Saturday, December 18, 2010

Amway: An Equal-Opportunity Business

In the mail today, amongst all the fun holiday cards and photos, we got the latest copy of Achieve Magazine, Amway's quarterly trade publication.

Inside was page after page highlighting the "Women of Amway." As an Amway Independent Business Owner (IBO) in North America, I was particularly pleased with this focus.

Over the years I have noticed and experienced that there is a segment of the Amway community passionate about empowering men. In and of itself, this is very good and necessary. Unfortunately, and unintentionally, some have done this in such a way that it has disempowered women, hindering them from reaching their full potential as people and as business owners.

Having an unmarried woman as our Amway sponsor, actively building her business, has been a helpful example that the  Amway business is an opportunity to all. And it's crucial that the corporation continue sending the message to all IBOs and prospective IBOs that women can--and already do--play a vital role in building Amway businesses.

How fitting to have Holly Chen with her husband, Barry Chi, on this cover. They currently hold the highest achievement level in North America with 70 FAA points (which basically means they have a honkin' huge, highly profitable business). In addition, as they have helped thousands of people make lots of money, they have achieved high pins in other Amway markets around the world, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Why is it fitting? Because Holly started the Amway business on her own. After she met Barry, he joined her. And while he was satisfied when they hit the Diamond level in 1986, Holly was not. So she has continued to be the one to take center stage, and take their business to where it is today.

This is the third time in 20 months that Holly and Barry have appeared on the cover of Achieve, each featuring a new level of accomplishment.

From Achieve's April 2009 issue, "If you want to learn about building a successful Amway Global business, just watch Holly Chen and Barry Chi in action. Holly is an amazing leader, mentoring groups of Crown Diamond, Double Diamond and Executive Diamond IBOs. Barry is a talented trainer, teaching them how to improve retail sales. Together, they are a force. We are fortunate to have them on our team."

They are examples of using one's passions and strengths, regardless of gender, to get the job done. How they have built their business is directly opposite the gender roles that all too many organizations have long imposed on couples--hubby shows the business opportunity and mentors while wifey focuses on retail.

Given the fact that other direct-selling business opportunities are women-centric, I understand why some in the Amway community wish to focus heavily on men. On top of that, Amway was founded as a partnership of two men--Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel.

Against that backdrop, then, it's especially important, and timely, that Amway has directed the spotlight squarely on Holly and Barry's business. Their story is a powerfully eloquent reminder that a successful Amway business is possible to anyone willing to do the work.

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