March 06, 2014
The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling
by Beth Douglass Silcox
Founding Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Tastefully Simple
Over time, Joani Nielson has learned to trust her intuition because it is derived from her personal passions and strengths. She is a woman who strives to live a life in which she gives more than she takes, allowing others to shine and be successful as a result of her leadership.
Serving as a model, Nielson says, is a key component to leadership, and every challenge faced is an opportunity for the leader to grow personally and professionally. For her, no person defines leadership better than Mother Teresa. “She was a woman of enormous power and influence, yet exemplified total humility; leading by example,” Nielson says. “I believe that we were all created equal, and although as leaders we need to make many decisions, the voices of others are equally important. To succeed, you must have a team around you that is supportive and trusts you.”
“Our primary goal,” she says, “is to focus on our leaders. We have strong, passionate consultant leaders, and we need to ensure we are supporting them even better.”
Last year, Nielson took on a greater company-wide leadership role, allowing CEO Jill Blashack Strahan to spend more time with consultants. “In taking on a closer day-to-day role with team members here at HQ, it’s been valuable to me to seek input and feedback from across the company,” Nielson says. She is excited about the intensive strategic work the corporate team has been doing to identify priorities, opportunities and goals. “As an organization, we’re focusing on innovation and simplification of our brand and processes, which will benefit our consultants, HQ team and clients,” she says.
The field in direct selling, especially among home party companies, tends to be predominately female, something Nielson is mindful of when interviewing candidates for positions in Tastefully Simple’s corporate office. “While we always choose the candidate best qualified for the position, regardless of gender, I’m pleased that Tastefully Simple has been able to fill several key organizational roles with women,” she says.
What Tastefully Simple wants above all else is to supply simplicity “for our clients, who are looking for simple and delicious foods; for our consultants, who want clear direction and support for their businesses; and for our team members, to enhance their satisfaction and productivity.” After all, Nielson says, “The word ‘simple’ is part of our name.”
Joani Nielson on success…
“I believe many in my generation have challenged themselves to redefine what it means to be successful—as executives, parents and human beings. My own definition of success, which helps balance the professional and personal areas of my life, is to live and model a faith-filled life.”
Joani Nielson on personal development…
“At the end of the day I always ask myself, ‘What did I learn today that can make me a better person tomorrow?’ In the past few years I have worked with a life coach, served as a director on the DSA Board, and been involved in our local legislative committee and a Vistage group (executive coaching). I learn from my team and my children. We learn so much by our interactions with others we admire.”
Tastefully Simple, an easy-to-prepare foods direct seller based in Alexandria, Minn., refreshed their brand this year with a new logo, product packaging and a “Simple. Delicious. Fun.™” tagline, while still maintaining their mission to help people spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the rest of their lives.
The company offers a wide range of goods and products from assorted beverages to breads, soups, sides, desserts, dip mixes, spices, oils, and dressings with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. In 2013, Tastefully Simple launched a gluten-free line, which will expand in 2014.
All of Tastefully Simple’s foods and gifts are available through nearly 24,000 independent consultants online or at home tasting parties that encourage “trying before buying.”
Tastefully Simple proudly partners with Share Our Strength®, a national non-profit working to end child hunger in America, and has donated over $1 million to their No Kid Hungry program. The company’s national corporate team has raised over $1 million since 2009 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Tastefully Simple ranked 90th in Direct Selling News’ 2013 Global 100 and reported company sales of $96 million 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