The dawn of a new year is always a good opportunity to evaluate and refresh business operations and processes within a company, and it’s no different for a trade association like the Direct Selling Association (DSA). The DSA Board of Directors has approved a strategic plan that will guide the association through the next five years. Special thanks to Jim Northrop for his leadership as Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee during the development of this plan.
The past year has been a busy one on the advocacy front, with many legislative successes for direct sellers. The combined efforts of DSA members and staff have resulted in positive outcomes in many instances, with the ultimate goal of protecting direct selling companies and the independent business people they represent. Here are just a few key issues the DSA worked on in 2010.
Last month in this space, Neil Offen, DSA’s President, gave his analysis of the direct selling industry. He promised that I, as his successor in that office, would share my thoughts this month. I’ve worked with Neil for 25 years and generally have found his insights and observations to be spot on. But this time (in an obvious effort to be at least a little bit controversial and interesting for our readers), I am going to disagree with Neil.
As I approach retirement on June 30, 2011, I am getting more nostalgic about the 40 years I will have spent at DSA, and more analytical about the things that over these past decades have made an impression on me. I thought I’d share some thoughts and observations with you today. Next month, my successor, Joe Mariano, who becomes president and CEO of DSA on July 1, will share his vision for the industry’s future. Here are a few hypothetical questions on the industry for your consideration:
The Direct Selling Association community recently suffered the loss of two devoted servants of the industry: DSA Vice President of Finance Kathy Lindner and DSA Vice President of Research Eileen O’Neill. Between them, they worked for DSA for nearly 65 years. Along the way, they impacted many lives, both directly and indirectly. They were friends and colleagues to many and will be sorely missed.
For direct sellers, going international is a bit like taking your first dive into the pool. It is something you really want to do, but it takes time to get over the trepidation.
Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” No finer words can be used to describe the evolution of your association over the first 100 years of its life. Challenges identified and met. Opportunities shared and nurtured. Relationships created and valued. All hallmarks of the DSA.
CONGRATULATIONS, Direct Selling Association!
The increasing prominence of the Hispanic population in the United States and the issues of importance to them have already had a significant impact on the nation’s political debates, commercial climate and on the wider society. A large population of millions of legal immigrants of Hispanic descent, and millions more who are in the country illegally, have created a volatile mix of issues, including immigration policy, labor issues and social welfare questions. Marches on Washington, a looming congressional debate on immigration reform and dual-language customer service menus are all indications of the growing prominence of this key demographic in the American marketplace.
The annual Edelman Trust Barometer is always a compelling read for me. This international survey assesses the level of trust in business and government by “informed publics” around the world. Given various high-profile financial scandals and the fragility of global markets over the past few years, there has been a lot to assess in the area of trust—or lack thereof. What I find interesting, though, is the unspoken affirmation of the direct selling business model that the results of the survey seem to indicate each year.