Shaping the future

One of Dr. Anuradha Nagarajan’s former M.B.A. students made international news in 2011 when she invented an improved, low-cost and life-changing way for women in rural India to carry water over rough terrain.

This past Saturday, Dr. Nagarajan – along with Amway Chief Sales Officer John Parker and Cofounder Andi Sie – issued a similar challenge to another 40 University of Michigan business students.

The task: Use principles of entrepreneurship to create more sustainable economies and bring more of the world’s growing population into the middle class.

Nagarajan, Parker and Sie participated on the Entrepreneurship Panel of the 24th Annual Asia Business Conference in Ann Arbor, themed “Discover the Possibilities: Shape the Future,” and students from Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, USA, India, Indonesia and Malaysia attended.

Parker touched on how Amway measures success by the number of people we can help start their own small, independent businesses, bringing more economic and personal flexibility and independence to their lives.

Sie covered his experience in the real estate, health care and technology sectors as an entrepreneur who abides by one rule: Have a purpose. Purpose, said Sie, is the key to success that helps entrepreneurs get through the inevitable hard times.

Students were asked by the panelists to consider:

  • The advantages of remaining privately held, like Amway, so that taking the “long view” on solving local or global challenges is possible, over short-term gains for investors.
  • Remaining authentic to who you are, and your purpose, in all communications.
  • Understanding cultural drivers such as loyalty in Japan and youth empowerment in Vietnam.
  • A tenet that Amway founders lived by: Act as a guest in every country where you do business; act as if you want to be invited back tomorrow; and the next day, and the next. Never forget that it is a privilege to be doing business in countries outside of your own.
  • Be adaptable, but not indecisive.
  • The “official” first answer of almost anyone, be it a potential partner, a potential new customer, or an investor, will always be “no.” Don’t take “no” for an answer.
  • Read the book, “Delivering Happiness.” It inspired Sie and helped him realize to not only seek opportunity, but to give opportunity to others.

It was a unique chance for students to get real world inspiration to shape the future—their own and the world’s.


Early intervention

At Amway, we have an award-winning internship program that immerses students in the business world, giving them real projects and opportunities to learn from seasoned colleagues and executives.

Our Amway Business Owners also have access to free, extensive training to help ensure a successful start.

So, what about our new employees? They are not left out. The Early in Career Group at our World Headquarters was started in 2010 for anyone new to the Amway company. Regular meetings and social functions help them network, meet new people and expand their knowledge outside their own department.

They focus on professional development, leadership opportunities or volunteering events.

While it’s focused on helping new employees “connect, collaborate and grow,” veterans are welcome, too. In fact, they often use the group as a resource to tap fresh points of view.

Company executives, like Amway Chief Sales Officer John Parker, say fostering the group is “critical to the future of the company.”

“One of the great things about EiCG is that it keeps Amway entrepreneurial,” Parker said. “We’re a big company, a big business, lots of employees, and any big company like that ends up with silos.

“It’s those individuals that are part of the EiCG network that are the future leaders and the future of the business.”

Check out what some of the group members have to say in this video.

YouTube Direkt


Fishing lessons

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The old axiom is of debatable origin, but few debate the message: It is better to teach someone how to do something than to do it for them.

That’s a philosophy widely embraced in direct selling, where leadership is all about helping others succeed by showing them the way.

The business opportunity is open to anyone, regardless of their experience. Individuals must take advantage of training, business tools and mentoring that can help them master the fundamentals and build real success. People are more likely to succeed when the business opportunity and distributor leaders offer plenty of each.

Nibardo Espinosa, a former electronics technican from a small town in Panama, and his wife, Yenory Rodriguez, can tell you first hand how important educational programs and networking with other business owners has been to the success of their Amway business in Costa Rica.

Even after several years in the business, the couple found fresh skills, focus and knowledge in training provided to Amway business owners. Building relationships with others facing similar challenges brought them the confidence and determination they needed to grow as entrepreneurs. Plus, it gave them greater self-esteem and the financial ability to improve their parents’ living conditions along with their own.

Sounds like a pretty good fishing lesson.


It Started with a Conversation


When Amway and Microsoft recently hosted an event celebrating and promoting women leaders in business, people took notice – including contributor Anne Doyle, who wrote:

“When two global corporations with the economic impact and cultural  influence of Amway and Microsoft – both reach and employ millions of consumers and change agents all over the world —  recognize that the women’s leadership engine is revving up and they’d better get on board, the possibilities for paradigm shifting change are enormous.”

More than 200 women attended the event, which started with a conversation between Amway managers and their Microsoft account executive about the need to better support women seeking leadership roles.

It resulted in a daylong gathering that included keynote speeches from Amway Chief Marketing Officer Candace Matthews and Microsoft Americas Premier Support Vice President Kelly Rogan, who explained why being a “street fighter” is just as important as being a great collaborator.

We can’t wait to see where this conversation leads.

(Guest post by Nick Wasmiller)


Theory and Practice in Poland

Last month marked the 4th annual Women’s Congress of Poland, the country’s premier event focusing on the empowerment of women.

In fact, Women’s Congress is more of a movement than an event. The movement is non-political and growing both in strength and significance with more than 200 prominent and active women including politicians, entrepreneurs, civil activists, ministers, culture activists and feminists serving on its Council.

This year’s gathering attracted 9,500 participants including Poland’s First Lady and was sponsored by Amway Poland.  Themed “Activeness, Entrepreneurship and Independence,” it was the perfect stage from which to present the results of the 2011 Amway European Entrepreneurship Report showing that 68 percent (up slightly from 2010) of Polish people see self-employment positively.


Walking the walk

During last month’s annual meeting of the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), looking down at attendees’ feet would have been more apropos than at most business conferences. After all, it was the only way to see who was wearing a pedometer and how many miles they’d walked in three days.

All of that walking raised funds for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that helps 400,000 high-risk students worldwide achieve their potential with programs that:

  • Ensure school feels relevant to their lives.
  • Instill an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Teach and guide real business planning experience.
  • Provide teachers with entrepreneurship curriculum in 50 countries.
  • Teach creative thinking, market research, sales and marketing, and business and financial fundamentals.

DSEF members also got to meet students who participate in NFTE, like 14-year-olds Guadalupe Gamino and Oliver Gamez. This past year, Gamino invented “Tranzparent Heel Holderz” for women who struggle with walking in dress shoes. Gamez’s business will teach Spanish to teachers so they can communicate with unilingual parents.

Once students join NFTE, they typically have improved reading and math scores and better school attendance. They also become more focused on career planning.

The organization began in Brooklyn, New York, and has quickly spread to include partner programs like the Bright China Foundation, Foróige in Ireland, and others in India, New Zealand, Israel, Germany, Belgium, Colombia and Chile.

Supporting NFTE – a perfect way to walk the walk for an industry dedicated to helping people flourish and grow.


Present in Portofino

Portofino is known as one of the most beautiful ports on the Italian Riviera, a place where artists have long found inspiration and tourists have found rest and relaxation. This week, it is home to our annual Founders Council gathering of top Amway distributors from around the world.

They will certainly experience history with a visit to the 1361-built Cervara Abbey, but they’ll also get a glimpse of the future through the eyes of our executives.

As Doug DeVos shared with them, “For over 50 years, the decisions we’ve made, the relationships we’ve forged, the successes we’ve seen are a result of bringing to life the vision, values and cause of the Amway business. The partnership that began with Rich and Jay so many years ago and the partnership we have with you is what’s made this business what it is today . . . and will make this business strong for generations to come.”

Poet and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said Portofino was the perfect example of the profound connection between the places that have inspired artists and intellectuals and their works. In our case, it’s inspiring more than 90 Amway distributorships and through them, a global family of celebrated accomplishers.


Talent talks

Would you like to have a conversation with top experts from a global company in your area of interest…manufacturing, R&D, marketing? If so, do we have a surprise for you!

Last week, Amway Talent Acquisition’s Facebook corporate careers page piloted its first guest-hosted Facebook discussion. During the conversation Jim Brundidge, director of manufacturing at our Nutrilite Lakeview, California, operation, discussed manufacturing and labor trends and shared insights gained in his almost 35 years at Amway.

The pilot went so smoothly that our Talent Acquisition group plans to do it again.

From R&D and manufacturing to supply chain and business services, Amway has more than 20,000 dedicated subject matter experts who serve our distributors and want to change the world. We call them employees – and they’re ready to engage in discussions that benefit their functions, industries and global communities.

So check out Amway’s Talent Acquisition page at and join us in the next conversation, and stay tuned for future Facebook discussions with Amway industry experts.

Our guest blogger is Jon Brickner, of Amway Talent Acquisition.


Live from Toronto, it’s Amway Latin America!

As top distributors celebrated their 2011 accomplishments at a recent Amway Latin America Leadership Seminar, hundreds of distributors from Venezuela to Argentina cheered them on, both in Portuguese and Spanish.

For the first time, they were able to share the excitement only the top distributors of the region usually get to experience – without leaving their home markets. 

Amway TV broadcast the event live through a new webcast recently unveiled by the Instituto de Negocios (INA) of Amway Latin America.

Amway TV serves primarily as a training tool, allowing distributors to watch live in-language interviews with product experts and Amway staff. During the Toronto seminar, distributors were able to take part in a bigger motivational event that included presentations by Amway President Doug DeVos and Amway Latin America President Jeff Dahl.

INA Coordinator Michael Corcoran said distributors liked what they saw, as the webcasts received more than 12,000 views and 500 comments. Said one distributor, “What a beautiful moment… I’m not there but I can feel the energy that’s being lived there.”