“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.”
Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel and President Doug DeVos were selected “Business Persons of the Year” for their leadership of Amway as well as efforts to improve their hometown of Grand Rapids. They were lauded for their partnership in leading Amway to unprecedented success, including their commitment to “do the right thing and do it well.”
And Amway Cofounder Rich DeVos and wife Helen were honored for their legacy of community leadership and giving, which literally changed the skyline and future of the city. They were celebrated for being a “catalyst and spark” for the reinvention of Grand Rapids through their “leadership, positive drive and can-do attitude.”
From running a global business in Ada, to giving generously, to leading change in our community, these four meet the criteria for “influence.” And they’ve definitely made a difference in our corner of the world.
This video takes a closer look at Rich and Helen’s contributions.
For Amway President Doug DeVos, growing up around the family business meant more than simply watching his father, company co-founder Rich DeVos, go to work each day.
For Doug and his siblings, it meant welcoming distributors to the family’s home, serving food and cleaning up afterward. He was even recruited to do product demos.
“The business came to the family and the family came to the business,” Doug recalled. “We got to be involved. That’s not true with a lot of family businesses.”
Doug recently talked about growing up in Amway, what he learned from his father and how he leads Amway with Chairman Steve Van Andel today in an interview with the Sunday Morning Townsquare radio show.
He also shared the value of listening to and learning from distributors in creating the products, training and support to help them succeed. Keeping that orientation, Doug said, ensures that Amway is relevant today and remains so for future generations.
The annual report highlights the many ways our company, its more than 21,000 employees and more than 3 million distributors make a difference in the lives of others.
That includes building homes in Latin America, providing water filters in Haiti, building libraries in China and adopting schools right here in the hometown of our World Headquarters.
Corporate Social Responsibility is built into everything we do: our people, our products and our performance.
Steve and Doug credit their fathers for recognizing the potential in this business for making a difference.
“They made it their mission to be more, do more, give more. And more than a half-century later, we’re still emulating their powerful example. … We’re awed by how far we’ve come and inspired to keep becoming more, together.”
Amway President Doug DeVos, in the April 2013 edition of Harvard Business Review, shares the lessons Amway learned working through China’s direct selling ban in the 1990s.
“The idea that direct selling could be outlawed was incomprehensible to us. This method of marketing was the foundation of Amway’s business—it had been tested and proved over time and across borders. And now it appeared that we could be put out of business, despite our commitment to and investment in our China operation,” he writes in Harvard Business Review.
In “Amway’s President on Reinventing the Business to Succeed in China,” Doug describes how Amway worked with government officials to create strong direct selling legislation and made significant changes to the way it did business in China, such as opening stores. Doug details four key lessons – understand the market, stay true to your mission, build strong, trusting relationships and take a long-term view – that helped Amway become the industry leader in China.
Doug’s column also appears in the China edition of Harvard Business Review in April, along with a story about Amway China’s innovation and growth strategies.
Amway now operates in more than 100 countries and territories. Wherever we go, we try to connect with the community, and our hometown is no different.
We are pleased to partner with Grand Rapids NBC affiliate WOOD TV to share our stories of connecting to the West Michigan community. As Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel and President Doug DeVos explain in these videos, connecting with community has always been a part of the Amway culture.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Amid strong growth in the direct selling industry, Amway President Doug DeVos wrote about the importance of that first impression in the current issue of Direct Selling News.
“As we look to share our businesses with even more people around the world, the first impression is always the most important and the most lasting,” he said.
That is why ethical business practices are so important. Amway is proud to be a member of the Direct Selling Association, which features a powerful Code of Ethics emphasizing the importance we place, as an industry, on ethics.
“The expectation is that distributors can rely on leaders in their organizations to uphold the highest levels of honesty, integrity, responsibility and accountability,” DeVos said. “At the same time, consumers should be able to trust that people in this industry possess strong principles, moral character and sound judgment.”
It’s been more than a decade since Amway launched the Executive Speaker Series, where interns can hear and learn from our most senior leaders about what it’s like to work here.
The series is unquestionably the highlight of our summer internship at World Headquarters.
Many of us are attracted to Amway because it’s a great place to work and has a strong global presence. But we also have this incredible access to Amway’s top leaders.
Recently, 100 interns gathered to meet the first of this series’ seven presenters: Amway President Doug DeVos. “We all have special gifts to contribute,” said Doug. “But success is not simple. It’s hard work.”
Not too many interns can say they met the president of their organization. But now we can say we did. Interns left the event feeling inspired and ready to face their internship head-on.
The playground is the 14th built by KaBOOM! and Amway, the 10th built in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and one of more than 150 playground builds KaBOOM! will lead across the U.S. in 2012.
Amway President Doug DeVos and leaders from KaBOOM! and D.A. Blodgett kicked off this Amway One by One project with motivational words that stayed with us all day long. You could feel the energy build as people were dancing to the music and sweating from the heavy lifting. A heart-felt dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony reaffirmed each person’s role in making this dream a reality.
Building this playground brought hundreds of laughs and smiles, and it will be responsible for many more to come.
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.