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July 01, 2017

DSA News

DSA Annual Meeting Prepares for the Future of Direct Selling


Click here to order the July 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Photo: Adolfo Franco (far left), Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at DSA, sits down with a Leadership Panel to discuss, “Where We Are, and A Vision Forward.” The panel included (from left); Dave Wentz, Chairman of the Direct Selling Education Foundation; Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO, Traci Lynn Jewelry; David Holl, President and CEO, Mary Kay Inc.; and John Parker, Chief Sales Officer, Amway. 

More than 1,000 people from around the world interested in direct selling participated in the U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 4-6.

This year’s event covered a range of topics, including driving and managing business growth, navigating the changing consumer landscape, self-regulation and public policy. Jonah Berger, Associate Professor of Marketing Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, shared during a general session why “word of mouth” advertising is so much more effective than traditional adverting. Amanda Gore, CEO of The Joy Project and an expert on changing people’s behaviors, revealed how a few changes can enhance well-being and increase productivity and sales. Shama Hyder, CEO of the Marketing Zen Group, then offered her social media strategies to attract more customers, lead to more sales and grow a company’s brand.

The event did not have a designated theme, as has been the tradition, a choice that reflects the strategy of the association going forward, said Amway Chief Sales Officer John Parker, the incoming chairman of the DSA Board of Directors. “We really wanted to focus the attention on the Direct Selling Association and the way in which we as an industry are coming together to adapt to change in the marketplace and changing member needs,” Parker said. “We hope that the outcome of our time together is one that not only creates energy and excitement about the future but builds momentum toward positive change that will make DSA a stronger, more effective, more value-added organization to its members and one that is also more credible to outside audiences.”

The Board of Directors also approved a series of policy guidelines proposed by the DSA Ethics & Self-Regulation Committee to strengthen the DSA Code of Ethics and Association policies, building upon DSA’s stringent commitment to the highest standards of ethical business practices in direct selling.

“DSA continues to set the standard for industry behavior,” says DSA President Joseph N. Mariano. “The new policy guidelines make clear that companies must demonstrate that real customers are using real products, and provide examples of how legitimate companies can define and describe customers, salespeople, business builders, personal use of product by salespeople, and other aspects of our business model.”

In addition, Mariano noted that “procedures have been put in place for cases in which DSA member companies are subject to governmental actions. In such cases, companies will now be subject to suspension of voting rights, and if the facts merit, expulsion from the Association.”

In other business, three states have adopted anti-pyramid legislations this year: New Jersey, Indiana and South Carolina. Approval has been secured from last year’s lead co-sponsors to move forward with proposing the federal bill.

Direct Selling Honors

DSA closed the meeting with its Awards Gala and Dinner Celebration. For the first time ever, a DSEF Educator of the Year was awarded, which went to Dr. Brenda Cude with the University of Georgia.

One of the highest honors within the direct selling community, DSA Hall of Fame, was also announced. DSA inducted Nu Skin Enterprises Inc.’s Truman Hunt into the Direct Selling Association Hall of Fame. Hunt received this honor in recognition of his significant years of service and considerable contributions to the DSA, the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) and the direct selling channel.

“Truman Hunt is one of the true gentlemen of the direct selling industry,” said DSA President Joseph N. Mariano. “Through decades of working together, I’ve come to respect not only his intellect, fairness and talent, but also his humanity. It is a great honor to be able to see him receive the Direct Selling Association Hall of Fame Award.”

Hunt served as President and CEO of Nu Skin from 2003 to 2017. Very active in the channel, Hunt has served on the DSA Board of Directors, including as Chairman from 2014 to 2015. He also was Chairman of the WFDSA from 2005 to 2008 and most recently served that organization as Secretary.

The event also included the annual DSA Awards. The recipients were recognized for programs that have empowered independent direct sellers and fueled business processes. The 2017 category award winners were:

  • Excellence in Salesforce Development Award: Scentsy Inc., for its Social Selling Tools
  • Marketing and Sales Campaign Award: New Avon LLC, for its “This is Boss Life” integrated marketing campaign
  • Product Innovation Award: Ruby Ribbon Inc., for Ruby Ribbon Demiette
  • Rising Star Award: viaONEHOPE
  • Technology Innovation Award: The Pampered Chef, for its Express Party Checkout
  • Vision for Tomorrow Award: Damsel in Defense, for SAFE Hearts
  • Partnership Award: Momentum Factor
  • “DSA congratulates all our 2017 DSA awards winners for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to direct selling,” said Mariano. “These programs are incredible examples of the vitality, creativity and innovation that propel our industry forward, every day.”

DSEF Board Members Focus on Awareness and New Research

Brenda CudeDr. Brenda Cude of the University of Georgia was recognized with the first ever DSEF Educator of the Year award.

Under the direction of Chairman Dave Wentz, the Direct Selling Education Foundation is keeping its focus on spreading awareness of the value of direct selling on the economy and individuals pursuing entrepreneurship.

The DSEF Fellows program, in particular, is steadily growing. The program provides individuals a three-year opportunity to work with DSEF and industry executives to gain deeper insights into the direct selling channel of distribution, both as a market strategy and pathway to micro-entrepreneurship.

By June 2019, the goal is to have 200 professors as partners in the DSEF Fellows program and to reach 60,000 students per year with accurate information about direct selling. As of now there are 78 Fellows who have reached 8,416 students with direct selling content or industry speakers. An onboarding process is included with a guide to engagement that was produced this year, designed to motivate each professor to create research and encourage students to participate, with the expectation to reach at least 100 students in the year.

The current Economic Impact study will have been completed by June 30, with the Socio component expected this fall; the Success Drivers of High Performers study will be delivered in the fall of 2018. DSEF is involved in seven new research endeavors in all, including the study presented in Orlando comparing satisfaction rates among direct sellers and franchisees.

Another hot topic on the agenda was rethinking the term “direct selling.” While it is still challenging to pinpoint a replacement as the definition continues to evolve, members were looking for the best way to reflect the channel’s flexibility and position in the marketplace and how it could positively impact the level of interest from millennials and other demographic groups.

And finally, in Board Action, all of the DSA nominees put forward for the DSEF Board were approved.


John Parker Elected as Chairman of U.S. Direct Selling Association

The U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Board of Directors also held its formal annual meeting and election of board members with Amway Chief Sales Officer John Parker elected as Chairman. Important announcements included the DSA Women’s Leadership Retreat set for Aug. 21-23, as well as the DSA Day on the Hill scheduled for Sept. 12-13. This fall will also see the combination of the Regulatory and Marketing and Communications conferences combined into a single event.

Additionally, Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO of her eponymous jewelry company, was elected Vice Chairman, and Michael MacDonald, Executive Chairman of the Board of Medifast (Take Shape For Life) was elected Treasurer. David Holl, President and CEO of Mary Kay Inc., remains on the executive committee as the Immediate Past Chairman, and Scentsy Inc. CEO Orville Thompson remains as Past Chairman.

Others elected to the Board as Directors for terms expiring in 2020: Jean-Charles Boisset of Boisset Collection, Kevin Guest of USANA Health Sciences, Ursula Dudley Oglesby of Dudley Beauty Corp., Kevin Sommer of Melaleuca, Halle Sminchak of The Kirby Company, Connie Tang of Princess House and Elizabeth Thibaudeau of Jamberry Nails.

Those continuing to serve on the Board of Directors: Cami Boehme of Viridian International, Dan Chard of Take Shape For Life (Medifast), Angela Chrysler of Team National, Landen Fredrick of Mannatech Inc., Alexis Ginn of Primerica Inc., Ashley Good of Arbonne International, Pamela Jones Harbour of Herbalife, Konrad Mayr of Sabika Inc., David Merriman of ACN Inc., Ryan Napierski of Nu Skin, Britney Vickery of Initials Inc., Scott White of New Avon and Christie Woodfin of Thirty-One Gifts.