Carolyn Anderson and Marion Culhane share a great deal in common.

For one thing, they are both devoted to the work of Global Family, an international non-profit group which they co-founded in 1986. The two women share a for-profit career as well: Marion is Carolyn’s upline in their nutrition-based network marketing business.

And there is one other important trait they share: they were both born at the same time—to the same parents.

“Actually, Marion came first,” explains Carolyn, “by three minutes.” Perhaps that set a precedent: Marion entered network marketing first, too—by three months.

Marion and Carolyn

Marion and her partner, Louis Kunz, joined the business in the fall of 1994, with a company that was then just nine months old. They have worked it full-time ever since. Carolyn and her husband, John Zwerber, joined Marion’s network three months later, in January 1995. Serving as co-directors for Global Family, Carolyn and John have worked the networking business part-time.

“It’s really just a matter of emphasis,” says Carolyn. “Marion and I are both involved in both. Even though we are identical twins, those who know us well would say our personalities are slightly different—but our consciousness and values are very similar, and our spiritual paths and direction of our commitment have also been very similar.”

A Global New Year’s Eve

The twin sisters’ professional paths began to overlap in the mid-1980s. A mother of two, Carolyn was living in northern California; Marion was busy raising three children in Denver, and finding ways to apply her background in nursing and public health.

“I was on the PTA, active in the community, that kind of thing—but I was always interested in the body-mind-spirit connection. There’d been studies showing that if you can get enough people praying and meditating for world peace, accident rates and emergency room admissions start going down—you actually start to shift the collective field. These days we know a good deal more empirically about the power of prayer, but back then it was already clear to me that it was so.”

She had started a non-profit called the Center for Creative Alternatives, working with people with serious illnesses, studying how attitude and state of mind affects health.

“I’m a natural networker,” adds Marion, “we both are. Whenever I find something good I naturally share it with others. If you have a large enough vision, people can come forth in their magnificence and discover how they can make a contribution.”

In the fall of 1985, Carolyn learned from Marion about an opportunity to act on that conviction—on a massive scale.

A Texas man, John Randolph Price, had a vision to bring together 20 million people worldwide, all envisioning world peace at the same moment. At 12 noon, Greenwich time, on December 31, 1986, groups at events all over the globe would all envision world peace simultaneously.

By the fall of ’85, Marion’s Colorado group had grown to 150 people. Carolyn joined her sister’s efforts, coordinating her own in California.
“Someone gave me an audio tape with information about this company’s nutritional products. I turned to Louis and said, ‘I think they’re up to something good—I think I’m going to get involved in this. You want to do it with me?’”

“I rented MacNichols Arena, the largest indoor facility in Denver,” recalls Marion. “When the day came 13 months later, we had 8000 people all get up at the crack of dawn and come together at 5 A.M. to make this event happen—and it was 4 A.M. for Carolyn’s group at Stanford Memorial Church!”

As it turned out, Marion’s Denver gathering was the largest of its kind in the world. But the greatest impact on the twins came not from the event itself, but from preparing for it.

“We were watching literally hundreds of people become empowered by the scope of the vision,” recalls Carolyn. “We saw shy people become public speakers, jaded people become mission-driven. We saw people get in touch with their own deeper life purpose. People were touched, moved, inspired, enhanced by this experience—and they didn’t want to stop, come January 1.”

The two women knew that what they were witnessing was also happening for hundreds and even thousands of others all over the world.

“At some point in their lives,” explains Carolyn, “most conscious people ask, ‘What am I supposed to be doing here?’ When you bring together a group of people focused on a project like this, they start getting in touch with their deeper purpose.”

Marion continues. “We thought, if we could create a support structure that would link all these people, we could help shift consciousness on a huge scale and really make a contribution. That was the impetus behind Global Family. Our mission statement is: To support a shift in consciousness from separation and fear to unity and love.”

At that point, Carolyn called Marion; she had been thinking along the same lines. They decided to do it together; Global Family was born.

Taking the Process Global

Says Carolyn, “Our focus has always been on process. We bring together small groups of people so that the individuals in that group, working as a team, can discover and fulfill the life purpose of each member of the team. We lead trainings and workshops in this ‘Core Group Process’ all over the world; our guidebooks have been translated into a number of different languages.”
“They are both about shifting consciousness, from fear to love. Global Family is more overt about this agenda. The networking business doesn’t talk as much about it—it simply goes out and does it, in a fundamental way.”

Word of their work spread. Soon they were being invited to participate in international peace conferences all over the globe. They facilitated John Denver’s Windstar in Colorado and the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders at Oxford.

“The Dalai Lama was there,” recalls Marion, “and the Archbishop of Canterbury—so many amazing people. I held Mother Teresa’s hands and thanked her for her work in the world.”

That event was so successful they were invited to help design a conference in Costa Rica through the University for Peace, called “Seeking the True Meaning of Peace.”

“We actually helped facilitate the facilitators,” explains Marion. “The Dalai Lama was at this one, too, as was President Arrias, who had just received the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Carolyn takes up the chronicle:

“Soon we were being invited everywhere. We participated in two of the Soviet-American Citizens Summits, in Washington DC and Moscow; the Earth Summit in Rio; and many others. We were involved with citizen diplomacy in the Soviet Union during the cold war, leading 12 groups of citizen diplomats over to Russia.

“By 1990 we were affiliated with the United Nations as an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), and had teams in 40 countries. The amazing thing is, we never sat down in 1986 and said, Let’s do citizen diplomacy, or, Let’s facilitate international conferences. These things all just unfolded.”

Marion sums the group’s history up in a masterpiece of understatement: “One thing led to another.”

Adding the Missing Ingredient

As challenging and fulfilling as the work was, there was something missing: cash flow. Marion began teaching a week-long seminar to help people identify their life vision, erase limiting beliefs and create the life of their choosing.

“It started as a seven-and-a-half day seminar, then I made it shorter and shorter. Later, when I got involved in networking, it was so applicable to this business that I compressed it down to a one-day seminar called Breaking Through Your Abundance Barriers.”

But the seminar business was not extraordinarily lucrative. Then, as it has in the lives of so many, serendipity stepped in.

“I had been on a two-week silent retreat,” recalls Marion, “when someone gave me an audio tape with information about this company’s nutritional products. I turned to Louis and said, ‘I think they’re up to something good—I think I’m going to get involved in this. You want to do it with me?’”

Louis responded in the great American skeptical spouse tradition: “What are you talking about—this is network marketing!”

Marion laughs. “I said, ‘I don’t care what it is, I’m doing it!’ Dear Louis thought about it, looked at me, and said, ‘Well, sure, I’ll do it with you.’ The truth is, the two of us had wanted to do something together; we had said, ’God, use us.’ Now I told Louis, ‘I think we’re being used!’ Right from the start, it felt like the business was doing me—not me doing the business. There was a lot of grace involved in the whole thing.”

By the end of their first year, Marion was earning more in a month than her seminars had earned in a year.

Carolyn had a similar experience. “By the end of our first year—working part-time—we were earning a good $3000 a month, certainly sufficient to pay our bills. A year later, it was over five digits.”

It was a financial paradigm shift, says Carolyn.

“I had always been a volunteer. I had been a very successful color consultant, one of the first in the US—but by the mid-90s, I’d sold a home and I was living off of savings. I needed to generate an income stream. Peace is expensive.”

Suddenly, they could pour their heart into Global Family—without it having to be a financial sacrifice.

Towards a Philanthropic Economy

We asked Marion and Carolyn, how do the two enterprises overlap? In what ways do they serve similar values?

“Our background in Global Family made us naturals for network marketing,” says Carolyn. “They are both all about networking, connecting, supporting, training and empowering.”

Marion points out that the kind of people who are interested in Global Family often also have a natural interest in networking as a business.

Did they “roll in” great numbers of people from Global Family to their networking business, we wonder, using their influence in the non-profit to create “instant downline”?

Not at all, says Carolyn. “A number of friends from Global Family joined us in the business and have strong organizations today. But we are careful to keep the two distinct, to respect the boundaries of each. Most of my team does not even know about Global Family.”

Nevertheless, there is a powerful overlap between the two. Marion explains:

“They are both about shifting consciousness, from fear to love. Global Family is more overt about this agenda. The networking business doesn’t talk as much about it—it simply goes out and does it, in a fundamental way.

“For example, our networking company has its own non-profit arm that donates products to children and orphanages around the world. And that’s not unique: quite a few companies in our industry do this. The company attracts people who want to make a contribution, who want to be of service. In fact, this is true of the whole industry.

“When you contribute to people’s health, physically and financially, you put them in a position where they can move out of fear and into love. They’re both about creating freedom in people’s lives.”