And last month Amway Chief Marketing Officer Candace Matthews joined the CMOs of General Motors and Anheuser-Busch to share insights on marketing to China’s expanding middle class during The Economist Big Rethink event in New York.
The growth of China’s middle class is being driven by rapid urbanization there. Roughly 25 million people per year are moving to cities, and by 2030, 1 billion people will live in China’s booming urban areas.
As a result, companies are eager to learn from brands that have learned to successfully “market to the middle.”
The World Fact Book tells us that the ratio of men to women in the entire world population is 101 males to 100 females. Amway data tells us that our world looks a little bit different: More than 3 million people around the world have joined Amway, and two-thirds of them are fearless females — hard-working, independent entrepreneurs who joined Amway to earn extra income, be their own boss, learn new skills, set their own schedules and be rewarded for their accomplishments.
Every one of them has a unique story, and some of them are not building the business on their own. In most Amway markets, husband-and-wife teams are common. In some cultures, it’s mothers and daughters who start and work an Amway business together.
Busy mothers are building Amway businesses to earn extra income and flexibility for their families. And in some economies, women have become successful Amway business owners where few other entrepreneurial opportunities exist for them.
Two-thirds. We believe it’s a formula that’s producing many happy returns.
Have you ever wondered: What does Amway believe in?
We recently sent a team on a world tour armed with a film crew to answer that question. They went to Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Guangzhou, Bangalore, New York and our own World Headquarters, meeting with Amway Business Owners along the way.
The resulting video is a powerful answer to that question: Amway believes in people – people and their potential.
As the video states, “This potential is a postive force within all of us, and, when it’s inspired, it can’t be contained by race or class or creed or anything else. This is why we started Amway: to help people live better lives by helping them realize their potential.”
So, what is our most precious resource? An energy so big it can transform the world? Just watch…
Those are just a few of the words that describe Amway’s Bob Hamilton, THE go-to person for policies and regulations in the home care and beauty products industries.
“His practical approach is highly valued by regulatory professionals worldwide,” says Dr. Nico Raczek, Amway global director of regulatory policies.
What else makes Bob stand out? “Good science, and products that are safe for our families as well as our communities are primary motivators for Bob,” says Terri Gaskey, who leads our quality assurance and global technical services.
“He has worked tirelessly over many years to strengthen the work we do on behalf of the industry,” says Ernie Rosenberg, ACI President & CEO. “We could never say ‘thank you’ enough for all that he has done.”
Open a closet or cupboard door in many homes around the world and odds are you’ll find at least one product from General Mills, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, L.L. Bean or Fisher Price. And the leaders of these companies have much to teach us: about transformation, innovation, big data, culture, philanthropy and purpose.
That’s why Robert Reiss, Forbes columnist and longtime host of The CEO Show, brings these leaders on air, and asks them the tough questions about their personal management styles, how they have reinvented their industries, and how to develop best practices while upholding their own values. His show airs weekly and is syndicated in full or in segments in 85 U.S. cities.
The recent interview that Reiss did with Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel and Amway President Doug DeVos went live on the show’s website last week. It was an excellent opportunity to amplify Amway’s story, share the entrepreneurial spirit and drive behind direct selling, and have an important conversation about the role of entrepreneurs — people like our Amway Business Owners — in healthy, growing economies.
In the final minutes of the interview, Reiss asks both men for the advice they have for anyone considering becoming an entrepreneur. Said Steve, “You have to just jump in and try something. It doesn’t always work, but it doesn’t matter. Just keep trying.” Doug added, “Get connected with mentors and other people who’ve done it. . . everyone thinks it’s about money. It’s not. It’s about people and it’s about connecting with others who can give you encouragement. . . ”
Australia ranked third — behind only Finland and Denmark — with the most positive attitude toward self-employment. In fact, positivity down under is 14% more than the international average. Half of Australians can imaging starting their own business.
Australians are also fearless. While 70% of global respondents cited fear of failure as an obstacle to their own entrepreneurship, only 53% of Australians felt the same.
It makes sense given the entrepreneurial endeavors under Australia’s belt — like the world’s first notepads and pacemakers, penicillin, black box flight recorders and anti-counterfeit technology. Australia’s history of bringing ideas to life is impressive — as is its future with 83% of Millennials stating they would like to be self-employed.
Or, as one Aussie publication worded its headline about the study: “Go get ‘em attitude reigns supreme.”
It was a sunny November day in Nha Trang, a beautiful seaside city in central Vietnam facing the South China Sea.
Sri McCarthy and I accompanied two of our Amway Vietnam colleagues and the chairman of Khanh Hoa Funds to present educational scholarship to under-privileged children.
We were fortunate to visit five of the families who received the scholarships and hear about their school progress. We met grandparents, single mothers, siblings and other caregivers, all of whom welcomed us into their homes, offering us tea or water.
Despite their circumstances, they were able to thrive, and they proudly showed us pictures of their children or grandchildren and their report cards.
At the end of the day, we visited 11-year-old Le Dinh Nguyen Tri Thoi. When he was younger, he suffered from an untreated illness that caused him to lose his hearing. He struggles with some subjects but excels at math and science. His smile pulled at my heart and made me grateful that we work at a company that supports children like Le Dinh Nguyen Tri Thoi, helping them achieve their potential.
Earlier this month, all four Amway regional presidents sat down to chat with employees at Amway World Headquarters about their corners of the world. They shared insights, initiatives and compelling stories about local corporate citizenship efforts and Amway Business Owners (ABOs).
In Southeast Asia, Jim Payne uses his 30+ years of experience with Amway and time-tested relationships to lead several countries in which Amway already holds a top market share position. He highlighted Amway’s appeal to those under age 35 in Vietnam, one of our newest markets. He told a story of a Japanese ABO who lost half of her family and downline distributors during the 2011 tsunami. The loss motivated her to rebuild her business to the Diamond level in only three years, using her income to support and help rebuild her still-struggling community.
With 30 countries, 26 languages, 19 currencies and 11 time zones, Europe/India/Africa Regional President Samir Behl describes his region as having three advantages: diversity, complexity and opportunity. He shared that there are more women than men in Russia and they live longer. In addition to the societal impact of this, he (only half-jokingly) said this could contribute to a huge demand for beauty products such as ARTISTRY YOUTH XTEND.
Last, but certainly not least, in the home region of our headquarters – the Americas – Tanios Viviani says he lives for hearing, and telling, our ABO stories. The Americas president recently attended an event in the United States where he met a Costa Rican native who had left his parents and moved to Mexico to find success, promising not to return until they could be proud of him. After many years and he returned as a Diamond level ABO and was able to tell his mother that “Amway was [his] graduation in life.” That ABO now supports his family with his business. Tanios knows there are others like him capable and willing to do the same and says his region will do more than its part to ensure the Amway opportunity is relevant to future generations.
Across the miles and the 100-plus countries and territories where the Amway opportunity can be found, these four men brought their markets to life and connected our employees in Ada, Michigan, with the ABOs they support all over the world.
The traditional gifts that spouses give each other to celebrate a 25th anniversary in the United States include iris flowers and silver jewelry. This month, we are quietly honoring that same milestone for the Women’s Business Ownership Act, which was signed into law in October of 1988.
This landmark legislation allowed women to receive business loans without the co-signature of a male relative; created the National Women’s Business Council; and helped fund Women’s Business Centers - similar to this one in our backyard – all over the country.
As of 2012, the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report estimated that there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing 7.7 million people.
“It’s all about the potential of the people,” Amway President Doug DeVos told a regional audience as Amway was recognized this week as one of the best West Michigan companies providing leadership opportunities for women.
“We believe people are the greatest resource that any company or country will ever have. Seeing potential in everyone is the message we have to keep sharing.”
Since the company’s earliest days, values embracing inclusion and diversity of opportunity have been an essential part of the company’s growth, DeVos said. Hearing different voices and ideas has enabled stronger global expansion and helped manage change and opportunity.
For example, shortly after Amway China opened its doors, the Chinese government decided to ban direct selling. DeVos said the wisdom and experience of Amway China president Eva Cheng was instrumental in helping the company become part of the long-term solution and, as a result of her collaborative ideas, Amway has become a leader in China.
DeVos went on to say that his dad and fellow Amway founder Jay Van Andel progressively believed everyone could do everything. That’s how the business got its start – and continues to succeed.
“I always heard Dad tell people: You can do it. You have potential. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to doing,” he continued.
As it grows, the company continues to look for ways to diversify. Amway Chief Marketing Officer Candace Matthews is the executive sponsor of the Women’s Inclusion Network, one of three networks Amway has launched through its diversity and inclusion office. These inclusion groups help employees network with people of similar backgrounds and expose them to developmental and growth opportunities. DeVos cited the development of women as a positive outcome of robust talent development systems. Today more than 31% of global directors at Amway are female.
“The diversity of our team helps strengthen the development of our products, our business plan and our service,” DeVos said. “When helping develop talent, it’s both an art and a science to help people grow and to help them find new opportunities.”
Disclaimer: The authors of these blogs are Amway employees. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual author. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the view of Amway or any other person or company.