June 01, 2010
Executive Connection with Greg Provenzano, President, Co-Founder, ACN
In this month’s “Executive Connection,” Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming speaks to Greg Provenzano, President and Co-Founder, ACN about his vision, who he admires and much more.
DSN: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being a top executive at ACN?
GP: Between myself and the other founders, Robert [Stevanovski], Mike and Tony [Cupisz], it was never about who had the most prestigious title or the largest office; we just wanted to provide an environment that worked for us. But, more important, it’s always been about creating an opportunity that would allow others to be successful as well. The thing I love most about ACN is that it’s more than just a money-making opportunity; it’s a vehicle that allows us to positively impact people’s lives along the way.
DSN: What has been your greatest challenge?
GP: Our industry is wonderful and unique, but with that uniqueness comes a fair share of challenges. Finding executives to help run the day-to-day operations globally who also have an understanding of the direct selling industry has been a struggle over the years. Fortunately, we have identified people along the way that today have enhanced ACN’s business tremendously.
DSN: What’s been the most fun part of the job?
GP: Having the privilege of developing friendships and relationships with people in all 21 of the countries in which we operate is just amazing to me. I grew up in inner-city Detroit, so I never dreamed I’d ever travel globally, much less have lifelong relationships with people in Europe and Australia.
DSN: How would you describe the ideal ACN representative?
GP: The beauty of ACN is its level playing field. We provide an opportunity for people from all walks of life to build successful businesses, from already successful businesspeople, to college students and everyone in between. It’s a “no experience necessary” business. So, while education or sales experience doesn’t determine someone’s level of success, there are a few characteristics that go hand in hand with building a successful business. The greatest success stories in ACN are people who are hungry and want to do something above the norm, people who are determined, have no-quit attitudes, are persistent in the face of adversity and can stay positive in a negative world. Those qualities are inherent in anyone who will be successful, regardless of the business.
DSN: What is your vision for ACN?
GP: To continue building something that will far outlast our lifetimes. It’s not just about where ACN is right now; it’s about where we will be five, 10, 15 years down the road. By simply continuing to provide an environment for others to win, ACN will become the greatest success story that ever was—because we will have created millions of individual success stories along the way.
DSN: Is there one basic principle which governs your leadership at ACN?
GP: It’s a term that’s overused but we take it very seriously around here: integrity. Integrity is all about who you are as a person, how you behave when no one is watching. It’s the single most important trait we can possess as leaders, and it’s a part of every decision at ACN. Integrity drives us to always put the needs of the masses above the needs of ourselves.
DSN: Leaders often draw on something or someone for inspiration, guidance and direction. Do you have a hero or heroine?
GP: I’m an avid reader, and I read a diverse selection of books from a range of authors, but all have one basic premise: leadership and becoming the best leader I can be. I draw a great deal of inspiration and guidance from the Bible, specifically from the Book of Proverbs, as it offers an incredible amount of guidance and direction in every area of life. I believe most leadership books are based on the teachings of Proverbs.
DSN: What’s the best advice you ever got?
GP: I met a man many years ago who told me that if you do the exact opposite of what most people do, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll win. Don’t read the books most people read, and don’t listen to what most people listen to, because most people go through life at status quo. You have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and do what others won’t to reap the rewards that others won’t have.
DSN: What do you like to do for fun?
GP: I love spending as much time as possible with my family: my wife and three adult kids. They are my greatest accomplishments. I enjoy having dinner at home, barbecuing, golfing and boating and simply being with good friends. ACN is important, but it’s certainly not the most important thing in my life.