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DSEF Honors 2020 and 2021 Educator of the Year Inductees

Dr. Dianne Welsh, University of North Carolina Greensboro and
Dr. Anne Coughlan, Northwestern University
Recognized for Outstanding Achievement

     Dr. Anne Coughlan, Northwestern University

Washington, DC—June 2022— The 2020 and 2021 Educator of the Year Award inductees are Dr. Dianne Welsh, Hayes Distinguished Professor and Founding Director, Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program, University of North Carolina Greensboro; and Dr. Anne Coughlan, Polk Bros. Chair and Emerita Professor of Marketing, Northwestern University.

The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) honored the recipients at the Direct Selling Association’s Engage 2022 conference in Boca Raton, Florida on June 7, 2022. Created in 2017, the DSEF Educator of the Year award is given to educators who demonstrate outstanding service to the Foundation through leadership, personal involvement, teaching and research.

“Anne and Dianne have been instrumental in elevating DSEF’s mission of education through their own unique and complementary methods,” said Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director. “Both have worked tirelessly to advance understanding of the direct selling channel through academic research, published works, teaching content creation and thought leadership that has shaped academic thinking and student learning.”

Dianne has made tremendous contributions to DSEF’s work to partner with university professors throughout the country to achieve our goal of reaching more than 75,000 students per year through DSEF events and direct selling curriculum development. Under Dianne’s leadership, seven UNCG Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program (ECDP) professors each developed one week of direct selling lectures and assignments for courses in sales, marketing and entrepreneurship. The modules, distributed by DSEF to our 250+ Fellows, were designed to be incorporated easily into business classes across the nation.

“I am humbled and honored to win the DSEF Educator of the Year Award,” says Dianne. “Through the support of the DSEF Foundation, we can reach students who are looking for opportunities in their lives no matter their background. I have personally seen the difference in students when they understand direct selling. I can speak to their questions personally because of the knowledge I’ve gained through your generosity of including educators at your meetings and supporting our research and educational outreach.”

As an innovative thinker, Anne has co-authored award-winning research on the lifecycle of direct selling distributors and a paper assessing the validity of economics-based analytic models of direct selling in academic literature. She is sole author and ideator of a ground-breaking paper on consumer harm in voluntary business arrangements and a book chapter on direct selling compensation plans examining business and legal issues.

“Two goals have guided my career efforts:  exercising freedom as an academic entrepreneur, and focusing on projects I hoped would have impact,” says Anne. “My work in the direct selling area – where these words have special resonance – has enabled me to pursue both of these strategic goals, so it is a special delight for me to receive the 2021 DSEF Educator of the Year Award.  I hope to continue making contributions to this field for some time to come.  Thank you very much!”

For nearly 50 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 more than 250 professors in a variety of disciplines—such as entrepreneurship, marketing, ethics, sales, consumer studies, business and economics—to develop direct selling-related academic research, case studies and teaching content. In 2020, retail sales from direct selling achieved a record high of $40 billion annually and through 7.7 million U.S. micro-entrepreneurs selling on a part-time or full-time basis. More than 41.6 million people actively purchased products and services through the direct selling channel in 2020.

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.

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

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.

NCPW 2018

In celebration of National Consumer Protection Week’s 20th Anniversary, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) asks anyone seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their rights as a consumer, so that they can make even better-informed decisions, to download the DSEF Consumer Protection 101 toolkit.

The toolkit – developed in concert with the Direct Selling Association – provides consumers with a one-stop-shop of information to help them avoid fraud and scams in the marketplace.

For more information, visit to learn more about National Consumer Protection Week 2018 and the Federal Trade Commission. #ConsumerProtection #NCPW2018

DSEF Consumer Protection Tookit 2018

7 Steps to Create a Winning Mindset

7 Steps to Create a Winning Mindset

In life and in business there are many unforeseen obstacles. Some of these obstacles can trip us up and cause us to fall flat on our faces.

How do you get back up? How do you make the pain of falling on your face go away? How do you keep going?

If you have a winning mindset you can overcome these obstacles and use them to motivate yourself to push forward and succeed. Here’s an outline to create your winning mindset.

  1. Define your WHY. List three top reasons that you want to succeed. The first reason should be personal and for yourself, the second reason can be based on loved ones and the third reason could be for anything important to you.
  2. Make a plan. The plan should include short, medium and long term goals. Then include the how, when, where, who and what.
  3. Accountability. Share your plan with a friend or family member that is willing to cheer you on and be honest with you. Even better, get a small group of supportive, positive people who will hold you responsible and keep you on your plan.
  4. Make a daily routine and schedule. A winning mindset is built on momentum. Checking off each thing on your to-do list daily will help you see progress and give you motivation to continue.
  5. Use visualizations. See yourself and your goals as a campfire. Like a fire you need to keep adjusting it, adding wood to keep the fire going and make it big. Every step makes the fire bigger and sometimes a misstep or problem may diminish your flames. That means you need to adjust quickly and keep the fire going.
  6. Make a plan for when you fall. Like with any injury you will need time to heal, to evaluate what happened and maybe some physical therapy to get back to full strength. Have a system in place that you’re comfortable with to help you evaluate and learn from your mistakes. You could keep a journal, take a walk or draw a map. See mistakes as detours that help get you where you want to go more quickly.
  7. Perspective. Goals are destinations and mistakes/missteps are detours. You will get lost from time to time and sometimes you’ll speed ahead. That’s the nature of a journey. It doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there. Having patience will give you the long-burning fuel you need to reach your destination.

Creating a winning mindset is like being a great baker: it’s part science, part self-confidence and part ingenuity. The science is in the plans you make, the confidence is in the belief in yourself, visualizations and your perspective, and the ingenuity is in finding ways to get things done.

Did we leave anything out? What else would you include in a winner mindset? Please share with us in the comments section below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

Tips for Maintaining Work Life Balance

Tips for Maintaining Work Life Balance

Small business owners typically work a lot. It seems there is never enough time or hands to get everything done, and as the owner of your empire, it’s up to you to make sure things get accomplished.

Yet part of the reason a lot of people go into business for themselves is so they can have more time to focus on the things that are important to them…things like family, travel, and other lifestyle choices that make life meaningful.

Can you have both? Can you enjoy a fulfilling business while also focusing on what’s important? Sure you can! But it takes both planning and mindset to successfully achieve your business goals while enjoying the life balance you strive for.

Here are some tips for making it happen.

  1. Write your goals down. Make sure that all the tasks you’re working on are helping you reach those goals. If not, re-evaluate the task. Is it worth the time, or would you be better served doing something else?
  2. Make sure your goals are realistic. You probably won’t earn a million dollars in a month. Take a look at what others with similar businesses have earned, and set similar goals. It will help you stay on track, without getting discouraged.
  3. Your planner is your best friend. Put in the things you want to do for your family, as well as your work priorities. This way you won’t waste time trying to figure out what to do next. Everything is scheduled, and you’ll get things done while also giving yourself time to focus on all the priorities in your life.
  4. Have work hours. Your family life will run a lot more smoothly if there is a routine built in. So have regular office hours when everyone understands you’ll be working, as well as times when you’re “off the clock” and are free to give your full attention to other things.
  5. Realize that there will be times you’ll need to change your plans. Yes, your schedule is the ideal, but of course emergencies happen. So do your best to stick to your schedule, but also have enough flexibility to change direction when necessary. (And build some cushion into your schedule so that you can redirect when necessary.)
  6. Forgive yourself. If you miss a concert or a ball game, there will be others. You’ll waste a lot of time and energy beating yourself up over something you can’t control. Better just to get what you need to done, and then give 100% of yourself the next time you can be there. Your child won’t be scarred forever if you miss something, and neither will you.
  7. Involve your family. Make sure your kids understand that your work is important, and how the money you’re earning affects what they want to do. Also invite them to participate in your business where they can. They can file, help you load the car, and plan the schedule. By involving them, they get a better idea of all you have to do, and you’ll also teach important life lessons about working hard and achieving your goals.
  8. Plan time away. Sure, work is important. But so is family, and it’s important to give yourself some distance as well, so you can come back refreshed. So plan times when you DON’T work. Even if it’s just a staycation. Just make sure there are blocks of time when you focus on priorities besides work. It will do wonders for you.

By planning ahead, you will be much better able to balance work with the rest of your life, and enjoy every part of your life more.

What tips would you give for helping people achieve work and life balance? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!