March 06, 2014
The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling
by Beth Douglass Silcox
Chief Marketing Officer, Univera Inc.
From the time Claire Bancino became the first female executive in a very large corporate, male-dominated structure back in the 1980s, she felt obliged to be a role model for other capable women coming up in an organization.
“I’ve never been in a company that had a formal female mentoring program, but I’ve always made myself available to other women as a mentor and sounding board,” Bancino says about countless hours behind closed doors with women who sought her counsel and advice on successful behaviors and attitudes that would establish them as credible leaders.
Having lived her entire career in a predominately male corporate environment and among male field leaders, Bancino has created a personalized leadership philosophy that allows her to be, “confident, clear, concise, compelling, decisive and direct, without being labeled a witch!”
It begins, she says, by showing respect and being gracious, even to those for whom you have little respect. Twice in her career, Bancino faced the unenviable position of loving her job but working for someone for whom she lacked respect. She says, “I needed to change my attitude! I started looking for and focusing on his strengths, which were different than mine, rather than his weaknesses—shifting my behavior and attitude from indifferent to collaborative, from resistant to supporting.” In so doing, she says, you can learn to respect the person, and that “vibe” subtly changes the relationship and their behavior toward you.
Bancino put the same philosophy to work in a previous position as the leader of a marketing team inherited from a previous CMO, to whom the staff was very loyal. She won them over by “communicating clear goals, showing respect, being gracious and empowering them as much as possible to get their jobs done. It works!” she says.
“I try to start relationships with trust: Trust the person’s character, intent, and competency until proven otherwise,” Bancino says. So she tends to set goals and rules like budgets and deadlines, and then lets her staff members run. When they succeed, she believes in the power of recognition. “It’s free, it shows support, and it goes a long way in building an individual’s confidence and pride in their work.”
“I love watching someone in action who has just presented an idea or proposal or passionately stated a position in a really compelling way,” Bancino says. Scenarios like this are growth opportunities for even the most dynamic leader. “Absorbing what and how they communicated and how they successfully influenced others in the room—I think that’s really powerful.”
Bancino surrounds herself with passionate people. Even when she disagrees with their positions, she finds they help her continue to develop as a leader and a person. But words of caution: “Opinions are worthless if they are not based on solid knowledge or information to power smart decisions,” she says. “Do your homework!”
A stellar 2014 is in store for Bancino and the marketing team she leads as they prepare for three strategic growth initiatives: a proactive and highly communicative 90-day startup for new associates, a loyalty and incentives program for regular auto-ship customers, and Univera’s international expansion into Southeast Asia.
Claire Bancino on personal development…
“My No. 1 personal development goal as I grow older is to make sure that I don’t lose my sense of adventure, and wonder, and willingness to try new things. My 24-year-old daughter, my current inspiration, lives a life of adventure that is a daily reminder for me to relax and enjoy the moment.”
Claire Bancino’s favorite part of the job…
“Brand strategy, and new product launch strategy, and campaigns are very rewarding to see come together, and more so when your distributors also love what you’ve done, applaud your efforts and sell a ton.”
Unlocking the medicinal and health benefits of nature and then sharing those benefits with others is the cornerstone of Univera, a nutrition and health company founded by Yunho Lee, who has dedicated his life to discovering, developing and delivering botanically derived revitalizing compounds.
Univera is an industry leader in natural product research and applying pharmaceutical science to natural medicinal plants. Impressed with their success with aloe vera, Univera perfected technology used to uncover the bioactive compounds within any medicinal plant.
Today, Univera offers products that promote energy, digestive and heart health, joint comfort, immune system support, weight management and much more. In 2013, the company ranked 79th on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list of top direct selling companies with sales of $121 million. They are headquartered in Seattle, Wash.
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