Direct Selling Association Launches Diversity & Empowerment Council

June 25, 2013

Council to expand on Association’s initiatives to inform diverse groups on benefits of direct selling

WASHINGTON (June 26, 2013) -- The Direct Selling Association (DSA) today announced the launch of its Diversity & Empowerment Council, a new group that will work to: Inform and support member companies on ways to achieve greater business success through effectively reaching and serving more diverse customer populations;

Partner closely with DSA leadership to develop and implement strategies that promote and expand access to a range of direct-selling opportunities for a diverse populace; and Drive a commitment to diversity and inclusion by incorporating appropriate strategies into DSA policies and programs.

The establishment of the Council follows the DSA Board of Directors’ commitment to helping create a better life for all Americans by ensuring the opportunities of the direct-selling business model, and the benefits of the products sold, are available to individuals of every background.

“In direct selling, there are virtually none of the barriers to entry that you might find in other sectors of the economy, which makes it accessible to a wide range of people from all walks of life, cultures and backgrounds,” said DSA President Joseph Mariano. “We look forward to the work our Diversity & Empowerment Council will do to inform and empower members, as well as prospective members, on how hiring a diverse workforce that reflects their consumers may lead to improved business success.”

The Council will be co-chaired by Leslie Mays, vice president and chief global inclusion officer at Avon Products, Inc., and Connie Tang, president and CEO of Princess House.

“The winners in any industry will be those companies that recognize the changing values of increasingly diverse consumers, and that recruit employees and representatives who reflect that diversity,” said Mays.

“The Council will strive to implement programs to ensure all demographic groups understand the potential direct selling holds, and are empowered with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed decisions about whether direct selling is the right choice for them,” said Tang.

The Association, with a membership of more than 180 direct-selling companies, recognizes the tremendous value derived from embracing greater diversity. According to DSA’s 2012 National Salesforce Survey, the majority of direct sellers are women. In the past two years, DSA has commenced work in key areas including:

  • Establishing a Hispanic Marketing Council, which provides a forum for companies seeking to serve that market to share information on effective direct-sales strategies;
  • Expanding the Association’s annual Salesforce Survey to include more demographic-specific information;
  • Conducting outreach to political caucuses and organizations that serve different constituencies and demographic groups; and
  • Identifying a diverse candidate pool for nomination to the DSA Board of Directors; 15 women served on the 37-member DSA Board in the 2012-13 Association year.

To this end, the Council will be initiating the following actions by the end of 2013:

  • Target research to engage and inform Association members and the DSA Board of Directors on diversity-related issues;
  • Incorporate DSA’s diversity and empowerment commitment into the Association’s ongoing campaign to inform and engage external groups about direct selling;
  • Provide education through workshops and other informative presentations as standing agenda items at national DSA conferences; Incorporate a commitment to diversity into the Association’s Code of Ethics, bylaws or membership admission criteria; and
  • Establish a reward and recognition program to highlight and incentivize member company adoption and progress of diversity initiatives.

For more information on the Diversity & Empowerment Council, visit


About the Direct Selling Association

DSA is the national trade association of the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers. Among its more than 180 active members are companies selling both via a party-plan method and in the traditional person-to-person style. In 2012, U.S. direct sales were more than $31.6 billion with nearly 16 million direct sellers nationwide. The vast majority are independent business people—micro-entrepreneurs—whose purpose is to sell the product/service of the company they voluntarily choose to represent. Approximately 90 percent of direct sellers operate their business part time.

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    Related Contacts

    • Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice President, Communications
      Amy Robinson
      Phone: 202-452-8866
      Fax: 202-452-9010

    I have additional questions, who can I contact?

    You may contact Adolfo Franco, Executive Vice President.