A story of doing the right thing

Apr 19, 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.


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.


  • 1 Comment

    • Linda Conyers says:

      How do we find out about helping with these kinds of efforts?

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