Amway, again

Every so often, one of those stories comes along about a company or brand you may follow and a light bulb goes off. “Now I get it,” you say to yourself.

Read the front page of today’s Detroit News business section for one of those stories. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about Amway, where we’ve been and where we’re going—and perhaps some things that may surprise you.

The “original social network?” More than soap? Beating the recession with $8.4 billion in global sales last year alone? It’s all there and then some.

We have an amazing story to tell. And as we turn up the volume on our visibility efforts, count on hearing about us again and again.


Episode 1 – The Chronicles of Cali Interns

Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published on the Interns Expose Amway blog.

While we hear fantastic stories and insight from interns in Michigan, we don’t hear from interns on the other side of the country. I recently traveled to California where interns from Nutrilite’s Center for Optimal Health, a Nutrilite farm in Lakeview, Trout Lake Farm and four interns from Amway Hong Kong gathered for a two-day intern event. I will share my experience in four parts, each focusing on a different aspect of the trip.

The two-day adventure to Nutrilite’s Center for Optimal Health and the Argricultural Reasearch Farm in Lakeview, California was full of tours, presenters, sunshine, networking and a ton of fun.

A reoccurring thought kept surfacing in my head, though: How are these western-based interns able to focus on their work with distractions like the beautiful palm trees, warm sunshine and beaches located just 30 miles away?!

But armed with my flipcam, I spoke with five interns at Nutrilite’s Center for Optimal Health to capture the excitement. Jonathan, Teresa, Monique, Kyle and Kristy explain their backgrounds, what projects they’re working on, and what they are enjoying most about their internship this summer.

The video below will take you on an emotional ride full of suspense, romance and a bit of drama.

Ok, maybe not, but listen to what these California interns have to say about their internship.

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A Day at the Country Club…All in a Day’s Work

Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published on the Interns Expose Amway blog.

This year, Amway is a major sponsor for the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Tournament at Egypt Valley Country Club.  Because I’m interning in brand marketing, I am fortunate enough to be part of this event.  The tournament doesn’t happen until mid July, but last Friday was the media day – the day where media and Amway executives enjoyed a game of golf.  I’m not a golfer, Amway executive, or media personal, so what did that mean for me last Friday?  Well besides pulling out of the drive way at 5:30am for set up, working with some great people in the special events department, shaking hands with Amway executives, and eating several free meals …it meant a day at the country club!  The weather could not have been better for the event: warm and sunny with a light breeze.  In my opinion, this was the best weather Michigan has offered all summer!

Here’s how the day went: When the players arrived, they went to the Amway tent and were given an Amway gift bag filled with some great Amway products, breakfast was served in one of the country club’s dining areas (very tasty), and then they set out in teams of five to play some golf!  As they traveled the 18-hole course, they came across several eSpring water stations where they could fill up their Nutrilite water bottles.  Nutrilite snack bars and energy bars were also provided at the water stations.  At the end of the morning, three people were crowned winners and given Amway gifts at the luncheon (delicious food!).  The gifts included an eSpring water filtration unit, a large gift basket of Nutrilite products, or a large basket of Artistry products.  The day was a success!

A day at the country club, PR experience, and special events experience…no complaints from my end!

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Shanghai Expo visitors

We’re nearly 60 days in and the Shanghai Expo 2010 visitor count  is about 20 million people, averaging 400,000 guests per day.

Amway’s exhibit in the USA Pavilion is getting plenty of traffic as well. So far some high profile individuals have visited, including NBA players Kevin Durant and James Hardy, Grammy award winner Quincy Jones, former US vice president Al Gore and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Amway China executives met Secretary Clinton when she toured the Pavilion.

Above, Secretary Clinton is greeted by Amway China’s vice president Vincent Hwang and she appears below with Vincent and Amway China president Audie Wong.   

If you can’t make it to the USA Pavilion in person to see the Amway Exhibit, you can still take a virtual tour. It  just launched this week and if you navigate through it, you’ll find the Amway Exhibit video.

Here’s a hint: Act 3, Section G, right next to the Disney display.


Directly speaking

Around the world, our affiliate general managers are often leading voices of the direct selling industry in their markets.

Many Amway country managers have served as heads of direct selling associations. And they’re always advocating for our industry and for standards to protect the rights of consumers and direct selling representatives.

The general manager of Amway Philippines, for example, was part of an effort to push for direct selling law to set standards for the industry in that market. Ador Bonquin, who also serves as chairman of the Direct Selling Association of the Philippines, recently spoke out about the need for legislation that extends consumer protections to direct selling and multilevel marketing companies.

You could call this directly speaking about direct selling.


A ‘lifetime’ of innovation

Innovation has been part of Amway’s DNA since the company’s founding in 1959.

And now Amway is being honored for its “lifetime” of innovation.

Business Review Magazine has selected Amway for its Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation, in the words of editor Candace Beeke, “because its long success has been the result of extreme innovation, from its roots to its modern accomplishments.”

Amway will receive this honor at the July 28 Innovation Michigan event.


2 are better than 1

It’s a question that’s been asked before, and today Fox Business News asked it again:  Why does Amway have two CEOs?

It’s a model that worked for Amway’s first 50 years, Amway chairman Steve Van Andel responded, and still works today. 

During the live Noon show interview, Steve and Amway president Doug DeVos talked with anchor Cheryl Casone about Amway’s global business, including how we’ve adapted our approach to meet the needs of the 80-some countries and territories where Amway operates today.  Doug described how we’ve exported innovations and lessons learned in markets like China to our business elsewhere, strengthening our global operations.

As Fox asked, are 2 heads better than 1?  We think so!


Make-Up an MBA’s Life!!!

Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published on the Interns Expose Amway blog.

The beginning of the summer has represented an opportunity to pursue my dreams and it is the clearest example that I have succeeded in completing one of the goals that I set for myself when I arrived in Business School.

Two years ago when I applied to Kellogg School of Management, I described in my essays (and in my Business Week blog) how I wanted to become a brand manager at a cosmetics company to create holistic well-being in direct sales to use my talents in favor of improving the world.

The way I arrived at Amway was somehow unusual. As part of my plan B recruiting I continued to look at beauty companies, but searched for operations jobs to at least secure a change in geography and industry. A change of industry, function and geography seemed like a very complex challenge, because most companies would not trust a Chemical Engineer with 5 years of work experience in operations to become a world class marketer.

After a wonderful experience in Ada and an interview that seemed like a friendly talk with the Vice President, Director and Manager of Supply Chain, I received an offer from the center of excellence that I was uncertain to take. I had really liked the company, but I was uncertain of how taking that path brought me closer to my long term career goal: to become a General Manager who can eventually have more impact in the world.

Not willing to give up, I decided to seek advice from MBA’s who were in my dream job in the industry to see if an eventual transition would be possible or if I should stick to my plan to career change during the summer, even if it was in a startup company or scarifying the geography. That determination caused for me to cold call my current manager, an MBA from Duke University to ask her for advice. That advice request converted into an internship opportunity of what I, now call: my dream job.

Two weeks ago, I moved from Chicago to Grand Rapids, Michigan where Amway’s head quarters are located to become a brand manager MBA intern in the color cosmetics business.

My summer project involves working in a very interesting challenge that requires implementing strategic and tactical measures. Using creative, leadership, strategic thinking and analytical skills mixed with marketing, finance, accounting, design, and operations knowledge to solve it. This seems like the perfect opportunity to put to work every course I have taken in both of the programs that I am pursuing, my MBA and MEM.

To gain a rounded experience, it is as important as the internship challenge and project relevance to me, having fun during the summer and getting to know better the company’s culture and employees. For that, HR has made an excellent effort to bring together my fellow intern class. We have been involved in activities ranging from Intern Olympics and baseball games, to lunch and learns where we get to experience a department and other interns projects.

Additionally, HR did a great job in putting together an intern class which is quite diverse, we range between 19 and 28 years old, we hold different school majors from public communications to mechanical engineering, and are pursuing different disciplines in our internships and current graduate studies to solve different projects that contribute to the company transformation. We come from several parts of the world- did I mention that I was born and raised in Mexico? But I have lived in 7 countries in the past 10 years-  one of the most amazing things at Amway is that despite of this diversity, all of us have one goal in common which is succeed at our internship.

My experience at Amway has been one with many first times, something unusual for somebody who had spent over 5 years in the work force. This is the first time in my career that I received flowers in my desk on my first working day and that I was welcomed with a lunch by my entire department, when my team who is in New York attended via videoconference.  I believe, that explains why most of Amway’s employees have been with the company for double digit years.

I am really excited for the challenges of this summer, because now I have a new set of goals to accomplish for myself and a commitment to reciprocate the trust that my manager invested on me.

Is there any time when you dared to challenge the status quo to follow your dreams?


Getting recognition for giving

It’s not every day a company is invited to be part of a big event without paying for a sponsorship package.

But that’s exactly what happened to Amway China, which was asked by the 4th All-China Games to provide volunteer service and management in exchange for recognition at the May event.

The All-China Games celebrate traditional Chinese sports like Qigong and dragon boat racing, in addition to modern non-Olympic events like acrobatics, water-skiing, ten-pin bowling and group dancing. 

Amway’s official role was Professional Supporting Agency of Volunteer Service for the games, and the company shared its years of volunteer management and operation experience with the organizing committee.

In addition, Amway volunteers provided more than 2,000 hours of on-site service for the 15-day games in Hefei, which drew more than 30,000 participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators. In return, Amway received recognition through billboards, a corporate display, and recognition in the event guidebook and on tickets for the games.

Amway’s mastery at mobilizing volunteers is becoming well-known as the company is also serving as Professional Supporting Agency of Volunteer Service for Shanghai Expo. The 4th All-China Games was the second opportunity for Amway China to support big event volunteer management and operations.


Innovation inside

Editor’s Note:  Occasionally we’ll take you inside some of Amway’s facilities around the world.  A member of our team, Sri Soekarmoen McCarthy, recently visited Amway Malaysia and toured their new headquarters facility.  Sri shared what she saw with Leah Zuber.

You could say innovation has been taken to a whole new level at Amway Malaysia’s new corporate headquarters. Three times the size of the previous facility, the building spans 4.5 acres and boasts a modern design, sustainable features and new technology.

Some highlights:

  • The Founders’ Boulevard features sculptures and a mural of company founders Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel and current leaders Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos.
  • The warehouse is equipped with a digital picking system that increases productivity and efficiency in order fulfillment.
  • Energy efficient spaces abound, and  floor to ceiling windows allow for natural light.
  • And, the Brand Centre showcases the Amway business opportunity and products.

For distributors the building offers a new training center, distributor lounge, more ordering kiosks and a one-stop customer service counter.

Innovation has made Amway Malaysia successful for more than three decades – and will help it keep it in a leadership position for years to come.