Archive for January, 2011

A princess teaches us about philanthropy

Monday, 10 January, 2011

Charles Spencer, Ninth Earl of Spencer and brother of the late Princess Diana, spoke to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids today.

What drew me in was the topic: “How the Princess’ Philanthropy Helped Position Britain Throughout the World.”

So what can a princess teach us about philanthropy?

I remember watching Diana’s wedding on television when I was a kid – particularly the wedding dress with the ultra-long train, which is currently on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

But when I scan my recollections of Diana, I also remember the places she visited – mine fields, AIDS clinics, the poor, and the forgotten.

And that’s what our esteemed speaker helped us understand. Besides bringing a fresh air of beauty and humanity to a stiff British monarchy and a dark British economy, Diana chose to channel the massive PR engine into causes that many overlooked.

In his words, she “repositioned Britain as a brand with her philanthropy,” partnering with such giants as Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela.

He said, “You can only make a difference when you have a visceral connection to the cause … She made a lot of people realize what they could do and should do for others.”

Diana used her glamour to create this connection between those watching on television, and those suffering in a third-world country. Today, philanthropy is considered a regular expression of celebrities and Hollywood stars.

And I suspect it will be an important expression of her son … the future king.

Inspired to Inspire Others

Friday, 7 January, 2011

My 2011 blog resolution is to tell more One by One stories of our distributors. They aren’t always as easy to find, but they are one of the most amazing aspects of our business.

Case in point: Pam Winters.

Pam and her husband Larry have been Amway Independent Business Owners in the US since 1980, and have achieved the Double Diamond level with Amway. The Winters were inspired by a magazine article Pam read 15 years ago about an organization called Mercy Ministries, a residential program that helps young women who have been physically and sexually abused, many who have been victims of sex trafficking.

In the last ten years, the Winters and their LTD organization have raised $6.2 million to support Mercy Ministries. Pam recently decided to do something very personal for the organization. So she trained for the New York City Marathon, raising $5,000 for the cause in the process.

“We feel so blessed to be able to help these girls,” she says. “We’ve always considered our business to be a type of ministry because we give hope to people all over the world for a better future.”

You can read more about Pam’s story in the latest issue of Achieve Magazine.

Amway distributors offer preventive medicine in India

Thursday, 6 January, 2011

Question: What’s the best time to see your doctor?

Answer: Before you get sick.

Yet many children in India do not regularly see a doctor. This prevents them from avoiding illness, and addressing health issues that arise.

Over the past year, the Amway Opportunity Foundation has partnered with the Self Confidence Society in Kolkata to offer a free check-up “camp” to more than 250 children living in slum areas and on the streets of Kolkata.

A team of five medical practitioners volunteer their time to conduct a general health check up at the Carie Baptist Church, helping children to get – and stay- healthy.

These aren’t just any medical practicioners. They also happen to be Amway distributors.

Thanks to Raj Narain for contributing to this post.

Lighting a Fire

Tuesday, 4 January, 2011

The Nobel Prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats once said that education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

We couldn’t agree more. So in the fall of 2009, Amway set out to inspire Grand Rapids Public Schools students interested in business and entrepreneurship on a path to discover their strengths and gain valuable real-world experience.

For the past two school years, Amway has supported the School of Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship at Ottawa Hills High School – just ten miles from our world headquarters. The program teaches classes on management, finance, and other business skills through internships, lectures, and real world business stories from local executives, including those from Amway.

In addition, students get mentors; before- and after-class support; and rigorous, relevant coursework such as creating and presenting business and marketing plans. Often times, Amway employees can be found leading and providing these experiences that prepare these students for graduation, college and life. The focus is on creating the next generation of business and community leaders.

The School of Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship is one of many programs that Amway employees have created; volunteer for; contribute to; or promote around the world. Every one of these hands-on efforts is a small spark that we hope turns into a love for learning that stays lit for a lifetime.

Guest blogger Cindy Droog contributed to this piece.