Getting Real Interviews
Her thoughts on credibility, scientific substantiation and compliance.
Executive: Asma Ishaq
Location: Springville, UT
This month, SSN interviewed Asma Ishaq, CEO of health, wellness and household care company Modere. Ishaq entered the direct selling channel in 2009 as a co-founder at Jusuru International. In 2017, Modere purchased Jusuru from Ishaq and launched its Collagen Sciences division, which Ishaq came on board to run. She was promoted to CEO of Modere in January. 2018.
His thoughts on customer segmentation and changes to the mode.
This month, SSN interviewed Al Bala, CEO of health and wellness company Mannatech. Bala began his career with Mannatech in 2007 as a senior vice president and held various executive positions, achieving his current role as CEO and president in 2015. Bala oversees the company’s operations in 26 global markets.
Executive: Al Bala
Location: Flower Mound, Texas
Stock Symbol: MTEX—NASDAQ
SSN: What do you feel are the advantages of having both a corporate perspective and a field perspective?
It's important to know the field's psyche, and having an acute awareness of that from my experience and understanding what helps them be productive gives me the opportunity to build a matching culture within the company. Though that's beneficial, having corporate experience is also important, because there are shareholders to satisfy, good governance practices to adhere to, and regulators to comply with.
Her thoughts on embracing change.
This month, SSN interviewed Allison Levy, executive vice president and chief legal officer for health and wellness company AdvoCare. Levy has been with AdvoCare for more than 16 years, joining the company in 2003 as staff attorney after which she was quickly promoted to general counsel. She served in that capacity until 2013 when she was promoted to her current role.
Executive: Brian Connolly and Reid Ward
Location: Plano, Texas
What has your long tenure taught you about the evolution of a company, and what has that evolution looked like for you personally?
Being at AdvoCare for the past 16 years has really taught me that you can develop, grow, and be exposed to new experiences, even in the same job. The job, the position, and my responsibilities in the company have evolved tremendously over that period of time. I’ve gotten to know, from a legal standpoint, my “client” extremely well. I know the history, I know what makes it tick and I know the people. It’s a great company, culture and environment to work in. What started as a great legal job has matured into more of a role of not only protecting and preserving, but also growing the business. It’s become a part of my life and so have the people I work with and the work I get to do. It’s evolved from a job into a profession that I’m very passionate about. Whether I’ve helped it evolve or it’s helped me evolve, I think it’s probably a combination of both.
His thoughts on embracing change.
Executive: CEO Josh Paine
Location: Plano, Texas
This month, SSN interviewed Josh Paine, CEO of vacation travel and lifestyle company WorldVentures. Paine took the role of CEO in September 2017, bringing a strong financial background and leveraging his experience leading travel-related businesses. He previously served as CFO and then CEO of online travel company CheapCaribbean.com, as a managing partner in an investment firm, and CEO of Rovia, a travel services provider.
SSN: Tell us how your background leading leisure travel companies and a master’s degree in accounting and finance prepared you for this role.
It is funny how things sort of line up. When I trace back the timeline of my life, my career and my experiences, it feels as if every single thing I’ve done has led me to this. This company needed really strong financial disciplines; I’m still a CPA in the state of Texas and have a strong financial background. I have a background in travel. I also have experience working with companies that are entrepreneurial-led, that have a tried-and-true business model and a valuable product offering, but they have hit what I call the “cap of complexity.”
Travis Wilson, CEO of Noonday Collection
His journey through entrepreneurism and creating opportunity for the underdog.
SSN: Where did your global perspective and heart for disadvantaged people come from?
Year Founded: 2010
Executive: Travis Wilson and Jessica Honegger
Location: Austin, Texas
Expected 2018 Revenue: $20 million
My perspective has undoubtedly been shaped by my faith and upbringing, where I had some exposure to stories from across the globe through international missionaries who spoke at my church. In college, I visited Africa for the first time as part of a short-term mission trip and it opened my eyes to a world beyond my own that was both quite different and also surprisingly similar. Both my parents were public school educators who worked side businesses over the summer months. My father led and cared for people as an elementary school principal throughout the year and then ran his own service business in the summers. I followed in his footsteps by starting my own service business, which supported me through college, where I studied finance and public policy. All that is to say I’ve always had a passion for business and entrepreneurship. Even more, I’ve always had a heart for the underdog. Entrepreneurship, hard work and developing others are core values that guide my life to this day.
He takes us inside the lab for a discussion about scientific research, advisory boards and more.
SSN: What is it like to be a scientist at a corporation as opposed to being in a research or academic setting?
Primarily, we ask different questions. In the academic world, the questions are more mechanistic and hypothetical in nature. When we get into a corporate lab, questions are framed in a way to demonstrate that an ingredient or product does what it’s supposed to do. And so the questions we ask in a professional setting are really different because they’re more about application than a general academic inquiry for the purpose of answering a hypothesis.
Scientists within the lab are different as well. In an academic environment, they might have backgrounds in molecular biology or nutrition. In an R&D or quality control lab, we have someone who specializes in the testing aspects of what an ingredient is and what it’s supposed to be. This researcher is charged with factors of identity, potency, purity and so forth.SSN: Describe for us what your team inside the lab does on a daily basis.
Travis Ogden, CEO of Isagenix
Travis Ogden talks about dramatic growth, changing public perception and adrenaline-inducing sports activities.
SSN: In just six years, Isagenix has nearly tripled its revenue from $334 million to $958 million. Your greatest revenue jump was between 2013 and 2014, when the company had a $277 million increase. The second-highest increase was between 2014 and 2015, at $165 million. What propelled that growth?
There were several things going on during those periods. First, we had some significant performance from a couple of international markets. Most notable is Australia, which really kicked in during that timeframe. Second, we had some new product and category launches during those periods, including our performance line which appeals to athletes as well as an energy line and a skincare line. Although we also entered several new markets during that time period, their contribution was not as significant. So, we really attribute the big increase in sales during that period to the performance in our established international markets and to new product launches.
Jean-David Schwartz, CEO
His thoughts on the acquisition of Arbonne by Groupe Rocher.
SSN: What motivated Groupe Rocher to purchase Arbonne last spring?
For three or four years, Bris Rocher, the grandson of founder Yves Rocher, had been looking for an international extension. Groupe Rocher wanted to expand internationally, specifically in English-speaking countries where they aren’t as strong, such as in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. This led to searching for a good partnership that could foster, guarantee and sustain what Groupe Rocher represents. Groupe Rocher is a very Europe-centric company with a lot of great business there. They are No. 1 in France, and rank high in other countries like Russia and Germany.
Originally, Groupe Rocher was mainly a retail company. Bris wanted to rebalance this business model because, you know, retail has been struggling for everyone. It’s been tough. He wanted to expand in a way that would guarantee a future, growth and development. Bris could have made a different choice like e-commerce, but he had a conviction for direct selling.
Mindy Lin, Founder and President of Damsel In Defense
How she empowers girls and women around the world to be their own advocates.
This month, Social Selling News gets real with Damsel in Defense Founder and President Mindy Lin.
SSN: DO YOU SEE THE COMPETITIVE FIELD INCREASING FOR DIRECT SELLERS AND IF SO, HOW?
The greatest competitive dangers today are from outside of our channel. Anything that offers a side gig or a side hustle is a competitor to us. Uber is trending somewhere in the $40 billion range for 2018. That is more annual revenue than all of the network marketing companies in the entire North American region combined. I've recently seen ads on Facebook saying, "Make 2018 big with the ultimate side gig. Start drop shipping today! Start an online business with less. No inventory, no problem." This is from Shopify!