Every year, DSEF counts on contributions from those in the direct selling community to fund its many programs that benefit consumers and DSA member companies. Those initiatives would not be possible without the leadership and involvement of those who volunteer their time and efforts.

DSEF annually honors those who go above and beyond the call of duty in helping the Foundation continue its mission by awarding the prestigious Circle of Honor Award, one of the highest individual recognitions in the direct selling industry.

The Circle of Honor Award was created in 1988 to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions to the Foundation through their personal efforts, involvement and commitment to the mission and purpose of DSEF. Past winners include such direct selling giants as Mary Kay Ash, J. Stanley Frederick, Doris Christopher and Neil Offen.

This year, the DSEF Board of Directors’ Executive Committee selected two individuals who have continually made significant contributions to the Foundation: Sarah Baker Andrus and Jim Northrop.

“For over a decade both Sarah and Jim have been tireless volunteers, always among the first to offer their expertise, their experience and their wisdom despite the many demands of their own schedules,” says Charlie Orr, DSEF Executive Director.

Sarah Baker Andrus

Sarah Baker Andrus has assisted DSEF as a volunteer for more than a decade, serving on committees, chairing special projects, leading research efforts and speaking on behalf of the Foundation. She currently serves on the DSEF Board of Directors as Vice Chair, and is leading the effort to create the industry’s landmark Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program for community colleges.

“Sarah always serves with such professionalism, grace, energy and poise,” says Orr. “She is passionate about the industry. She is an advocate for what the direct selling business model can do to change lives, especially the lives of young people—the direct sellers of tomorrow.”

The Circle of Honor Award came as a complete surprise to her. “I was absolutely floored,” she says. “I was stunned and amazed, and so honored that it was presented by my friend John Fleming [Publisher of Direct Selling News]. To be in such great company as direct selling luminaries was really remarkable and just stunning to me.”

Baker Andrus says her association with DSEF has given her the chance to grow professionally and give back to an industry from which she has received so much. “In my work with CUTCO/Vector and DSEF, I have seen how sales experience can be transformative and can lead to both personal and professional growth. So I am really honored to serve DSEF in a way that can bring the direct sales opportunity to people who can benefit from it.”

Baker Andrus currently serves as Director of External Relations and Academic Programs at CUTCO/Vector Marketing, where she directs Vector Marketing’s public relations efforts for the field organization and oversees the company’s philanthropic relationships with academia. She also serves as a corporate spokesperson to the media. Previously she served as Vector’s Director of Campus Relations, where she broadened the company’s ability to strengthen campus connections and enhance its recruitment efforts.

“We are so proud of Sarah,” says Jim Stitt, President and CEO of CUTCO. “She is very committed to our business and she has demonstrated that passion in the work she has done with DSEF. She is very deserving of this most prestigious recognition.”

Jim Northrop

Jim Northrop, President and CEO of Winfield Consulting, also has a long list of DSEF contributions and accomplishments.

Northrop is Past Chair of the DSEF Academic Committee, has presented at DSEF’s Direct Selling Days on Campus and has worked with professors at DSEF seminars. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the Direct Selling Association and DSEF. Northrop will also serve on the DSEF Executive Committee for the 2012-2013 term.

“Jim’s active participation as a DSEF Board member, his engaging thought leadership with his colleagues and his personal financial contribution to support the Foundation’s initiatives represent a perfect model for all DSA executives to emulate,” says Tom Kelly, President and CEO of Silpada and outgoing DSEF Chair.

Northrop now leads Winfield Consulting, which provides consulting services to the direct selling industry. He served as President and CEO of Immunotec, Inc. as well as President and CEO of Readers Digest Inc.’s Quality School Plan Division. He was Chairman and CEO of Princess House from 1994 to 2006.

Like Baker Andrus, Northrop was surprised by the Circle of Honor Award. “I was completely taken aback,” says Northrop. “Frankly, I never expected that I would be a Circle of Honor recipient. I have been fortunate to be in the direct selling industry for nearly the last 20 years, and have had the honor and responsibility of leading some very good companies, and it has been a lot of fun as well as very gratifying and rewarding.”

His long-standing association with DSEF has been gratifying as well.

“I find the Foundation is actually the point of the spear for the direct selling industry in terms of creating a positive sense of direct selling and the value that it adds both economically and socially to the U.S. and nations worldwide,” he says. “The goal of the Foundation in compiling and providing information regarding direct selling and forming alliances with very strong and positive partners has enabled it to be sort of a spokesperson that has been effective in conveying very positive information. Add to that the educational initiatives of the Foundation that have recently focused on developing a curriculum for practitioners of direct selling, which is just beginning to get off the ground but has been positively received. I feel very gratified to have been involved with the Foundation as it has developed its initiatives and its role as a thought leader and spokesperson for all the good that direct selling does.”

“Currently, Jim is leading DSEF’s strategic planning efforts as we approach our 40th anniversary,” says Orr. “There is no one better equipped to guide this process than Jim Northrop.”

Worthy Honorees

The Circle of Honor Awards were presented to Baker Andrus and Northrop during the DSA Annual Meeting held in Grapevine, Texas, on June 4.

Orr, who has worked with both over the years, could not be happier with the recognition both have received for their contributions to DSEF.

“Sarah and Jim are two very worthy honorees in sustaining DSEF’s efforts to create a market climate of trust for the industry’s ethical entrepreneurship,” says Orr.