Getting Real Interviews
Location: Dallas, Texas
Consultants: 3.5 million
2019 Revenue: Estimated $3 billion
This month, SSN interviewed Sheryl Adkins-Green, chief marketing officer at Mary Kay Corp.
SSN: With a company history of over 55 years, how do you keep Mary Kay’s legacy alive for new consultants?
Executive: Jeff Stroud
Location: La Canada Flintridge, California
This month, SSN interviewed new company Somnvie founder and CEO Jeff Stroud, who has spent the past 40 years engaged in the home textiles business. His family founded the specialty home textiles chain Stroud’s in 1979, which culminated in a successful IPO for the brand in 1994. The family ultimately exited the business. Jeff Stroud’s newest venture focuses on what he calls the “sleep economy” by providing high-end bedding through direct selling company Somnvie.
Executive: Co-CEOs Deborah Heisz and Jeff Olson
Location: Farmer’s Branch, TX
This month, SSN interviewed co-CEO of Neora, Deborah Heisz. On Friday, Nov. 1, Neora took the unprecedented action of filing against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), essentially alleging the agency is overreaching its authority and attempting to create law without going through Congress. Only hours later, the FTC filed suit against Neora, alleging the company to be a pyramid scheme. SSN spoke at length with Heisz about both suits and the ultimate impact they may have on the entire direct selling channel.
Executive: Stuart MacMillan
Location: Miami, FL
2018 Revenue: $435 million
2018 Salespeople: 200,000
This month, SSN interviewed Stuart MacMillan, president of personal-care company MONAT Global. MacMillan began his career in telecommunications and entered the direct selling arena in 1998 as president of Excel Canada after its acquisition by Teleglobe. MacMillan went on to serve as president of Arbonne International Canada and president of Immunotec. MacMillan helped co-found MONAT Global in September 2014 and has served as president of the company as it entered the multibillion-dollar haircare market with proprietary anti-aging products.
This month SSN interviewed industry veteran Meredith Berkich, who has spent the last 30 years in leadership roles in direct selling companies. Berkich began her career in the field at Princess House and was the youngest distributor to achieve Division level in the company’s history (it was founded in 1963). After 11 years in the field, Berkich transitioned to the corporate office in 2001 where she has served in executive roles at companies offering a diverse portfolio of products, including energy services, health and wellness and personal care.
This month, SSN interviewed Melissa Thompson, founder and CEO of luxury beauty company Bellame. For over 20 years, she held executive positions with top companies in beauty and social selling, including Avon and Stella & Dot, before launching Bellame in 2018. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband.
This month, SSN interviewed Blake Schroeder who has served as CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc.’s direct selling division, Kannaway, since March 2016. After completing his law degree at Syracuse University and working briefly in a private firm, Schroeder entered direct selling as associate general counsel at MonaVie. He quickly rose to the executive ranks, holding top positions in MonaVie and ForeverGreen International before joining Kannaway.
2018 Revenue: $60 million
Stock Symbol: MJNA (OTCMKTS)
SSN: What initially attracted you to a cannabis company?
I started talking to some of my friends who have been a lot more successful than me, and I told them I was thinking about going to work for a company called Medical Marijuana Inc., leading their direct selling division. Almost unanimously, they pointed out it was a growing space where a difference could be made. Those opportunities don’t come around every day.
At the time I was living in Utah, which is one of the more conservative states in the nation, and I honestly didn’t know what reactions would be like if I told people I was going to go work for a cannabis company. I remember one guy said: “Blake, look at the wrist watch that you’re wearing. Look at the pens that are sitting in front of you. Look at the furniture around you. Are all of those industries going to be bigger five years from now than they are today?” Then he asked, “Is the cannabis industry going to be bigger than it is today?” And there was just no question about that.
SSN: You’ve been with Nu Skin your entire career. What’s that been like?
I’ve spent nearly 15 of my years with Nu Skin abroad. Working in so many different capacities around the world certainly gave me the perspective I need today to run the global business. I think it’s been a huge advantage to be here as long as I have. I read a Harvard Review article recently that said their research indicates that the majority of CEOs hired from outside their industry fail, not because they didn’t see the new trends coming, but because they didn’t know how to transform the organization to meet those coming trends.
2018 Revenue: $2.68 billion
Stock Symbol: NUS—NYSE
SSN: What do you feel are the advantages of having both a corporate perspective and a field perspective?
Companies that figure out how to disrupt themselves before they get disrupted from external forces are the ones that survive. I think you have to have institutional knowledge to be able to transform a business.