This has been an interesting week in Direct Selling, Bill Ackman, activist investor and founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, decided to short 20,000 shares of the company. I have found Mr. Ackman to be very educated and informed. However, even he did not explain on international TV, how network marketing works. After Christmas, I will address those statements which are not accurate of MLM. In other International Direct Selling News, 2013 looks very promising.
Seldia EU Exhibition on Women Entrepreneurship
On 19 to 21 February 2013, Seldia organizes a three-day Exhibition on Women Entrepreneurs at the European Parliament building in Brussels. The aim of the exhibition is to underline the importance of women entrepreneurs and the need to tackle remaining barriers which create extra difficulties for women when starting their own businesses.
Seldia will exhibit best practices in the direct selling sector, which employs 4.5 million direct sellers in the EU, 85% of whom are women. The exhibition will also gather a multitude of partnering organisations with similar interests. Seldia’s exhibition is kindly hosted by the Members of the European Parliament Mrs. Malgorzata Handzlik (EPP) and Mrs. Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D) and will allow participating organizations to showcase their best practices, research or their activities related to women entrepreneurship. (Learn more here)
Swedish DSA Academic and Female Entrepreneurship Awards
The Swedish DSA (DF) had its Annual Meeting and Gala Dinner at Grand Hotel in Stockholm on 17 November 2012. More than 150 direct sellers and leaders took part in the event and eleven of those were honoured with the DF Award for Excellency in Direct Selling.
Guest of honour was Wonna I de Jong (www.wonna.se) the face of successful female entrepreneurs. She came to Sweden 18 years old with the dream of becoming a business woman. Some decades later she is a billionaire in real estate. She even has her own castle (www.yxtaholmsslott.se), something she dreamt of having since she was a six year old selling vegetables in the local market of her home village of Przasnysz in Poland.
Wonna presented the Academic Award (SEK 50,000) to Josefine Blom and Kristin Rudenstam for their thesis titled: “Corporate Social Responsibility, a hot subject”. DF had also introduced a new award for 2012, called the Female Entrepreneurship Award of SEK 50,000. Invitations for nominations were made through social media and after lengthy considerations the jury decided to award this price to Veronika Hedenmark. Veronika suffers from a serious handicap and at the age of 19 authorities wished her to go on lifelong sick leave. Instead, she started the company VH Assistans, which provides personal assistance to people with serious handicaps. After almost twenty years she has a 1,000 employees and a yearly turnover of more than EUR 24 million.
French DSA signs a new partnership with French University
The French DSA signed on 7th of December a three year partnership program with the University of Paris Est Créteil. The partnership will focus on several themes: recruitment, students’ professional integration, vocational training, and establishment of new training programs including direct selling.
With 32 000 students and 12 faculties, the UPEC is the largest multidisciplinary and vocational university within the Paris area (www.en.u-pec.fr). For more information contact Jean-Laurent Rodriguez (email@example.com)
French DSA elects new Chairman
The French DSA’ General Assembly meeting of 7th of December elected Philippe Jacquelinet, CEO of Captain Tortue Group and former Chairman of Seldia as Chairman of the association.
Year of Direct Selling in Review
Cindy Juncaj—President & CEO, Demarle at Home: “People will continue to look for ways to create, supplement or build their income through non-traditional means such as direct selling, but, it is imperative to simplify the business so that anyone can do it and anyone can afford it.”
AJ Deeds—President, Loving Works, LLC: “I believe one of the most significant issues for direct selling companies—and for all of us as an industry—is that the jobs we create aren’t counted in national employment statistics. One of the underlying barriers to direct sales is that we’re not often acknowledged as a major contributor or even seen as a real player in the economy, and that’s something that needs to change…By bringing the stories of our industry forward in 2012 to a national stage, we, the direct sales channel, can represent part of the economic solution.”
Jay Rudman—CEO, Paperly: “Nationally, one of the biggest challenges for direct selling in 2012 is consumer behavior. Businesses have truly trained consumers to look for and wait for a deal, either through online deals or extreme discounting… I still believe that direct selling far trumps a website or even a traditional retail experience because nothing compares to the one-to-one social interaction that the direct selling experience provides. Direct selling will continue to thrive in 2012 and beyond because there will always be a need for that consultative relationship.”
Lori Bush—President & General Manager, Rodan + Fields: “As the need to derive an income from the direct selling plan becomes more imperative, our sales organizations may have a tendency to become more aggressive and more creative in ways that could impact ongoing interests of the industry at large. Thus, as responsible companies, there can be no compromise on integrity of the program; there can be no looking the other way to trade off long-term sustainability for shorter-term gains.” (Read the full report here)
- Doug Hekking is stepping down as USANA’s Chief Financial Officer but will remain with the company to support its finance and operations groups. Paul Jones, who is currently serving as the company’s Vice President of Human Resources, has been named as interim CFO.
- Rick Stambaugh has been named Chief Information Officer.
- Roy Truett has resigned as the company’s Chief Operating Officer; Jim Brown, who was recently promoted to Chief Production Officer for his expertise in operations and production, will direct operations and report directly to the CEO.
- Lori Truman has been promoted to Vice President of U.S. Field Development. She was previously the company’s Executive Director of U.S. Field Development.
After 14 years, Direct Selling Education Foundation Program Director Robin Diamondis leaving the Foundation to pursue other opportunities. All of us at DSEF and DSA wish Robin much success in her future endeavors.
USANA recently announced it signed the following U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) athletes as its newest brand ambassadors: freeskier Grete Eliassen and Nordic combined skiers Billy Demong, Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher. The company provides nutritional supplements to more than 600 elite athletes worldwide and is the Official Health Supplement Supplier of the USSA.