the children might pose. “Being able to play Santa Claus for the children of the Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas was an absolutely heartwarming experience,” Stambaugh said. “Nothing can quite compare to the smile on those children’s faces when Santa was in the room. No one experiences the sheer, unadulterated joy of the Christmas spirit like a child. They can feel the miracle of the holiday, and for me, it is a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Charlie Orr, DSEF’s Executive Director, said that community outreach events like Pack a Present demonstrate the direct selling industry’s dedication to corporate social responsibility and its commitment to giving back. “In its role as the industry’s Goodwill Ambassador, DSEF is committed to bringing direct sellers together for meaningful philanthropy programs in the communities we visit,” Orr said. “The generosity of our member company and supplier members demonstrated the giving spirit of the industry, and there could be no greater reward for that generosity than seeing the excitement in the eyes of the children that joined us for the event.”

For Sean Key, VP Salesforce Motivation, Mary Kay Inc., the Pack a Present toy drive and Breakfast with Santa were two of the highlights of the Be Connected conference. “Giving back (Corporate Social Responsibility) has been a cornerstone for the DSEF and DSA member and supplier companies, and it really warmed my heart to see so many donated gifts for the kids,” he said. “Everyone deserves to have gifts during the holidays, and we joined together to make hundreds of dreams come true.”

Visiting Corporate CEOs to Clean Up Ocean Beach

Visiting Corporate CEOs to Clean Up Ocean Beach

DSEF Coordinates Community Service Project

(San Francisco – June, 6) – Top executives from some of America’s largest direct selling companieocean beach logos will do their part for the conservation of San Francisco’s coastal resources on June 6, 2010, at Ocean Beach Clean Up, an event held by the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF). More than 80 direct selling executives will spend the morning cleaning up debris on the popular stretch of coastline, and a portion of their $100 event registration fee will be donated to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

“By rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to help clean up OceanBeach, these direct selling executives are demonstrating the deep commitment to corporate social responsibility shared by our entire industry,” said Charles L. Orr, DSEF Executive Director.

Leaders from such notable companies as 4Life, ACN, Avon Products Inc, Celebrating Home, CUTCO, Immunotech, The Kirby Company, Mary Kay Inc, Oxyfresh, The Pampered Chef, Take Shape for Life, Team National, Shaklee, Soul Purpose, The Southwestern Company, and Vantel Pearls in the Oyster are participating in DSEF’s Ocean Beach Clean Up.

DSEF, a non-profit that serves the public as the direct selling industry’s goodwill ambassador, organized Ocean Beach Clean Up as a way to say “thank you” to San Francisco, host city for the Direct Selling Association’s (DSA) 2010 Annual Meeting to be held June 6 – 8. More than 1,000 direct selling executives are in San Franciscoto attend the three-day meeting and to celebrate the DSA’s 100th anniversary.

“As the direct selling industry gathers in San Franciscoto commemorate our trade association’s centennial, all of us at DSEF are proud to take part in the celebration with an event that illustrates the kind of good works our companies engage in around the world,” Orr said.

About the Direct Selling Education Foundation

The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), created in 1973 by visionary leaders of the Direct Selling Association, serves the public as the industry’s goodwill ambassador. Headquartered inWashington,D.C., the international non-profit organization offers comprehensive programs that advance the direct selling industry’s support of consumer rights and protection, education about the industry, ethical leadership and individual economic empowerment.