BLOG ARCHIVE FOR: February, 2008

Feb.29
2008

Ronaldin – who?

I openly admit I don't really watch sports.  Or follow politics.  I figure I have a lot of things to track and follow (children, work, weather, what's for dinner) andI don't have room for sports as a distraction.   Plus, my husband is an avid fan of many sports so he more than makes up for my nonchalance.

My reputation for being relatively clueless about sports is so bad, that Robin Luymes was nearly astonished in a meeting this week when I named all the Team Nutrilite athletes and came pretty close to matching them to their events.

So when I learned that Nutrilite was adding Ronaldinho to its Team Nutrilite  roster of world-class athletes, my reaction was, Ronaldin-who?

But Nutrilite's sponsorship of Ronaldinho, I was soon informed, is a very big deal.  Ronaldinho is the most marketable soccer player in the world — even bigger than Beckham.  He has a higher E-score celebrity ranking than Oprah, as reported in Forbes.  And like the other Team Nutrilite athletes, he's at the top of his game and a world-class performer. 

This affiliation will help bring the Nutrilite brand name and story to an even wider audience.  You can see the announcement as it occurred yesterday in Barcelona at Nutrilite.com.

Feb.27
2008

Make a commitment, change the world

There's a great feature in O magazine called A Million Ways to Save the World, that every month provides four or five perspectives on how we can change the world around us.  Some are simple, like random acts of kindness or replacing the light bulbs in your house with fluourescents to reduce global warming.  Some are more complex, like making a commitment to a particular issue and vowing to make a difference.  The message is that you can do something today or tomorrow that can change the world.

Regardless of whether it's big or small, it's the single act of making a commitment that really matters.

Five years ago, Alticor, the parent company of Amway and Quixtar, made such a commitment.  That commitment was to focus its philanthropic efforts on improving the lives of children around the world.  The idea was simple, yet powerful:  by channeling our human and financial resources we could make a big difference in an area critical to the world's future.  This effort was dubbed One by One, and the thinking was that every Alticor, Amway or Quixtar employee or IBO could make a big difference by committing to help kids in some way.

For some IBOs in this market, it's being a U.S. Dream Academy Mentor or participating in an Easter Seal Walk With Me event. Others provide funding to programs like Operation Smile or one of dozens of other children's charities that address global concerns.  Some  volunteer in schools, spend time in pediatric wards of hospitals reading books to patients, or like me, serve as a scouting leader or coach.  Some give generously of their time, others with their dollars.  But all are focused on helping kids in some way.

And when you add it all up, all these little commitments make a very big difference.  How big?  On a global basis, Amway, Quixtar and Alticor employees and IBOs have given more than 800,000 volunteer hours to children's charities.  Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?  Consider this. There are 8,760 hours in a year.  This would be like nearly 1,000 people giving a year of their life to a children's cause — every waking and resting hour!  And this is only in the first five years of the program.

The dollars are another matter.  More than $50 million has been given to children's causes worldwide since 2003.

All said, more than 5.5 million children have been helped through the giving of hours and dollars to children's causes since One by One launched in 2003. 

Thanks to every employee or IBO who has volunteered their time and energy for a children's cause.  You're part of this amazing success story.  And thanks to those who have participated in fundraisers to help raise needed funding for children's charities and organizations.  You've helped make a difference.

And for those of you reading this thinking you don't have the time or energy to make a difference, think again.  You don't have to have much time to give to be welcomed and appreciated — even an hour or so a month will make a difference.  You don't have to make a long term commitement.  All you have to do is visit a web site or pick up the phone and say, "I want to help."   Make a commitment, and help make life better for children everywhere.

Feb.26
2008

Transitions

If you’re an IBO, you’ve probably just seen the first signs of our transition from Quixtar North America to Amway Global in your mailbox.  The March polybag, which is our monthly mailing to active IBOs, contains the first issue of Achieve and the first catalog, Home & More, to bear the first of our transitional logos.

Feb.12
2008

Quality from start to finish

A couple of our Communications team members just came back from a photo and video shoot at Nutrilite for the “New Way, New You” program. It’s always fun to see staff come back from a visit at Nutrilite because they’re charged up about how they can change their health and lives through better nutrition and full of pride in the Nutrilite story. You’ll see them bringing in healthy snacks, lecturing co-workers on the benefits of cooked tomatoes versus raw in delivering more lycopene, and dutifully taking the supplements recommended to help them achieve their goals.

I remember my first trip out to Nutrilite’s Lakeview Farms a few years ago. I recall standing in a field of spinach, watching it being harvested and tasting a leaf grown using our alternative and organic farming methods. Then, a bit later, I stepped inside the facility to taste washed and dehydrated spinach on its way to become part of a Nutrilite supplement. It really brought the seed to supplement story to life as you literally could see how quickly that fresh and nutrient-packed plant was picked and processed into a concentrate that would soon be part of Double X, Daily, or another Nutrilite supplement. In fact, our story goes deeper than seed to supplement as we carefully manage the soil those seeds are planted in, to ensure we’re maximizing the potential of each plant to deliver powerful phytonutrients in every leaf, seed, or petal.

Nutrilite supplements are unlike any others because our processes and our commitment to capturing the power of plants in a supplement are unlike any other.

We often get a similar reaction when we offer glimpses inside our Artistry manufacturing facility here in Ada, Michigan. While the facility generally isn’t open to visitors, I’ve been through it while hosting visiting news media or press tours. There are some processes and procedures that are fun to watch, like seeing Glister tubes filled or watching tubes of lipstick get flamed so they have that bright and shiny finish. Or seeing the giant, gleaming stainless steel vats used to mix product. But the real story behind Artistry skin care is what we call “true science, true beauty” — from R&D and product development to the strict quality assurance standards in the facility itself. Hundreds of scientists have created breakthroughs resulting in the awarding of more than 140 patents associated with this brand.

Many beauty companies contract manufacture their products, so they don’t control the whole process from product development to manufacturing to distribution. Artistry does, and they maintain meticulous standards in manufacturing — from the raw ingredients to the care given to packaging the finished product.

These standards have helped make Nutrilite the world’s leading brand of vitamin, mineral, and dietary supplements and Artistry one of the world’s best selling prestige beauty brands. And these products helped Quixtar become the #1 online health and beauty retailer for four years running, according to Internet Retailer magazine.

All of this is why it’s so easy for a company like Quixtar to offer such a generous customer satisfaction policy — because we have stringent standards designed to exceed our customers’ expectations for quality, performance, and value.

Feb.09
2008

The IBOAI speaks out on Morrison ruling

 

The IBOAI Blog posted a bit earlier today about the Morrison v. Amway ruling, which is also referenced in last evening's Alticor Media Blog posting about the Nitro case dismissal. 

Feb.06
2008

Amazing grace

Grace is one of my favorite concepts.  To me it means humility, respect for others, and dignity.  For others, it means faith and reverence.  And to our family, it means a person — Helen Lettinga.

Helen, who's known as Wiggy to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, is grace in motion to us.  She's turning 105 today, to her own amazement.  Decades ago, when her husband of more than 50 years passed away, Helen said she likely wouldn't stay around for much longer without him.  She swore she wouldn't see all of her grandchildren married (the last one married last summer) and wouldn't see any great-grandchildren (she now has 14). 

At 105, she knits dishrags.  She sews Brownie badges on vests.  No one can shuck corn or snap green beans faster.  She's slowed down a bit but her mind is as sharp as ever — as is her wit. She sits and listens to her great-grandchildren talk about school or whatever's on their minds.  They often share concerns with her they may not share with their own parents.

Does she have her problems and aches and pains?  She sure does.  But she doesn't choose to dwell on them or allow them to slow her down.  Helen is a loyal friend, a beloved grandmother, and an inspiration to those who work at Pilgrim Manor, an assisted care facility she's called home for the past 15 years or so.   That's when she feared she might start to decline and would have to give up her own home and made the decision to sell and move to a facility that could meet her changing needs. 

Wiggy's my husband's grandmother, so I have no genetic link to her, but hope her longevity and passion for life are passed along to my children and that they live a long, happy, and productive life like she has. 

More than anything, we're grateful to still have her in our lives. Since my father passed away six years ago this week, I've been more aware of the need to spend time with and enjoy the people I love while they're still around.  As for Wiggy, we're having a big party for her this weekend to celebrate. I just spoke with her and she has no requests for any special foods or treats — just the presence of her family.

Please join me in wishing her a Happy 105th Birthday!  And please don't ask why she's called Wiggy — it's a nickname that stuck, although no one remembers why it was bestowed in the first place!

  

  

Feb.06
2008

Alticor Posts Sales of $7.1 Billion for 2007

Read all about it at Alticor Media Blog.

Most Amway markets posted sales increases for 2007, including perennial powerhouse China and Russia, which led growth in Europe.

Quixtar will release its annual sales and bonus payout  later this week, so watch Opportunity Zone for further details.

 

 

Feb.01
2008

It’s OZ’s birthday!

We're having a little celebration here to honor the first birthday of the Opportunity Zone.  In a few minutes there will be lots of cake all around to celebrate the collaborative effort that led to the launch of this blogging portal.

When we launched the Opportunity Zone just a year ago it was with a very simple goal — to join the online conversation about our business.  Since then we've said a lot, heard a lot, and had a lot of fun along the way.

We've learned an awful lot as well.  When people have asked me what it's like to host a corporate blog, I tell them it's like getting a puppy — you have no idea how much time and how much work it's going to take until you're living with it. 

Posting is one thing and that's pretty easy because there's always something to talk about.  Moderating and responding to comments and questions is sometimes more challenging.  I've had issues recently responding to comments within this blog because I need to go into another browser and log in separately  to comment to my own blog and don't always have the time or patience to do that.  Sometimes we need to hunt down the answer to a question and that may take time.  Sometimes a question or comment will spark a discussion here that can't be resolved quickly or easily — which is why sometimes our response is that we're checking into something.  And that's not a pat answer — it's a commitment.  If we say we're discussing or checking on something, you can rest assured that we are.

And, almost all of our bloggers are doing this on an almost volunteer basis.  We have one staff member, Katie Pearsall, who's responsible for managing the blog program and other online resources and that's part of her job.  Everyone else wedges blogging in and around their other work and assignments.  And they do so gladly because they're passionate about what they're writing about and who they're writing for – our IBOs and others who are interested in this business.

Thanks to those who suggested ideas for what we do in the OZ's second year.  We're talking about what we want to talk about, who we want to hear from, and other ways to make the OZ more meaningful and relevant to those with an interest in our business.     

My gratitude goes to everyone who has created the Opportunity Zone — our partners in IT, the Quixtar team members who host blogs, the Quixtar execs who have put their thoughts and ideas in writing for the world to see, and the consultants who helped us understand the trends and how to govern our blogs using best practices and ideas.   

But it wouldn't be what it is without the current and former IBOs who have come here and offered their opinions, ideas, problems, and solutions up for discussion and debate.  The many voices we've come to know, tolerate, and love over the past year are what give the Opportunity Zone life, energy,  and a real purpose.  Thanks to all of you who have spent some time here discussing what this business has been, is, and will be in the future.  The candle on the cake is for you! 

Feb.01
2008

Increase your word power and feed the world, too

I'm not a big user of computer games. I grew up on board games and if I want to play, I'd much rather set up a Scrabble or Monopoly board and spend a few hours with friends and family.  My kids do Webkinz but I'm not one to spend a lot of time playing Solitaire or brickbuster or the other games on my handheld or PC.

But I was intrigued when I read in USA Today last week about a new game site called FreeRice.com.  At Free Rice you can play a word definition game that gives an unusual bonus for a correct answer — an opportunity to feed the world's hungry. 

Free Rice offers you the opportunity to play a game and have every correct answer result in a donation of 20 grains of rice through the United Nations to relief organizations.  It's simple….a word pops up on the screen and you have four definition choices.  Answer correctly and 20 grains of rice are added to your bowl and you get a more difficult answer.  I played for a while last night and donated over 10,000 grains of rice and got up to a degree of word difficulty of 42 out of 55 levels. My donations were part of a 188 million total donated yesterday alone and nearly 17  billion donated since the site's launch in October.   If you answer incorrectly, your next word is less difficult than the last but you don't lose any rice.   The rice is paid for by the companies that sponsor the banner ads at the site.

The site's creator claims to want to help boost people's vocabularies while providing a small but powerful way for people to help end word hunger.  If you're a word person, the site's a fun and increasingly challenging way to test your word power (although I did quibble with a few of the definitions.)  While I still prefer a competitive game of Scrabble on a frosty winter afternoon, Free Rice is a way to test your vocabulary, help others and have a bit of fun at the same time.