Forces Under 40 2017

by DSN Staff

Click here to order the March 2017 issue in which this article appeared.

DSN is thrilled to showcase the most outstanding young professionals working in direct selling companies today. These honorees represent all aspects of the business—from technology and marketing to finance and field services—and represent the fine talent of tomorrow. We know it is imperative to nurture and encourage the young leaders in our channel in order to secure the brightest future possible for all.

These dynamic young leaders are broadening the scope of the companies they work for as well as our entire channel of distribution. Based upon the enthusiastic nominations of the honorees presented here, the future is bright indeed. The program was open to all full-time professionals working in active direct selling companies who turned 40 years old on or after Jan. 1, 2017. The honorees are presented in alphabetical order with each profile including the thoughts and words of the honoree’s respective company.

We also want to thank our generous sponsors, Avalara and Fossil.


…. Continue to the Honoree’s profiles.




Plexus Appoints McCormick Scientist to Head Up R&D

Plexus Worldwide has tapped Alan Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., to serve as Vice President of Research and Development. The role provides oversight of product development, medical affairs, claims substantiation and science education at the health and wellness company.

Since earning his M.D. from the College of Medicine at China’s Zhejiang University, one of the top schools in Asia, Jiang has held research and management roles in both academia and the dietary supplement and food industries. His articles have appeared in outlets such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Medicinal Food, in addition to a book chapter published by the Pharmaceutical Press.

“A graduate with honors from one of the most prestigious medical universities in the world, and with numerous published studies, Dr. Jiang brings Plexus a 20-year track record of success within academia and the health and wellness industry, researching and developing top-quality products,” said Cindy Latham, Chief Marketing Officer at Plexus.

Most recently a senior scientist with established herbs and spices brand McCormick & Co., Jiang previously was Director of Scientific Affairs for a top direct selling nutrition company. Before transitioning to the health and nutrition industry, he was appointed as a faculty member and Laboratory Director of the Center for Human Nutrition, the world-class research center at John Hopkins University.

“In considering this opportunity, I was very impressed by the company’s leadership, and it was clear that Plexus was on the right track—not only because of its fast growth but because of its long-term investments and commitment to excellence and science,” said Jiang.

Founded in 2008, Plexus logged revenue of $384 million last year, landing the No. 46 spot on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world. The Arizona-based company ranks No. 28 among North America-based direct sellers.

Plexus Opens New Corporate Headquarters in Arizona

Fast-growing Plexus Worldwide has officially opened its new 70,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The weight-loss and nutrition company elected to build the facility alongside its existing 30,000-square-foot warehouse and fulfillment center in Scottsdale’s Pima Center. The new headquarters consolidates Plexus’ 200-plus employees, formerly dispersed across multiple offices, with ample space for future growth.

“Building our new headquarters adjacent to our warehouse facility allowed us to create a functional campus where we can truly get the most out of each building design while increasing the coordination between our talented employee teams, which previously worked in various locations around Scottsdale,” Plexus CEO Tarl Robinson said in a statement.

Robinson and the company’s International President, Alfred Pettersen, took over Plexus Worldwide in 2008. At the time, the 2-year-old company sold just one product, a Breast Chek Kit to help women screen themselves for breast cancer. Plexus now sells a range of weight-loss, detoxification, pain-relief and nutrition products through more than 275,000 independent Ambassadors.

Annual revenue climbed from less than $1 million in 2010 to more than $300 million in 2014, an accomplishment that earned Plexus the No. 8 rank on the 2014 Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Plexus remained in the top 4 percent in 2015, earning the No. 132 spot. The DSN North America 50 named Plexus the No. 30 direct selling company in the region, based on 2014 revenue.

Scottsdale officials and dignitaries from the local Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community joined Plexus employees and Ambassadors at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Thursday, Jan. 21, at the company’s new headquarters. Attendees had an opportunity to tour the facility, which features workspaces offset by oversized breakrooms and casual meeting spaces, as well as a large multimedia studio.

Industry Veteran Mike Green Named Plexus CIO

Health firm Plexus Worldwide is bolstering its technology expertise with the appointment of a new Chief Information Officer, Mike Green.

Green is no stranger to direct selling, previously having led IT operations for two companies within the industry. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Information Technology, establishing and structuring the IT department at a young company that has topped $200 million in annual revenue. Green’s earlier career included the role of Vice President of Technology at another company, where he also served as Interim CIO, directing all global IT initiatives.

“Mike brings a heightened focus and prioritization that will drive our IT team and benefit Plexus,” Chief Marketing Officer Alec Clark said in a statement. “His history of success at network marketing sales organizations will bridge the gap between our business goals and IT initiatives while spearheading the design of globally solid, reliable systems from concept to production.”

A statement by Plexus describes Green as a leader with a “hands-on management style focused on building and motivating IT teams.” In 14 years of leadership, Green has guided teams across numerous functions, including software development, web development, ERP, WMS, IT operations, help desk and project management.

“Plexus has quickly earned a very positive reputation within the direct sales industry, thanks to its well-respected executive team and the company’s rapid growth and focus on its Ambassadors,” said Green. “I’m thrilled to join Plexus’ talented team and to lead the IT department as Plexus expands its initiatives to further help the company and its Ambassadors succeed.”

The Future of Direct Selling in the U.S.

by Andrea Tortora

Click here to order the October 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Direct selling in the United States is undergoing a transformation fueled by innovative approaches rooted in classic business practices. The power generators leading the way for direct selling as a channel of distribution can be found in what Direct Selling News has identified as the upper middle market: those companies with annual sales roughly between $300 million and $1 billion.

Because most direct selling companies are privately held and many decline to disclose their financial results, it is difficult to create a definitive list. Our research honed in on a group of more than 30 U.S.-based companies, most of which are experiencing significant growth. Some of them are on the cusp of reaching $300 million, and some likely have recently passed the $1 billion mark. But together they are critical to direct selling’s competitiveness and future. They tend to be among the fastest growing when it comes to revenue, and they account for a large slice of the job creation pie.

An in-depth analysis of this group reveals a high level of consistency when it comes to executing on key common strengths. The ability of these companies to focus in on products, customers, serving their salesforce and creating a culture that reinforces a sense of family put them on track to shape the future of direct selling in the U.S.

Companies emphasize each area in different ways, but in general these leaders:

  • Harness data. The upper middle market knows how to mine the data it has to gain insights that lead to more and better sales. Executives train leaders and consultants to use data to open doors that might otherwise remain closed.
  • Stay true to classic business practices. Technology and social media do not replace person-to-person interactions, they complement them. Upper mid-market firms build relationships with customers that maintain the consultant-client affiliation but also allow the customer to have a connection with the company itself.
  • Use compensation plans that span all levels of engagement. To cultivate trust and long-term relationships, comp plans are created to appeal to new customers, product enthusiasts, fierce advocates and influencers—all the way up to the entrepreneur who is all in. Payments also follow a more modern schedule.
  • Foster an entrepreneurial spirit. Consultants are allowed and encouraged to go far with personal marketing (think YouTube videos) while maintaining brand identity. Companies deliver superior and frequent training and messaging to make this happen.
  • Maintain a laser-focus on selling. The sale of a product, a group experience or an opportunity all lead to more sales, which generate positive results.

No matter the specific approach, one thing all upper middle market companies excel at is …

Click here to read the full article at Direct Selling News.



Nerium Soars to #12 on Inc. 500|5000 List

Today, Inc. magazine announced its 34th annual Inc. 500|5000 List, and the exclusive ranking once again features several direct selling brands. The Inc. 5000 is a list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, with the Inc. 500 representing a special ranking of companies in the top 10 percent.

Eight direct selling companies are included in this year’s list, and they represent a wide variety of categories: consumer products, health, travel & hospitality and energy. The growth increase spans an even greater range from a very respectable 125 percent (Beachbody) to a whopping 16,617 percent (Nerium). Nerium has only been in business since August 2011, making this percentage growth number even more impressive.

Limited to U.S.-based, privately held companies, the Inc. 5000 measures revenue growth from 2011–2014.

The top 500 companies on the list will be featured in the September issue of Inc.

To view the entire list, please visit

12 Nerium International 16,617% $403M Consumer Products & Services
132 Plexus Worldwide 2,833% $310.4M Health
442  It Works! 1,060% $538M Consumer Products & Services
564 Jeunesse 811% $419.2M Consumer Products & Services
915 WorldVentures 491% $315.5M Travel & Hospitality
2210 Isagnenix 177% $725M Health
2814 Ambit Energy 128% $1.5B Energy
2864 Beachbody 125% $938.9M Health

2015 DSN North America 50 List

The DSN North America 50DSN Announces the 2015 North America 50!

This marks the sixth year for the Global 100 list of top direct selling companies in the world, and we would not be Direct Selling News if we did not continually strive to raise the bar.

That is why we are pleased to share with you a new component of the project this year: The North America 50. As a subset of the Global 100, this list draws attention to the most significant players in one of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

As DSN embarks on the annual research for the Global 100, we continue to refine the process as we identify the largest companies and acknowledge their achievements while bringing attention to the magnitude of the direct selling industry as a whole. Within that context, the impact that North American companies have on the global marketplace as well as on those that buy and sell through this channel cannot be overstated.

The following contains the North America 50 ranking for the 2015 DSN Global 100 (based on 2014 revenues). Both lists will be published in the June issue of Direct Selling News.

2015 Rank

Company Name

2014 Revenue

1 Amway $10.80B
2 Avon $8.9B
3 Herbalife $5.0B
4 Mary Kay $4.0B
5 Tupperware $2.60B
6 Nu Skin $2.57B
7 Ambit Energy $1.50B
8 Primerica $1.34B
9 Stream Energy $918M
10 Shaklee $844M

Click here to see the rest of the DSN North America 50 List.

Room for Growth: Plexus Worldwide Breaks Ground on New HQ

Photo: Plexus’ executive team: Alec Clark, Tarl Robinson and Alfred Pettersen.

Plexus Worldwide held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday at the site of its new corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The fast-growing supplement and weight-loss brand, which currently operates from multiple offices, will consolidate its 200 employees in one location at Scottsdale’s Pima Center. Plexus recently relocated its warehouse operations to the site, after outgrowing its third facility in less than a decade. When completed the facilities will total more than 100,000 square feet.

“Building our new headquarters adjacent to our warehouse facility allows us to create a functional campus where we can truly get the most out of each building design while increasing the coordination between our talented employee teams, which currently work in various locations around Scottsdale,” CEO Tarl Robinson told AZRE magazine.

From less than $1 million in annual revenue four years ago, Plexus shot onto the 2014 Inc. 500 with 16,458 percent three-year growth. The company ranked No. 8 on the list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. In 2014, Plexus’ network of 220,000 Ambassadors generated more than $300 million in revenue.

90 Days of Direct Selling – Day 66


Plexus Worldwide Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $160 million

Country: USA

Plexus Worldwide is committed to providing life-changing products and a unique and rewarding business opportunity that help open the door to personal success and financial freedom.


2012 Rank: N/A
2012 Net Sales: N/A
Sales Method: Person-to-person
Compensation Structure: Multi-level
Products: Wellness
Markets: 8
Salespeople: 135,000
Employees: 120
Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona
Executive: Tarl Robinson
Year Founded: 2008

Plexus CEO Shares 4 Keys to a Successful Direct Selling Business

Photo above: Plexus’ executive team: Alec Clark, Tarl Robinson and Alfred Pettersen.

In April, Plexus Worldwide made its debut on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list of the world’s largest direct selling companies. In August, Inc. magazine ranked it No. 8 on its Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. In a recent interview, CEO Tarl Robinson highlighted some of the strategies he feels have been key to that success.

Build a bond with your field.
Plexus prides itself in having a partnership-style relationship with its salesforce of Plexus Ambassadors. Robinson said the company relies heavily on an advisory board of seven Ambassadors, chosen by the company’s top leaders. The executive team is in contact with the advisory board at least monthly, with three in-person meetings each year.

Make quality hires internally.
Because Plexus has made a name for itself in the Scottsdale, Arizona, market as a company with good compensation and benefits packages—not to mention its alluring growth story—the company has had no lack of applicants as it has grown. “It’s a unique and exciting position to be in as a company, that we really get to be selective about who we place in a role and take a lot of time and effort and thought process around our hiring,” Robinson said.

Top people deserve top income.
Enough said.

Company culture is key.
Creating, and maintaining, a strong, positive culture is no easy task. “Focus in on what you want that to be from an internal culture of your company, an external culture of your company and a field or ambassador culture of your company,” Robinson said. “You have to buy into it 100 percent.”

For more from the DSN interview with Robinson, see the November issue.