. Kathy Coffey was doing her best to make it as a single mom in Marin country, working as a massage therapist and raising her teenage daughter, Whitney. She’d dabbled with networking for years but without much success.

In 1994, she connected with a mentor who showed her the ropes and her first taste of real success in the business. For the first time, Kathy started earning a full-time income as a network marketer.

“We worked together for two years, then went our separate ways—and it all fell apart for me, because I didn’t know how to manage money.”

Kathy struggled financially for several years and tried working with a number of companies, none of them successfully. By the fall of ‘98, she was exhausted and in debt.

“I was burnt out from the way I’d been doing business; I just couldn’t seem to drive it. I tried to do it in the old way—hyping myself up and doing the ‘eight-to-faint’ gig—but it wasn’t working. I knew I needed to live a more balanced life, to pay attention to my daughter—and to myself.”

Looking back, Kathy says she now sees this as a natural evolution that many women go through.

“I was struggling to find my own voice—my own power as a woman in business.”

That year, Kathy connected with a company that has a facility in the Amazon rain forest, using herbs harvested by local people in a bio-sustainable environment. It turned out to be the perfect fit for her.

“The more I relaxed and opened up to receive the abundance waiting for me, the more successful I got. I let go and developed a softness and a sense of ease in my work life.”

Within a year, she was back on her feet. By the end of year two, she was earning a good $5000 per month, and climbing. Two months later that jumped to $7000—and Kathy was on a plane to Peru to have her first face-to-face encounter with the indigenous people of the Amazon jungle.

Into the Amazon
At first, Kathy was terrified at the prospect of going into the jungle.

“My biggest fear was the snakes—we’re talking about anacondas! But on the plane from Lima to Pulculpa, the jungle town near where the Shipibo people live, I looked out over miles and miles of green—a sea of green—and my fear vanished.”

The Shipibo women were waiting for them at the riverbank.

“Their arms were filled with hundreds of necklaces; such joy and innocence radiated from their hearts out through their eyes. I was completely won over.”

As the days wore by, Kathy’s sense of wonder and discovery deepened. With foundations in a matriarchal tradition, the Shipibo tribe seemed to offer Kathy rich lessons in the “feminine voice” she had been seeking.

“The tribal way is really a very feminine way. There’s a big, communal kitchen; everyone eats together. Everyone sleeps in the same area together on big wooden platforms under mosquito netting; everything is in the open air. Everybody takes care of the children, who just run free through the village and through the jungle. There is a profound sense of ‘we’ consciousness, of everybody being cared for.”

At the same time, says Kathy, the cultural exchange is far from one-way.

“What we bring to them is our individualism—and that’s good, too. They need what we have—just as we need what they have.”

Mission Marketing
Those initial experiences have blossomed into ambitious plans. Kathy is now working with a team to establish a Shipibo Center near Pulculpa, where the Shipibo and visiting Americans can exchange experiences and skills.

The Shipibo have come to rely on Western medicine, and it’s making them sick, says Kathy. Part of her vision is to introduce a system of holistic health. In fact, she’s already begun networking with some naturopathic doctors who want to participate in the project.

In addition to the support from network marketing, both field and corporate, Kathy has wrapped the project around another business: a women’s clothing cooperative, through which the Amazonian women can make the clothes to sell to American markets. Prototypes are already in design.

The whole experience has shifted Kathy’s views on money.

“When I was in my 20’s, if I had 20 bucks in my pocket, I was fine. Later, as a single mom, I needed to support a household—but the idea of earning larger amounts of money never entered my mind. Now it has become important to me—because now I see what I can do with it!

“Could I even think of doing these things if I were a massage therapist, earning $50 an hour and healing people one by one? No way! Now I help people heal their finances and do it in a way that gives back to the earth.

“I never allowed myself to dream before. In networking, the lid comes off your dreams. As we get more and more people financially solvent and abundant, this will help shift the prevailing paradigm on the planet. If people with good hearts have stewardship over millions and millions of dollars, just imagine what we could do!

“Network marketing is a very feminine way to work—it’s a tribal business model. We care enough about others to give them these benefits, and it spreads in a very beautiful, grassroots way. It’s also mission-driven marketing: most of us are on a mission. That’s the most powerful way to market—when your mission is authentic.”