March 06, 2014
The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling
by Beth Douglass Silcox
Founder and CEO, Jeunesse Global
For a female executive visiting an international boardroom for the first time, interaction and respect in a male-dominated culture is never a given. “Sometimes, I feel I have to prove myself,” says Wendy Lewis, Founder and CEO of Jeunesse Global.
“However, I feel very comfortable and confident when answering questions about our business and the industry, in general, so after I speak they seem to relate to me and trust my competence.”
Lewis spends a great deal of time abroad, traveling to the company’s many international offices. Developing personal relationships with distant employees and learning about the cultural differences in the people and within the international industry is what she loves most about her job. “Meeting new people from around the world and connecting with them on different levels is an amazing learning opportunity for me,” Lewis says.
Jeunesse looks to Japan, Europe and Latin America this year for major business growth and with that will come even more opportunities for Lewis, who says, “I am extremely excited about continuing to grow the overall culture of Jeunesse, while enriching thousands of people’s lives around the world.”
As a leader, Lewis lives what she believes in and tries her best to set the example she wants others to follow. “I try to listen and be compassionate while at the same time establish parameters that we all have to live within,” she says.
Her comfort zone in her role as CEO is planted firmly in people and mathematics. Lewis thrives on solving personnel issues and working with programmers. “We can react more quickly to promotions and enhancements than most companies due to my understanding of compensation plans and our actual database and code. In other words, I can speak the same language and react accordingly to support their needs,” she says.
In anticipation of significant international growth, expanded domestic business, and some “lofty” financial goals, Lewis wants to add executives this year, while strengthening existing regional executives. “With the current number of available top-level people in the marketplace, I feel we have a good possibility of finding excellent top management candidates,” she says.
According to Lewis, while it seems to be easier to find top women executives internationally than it is within the United States, she sees the search as worth the challenge. “I think with our particular products and our predominance of women in the field, it would be wonderful and truly ideal to find more women for executive positions within our company,” she says.
“I do target finding and developing female executives, but I find it difficult to locate the right people who are female,” Lewis says. Mid-level female executive candidates are more plentiful, and Jeunesse proudly promoted two women to director-level positions at their corporate headquarters last year. But still, Lewis frets, “The applicant pool for top-level executives for headquarters seems to be populated by mostly men.”
Wendy Lewis on personal development…
“I attend seminars and try to learn from others who have been in the industry longer and have proven track records. This allows me to keep in touch with the industry as a whole, and it gives me new, fresh ideas that I can take back to headquarters and share.”
Jeunesse, based in Altamonte Springs, Fla., is a direct selling leader offering anti-aging and beauty products in more than 80 countries around the world. Jeunesse combines breakthrough science and innovative product formulas to create a skincare system that enhances youth by working at the cellular level. By focusing on the health, longevity, and renewal of cells, Jeunesse helps people enjoy vibrant, youthful results that last.
In 2013, the company launched two new, science-based, clinically proven products, Luminesce ultimate lifting masque and Finiti, within the Jeunesse Youth Enhancement System (Y.E.S.).
On the heels of winning the Direct Selling Association’s Rising Star Award in 2012, Jeunesse more than doubled its sales last year. They earned the trust of 28,000 new members in December alone, and some 8,200 members flocked to the 2013 Annual World EXPO hosted by the company’s Thailand market.
Jeunesse Kids, the company’s corporate charitable foundation, contributed over $1 million in donations in 2013 and provided over 10 million meals to hungry children across the globe.
With $126 million in sales in 2012, Jeunesse ranked 78th on the Direct Selling News 2013 Global 100 list.
Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson