March 06, 2014
The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling
by Beth Douglass Silcox
Chief Marketing Officer, Amway
Candace Matthews learned early on that performance isn’t everything. “I was introduced to the ‘performance pie’ from the book Empowering Yourself by Harvey Coleman. The concepts are: Perform exceptionally well, cultivate the proper image and manage your exposure so the right people know you. It’s the percentages of importance that are the distinction,” she says.
Surprisingly, performance is only 10 percent of the “pie.” Image is 30 percent, and as it turns out, exposure outweighs everything else at 60 percent. “It’s not just what you do, but how you do it and who knows about it.”
Learning to be heard in a way that earns respect, builds credibility and ensures that a female leader is taken seriously can be a struggle. Thanks to her mother’s nurturing character, Matthews created a leadership style that joins head and heart. “I pride myself on being demanding without being demeaning,” she says. Matthews’ mother—who raised 18 children alone following the death of their father—instilled “the ability to develop people, to bring out the potential in them, and to lead them to accomplish great things.”
Matthews came to Amway in 2007 to create a global marketing organization that placed greater emphasis on consumers without losing focus on the company’s greatest asset—distributors or ABOs (Amway Business Owners). She brought with her classical marketing disciplines from previous marketing leadership roles at Coca-Cola, Cover Girl and General Mills. “My goal is to ensure marketing is partnering with sales to build brands, experiences and communities that support our ABOs in growing successful businesses,” she says.
This year, Matthews will help galvanize ABOs and employees around the world to celebrate the 80th anniversary of NUTRILITE, the world’s first and largest-selling multivitamin/multi-mineral brand. Amway will also extend their nutritional expertise into the weight-management category, as well as introduce a skincare product, which cares for the skin from the inside out.
“Everything Amway does, from developing innovative brands and products to opening business centers around the world, is in support of millions of Amway Business Owners in their own communities. Not only do we help people achieve their potential through business ownership, we also provide opportunities for our employees to grow personally and professionally,” Matthews says.
“I am passionate about helping women develop to their desired potential, both in the workplace and in the broader community,” she says. Matthews leads the Amway Women’s Inclusion Network, which includes women at all levels of the organization. It is one of three newly formed networks focusing on women, multicultural and multi-generational groups.
“Our inclusion networks are just one way Amway is working to advance diverse thinking, increase inclusion and provide avenues for employee development,” she says. “Because our industry attracts so many women, both as distributors and as employees, it is especially important for direct selling companies to promote and advance women within our organizations.”
Matthews considers herself a student of world cultures, and in her role at Amway it is a key strategy. “Learning and understanding other cultures is critical and helps me work with and influence colleagues all over the world,” she says. “I believe when you stop learning, you stop growing.”
Candace Matthews on entrepreneurship…
“The global economy continues to present opportunities for entrepreneurs everywhere. The entrepreneurial spirit transcends borders and cultures, as we found recently with our Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, which explored the appeal of business ownership in 24 countries. People are motivated by a desire to control their time and future, setting their own hours, goals and priorities.”
Amway, the No. 1 direct selling company in the world—as ranked in 2013’s Direct Selling News Global 100—had a record-breaking year in 2013 and continues a period of tremendous growth that is highlighted by annual sales increases for seven consecutive years.
Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos founded Amway in Ada, Mich., in 1959 and launched a relationship-based business model selling the first concentrated, biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning product. Amway is now a global leader in the categories of health and beauty, and in 2013 it launched a line of weight-management products, continued a global rollout of skincare products and gained momentum with water purification products in its Asian markets.
Integrating physical locations in recent years met with success at Citi Field in New York City, and now all four company regions have shops or business centers, including a new 2013 addition in Berlin, Germany. Additionally, a $375 million manufacturing and R&D global expansion got underway last year with new facilities in Washington, California, Michigan, India, China and Vietnam.
Late last year, some 15,000 people in 57 countries participated in public service projects during Amway Universal Children’s Day and impacted 100,000 children globally. This day was the culmination of a year’s worth of philanthropic events that celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Amway One by One Campaign for Children.
Amway (Alticor) ranked No. 1 on Direct Selling News’ Global 100 for 2013 with sales of $11.3 billion in 2012.
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