DC Cordova is the CEO of Excellerated Business Schools®, which has offered their “Business School for Entrepreneurs” and the legendary program “Money & You®” for nearly thirty years. The Excellerated programs boast such graduates as Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul), Spencer Johnson (The One Minute Manager), Ben Cohen (Ben & Jerry’s), Anthony Robbins, Loral Langmeier (The Millionaire Maker), Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad), Harv Eker (Secrets of the Millionaire Mind) and many illustrious others. She is a fiercely passionate advocate for humanity everywhere around the globe, and travels widely spreading the principles of prosperity, educational transformation and social responsibility. She says her life purpose is “to uplift humanity’s consciousness through business.” Her love of life is positively contagious. — J.D.M.

How did you get involved with Money & You?

Through college, I worked as an interpreter in the legal system, then became a Certified Shorthand Reporter and was thinking about going to law school, when I got involved in the human potential movement. At the same time, I was also thinking starting my own business. In 1979 I attended the first Business School for Entrepreneurs that Bobbi DePorter, Marshall Thurber and their team had created a year earlier. I was dazzled by how innovative the work was. It was the only thing of its kind, and still is today. Through a series of miraculous circumstances, I got involved with this organization, began to promote the first Money & You programs, and ended up with the business at a very young age.

You met Buckminster Fuller about this time, is that right?

We invited him to come speak at the first School, and he accepted. I ended up literally sitting at his feet listening to him speak, once a year for five years in a row until he passed on in 1983. In 1981, we organized and presented the longest-running event he ever did; it lasted for six days. One of our associates has edited the video of that event to about twenty-one hours of pure Buckminster Fuller; it’s some of his most profound work.

The work we do is based on Fuller’s work. He taught about true wealth and adding value to humanity, and that’s the work I’ve been involved with for nearly thirty years. We teach people to move from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance, to become socially responsible and to share that wealth with those who need it. This is Fuller’s legacy.

I’ve heard that Buckminster Fuller once said, “If all of the wealth in the world were divided between every man, woman and child, we’d each have $10 million.”

I never heard him say that, but he did say that every human being on this planet is a technological millionaire. He taught us that technology was going to level the playing field for humanity—that technology was going to be the great equalizer.

He said it would no longer be possible for human beings to suppress other human beings as they have in the past, because technology was going to allow us to communicate instantaneously. And of course, this has now come true with the Internet and the technology of instant communication. When he was talking about this, only some people in military or certain privileged circles knew about the Internet, and it wasn’t available to the public until years after Fuller died, but he used to talk about how it would affect all our lives in the future.

In my early days in this field, I became involved as a volunteer with The Hunger Project, which was led by Lynne Twist through the old EST organization. Currently I’m involved with Lynn and her team through the Pachamama Alliance, a fantastic body of work. Lynne was also inspired by Fuller. Just about anyone who is working on behalf of the betterment of humanity has been impacted at some point by Buckminster Fuller or someone who studied his work.

When I did the Pachamama facilitators’ training, I learned that there are two million organizations around the world that are working toward the betterment of humanity, and that number is growing. Through my work in the Asia-Pacific region, I’ve recently learned that China is going green.

China?! Really. Not what you’d think of as the most environmentally conscious country.

Not at all. I love China; in fact, I’m on my way there in a few days, and will be spending weeks there. They are definitely not the most environmentally-friendly country, because they’re following a path of industrialization that they learned from us!

However, a number of Chinese became quite vocal and said, “Look, either you go green or we’re going to mobilize some serious grass-root organizations to put major pressure on you.” This grass-roots, Internet-based kind of communication is what won’t allow people to get away with murder anymore. It’s such a powerful thing.

So there’s really a strong green movement in China?

Oh, it’s happening. Within two years, there will be no plastic bags in China. When people come to the Olympics next year, they’re going to be very surprised, because by that time this green movement will be launched and quite visible. They’re moving in fast forward, not only with hybrid and electric cars and alternative types of fuels but also with alternative building, imitating some of the most environmentally-conscious countries.

Once China goes green, the United States and other highly polluting countries will have no choice but to look at how we can move that fast in solving our own problems. Otherwise we will lose face. China is the third biggest polluter on the planet right now, with us being the first. Can you imagine what will happen when China is suddenly no longer third?

That’s amazing. I’ve heard nothing about this.

Outside of China, it’s practically a secret. The media spend much more time giving China a bad rap for their almost out-of-control growth. But whose footsteps are they following? Ours.

I have the chance to see this growth first-hand, because we’re doing our programs in China and the Asia-Pacific region, in both Chinese and English; I travel there often and get to do programs with hundreds of businesspeople there.

This grassroots movement that’s influencing China, where is that concentrated—in the West, in China, in Europe?

It’s everywhere. Certainly inside China, but also all around the world.

The Chinese Internet services block certain words in their attempt to restrict information. But you can’t block words such as “air,” “earth,” “sun” or “energy.” None of these are keywords that would create any kind of an upset. They’re not saying anything anti-government; what they’re talking about is pro-earth. So whether they like it or not, the Internet works quite well to spread these ideas in that part of the world, and the people in China are becoming very educated on many different issues.

That’s fascinating.

I think the government of China also does not want to lose face. A great book just came out, Think India, by Vinay Rai, who will be sponsoring us in India. In his book, Vinay says that India could soon be the #2 or #3 superpower and outpace the United States by the year 2050.

Imagine the United States becoming number three, after India and China! And that’s saying we’d be #3 only if we make some serious changes—otherwise, who knows what number we would be. At the moment, we are driving our country into recession, with all our spending on war, while other countries are busy making money, lifting their standards of living and their consciousness to improve the environment and eradicate poverty and hunger in their own backyards.

Right now, both India and China are focusing on how they’re going to show up forty years from now. China is ahead of India in many aspects, but one way India is ahead of China is that they have a middle class of over 300 million people who speak English, are moving towards a Western mindset and live in a functioning democracy.

All of this relates to true wealth, because true wealth is not purely about money. Many countries are developing various ways of measuring their level of national well-being. There was a story recently about this in Newsweek. In Bhutan, a small kingdom sandwiched between India and China, they measure something called Gross National Happiness (GNH), right alongside GNP and GDP. China and other countries have a similar index, and the United States is going to have one, too, by the end of 2008.

DC, how would you define true wealth?

True wealth is knowledge; it’s the ability to resolve problems. True wealth is having the capacity to get out of trouble quickly. True wealth is the ability to be resourceful, even through tragedy.

I have some friends who lost a child this past June, on Father’s Day. Their twenty-one-year-old son just didn’t wake up that day. No one knows exactly what happened; he simply died.

These two and their family loved their son so much, and they went through a great deal of grief. But at the same time, I have been amazed to see how at peace they’ve been. I’ve never seen two parents go through something like this and be so at peace. They’re a Mormon family, so they have tremendous faith in God and their religion, and their church has really supported them. But another big reason they have been able to be so at peace is that when this happened, they were already very complete with their son.

This couple has done a lot of work on themselves. They have a substantial set of tools with which they were able to process their thinking and their feelings. They have an understanding of life and death.

And that is true wealth?

That is a beautiful example of true wealth. In the face of a tragedy, they were able to get through it, and handle it all as elegantly and as wonderfully as any human being could possibly do.

I’ve seen many tragic things. When I was eighteen, my boyfriend died tragically in a car accident. His mother died a year and a half later, and while the cause of death was a brain tumor, she really died of heartbreak because that was her favorite son. I know another woman who lost two children—one from a disease contracted in Vietnam and the other to drugs—and she still cries almost every day, thirty-five years later. She doesn’t have the tools to cope with the tragedies and move on with her life.

I think true wealth is also the ability to be able to share what wealth you have with others.

I am in a position where I work and play with people who are extremely successful. I have met billionaires who are completely unfulfilled, sad and very self-centered people. I got tired of these people and said to the universe: “Look, you want me to do this work, you better get me some conscious, loving billionaires, because I’m not having a good time here!”

Then I began meeting with people like Elena Lim, a billionaire in the Philippines, who has committed her life to the betterment of others. This woman is kind and loving and she treats every human being as an equal. When I met Elena, I felt I was in the presence of a truly wealthy person. Not only does she live in beautiful homes, but her entire demeanor, her beingness, her love, her support, her ability to contribute to others, embodies what I think of as true wealth.

Buckminster Fuller had true wealth.

Do you feel you have true wealth yourself?

Yes, because I am happy living in any circumstance. I’d much rather live in beautiful places, but I don’t have any trouble going to India and sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. And if I had to do that for a long time, I would be okay with that. I’m resourceful; I wouldn’t be a victim.

I am very comfortable around money; it’s just not something I struggle with. I don’t worry much about whether I have it or not. If I do, fantastic, it helps me work on my mission and fulfill my life purpose.

I live below my means. I have a beautiful condo in California, overlooking the Pacific ocean; I call it my Presidential Suite. A year ago, it was appraised at $1.2 million; because of the decline in real estate values, today it’s worth about $850,000. But that doesn’t matter to me. I kiss the ground every time I get back to my home. I have an incredible view of the sunset, of the ocean … why would I care what the dollar value of the place is? I have no intention of moving, nor do I need to live in a bigger place.

I think, when you reach a certain level of consciousness, talking about Maslow’s scale…

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Yes, of needs. Maslow saw that there comes a point when, if you don’t turn your wealth and your being toward the betterment of humanity, you don’t advance spiritually. I get a little perturbed when I talk to people who consider themselves so spiritually advanced, yet their whole life is about themselves. I do my best not to judge them; I just don’t hang out with them.

I much prefer to hang out with people who allow themselves to be wealthy, allow themselves to be beautiful, allow themselves to be healthy, and also contribute tremendously to the betterment of humanity in their own way.

Some of them are very quiet. We don’t have to do “press release donations.” I know people who raise money and love to appear in front of the press with those big foam checks. We do our best not to do that, though there are times when the organizations we support want us to. We have funded some amazing foundations, and we don’t have anything to show for it except the extraordinary results they have achieved and the knowing that we have made a difference. They don’t give us plaques. You know why? They’re too busy taking kids off the streets and saving lives to buy plaques.

You want the experience, not the proof of the experience.

Exactly. So, what is true wealth? True wealth is a beingness. It’s a level of consciousness. It’s the ability to be generous, to be giving.

You don’t have to be a perfect person. I’ve been married and divorced once, but if I were married and divorced five times, that wouldn’t mean I couldn’t also be a very loving, generous human being.

People sometimes focus on the wrong picture. I know wealthy people who are very showy; they have expensive cars and big houses—yet at the same time, they are also very quiet in their givingness; they are beautiful and are very advanced human beings.

I think we cannot categorize and say, “The rich are selfish.” No, that’s not correct. You have to see them individually.

My mother’s a very generous, loving, giving woman who is having the time of her life being a senior citizen. She’s always doing something for somebody. She used to be a beautician; now she cuts hair for women in senior citizen homes who can’t move around or get out to have their hair done.

My father, on the other hand, was ill for the last twenty years of his life. He was always embroiled in disputes or having his children angry with him. He had ten children with four different women, and I’m the only one who went through any kind of process of completing with him and letting go of the resentments I have for his lack of parenting me when I was a child. He was a sad person. He spent the last twenty years of his life in regret and in making excuses for himself.

One day, after I came back from visiting him, my mom asked me, “What was it like to spend time with Mario? What did you learn?” And I said, “I learned that when you get old, you get to face your life.”

I think the last twenty years of your life are about reexamining and taking a look at your life.

Even though he always had money, I felt that my father was a poor person—not poor financially, but poor of spirit. My mother, on the other hand, is so fulfilled and complete. She says, “Look, honey, at my age you don’t know whether you’re going to wake up the next morning.” So we always tell each other we love each other, and we are always giving each other presents, and she is the same with my sister. She is a truly wealthy woman.

You talk about how the United States is losing its place of leadership in the world. Are we still world leaders in terms of the kind of thinking your programs embody?

Yes, there’s no question that everybody around the world loves America for its entrepreneurial spirit. We still have leading business schools.

Yet we cannot ignore the morality of not having health insurance for everyone, of not taking care of our young. We still have over 10 million children who go to bed hungry. We have old people who need taking care of. We have six million homeless—not long ago it was three million. You cannot be a truly wealthy country with those statistics.

I think we need to educate ourselves as a nation in a completely different way. We are digging ourselves a huge hole by not allowing ourselves to be a place of understanding.

What can networkers do to help create that kind of awareness and change that?

I think the biggest power that a network marketer has is the power of the network. If you’re teaching people how to make money with their products or services, you can also educate them on what they need to do in order to become wealthy beyond the money. You can help them by becoming educated on things that matter.

They could look at the Pachamama Alliance, which is an organization committed to the betterment of humanity; they could take programs like our “Money & You,” where they can learn the principles that will move them from scarcity thinking to abundance.

One of the keys about money is that you have to recycle it. When you give it to others, you create a cycle of giving and receiving. Money will come back to you. If you outflow, it will inflow. It’s a wealth principle.

Another thing you can do is to adopt a cause, some kind of transformational process for your downline organization where the people can begin to contribute to others—whether that means educating people who are homeless, educating people on how to go out and do some lobbying for the work that needs to be done to get health insurance for everyone, or transforming the educational system in order to eradicate poverty and hunger.

If networkers, especially as they become wealthier themselves, can get behind a cause, then they can make a huge difference in the world.

And live to the end of their lives more like your mom than your dad.