March 06, 2014
The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling
by Beth Douglass Silcox
Co-Founder and Chief Networking Officer, It Works! Global
Pam Sowder often feels like she straddles two worlds. She comes from the field, a direct-selling veteran who understands the everyday challenges associated with building a team. But at It Works! Global, she resides in a corporate world now, where the daily needs of distributors must mesh with the company’s big picture strategies.
“I’m out there every day building with our distributorship, but I am not a distributor. I think understanding and appreciating the field and being grateful for my role is important,” Sowder says. Stepping into direct selling corporate took some adjustment on her part. “I’ve never had that role before. I’ve never been in that type of position before. But I understand what my gifts are and what my challenges are.”
Sowder has learned to stay focused, listen, balance her emotions and, above all else, communicate effectively. “I feel like I’m a big part of the field, but then I go back to corporate and feel that I can really communicate and execute there as well,” she says. Striking a balance between both worlds is challenging, but it’s made easier for Sowder because she has a tremendous belief in herself, the product and the company.
“I was the first to try the wrap, recruit distributors and train them,” Sowder says. She spends nearly 100 percent of her time working with a distributor field that is 80 percent female. “I have a real passion for who they are, what they do daily and all the ups and downs of belief they have in themselves.” As she sees it, her job is to inspire these women to be great and make real connections with them as people.
“Women are powerful in this industry. We can have a home and care for our spouses and children while building strong businesses without feeling guilty. We are worth a six-figure or more annual income,” Sowder says. It just takes support, which she works to provide each and every day.
Bridging the field with corporate will grow in scope and fun in 2014, when the company moves into its new Palmetto, Fla., headquarters situated on the water and sporting an adult slide the likes of Google. This new venue for the company’s Green Carpet Experiences, where members of the whole It Works! Global team get to know each other, will undoubtedly help the corporate office and the field connect. “One doesn’t work without the other, and we want them to all feel that they are acknowledged and vital,” Sowder says.
“Our business is a blast, and we do everything we can to keep it simple and keep it fun. That doesn’t mean that selling is always crazy fun, but we keep it light. We talk about life and the things that we’ve learned about each other’s families, what we’re wanting for our kids, and the life skills that we’re building. I like being around our people. They’re not just colleagues. They’re not just distributors. They’ve become our best friends,” Sowder says.
Strengthening those bonds is of utmost importance to the company in 2014. “I want our team to know that we care. We are there with them. We know what they go through every day. We have been there and we get it,” Sowder says.
Pam Sowder on personal development…
“I’m an avid reader. Now it’s Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. I love Daniel Pink and John Maxwell too. I’m reading a lot right now on social media and trying to get a grasp on teaching the etiquette of Facebook.”
Pam Sowder on staying connected…
“I answer all my own Facebook messages. I just don’t feel comfortable delegating that out. I am still very much in touch with my leaders, and we text message throughout the day and week. If they need me, they have access and I have access to them. I think that’s important.”
It Works! Global
It Works! Global offers the world’s first naturally based body contouring line of products that delivers maximum results in minimal time. The company’s first and still most popular product, The Ultimate Body Applicator, is a site-specific body contouring treatment commonly called a “wrap.”
In addition to body contouring, It Works! Global offers products designed to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars, while making the skin look younger. Other products include nutrition supplements, as well as those designed to help detoxify impurities, relieve menopausal symptoms, provide muscle and joint relief, and lose weight.
It Works! Global products are marketed by a team of primarily female direct sellers through home “wrap” parties. Recently 10,000 distributors gathered for the company’s largest conference ever.
In 2011, the company made the move from Grand Rapids, Mich., to the Sunshine State. In 2014, they will move into a brand-new, waterfront headquarters in Palmetto, Fla.
It Works! Global had $200 million in sales in 2012 and ranked 56th on the 2013 Direct Selling News Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies.
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