By Garrett McGrath with Dr. Josephine Gross

Are you a member of the Association of Network Marketing Professionals? Given the recent success and continuing reverberation of the biggest international ANMP convention since the association's inception, we interviewed its president to help our readers understand what the ANMP is, who is involved, and why network marketing professionals from all over the world are excited to join. - J.G.

How did the idea of forming an association for network marketers originate?

The ANMP is a true grass-roots organization. Founded in 2004 by distributors and for distributors, it gradually expanded to include company owners and executives as well as other strategic partners of the global network marketing community.

The ANMP's goals have always been to ensure that all members of this community are served and supported. Over its nine-year history the association has focused on establishing professional standards and a code of conduct, educating companies and distributors about their responsibilities and rights, and teaching best practices. In addition to asking the question, "What does it mean to be a network marketing professional?" the ANMP has worked to help prevent or amend legislation that would be harmful to our businesses. It has drafted publications on these topics and has continually provided educational resources for anyone who is building a career in or generates an income from network marketing.

In 2012 we set a bold, new vision to expand our reach, and in 2013, especially since our convention in March, we have been experiencing unprecedented growth and tremendous interest through the participation and support of influential leaders on a global scale.

Our goal over the next five years is to add ANMP chapters all around the world, with participating regions electing their own board of directors and hosting their own regional conventions as well as meeting all together for an annual international convention. We expect 2,500 to 3,000 attendees at next year's convention in Dallas, and our five-year goal is one million ANMP members globally.

[...] To see the entire interview with event pictures, click here

As a busy network marketer, why did you decide to lead the ANMP?

I consider it a blessing to be able to give back to a profession that has given me so much.

Straight out of college, I made a choice to pursue network marketing as a career. I had studied international marketing and foreign trade both in Germany and Ireland. Network marketing made the most sense to me as a way to not only create a great income but also have the time to enjoy it, while helping others to do the same.

Although I fell in love with the business concept right away, I was not a success in my first company. What turned it around for me was mentorship. I realized there were professional network marketers out there, people who could build businesses in a predictable, sustainable way. I made it my goal to seek these people out.

I knew that education and being around best practices did make a real difference, and I knew that many others were also looking to learn from and be mentored by the greatest leaders in our profession, so I started envisioning a platform where we could all come together.

The recent ANMP convention was a milestone in the realization of this vision: twenty-four guest speakers from all over the world came to share their success secrets in order to support networkers in different companies. What I found particularly inspiring was that most of these speakers stayed for most sessions to hear others speak-taking notes, then purchasing other speakers' training materials to take home, so they could learn even more and teach it to their teams.

Leaders from different companies came together and said, "Let's collaborate, let's share what we've learned to help others shorten their growth curve, let's figure out ways to raise up our profession." Some even decided to speak at each other's company events after the convention to continue the movement of collaboration we started.

[...] To see the entire interview with event pictures, click here

How would you define the ANMP's role?

Network marketing and franchising both had a challenging start. Just like network marketing, franchising came close to being voted illegal-but look at what has happened over time: according to the International Franchising Association, the direct and indirect impact franchising had on the U.S. economy in 2007 came to $2.1 trillion in sales and 18 million jobs.

When you compare that to the impact of network marketing, you can't help but notice a huge disparity. What's the difference? One thing franchising has benefitted from for over fifty years is a powerful professional association.

In 1960, as franchising was going through some rough patches, a small group of franchise entrepreneurs gathered to discuss their concerns, until finally one of them slapped a $100 bill on the table and said, "What we need is an association!" This was the beginning of their huge growth and eventual wide acceptance as a business model.

Every profession has an association to support it and share best practices. Network marketing needs a strong association uniting distributors, company owners, and executives, as well as strategic partners who support the network marketing community. We have tremendous untapped growth potential, just as franchising did in the 1960s. Today the ANMP offers an opportunity for us all to join forces and shape our future.

What are some of the benefits of being an ANMP member?

Becoming a card-carrying member of your association offers prestige, credibility, a code of conduct, and tremendous benefits in terms of resources and access to our continuing education programs. Our annual membership fee is just $20. You also receive a complimentary online subscription to Networking Times.

[...] To see the entire interview with event pictures, click here