Engage For Good Open Forum by the Direct Selling Executives ForumPosted by naxumadmin / September 14, 2021
On Friday, September 10th at 12noon Central, Ben Dixon moderated a zoom call for the Direct Selling Executives Forum to unpack the power of ‘Doing Good’ and Social Commerce.
On the panel we hosted:
Peter Hirsch, Founder @Ncrease
We asked the panel these questions:
1) Why should direct sales companies have a purpose to ‘Do Good’ in the world, beyond their existence as a business?
2) What examples of ‘Doing Good’ in other organizations inspire you?
3) How do you bring your ‘Do Good’ mission into a culture in a meaningful way, and skip coming across as gimmicky or cheesy?
4) If an executive called you and asked ‘How do I start?’ What would you suggest their first course of action be?
5) If you could go back to January 1st, 2020 and tell yourself one sentence, what would you say?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Direct Selling Executives Forum, September event, Engaging For Good. We have three incredible speakers. I’ll be introducing to you in just a moment on our group panel. Today is yet again, another session of just great questions and great thoughts by folks who are doing it here in this space, It is my absolute honor to really welcome you here today, whether you’re watching on the stream or live with us here on Zoom, to be a part of this event, engaging for good. This whole topic, because I know you’re interested, came up in a conversation I had together with Peter Hirsch, who’s on the line with us today. We were connecting on some just different areas of our life, where we fell in love with good that can be done in giving.
I had shared with him a story of doing a microfinance trip when I was a young man, I was 19 years old, in Guadalajara Mexico, with a friend who had taken a company public, and was giving loans to women in poverty and was helping them rise up out of their world and start small businesses. At that time, when I was 19, I was a rep in a direct selling company and had seen the connection between microfinance overseas, for families overseas and direct sales in developed countries. We helped men and women, no matter what situation they’re in, in direct sales in developed countries rise up from whatever situation they’re in. It was such a powerful connection, it stayed in my mind and my heart forever. Today, my own companies, I’m the donor at HOPE International, Opportunity National and microfinance causes around the world.
Those pieces are just a small piece of who we think of, of who has done just amazing thing, amazing, amazing work in our world with causes. And so it’s my pleasure to walk us through some of the folks that we have here on the line today, then we’ll jump right into our discussion. It’s just a fun, informal way to get to connect and learn. Thank you each of the executives for joining here on our line. Today I want to introduce you to Cindy Monroe, founder of Thirty-One. I’m going to share a little bit of Cindy’s story, from some incredible humble beginnings to literally hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, Cindy’s movements have been changing lives, millions of lives around the world. Thirty-One has a charitable program that you may not know about that actually empowers girls, women and families with self esteem and confidence in purposeful, thriving living.
What’s incredible team, is since 2012, Thirty-One gives, their program has donated over a hundred million in both products and cash to charitable organizations that share in her mission. You got to imagine having Cindy here. Cindy, you literally years ago, were a rep in Pampered Chef, trying to figure out what to do for your family, started your own company and a hundred million in donations. Incredible. Thank you for joining us today.
I also want to introduce Sam Caster on the line as we jump in. I ran through Sam right when he was taking over work at Evolv, which today he runs as Alovea. But back in 1994, many of you know Sam from products he formulated where he then founded the company Mannatech, that did over three billion in sales. He had over a hundred patents, had an incredible movement, ran there for over 20 years. Sam and Linda back in 1999, right before the big Y2K thing, right? Founded a company called MannaRelief. It was a nonprofit organization that has today provided over 130 million servings of their immune system products to vulnerable medically fragile kids in over 90 countries around the world. Sam, thank you so much for joining us here today.
Yeah, thanks Ben.
All right. And then lastly, I want to introduce you to Peter Hirsch. Peter has been a pastor for years, is a social entrepreneur. He’s known for his most recent book thing, Thinking Outside the Bucks – Money, Possessions & Eternity, and his latest book, Global Cause Marketing, was number one on Amazon within days of its release. Peter since just merged your company Ncrease, right? That was a cause based direct selling company in this space. Peter, thank you so much for joining us here on the call today.
Thank you so much, Ben, what an honor to be with Sam and Cindy. This really is incredible. Good for you for doing this.
Well, thank you everyone for being here. We’ve gotten to tackle some fun topics at the DSEF this year. We tackled how to attract she heroes to your direct selling company. We tackled last month, how to create incredible relationships, long term with your field leadership. We’ve had executives from Amway to Pampered Chef to Unique and Young Living on. Today’s discussion is one of those that very few people have done well. We say we want to do it, but it can become sticky. It can become challenging, to how do we take causes we’re passionate about, tie them together with our why and our purposes at our direct selling company and truly create positive change that people can be a part of that doesn’t feel tacky or cheesy.
I know that people watching are not alone in this, there are a lot of executives that said, oh my gosh, I want to hear that, in just the last six weeks. I’ve been sharing this session, what’s going to happen. And so we’re going to go around robin here today team, in this conversation. I actually want to have Sam open us up. The first question we’re going to have as we go around is, why should direct sales companies have a purpose to do good in the world, beyond their existence, as a business? What are your thoughts, Sam?
Well, I think Ben, you just alluded to it. Number one, everybody wants their life’s work to account for more than just a paycheck. Everybody, I don’t care what line of business that you’re in. Everybody wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It also in the marketplace gives you an incredible advantage of being able to say, we’re a part of something that is more than just what I personally get out of it. Your distributor base benefits dramatically from carrying the mantle of changing the world. That’s a huge advantage that most people never get to participate with in their life. The second thing that’s equally as important, is that consumers want it. Consumers want to be able to give aggressively and to be able to give through their purchases is the ideal scenario. Most people can’t just write a check.
But if they’re buying things that they’re going to need want and desire, and that contributes to your not-for-profit efforts or whatever your initiative is, then they become part of it just through consumer consumption. And so it benefits both groups that you’re after, the consumer, as well as your distributor.
Awesome. There’s so much there to unpack. Before I add any thoughts, I want to just bring it to Cindy. What would you say to someone who has never even explored adding their causes to part of something they talk about all the time?
Yeah. In my experience, I think, we notice the connection of success in our companies tied directly to the happiness of our sales field. For me, the happiness of our sales build comes from connecting with them emotionally, connecting through our products, comp and incentives of course. But I feel the most effective way for retention and bringing people in, is to connect emotionally. And whenever we’re able to do this, whenever we’re able to live out our values as a company and involving our field, our sales field into these gift bags, it’s powerful, it’s successful for the company, it’s successful for the field, it’s successful for their teams. I think not only should we help connect the sales field, but just like Sam was talking about, the customers, you’ve got to help them connect.
I think there’s so many expectations for companies now, whether it’s how fast we’re shipping things out, the cost of shipping, where our products are manufactured. There’s an expectation for us to do good. And so I do think that it’s something that is going to impact your bottom line. I think it’s going to impact your KPIs as far as your retention and just how much people love and how proud they are to work for your company, whether they’re an employee or a sales rep.
It’s such a good observation, to extrapolate further from what Cindy’s saying, team, that emotional retention, it’s winning their heart. It’s one thing to make a logical statement of, hey, when you join a company like Thirty-One, it does good in the world. It’s more than one thing to, and Sam’s stuff to say, hey, when you buy this product, it helps children overseas to get that connection of moving something to saying, oh man, to help the consumer make it easy for them to feel good about buying from you. An example that’s shared all the time is the Tom shoes example in the space and everyone talks, I want a Tom shoes, and you say, okay, you buy a pair of shoes and a young kid gets a pair of shoes too. Its so easy to see that. And then you end to ask yourself, well, how do we do that here?
Before moving further, let’s head over to Peter. Someone who’s just like, yeah, I’ve never explored this. What would you say to them of why as a direct sales company, they should have a purpose to do good beyond their core mission?
Sure. What Sam and Cindy shared both, it’s absolutely accurate and is for our soul and we’re built with that. We’re designed for more than just money. Although as Cindy said, it will increase the bottom line here. I want to take just a different approach for a moment. From a LinkedIn survey, 84%, 84, 8 and a half out of 10 people, between 25 and 34, want to work for companies, and this is the quote, that are engaged in social change. This is what I would to share with direct selling CEOs, to ignore that is marketing malpractice. This is not just doing good, of course it is, but it is marketing malpractice to ignore it. In other words, if you want to future proof your brand, you better be doing something more than making money.
That’s so interesting, is even if you’re on the line and you don’t even have a cause you’re passionate about. Let’s say you’re on the other end. Everyone who’s here, I’m sure has causes they’re passionate about. Everyone who’s watching today, I don’t think one person’s here as an executive, that’s like, oh yeah, I’m not passionate about any causes, I’m just here for money. But let’s say you were on that far end of the spectrum. Okay? Let’s just say you made a pile of cash and mortgages and you wanted to open an MLM company and you’re like, okay, you’re just here to make money. Let’s say you that person. Okay. We’ve met a few in this space. Hear what Peter just said, okay. I laugh about it. Just because it’s sadly a little true.
It’s just like when I was a young kid and first started buying rental property. When I was young I first started buying rental property, people were like, why do you do pet friendly rentals Ben? It was like, well the data says the majority of tenants in Chicago that are longterm renters have pets. I allow pets in my rental property. I’m going to miss out on three quarters of the good tenants if I say no pets allowed. Gang, hear what Peter just said, it’s the exact same thing in your direct sales company. If you don’t have this deep why and this cause that grab someone’s heart, good luck on retention. What are you betting your success on? Your shiny comp plans? That’s literally the message you got to hear in this moment.
Of course comp plan is important. Of course expansion’s important, but if you want people’s hearts, causes. With that, let’s talk about some of the ones we’re all excited about. I love this question. Let’s go to you first, Cindy, on this. We’ll go ladies first, is what are some of the examples, even outside of your own, of doing good in other organizations that have inspired you?
I think that giving dollars is always important, but I think whenever companies can engage their employees or engage their sales organization that not only does it have a direct impact on the philanthropic organization or that community, it has an impact on your employees or on your brand and on your culture and what people know you for. And so I think that, there’s lots of examples out there. I don’t have of one specifically. I’ll share what we’ve done in a little bit. But I just think that looking at not just giving the dollars, but the engagement of how do you actually let your employees go and get their hands dirty, roll up their sleeves and get involved.
That takes creating space for it. Doesn’t it?
We all think, we’re busy. Okay. Well you’re creating space for that. That’s good. How about you, Sam, what would be some of the examples that you’ve seen other organization that inspire you doing good?
You know what, I was struggling as you mentioned at the very beginning, I started a not-for-profit called MannaRelief. Because it was the way to get this immune technology to the world’s most vulnerable children. Now, I’d never run a not-for-profit before. Took me about 30 days to figure out its full-time begging, part-time work, because without revenue coming in, nothing happens. I’m gifted at business, I’m not gifted at fundraising. And so what I was doing for those kids became the passion of my life. But I was least effective. I was explaining that to one of my distribution partners for MannaRelief, former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, and he said, have you ever heard of a concept called social business? And I said, no. And he said, I’m hosting the first international symposium this summer, but it’s entrepreneurs that are leveraging the economic power of the marketplace to provide sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest problems.
It’s how do you connect your passion for your not-for-profit to the marketplace potential for funding that activity. I went to that. Interestingly enough, since you mentioned microfinance the facilitator of that event, was Muhammad Yunus of course started the Grameen bank. But he talked about the businesses that he created to actually fund that mechanism of microfinance. And it was just like the light flipped on for me. Yeah, of course I’m good at business, I’m good at technology development. I’m good at disruptive technologies. I’m horrible at fundraising. So leverage the power of what I’m good at to support what I’m passionate about, and I call that convergence.
Yeah, it is convergence. We can all relate. It’s a different skillset.
What’s so special about the social business component is that it can be easier than you think to tie it together. Sometimes we make it harder than it has to be. If you can take a moment and step out of what you’re doing for daily operations and look at what you’re doing and the needs around you, it’s easier to see those connections. If you look at the work that you did, Cindy, they’re your bags, it wasn’t like you had to do something, it’s your product. Sam you’re so similar, you had nutritional products you created and you’re giving nutritional products to kids. It’s very connected. Sometimes people have causes that are really separate, if it’s Wounded Warrior Project or those things where it’s like, okay, our direct selling company’s product isn’t really connected, but we care about veterans or whatever that is.
And so I always think about, how do we create things that are unique there in the space? That’s where some of the experiential things can make a big role in your culture, where even your rewards trips and incentive trips have days spent as part of some of those events in the space, with some of those charitable partners. There’s just so much you could do that. I know we’ll get to that in the next question. I don’t want to skip ahead too far. Before we do, let’s go ahead over, and in Peter, what would you say on your side are examples of doing good in other organizations that inspire you?
Okay. I’ll start with Sam’s. What I have seen and been blessed to go some trips with Sam. Boy, we’ve been doing this a while. The passion that can transfer, because it’s authentic, because it’s real, and let’s face it, malnutrition in children, it’s the mother of all needs, from that so much is linked. That really, to link it, how Sam has done, it’s absolutely incredible. I want to address something that Cindy said, because it’s so crucial and it would be great to expand on it, and that’s the impact it has on the employees, and not just on the field. What I teach to company corporate executives is a concept called T3 culture. Yeah. Those who’d want to give money, great. And treasure is an important part, but let’s not forget that people who are not necessarily of means can still participate in the blessing. T3 in this example stands for treasure, time or talent. I’ll give you an example.
There you go.
I was working with an energy company that was about to be booted out of Chicago. Understandably, okay? They were slamming, which means changing people’s electric bills without them knowing.
Oh my gosh.
It wasn’t pretty. They are going to do a big TV, just an entire media campaign. Somebody said, speak to my friend, Peter. I spoke with them. And after studying what they were doing, I said, okay, I have a radical idea. Here’s what you do. Find every homeless shelter, batted woman shelter, children’s home, others like that in your service area, provide them with free electricity. But here was the radical part, don’t tell anybody. Just see what happens for a month, for a few months. Now also in that, have the employee mandate that they take half a day off every month. Now, by the way, let me just fast forward to what’s happened. Retention of employees soared, judging the happiness factor, it absolutely soared. This was not a direct selling company. I can’t talk about distributors in that sense, but now employees would start playfully competing against each other over who could take more kids to a Cubs game.
The entire culture changed. They became the darling of the legislature. But you don’t have to brag about it. I promise it’ll get out. The last thing, because my passion it’s not linked to a specific cause, it is teaching companies and entrepreneurs how to become more profitable while changing the world.
And you can, and that that’s the thing to remember team, is that you don’t lose by this. It opens up opportunities that wouldn’t have been available to you before. This next question’s the real meat. These next two questions game are the meat and potatoes of the whole discussion today. We’re going to take our time on them as we go back and forth. I love what Sam just said of treasure, time, talent, because you can think about it from Peter’s background at the church, right? How do people support the church? Treasure, time, talent. And then it’s the same way in any organization, actually I tell a lot of the executives that I get to work with on a daily basis that you got to think of your distributors like a volunteer army at church, because that’s a very similar, you can’t expect them to be employees as your distributors. You’re not their boss, you’re leading your tribe.
It’s a powerful way to think about it, is even how they’re able to participate. Is it just in the selling of your product or can they give time and talent to the organization that you’re supporting? As you’re promoting your copy, whether it’s your own non-for-profit you’ve created or it’s somebody else’s that you’ve created, that you’re just latching onto. That’s another note, some of you who are hearing, oh my gosh, Cindy’s so great. She has her own non-for profit with Thirty-One gifts they created, or Sam has his own MannaRelief. You may get there in your life. Hear this for a moment. It’s okay to not start there. You can start supporting an existing non-for-profit and existing cause, that’s a vehicle that’s doing good things in your world. And then as you grow bigger in your impact and your freedoms and your responsibilities and your time as a leader, could you create your own? Yes. But you don’t always have to.
Okay. Don’t not do it because you didn’t start your own 501(c)(3), team. With that, let’s go back to Sam and then we’ll go to Cindy, we’ll end with Peter on this idea of, how do you bring this mission, the doing good, into a culture in a meaningful way and skip any of the challenges some people do of coming across as gimickky or cheesy? We heard Peter’s example of, hey, just don’t tell anybody. Let’s just tell the employees and see how they react first. Let’s not go to the Wall Street Journal and let everyone know how great we are, in his example. What would you say, if someone was adapting this new, Sam, so they hadn’t been doing it already, and they’re going to come be a cause based company in a meaningful way. How would you encourage them to do that?
Well, number one, depending upon what their effort is, it’s important to validate its impact. In other words, just saying we’re giving to a worthy cause doesn’t really connect with anybody emotionally. What you have to do is validate, number one, what the cause is and what is happening as a result of your contribution. If you’re giving your own product as part of the contribution, that really connects with your customer base, with your distributor base, because they already know the value of that. And to be able to share it with kids who would never get access to this kind of technology without our effort, that’s huge. But then it’s just got to be legitimate. You got to validate how much you’re giving, you got to devalidate where it’s going and the impact that it’s making. Because there’s too many things out there just we give and you don’t have any idea what’s happening.
Validate the impact that you’re making in the world, and then people start creating stars around number of kids. For instance in my company, since we do a buy one, give one, on their app, I actually have a tracker. Between them and their organizational sales, I track the number of servings that have been given, gifts, and it’s just an ongoing aggregated amount. People who are not just high level performance have given 100,000, 200,000, a quarter of a million, a million servings to kids. That’s saving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children by just doing a little bit every day of what is designed to make them successful anyway. Validation is huge in terms of equating to a meaningful, social impact cause.
Sam, you use the word validation. I have a lot of friends who say, you got to measure, right? It’s like, if you measure the impact and you show it, it makes it real. Sam’s right on, there’s stats king, I could read a couple of these, but young people, especially, right? They’ve all heard stuff of, well only X number of your dollars at Red Cross, make it to here. Not just to pick on red cross, gang, I could say any your organization. If you’re a Red Cross giver, I don’t mean to offend you, but there’s a lot of larger institutional programs, whether it’s some of the cancer foundations or others, right? Even though I’ve cancer challenges in my family’s life. And so you look, okay, who do you give to and who’s effective? What are we asking when we ask those questions? What’s the measureables? How much stuff actually gets there?
And so when you can tie that in, and what a cool application, just bringing it right into your app, they can see their impact right there, gang, that’s retention stuff that feels good in the heart. That’s awesome. So good tip. Cindy, what would you share to how to bring in doing good into a culture in a meaningful way?
I’ll share that we didn’t actually start our own 501(c)(3), we actually give to other 501(c)(3).
Ben Dixon, NaXum:
We funnel the money, we have the cells, we have the voices, we have the ways to raise the money to be able to raise awareness. In some cases it’s just raising awareness of organizations. And so we decided as a company to not start our own, because like Sam said, it’s a whole different business if you’re starting your own. And there’s a lot of regulation around it. There’s a lot of things that you really have to pour into it, the marketing around it. We want to tell the stories, we want to share the impact that we’re having. We want to be able to validate where people’s money’s going. And so we as a company chose to not have our own organization and do all the marketing, the validation, the regulation and things like that.
But rather we go and we actually look at organizations, we narrow them down. We look at their scorecards. We just went through a whole strategic initiative around moving from multiple partners to having one main partner. We still support some other smaller ones, but we have one main partner that we’re supporting right now. We use their marketing materials. We use their stories, we partner with them. We also set up a gifts care council. So it’s made up of some of our leaders and they have to apply to be on the council. We look at how healthy their business is. We look at how they’re giving back. And so we have a council of field members that help us make some of those decisions and help us decide who we’re going to support.
And then we also have a Heart of Her award. It’s the only award in the company that you don’t earn based on business goals, PV recruiting and things like that. And so they get nominated and it’s them supporting someone or an organization in their own community. Sometimes they sit on an organization’s board, sometimes they volunteer. And so every year we highlight a different consultant or sales rep that is giving back. And so, it’s not super cheesy, the word you were using, but it’s meaningful. It’s meaningful to her. It’s meaningful to the organization she’s representing, because when she gets chosen, we give $10,000 to that organization. There’s ways to have impact and to get your field involved.
That’s such a great mechanism and tool inside of an organization team, the nomination that Cindy’s sharing, I have seen it done both with nominations and where the person who won it, had to go pick the next person inside an organization. Those non GV, non CV related awards gang are incredible things that mean a ton. When you can connect it to the why of your organization, we talk about that a lot in the forum or just be doing this industry, right? About why your company exists, there’s so much more available to you there. Man, that was good.
It impacts your culture, and I think culture is king right now. And so definitely I think that having things that aren’t just about another dollar is important today.
Because it is the experience, to Cindy’s point, gang, your whole culture is what they’re experiencing. And so it’s like, where do they want to spend time? Do they want to spend time inside of the culture of your company? Or are they going to go spend time browsing Facebook or time on Netflix? Where are they going to be, when they know it’s fun to be a part of what you’re doing and it’s something bigger than themselves? You’re going to see people showing up. It’s exciting. Peter, what’s going on your side here? What would you say is a path to bring someone in this actual doing good, engaging for good, in a meaningful way and skip any traps that would come across as gimmicky, where they could authentically bring this into their culture?
Three steps. First, it’s top down. The CEO, really the founder, the vision cannot be manufactured. Now, it’s okay if they don’t know what that is. Then through dialogue, prayer, meditation, combination of all of it, something will resonate. Okay? There’s always something that’s going to matter. If it can be with your company’s products, the first I had seen that was how Sam did it a long time ago and now it’s the entire company based on it. But again, it doesn’t have to be. Really, what’s the passion from the original foundation? That’s a starting point. It’s got to be top down. Second, there’s got to be buy-in, I’m not talking about yet the field, because of course everything, that comes down to whether it’ll work. But there’s got to be buy-in from if you have a board, if you have an executive team, there’s got to be buy-in of understanding that the bottom line is not just money.
That it’s triple bottom line. You know we’re great in network marketing, actually, we’re not great at measuring profits, we’re great about talking about that. But when it comes to measuring that’s something we haven’t really done well in the industry. That’s I guess another topic-
Exactly. But then we talk about people, right? That often network marketing, it’s just personal growth hidden in buying a comp plan. Wonderful. Measure that. Measure how many families are staying together, measure the impact you’re having, whatever metrics you come up with. There’s no substitute for metrics. When I was teaching social entrepreneurship. First question, what do you think is the first metric of a solid giving company? People say impact, well, all sorts of answers, but rather than go through that, I’ll say, you know what it is? Profit. Because without profit, the purpose ends. Now it can’t be profit above purpose, but you have got to measure profit. You’ve got to me measure people. And now in today’s world, you better start thinking about measuring your impact on the planet. I’m into the alliteration thing from 30 years in ministry.
Pastors can’t help it. 3Ps, 3Ts.
Got three more points.
There’s got to be a buy-in to measure profit, measure your impact on people and start thinking about measuring your impact on the planet. Top down, buy-in, and third, you’ve got to share this constantly. There’s the old saying, if it’s fuzzy in the pulpit, it’s a fog in the pew. Multiply it by a thousand. What that means, and I heard Cindy talk about this. I’ve been with Sam when their entire culture is based on this. Recognition, it can’t be part. We’re going to also with, one out of 50 awards, we’ll talk about this. But I’m talking about, let it be a constant part of recognition. Whatever that looks like. It doesn’t necessarily have to be reward trips, although we’ve done voluntours and I’ve seen travel companies set up voluntours that sell out so much quicker.
If you are taking people to three days or four days in Cancun, at a luxury resort, but one afternoon is a shoebox drop where you tell them, fill a shoebox and we’re going to go visit some orphanages. Do you know what’s going to have the most impact on them and what they’re going to show most on Facebook? I’m showing my age. On Instagram. It really is, people, even if they don’t know that it matters to them, our souls know.
Actually I think we could all add a few things to what Peter just said, practically gang, some of you ask, well, what are some of these practical ones? I’m just writing them down. I’ve seen this in marketing communication strategies clients all the time time, where, when we’re picking, what type of content are we putting out each week on social media? Where it’s like, thankful Thursdays. On thankful Thursdays, we’re highlighting one, two, three, four stories of impact. It’s just part of the weekly communication every single week. It’s constantly in front of the people. I’ve seen it in slides in the business opportunity decks. The reps who are sharing the business opportunity deck in PowerPoint, Keynote, Zoom. I know some of you are in Canva, because you’re real hip, right?
Get this, every time they go through the deck, what are they talking about? They’re talking about the cause, they’re talking about it and connect it. Anything to add? I don’t want to move on too quickly. I saw a couple faces light up, Cindy or Sam anything? Go ahead.
One thing that Cindy added about not starting your own, partnerships are key. Not only partnering with not-for-profit organizations that resonate with you. I think we’re going to enter a day where we see network marketing companies partner together, to support the same organizations. How cool would that be if instead of competition among companies for reps, we’re having coopetition to see who can provide the most servings, things like that. Partnerships, whether it’s with other organizations or even with other network marketing companies, I think are awesome and the future.
Anything else to add? I don’t want to move on, if there’s any other thoughts and then I’ll grab the next one. All right, gang. This is the thinker one, because it’s a short question, but it’s an interesting one. We’ve just talked about the path and the whole path. We’ve alliteiterated more. But if an executive called you, so literally after this call, they saw you were on the DSEF and they call you and say, how do I start? What would you actually suggest their first course of action be? So not the whole thing like we just talked about, but where would you want them to go first? Right? Let’s go back to you, Peter and then we’ll loop back through. Instead of Peter always being on the end. Go ahead, Peter.
Really it’s what I was saying before. Starts at the top down. Just don’t look at what you think is the most marketable, what really matters to you. The rest will follow, but what matters to you, then we work on other strategies, but you want the first question, that’s the first question. What matters to you?
What would you say, Cindy? You get a phone call from, we got so many great ones on the line here, right after the call. Where would you tell them to start first?
This was me 15 years ago. I don’t even know how to start. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do or any of that, but I knew I wanted it to be a part of our culture. And so I actually hired someone. I took it that serious. I had gone out and I had asked different execs what they thought, and sitting in offices. It was one of my key questions whenever I would have a chance to talk to other executives. So definitely, talk to other people, joining this conversation today is a great first step. But I would say that, I actually hired someone. She had worked for another philanthropic or she had started another philanthropic organization for our local hockey team there in Columbus. And so she came in and then she asked me all the right questions, and she’s like, okay, we’re going to set up our pillars, what we’re going to stand for. And that’s how girls, women and family, those are our three pillars.
And so she was the one that came in and helped give some structure for it. She helped figure out what’s our budget going to be. We had lots of conversations. I think just having someone walk you through those questions and what’s important, was where I started. And then it evolved from there. We started having trips with, that we’ve already talked about, we would go to New York city. Like it’s already been said, those were the most photographed, the most posted things on their pages, were around these trips where they’re able to go in and give back. And so they also, we’ve supported 5K runs for girls. And so they’re holding up the big signs. And it is, it’s a part of our material.
We have, our consultants holding huge signs, encouraging these young girls on their runs, their 5Ks. The Thirty-One logo is there. But that’s not what’s the biggest thing screaming on the sign. The biggest thing is cheering this little girl on and really making her feel like she’s a rockstar as she’s running in that 5K. And so, I think also working with your IT team, sorry, this is more than one thing, but making sure, Sam, already said it, but make sure that every part of your organization is supporting this, so we can round up dollars and we can round up more than just to the nearest dollar, if they want to give $5 or if they want to just round up 31 cents, whatever it is. Then they can do that through our IT platform. We have the reporting as well. I would say start with someone that can run with the initiative because you do want to make sure that you build it out across the organization.
Awesome. I love the level of seriousness you took to it, where you’re like, I didn’t just put it on myself in an afternoon, I hired someone who knew what they were doing and went through the process together. Love it. It’s like it was that meaningful, Cindy’s like, I put the work in. You got to think of that in a much higher level. Some of you on the line as CEOs are in companies that are younger than one year, that are on the line and others of you are in organizations that are four or five years old, here on the line. And so you got to know if it’s not a part of your culture and you’re older. Because for you, Cindy, you guys were, would’ve been nine years old, 10 years old at the time. Right?
We were a little younger than that. Probably about five years old. But yeah, I think that just also, and if you don’t want to hire one person, then find someone on each team. We actually have a home office committee now. And so there’s someone in finance that she represents finance and all the details we need. There is someone in IT that is our give go-to partner. If it’s not one person, the problem with it being someone else’s job that already has a job, is it always gets pushed to the bottom and it’s never a number one priority. I knew that I wanted it to be a priority for Thirty-One and that was why we chose to hire a full-time person.
That’s awesome. All right. Sam, what would you say, first thing if someone said, hey, how do I do what you do Sam, where would you tell them to start?
Well, I’m going to do it from the buy one, give one model because that’s what I use and what I’ve studied. Actually, Stanford University did a really great review on buy one, give one. They said, first of all, it’s here to stay because it connects the consumer directly with the cause. I get a pair of shoes, they get a pair of shoes. But they said to make it sustainable three things have to happen. Number one, you got to be serving a big need. The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity to impact not only your business, but the world. Number two, make it a proprietary solution. It has to be something that you own in order to create sustainability or people can get the same solution at Walmart, and so make it a proprietary solution.
And then they said, and then the third thing is make sure that the impact on the consumer is as significant as the impact that you’re making on the recipient of the donation. In other words, you got to find a problem that addresses both the need of the consumer, as well as the person that is, again, being the recipient of the donation. They said, if you can put those three things together, you can make huge impact in the world. It will be sustainable. It will last and it will be generational. And so that’s what I would encourage people, find the thing that you can do better than anybody else in the world, in terms of providing the solution, make it proprietary and make sure that it meets the needs of everyone concerned.
That is great stuff. Team, one thing I like to share all the time is books. We talked months ago about Simon Sinek, Start with Why, when we were having a why discussion. I want to bring that back just for a quick moment. To those of you watching, if you haven’t seen either the viral Ted Talk or Simon Sinek’s work, Start with Why, I’d encourage you to go grab that book, because this topic of engaging for good is so tied to the cause. This is more than marriage to the why of your organization, gang. It is deep roots. When you hear Cindy talk about her and the pieces of the pillars that came across, that was a lot of what she originally felt when she started Thirty-One. If you read her story and you go back, you’ll be like, wow, I see how connected that was.
For you, I would really encourage you to go back and remember, if it’s been five, six years, right? You’re running your business. Remember why you started your company, and look at the why, that’s the mission statement and everything that the troops rallied around, and go there first and then yeah, get help, consultants, boards of people at your company. If you’re that big, right? In this space. Third parties that you like and trust that could be on your board, creating a board of people that could be a part of that even outside your organization. These were all really good tips and information, tying it directly to product purchases. The customer gets a benefit. Huge. All right. Before we wrap up today, we’re going to go to our one final question. It’s a short one and we just go around the room. We’ve been asking it all year because it’s too much fun with the pandemic to not ask this question.
We’ll start with Sam and then we’ll go to Peter and then we’ll end with Cindy on this one. I’ll wrap this up. We should have clarified enlist, because you get to know what you know today. You get the knowing what you know today, Sam, if you could go back to the January 1st, 2020, what would you tell yourself in one sentence? What would you say?
We’re losing you Sam. Here, one sec. We may have to come back. We just lost the connection.
[inaudible 00:47:22]. Sorry.
Hey, sorry about that, Sam. We lost you there. You’re almost back. We think we can hear you now.
You’re back. Go ahead. One more time. Sorry. We missed it.
Sorry about that. Yeah, no. I was just saying Ben, that necessity is the mother of invention. In ways it’s been very difficult, but in ways it’s been very healthy because it’s stretched us to look beyond what we’ve known for the last 20 years, our comfort zone, to find new ways of reaching people and finding a way of getting your message more effectively into the marketplace. I’m not a technology person, I think Peter’s much more than I am. It’s forced us all to look at, how do we get our story more effectively told into the marketplace? I don’t think there’s anything I could have done to prepare myself for that because I think it took the crisis to force me into that.
Got it. Peter, what would you say to yourself? Knowing what you to know today. What would you tell yourself?
I would actually say the same thing I say to myself every December 31st, which is, believe bigger, faster, but I would focus on impact. Looking in the mirror, believe that you can have an impact on 10 million people this year. Believe that you’re faster.
Gang, if you want to follow up on what that the hot nugget Petter just shared, there’s a book, I’m going back to books, Play Bigger. If you haven’t read, Play Bigger, grab it on audio. If that thought has hit you and you’re like, man, I do need to tell myself that more often as a leader, go on your workouts, go start listening to Play Bigger, gang, There’s so much for you there, so much for you there. Thank you, Peter. That is awesome. Cindy, what’s your one thing, knowing what you know today, if you could rewind the clock and tell you something?
I would put a couple of thoughts into one sentence. You will get through this. Don’t give up, stay strong and love others along the way.
Man. Amen. It’s so interesting team. Everyone can figure it out, looking in the rear view window. And as you move into seasons of unchanged like this, it’s like, you think about Stephen Covey’s circle of influence versus circle of concern, and how you move through your day and your skills. Just like Peter just said, I’m going to enlarge my circle. Right? I’m going to go play bigger and get concerned about more so I can make a bigger impact in our world. You don’t have to wait on anyone’s permission. That’s the thing I hope you hear from today. You don’t have to wait to start making a bigger impact in the world and you’d be amazed who you attract just because you start engaging for good, because it’s going to make you attractive. You don’t go into engaging for good with the intention of that, becoming attractive as a leader, as a company. Hope you heard that today, because that is the end result.
Gang, I want to just take a moment. I want to thank our speakers for being here with us today. Was so excited to have Cindy and Sam and Peter on the line. Just honored to be able to share this time with you. For those of you that would access to this replay or sharing the replay, do join the Direct Selling Executives Forum. It’s free. It’s on both Facebook and LinkedIn. If you go to directsellingexecutivesforum.com, it will route you right to the LinkedIn group, that we get the transcript of our sessions made after renders. We push them out on the next Monday or Tuesday. And so if you’d like access to that, that’s where you go.
Thank you so much for being here with us today. The only encouragement I could say to those of you watching, is go do it, right? Nothing happens until you choose to. You don’t need to wait for anyone’s permission. These three executives gave you their permission to go engage for good. And so it’s up to you from here. Thank you everybody for being here today, wish you all the best. Have an amazing day.