January 01, 2009
Executive Connection with Angela Loehr Chrysler, CEO, National Companies Inc.
In this month’s Executive Connection, Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming spoke to Angela Loehr Chrysler, CEO, National Companies Inc., about National Companies’ principles, its challenges and much more.
JF: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being the top executive of National Companies?
ALC: The people who I feel truly blessed to be able to work with in the sales field and at the corporate office. This tends to be an industry that has folks who are like-minded and want to help others. They want to make a difference. It’s truly something that feels very inviting to be part of.
JF: What has been your greatest challenge since assuming this position?
ALC: You’d think that it would be the passing of my father [National Companies Founder Dick Loehr]. But, ironically, because he did such a good job of allowing me to grow into the president position and then the CEO position, when he passed I was already running the company, and the salesforce was comfortable. The time before he passed, when we made the transition, was actually harder. It’s a big jump when you go from an EVP role and into the president and CEO role. When you’re a vice president, you’re one of the people who others count on to get things done. When you’re president, it reverses.
JF: How would you describe the ideal National Companies Independent Marketing Director?
ALC: Someone who believes in our mission, appreciates the value we place in our membership and helps us help others achieve their dreams.
JF: What is your vision for National Companies?
ALC: To continue to help people have choices they didn’t have before they found the company and this industry. Dad used to say that we didn’t care if we were the biggest company; he just wanted to be the best. I agree. At the end of the day, we want to do what’s right for people to help them better themselves and their lives and to help them earn a significant income.
JF: What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make at National Companies?
ALC: We had an IMD who wasn’t following our code of ethics. It was someone at a high level—about to achieve the highest level. It wasn’t a difficult decision in the sense of “do I need to terminate the relationship?” For me that was clear-cut. We can’t allow that in our organization, it’s not what we’re about. It was difficult in the sense of communicating the decision to our sales field because people knew him. We had to communicate the reasons behind it without going into the details that weren’t necessary—walking that fine line. There were so many feelings involved.
JF: Is there one basic principle that has governed your leadership at National Companies?
ALC: It’s summed up in our mission statement. We believe in teamwork, integrity and, at the end of the day, doing what’s right. But sometimes that’s not always clear-cut. That’s when it gets hard for me because my personality doesn’t do gray very well.
JF: Leaders usually draw on something or someone for inspiration, guidance and direction. Do you have a hero or heroine?
ALC: Even with my dad passing, I still have picture of him in my office and look to him for inspiration and guidance. I always will. Outside of my dad, I enjoy John Maxwell’s leadership style, so I read a lot of his books. I particularly like The John Maxwell Leadership Bible. It has helped me grow into my leadership role and responsibilities because it takes lessons from the Bible and applies them to leadership. It has become my favorite book.
JF: Which other direct selling company or person do you admire the most and why?
ALC: Mary Kay Ash. All of us in the industry and at her company embrace her vision and continue to use her leadership principles. I’ve been to many DSA events and heard many talks that include her timeless principles. Mary Kay Inc.’s management has done a good job of letting people know their founder.
JF: What do you see as our industry’s greatest challenge?
ALC: The biggest challenge the industry has is that the positive stories aren’t told enough. The more company executives can embrace helping DSA with our image-enhancement program, the more it will help the entire industry. Many companies have great charitable programs to talk about. It’s natural for our industry to do that. You see direct selling companies helping in a great way, but you don’t hear those stories told. I think that will be our biggest challenge for years to come. We’re changing the perception of the whole marketplace. It’s a lofty, but worthy goal.
JF: What is your favorite way to relax?
ALC: I enjoy reading. And I have a 5-year-old. Surprisingly enough, playing with her is relaxing, as high-energy as she is.
JF: When are you happiest?
ALC: When I am with friends and family. I enjoy and appreciate the people in my life. When we’re doing things together, those are the best times.
JF: What is your favorite travel destination and why?
ALC: We recently went to Turks and Caikos. The weather is similar to South Florida, and I enjoy that. It’s beautiful to be there, and the people of the island are wonderful. We’re going back in March.