March 06, 2014
The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling
by Beth Douglass Silcox
Angela Loehr Chrysler
President and CEO, Team National
As a woman, Angela Loehr Chrysler trusts her heart and instincts and believes in herself. “Women often feel they can’t have a heart or emotions in business, and they try not to have these feelings,” she says.
“I think we as women need to embrace the gifts we are given just like we need to appreciate the gifts men are given.”
When a female follows in the footsteps of a male CEO, as Chrysler did upon the passing of her father—Team National Founder Dick Loehr—transition includes both personality and gender differences. “There are things that you do differently,” she says. “There’s a comfort level, and sometimes there are things you would say man-to-man that you wouldn’t say man-to-woman and vice versa.”
Men are usually the dominant leaders of Team National businesses. To successfully navigate relationships with the many men in her sales field and at the home office, Chrysler looked to an unlikely resource, a book called Love and Respect, intended for married couples. “There’s a similar dynamic. When you are married, you have to show respect to your husband. I applied this idea to my relationships at Team National. Once I focused on showing them respect and giving them respect that really helped my relationships with them and showed them how I felt,” she says.
In so doing, Chrysler fostered an open communication style that allows both men and women an opportunity to offer their strengths to the company. Her servant leadership style has been important to the company’s team culture and overall growth.
“I want to be the one who is serving and trying to grow as a leader, trying to develop the people around me, trying to help them have opportunities for feeding their strengths,” she says.
Sometimes this means Chrysler must step back from responsibilities that no longer make sense for her role in the organization and use the opportunity to identify someone else’s strengths to bolster their skills and help them grow.
A person’s value to an organization, she says, depends upon how much he or she has to give, and personal development is much like money management. “You need to be able to manage $5 before you can manage $500. You might start out reading one personal development book a year, but you can increase that. As you do, you become more valuable, and you’re an asset to any organization.”
No matter the role within the company, she stresses, “Never underestimate the power of growing yourself. Too often people do underestimate the power of doing it today!”
Chrysler’s intuitive skill to zero in and find the path to make something happen is one of her greatest strengths, but those details she loves can bog her down when big thinking is in order. “I don’t necessarily need to be focused on the details every day anymore. It’s not necessarily what’s best for me to do. Allowing someone to take on those roles has really helped me to see other areas that I’m good at,” Chrysler says. It takes time and practice stepping back so others can step forward, and still once in a while she admits to her team, “I was building the clock. I wasn’t telling anybody what time it is.”
Ultimately though, it is this CEO’s job to tell the rest of the team “what time it is,” and for Team National, 2014 is a year focused on analytics. “Although we have done it in some areas effectively, we have not been consistent throughout every aspect of our business in every department,” Chrysler says. Data paired with sales field discussions will “help us learn more and be a better company. The best way that we can support people is if we continue to learn what it is they want.”
Angela Loehr Chrysler’s personal development secrets and advice…
“The Maxwell Leadership Bible (by John Maxwell) helps me grow my faith, and in business I see things in a different light.”
“Monthly calls with top leaders, blogs and writing newsletters—all those aspects of communicating in your field—make you a better a leader. They make me do my personal growth, even when I get busy, because I know it’s part of what I need to be giving to my team.”
Team National provides membership savings for both businesses and families for a wide variety of products and services, including factory direct pricing for home furnishings and some 20 other industries. Dick Loehr started a benefits package company in 1997 and later merged it with a direct selling company to form National Companies, headquartered in Davie, Fla.
Minor changes in Team National promotions triggered quadruple results in 2013, which in turn caused double-digit growth in membership sales for the year. “We find when we focus more nationally—on the big picture, the whole company, the whole U.S.—we provide value in our membership sales, and that provides great growth, which benefits the whole sales field,” Chrysler says.
In 2012, Team National reached total product, service and membership sales of $301 million, and the company ranked 43rd on the Direct Selling News Global 100 in 2013. There are currently more than 390,000 Team National members.
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