Archive for April, 2010

New York! New York!

Friday, 23 April, 2010

On April 6th a team of Amway employees and six Amway IBOs leaders from New York attended the Figure Skating in Harlem 2010 Skating with the Stars Gala.

Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) is a nonprofit organization in Harlem New York committed to providing girls with vital educational and skating opportunities that build self-confidence, promote physical well being and academic achievement.

Candace Matthews, Amway Chief Marketing Office is the board chair of FSH and was honored by the organization along with Olympic Champion Kristi Yamaguchi and Figure Skating in Harlem Board Chair Emerita, Tamara Tunie of Law & Order: SVU.

In attendance were famous ice skaters, hockey players, well known celebrities such as Donald Trump and the entire Cast of Law & Order: SVU. However, the most important stars present were the beautiful and talented girls who participate in the FSH programming.  That evening they performed to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Guest blogger, Luisa Schumacher, Executive Director of West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology, provides us with an account of her experience in New York City…

To say that traveling to New York City to experience a world-class figure skating performance by the girls of Figure Skating Harlem with Candace Matthews and a team from Amway was an once-in-a-lifetime experience, would be an understatement.

As executive director of the West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology (WMCAT), an organization that is supported by the Amway One by One Campaign for Children and Candace Matthews (Amway CMO and WMCAT board member), I joined the trip for the opportunity to learn more about a similar program we have to the nonprofit organization, Figure Skating In Harlem, located in New York. In addition to learning about the after-school program that helps girls from age 5 – 18 through figure skating, we were able to see the students perform at Wollman Rink in Central Park at a star-studded gala.  Needless to say, the event was spectacular and the girls were a treasure.

It is not often that a West Michigan not-for-profit organization can learn about the great things happening with similar groups across the country up-close and personal. I am so grateful to our friends at Amway for providing me with the opportunity to see a successful organization in action in such a unique way.

Skating Scene with FSH participants and Olympic Figure Skater Candace Matthews, Amway Chief Marketing Officer and FSH Board Chair was being honored for her work with FSH

Amway Sales Team Member and New York IBO Leaders Amway Team Members and New York IBO Leaders

A story of doing the right thing

Monday, 19 April, 2010

I've been waiting to publish this story in the hopes of getting a personal account, but I don't want to sit on it any longer. It's a story to share.

After sending 10,000 personal hygiene kits immediately after the earthquake, we got a note from our Sales team asking if we could spare a couple hundred kits for our IBOs. In the rush of providing large-scale support quickly and efficiently, we worked through World Vision and International aid to distribute the kits through on-the-ground agencies and churches, some of which were delivered with our corporate planes.

We designed the components of the kits after Hurricane Katrina. Toothpaste. Toothbrush. Deodorant. Soap. Shampoo. Hand Sanitizer. Wipes. Just the type of thing that people need but are not always provided through agencies focused on food and shelter.

Unfortunately, by the time we got the IBO request, we were having trouble getting supplies from our planes to the agencies. We had shifted our focus to delivering surgical equipment and medicine, so the doctors on our planes could shephard them through the chaos at the airport and begin using the supplies right away.

Also, the 10,000 kits that went to World Vision and International Aid were part of larger shipments and systems that were not set up to peel off and deliver a small amount to a targeted audience.

As much disaster planning as we did, we missed an opporunity here. It was a sinking feeling.

But what happened next recalls the old Amway stories about IBOs helping IBOs and employees dropping everything to do what needs to be done.

A team of Amway operations and sales managers got together to discuss how we could quickly pull together additional kits for the IBOs. We identified products in our US and Dominican Republic warehouses that would fit our criteria. We put together expedited shipments, and found employees to assemble the kits in D.R.

Then, a team of Amway representatives drove the kits to the Haiti border to personally deliver the kits to their IBO leaders from Haiti. This delivery was an important component, as many shipments of supplies crossing the border had been hijacked or simply lost.

They loaded up a waiting car, shook hands, and with deepest gratitude wished each other well. The IBO leaders from Haiti brought back the supplies to deliver and share among their downlines.

Beautiful.

Of course, all of this goes into the post-response analysis, and I'm sure we will build processes and programs and budgets to ensure we are supporting our IBOs in the event of a major catastrophe in the future. This is important for quick response and consistent delivery.

But looking back, there is something to be said for the grassroots effort, dropping everything and cutting through the red tape to help out our friends. Finding a way to make things happen, simply because it is the right thing to do.

 

Get ready to walk!

Wednesday, 14 April, 2010

The Walk With Me season is upon us!

This month kicked off the biggest and longest-running sponsorship by Amway Global in the US. For the past 27 years, we have been supporting therapy services for children and adults with special needs through Easter Seals.

We’ve been involved in everything from national telethons to diamond digs to cause marketing that raises money for Easter Seals. Many IBOs are involved at the local level too, with some serving on the local boards of directors, and others volunteering and getting others involved.

And I’ll let you in on some news that we will be celebrating this year: with Amway Global’s renewed commitment to Walk With Me, we will reach $30 million raised for Easter Seals over the years, in partnership with IBOs and employees. That’s a huge milestone for us.

Walk With Me is the best way to get involved. There are 70 walks around the country, so more than likely there is one close to you. At the events, you typically walk with kids who are ambassadors of Easter Seals services. It’s a fun event for IBOs, who put together teams and often compete to bring in the most people.

Amway Global will be a National Presenting Sponsor at all 70 walks. We also plan to attend the walks with the greatest IBO and employee participation, including New York City on June 12, Southern California on October 9, and our headquarters community in West Michigan on June 16. We hope to see a big turnout at these walks.

You’ll hear more from us as some of these walks get closer. And if you have Easter Seals stories to share, please send them along!

Earthquakes in San Jose … the good kind

Monday, 12 April, 2010

In this post, we can talk about earthquakes in a different way than we have been for the past couple of months.

We’ll use a capital “E.” As in the San Jose Earthquakes, the men’s team with Major League Soccer. It is becoming our M.O. here to leverage any marketing sponsorship to our efforts to help children. Think Ronaldinho and the Goal by Goal program, or Miss America and the Children’s Miracle Network.

Through the Amway Global sponsorship of the Earthquakes, we have been supporting the Kicks for Kids program, where players visit local schools and teach kids about the importance of healthy eating and an active lifestyle.

This year we worked with the Earthquakes to step things up a bit. The focus is providing support to players from diverse socio-economic backgrounds through a new scholarship program launched this month. The Amway Global Soccer Scholarship funds two players each year to attend the Earthquakes Youth Academy, and provides national exposure to colleges and professional soccer.

The first scholarship recipient is Juan Guerrero Jr., a midfielder and forward from Livermore, California who plays with the Mustang Soccer Club in Danville. Congratulations to Juan. We expect great things from you!

And in case you are wondering, the team won this weekend, so we are starting off the season 1 for 2. Go quakes!

Russia – Child's Smile

Friday, 9 April, 2010

In Russia, they have made great strides in their 50th Anniversary One by One project called “Child’s Smile”, which is aimed at creating new types of specially equipped play or sensory rooms in children’s social and medical institutions  for vulnerable children throughout the Russia Federation.

More than 34 such rooms have been completed to date!  Outfitted with developmental toys, play equipment, furniture and sensory activities, these playrooms are providing much needed play and smiles to children who are experiencing an extended stay at the hospital.

And for the remote areas of Russia? They have developed a mobile playroom that goes to the children!

Distributors have taken an active role in the project by recommending facilities, participating in room renovations and presenting equipment to facilities.

Congratulations to Amway Russia, it’s employees and distributors for gifting hope to a very special population of children!

Winners of the Being An American Essay Contest

Wednesday, 7 April, 2010

Following up on my post about the Being An American Essay Contest, which culminated in a trip to DC last week, the winning essays are now posted on the Bill of Rights Institute Website.

 I loved the essay of David Rinder from New Jersey, who wrote about Independence:

“Independence and the ability to control one's own destiny are ideals held dear by Americans. Entrepreneurship is the most essential attribute because it results in inventions and services that augment the general welfare and create innovative ideas out of one's dreams. It is about setting goals and realizing one's vision, which is the essence of America.”

He cites Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, a big read for a high school student. But his personal example is a business he started, which has a built-in economic model that donated 25% of its profits to charitable causes. Impressive.

Another essay I thought was amazing was from McKenzie Van Meter from Tennessee, who wrote about Patrick Henry and the Declaration of Independence. McKenzie plans to join the Peace Corps, and uses the organization as an example of Initiative, which was the civic value she focused on:

“Though America is a country of diversity, one quality links us together: initiative. Though this quality is intangible, its implications are anything but. Every American accomplishment, every revolution, every scientific breakthrough, every social reform has been made possible by our uncompromising initiative.”

And one more I have to mention is from Geidys Mederos who lives in Miami. She wrote about George Washington and the concept of Responsibility, which we talk about a lot in the corporate citizenship world:

“Responsibility is what takes us from wanting to do something to applying ourselves and achieving it. With responsibility and determination, we are able to do nearly anything. Likewise, without responsibility we are able to destroy everything…George Washington personified responsibility like few have done; his example of accountability should be followed by all…Indisputably, responsibility is the conductor of success, which in turn stimulates our country's continual freedom and welfare.”

Click here to read all 9 winning essays, or follow the links on the page to see the top 10 from each region of the country. These are the quotes of the future leaders of our country. Don't miss them!