Originally from Sudan, Adly Hassan Hamed is a highly successful network marketing leader who, when not traveling the globe, resides in Dubai with his wife and two young daughters. The organization he leads currently stretches out over twenty countries in the Middle East and Africa, and is quickly conquering other parts of the world as well.
In June 2010 Adly was a keynote speaker at his company's annual convention in Malaysia, where 800 of his leaders were in attendance. He spoke about challenges as blessings in disguise, the power of adversity in sharpening leadership skills, and the need to drop old beliefs in order to allow change to happen.
Most of all, he communicated his passion for freedom and his (sometimes tough) love for the people whose destinies he has helped shape over the years. Revered by his team of several hundred thousand, Adly remains a humble man who lives in service of his mission to show others their unlimited potential and help them take control of their lives.
Discovering Network Marketing
When Adly was a child, his father would teach him a favorite Arabic poem while driving to school, having Adly and his younger brother repeat the words after him. The two boys sometimes got annoyed, but they kept repeating these verses until they knew them by heart.
A free-spirited boy,
One who has hot blood running
through his veins,
He flies high riding on the back of
a free-spirited stallion.
If he desires to achieve anything in life,
There are no boundaries or barriers to stop him
From reaching his destination.
Thanks to this early conditioning, Adly grew deeply convinced that he was born to be free. He went on to study civil engineering and became certain that his degree was the "free-spirited stallion" that would enable him to achieve all his dreams.
But the world he discovered after graduating proved otherwise. Although he found a good job, the economic situation in Sudan was such that his salary didn't qualify him to dream. Instead of driving a luxury car, he had to settle for a small used car; the three-story villa he had in mind shrunk down to a one-bedroom rental apartment; and the idea of getting married and building a family became a far-fetched fantasy, since he was struggling to take care of his own basic needs.
Adly moved to the United States to try and restore his dreams, but instead of finding the American dream, he fell into the American rat race. Four years later, he moved to the United Arab Emirates and spent the next seven years working for a big corporation in Dubai. His salary was now much higher, but the cost of living in that part of the world was so high that he could barely break even.
At age 37, Adly had managed to save some money and felt ready to marry the girl of his dreams. The marriage project swiftly consumed all his resources; in fact, it took him two years to pay back the money he ended up borrowing to help pay for the wedding. Adly and his wife were eager to start a family, but in order to get pregnant his wife had to undergo expensive medical treatment—and once again, Adly had to borrow money.
Two weeks after his elder daughter Haneen was born, in January 2001, Adly's younger brother Alaa came out for a visit and introduced Adly and his younger sister to what he called "a lifetime opportunity." Alaa had joined a network marketing company a few days beforehand.
With daughters Haneen and Hala
in the indoor snow park in Dubai.
Addressing business partners in Egypt during a training.
About to address an audience of 8000 networkers in Malaysia.
Signing DVD's at a training in 2009.
Taking a break on the stage.
A crowd of network marketers welcoming Adly on his way to the stage.
Teaching in Cairo at a network marketing seminar.
Adly was sure his brother had entangled himself in some sort of scam.
"I tried my best to persuade him to quit," says Adly, "and I explained to him that whoever was behind this scam was using some sort of brain-washing technique to generate a contagious enthusiasm in his victims."
Adly will always be grateful to Alaa for not giving up on him. The next day Alaa tried a different, more efficient approach: he asked Adly if he could introduce him to the person who had presented the opportunity to him. He added that after one year, when his life would be totally turned around by this business, he would be very sad if his brother couldn't share in the fruits of this great opportunity.
Alaa's sincerity caused Adly to have mixed feelings. "Will I be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime? Or should I intervene and rescue my younger brother from these scammers?" he wondered.
He chose to accept the invitation and meet the person who had planted this idea in Alaa's head—but with the intention of proving him wrong and saving his brother.
Joining the Business
The next day, Adly went to a coffee shop in Al Ain city to meet his opponent, who drove almost 140 kilometers to show him the business plan.
"His name was Andrea Abu Zaid," says Adly. "He was twelve years younger than I, and I quickly decided that, with my extensive life experience, I wasn't going to let this young hustler drag me into his web."
As the meeting progressed Adly grew even more concerned—only now for a different set of reasons: he was actually liking what he was hearing.
Looking at the business concept as an engineer, the numbers made sense to him and he could see the income potential, but he felt it would be impossible for him to find time for a new business, since he was already working twelve-hour days, seven days a week at his job. He could take only one day off every three weeks.
His second concern was that he didn't know any people to invite to the business, since his job didn't allow him any free time for socializing or making new friends. He had always seen himself as a shy person for whom meeting people and building new friendships was not a priority.
His chances for success in this business seemed to be roughly zero.
Despite the fact that Andrea had only been in the business for three months, he drove Adly's fear away, simply by being sincere and persistent at the same time.
"By the end of the meeting, which lasted for two hours, I knew that Alaa was right," says Adly. "I became one hundred percent certain that anyone who let this opportunity pass him by was out of his mind. I began to see images of my future success.
"The funny thing is that during my school years, just the idea of being asked to stand in front of my classmates would scare me to death. Now, the image of me standing in front of a white board and presenting the business to different groups of people didn't scare me at all. I started seeing clear pictures of myself traveling and introducing the business to many people all over the world.
"The most important shift was a feeling of relief that I had finally found myself and my salvation. At last I could make up for all the lost years and broken dreams. The only obstacle that stood between me and my dreams at that moment was the fact that I was still paying back the money I had borrowed for my wife's medical treatments. But I made up my mind: I would borrow one more time, only this time I knew it would be the last."
Adly had just turned 39 when he joined the business, and the feeling of quiet desperation that had haunted him for years now turned into fuel that ignited his new passion. His desire to succeed became intense and overwhelming. He became 100 percent committed to raising himself to provide his family with the best life can offer.
"For the first time, I found out how I could reach financial freedom and become my own boss," he says. "I let my young mentor guide me each step of the way, although in the beginning I didn't understand how someone twelve years younger could have such an impact on me."
In April 2001, three months after joining the business, Adly attended his first company training in Dubai. In his keynote speech, Joseph Bismark, one of the company founders, distilled the essence of the business as helping others succeed in order to succeed yourself.
Adly fell in love with this concept and his belief in the company grew even stronger when, in September of that year, he attended his company's third anniversary celebration on board a cruise ship that set sail from Kuala Lumpur. He spent five memorable days with about 200 other business partners from all over the world, as well as company founders Dato' Vijay Eswaran and Joseph Bismark.
"In a very short time, their guidance and mentoring altered the negative behaviors and attitudes that had limited my chances for success," says Adly. "They simply showed me that in order to succeed at anything in life, I needed to have an attitude that projects success and injects the subconscious mind with nothing but positive messages.
"I learned how to draw detailed images of the things I dream of acquiring and how to program myself for success. I read my goals out loud before I went to sleep and first thing when I woke up in the morning, to the point where my wife used to make fun of me. But my belief grew stronger every day and I stayed the course, always reminding myself that I was on the right track.
"The road was not easy but my determination was immense. I sacrificed the few luxuries I used to enjoy; for example, I cut my sleep down to four hours a night and quit watching TV, especially football games, which was really painful.
"Office hours in the U.A.E. at that time went from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, then there was a three-hour break and we returned to work from 4:00 to 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening. I scheduled business presentations during the three hours in the afternoon break, and after 9:00 p.m. I often came home after midnight, only to return to work early the next morning.
"I allowed myself to associate only with people who have the right attitude towards success and withdrew from all those who tried to deter me from my quest."
Exactly one year after Adly joined the business, on New Year's Eve 2002, he received a monthly commission check equivalent to five times his job salary. Three months later, at the end of March, he retired from his job to become a full-time network marketer.
Adly overcame his shyness simply by making the decision that he had to break free and facing the fact that without talking to people, he could not move forward. He started doing one-on-one presentations to colleagues from work and some of his relatives, but as more and more people joined his team, he realized he needed to look for a venue where he could use a white board.
"The first time I got a group together, I thought my mentor or leader would present the business. But at the last minute, when the room was already packed with more than thirty people, he decided not to. I had to sink or swim, so I took the stage and faced one of the most difficult moments in my life. I chose not to look at the crowd and just do the presentation. And it went fine; the only comment I got was, ‘Next time, remember to look at your audience.'"
Adly's upline was very helpful, calling him every night for the first two months to go over his goals and remind him that rejection is part of the journey, to never allow negativity to enter his mind and to never give up.
"My wife was not very happy with these nightly calls," says Adly, "which often started after midnight and could last for an hour."
Yet the biggest boost in Adly's energy level and commitment happened when he started realizing that the business was not just about making money for himself, but also about helping others raise themselves out of lack and limitation.
"I became a servant of a mission," he says, "which is to lead people from where they are to where they want to be. My greatest joy is to see people turn their destinies around."
After Adly retired from his job, he was able to start traveling and support his long-distance lines.
"In 2001, I took the business to my birth country, Sudan, which at the time was considered one of the poorest, most underdeveloped countries in the world, with an average monthly income of $50. People around me were very skeptical and tried to dissuade me from my plans, but I knew deep inside that this was part of my mission. I was positive that people in my country deserved this opportunity and had what it took to succeed. I felt that, the same way I had found a ticket to freedom, many of my childhood friends, family members and old neighbors were looking for this ticket as well.
"The road to success in Sudan was filled with hurdles, but my team's determination and the support of our upline leaders kept us going. As the numbers of leaders in Sudan increased, we came to a decision to join all efforts and unite in one group. We founded the Pathfinders team, which today spans over twenty countries and soon will spread all over the world. I am honored and privileged to be the servant leader of the Pathfinders."
Adly was the first in his company to start building in Africa. Today, the company has many flourishing organizations on that continent.
"People in third-world countries need the opportunity more than the products," he explains. "Leading with the product may work in Europe, the United States, Australia and maybe some Asian countries, but in Africa you get people's attention much more by emphasizing the unique opportunity.
"There is a strong entrepreneurial desire in developing countries, and that's what I tapped into. When I introduced the business in Africa, people would look at me and say, ‘This is very expensive, we can't afford to start.' My advice to them was to pool their resources and share the cost of the product until they start getting a check. Today it's not nearly as difficult as in the early days, because now we have a track record that the business is workable, as long as you do the work."
Since many people didn't have any Internet connectivity at home, the Pathfinders team set up regional offices where people could gather to sign up new distributors, process orders and receive basic training.
The training and marketing arm of Adly's company, called The V (after the V-shaped flight formation of migratory birds) and managed by Managing Director Pathman Senathirajah, also offers regular business seminars in Africa, for example in Kenya and Uganda. Geared towards raising awareness about network marketing and the opportunities it offers, especially for women, the trainings aim to teach people how to succeed in the business and overcome the challenges posed by society and their families, and as a result, become financially independent.
"When attending one of these seminars where V Partner Ms. Donna Imson was the keynote speaker," says Adly, "I learned that networks in Africa are led mostly by women, because they are more dissatisfied with their current situation and driven to create a better life for their families and children. This makes them more eager to take the leap of starting a new business."
Besides offering regional trainings, The V also holds an annual convention in Kuala Lumpur, which in 2010 attracted more than 8,000 people from sixty countries.
"It's not easy for Africans to travel all the way to Malaysia, and some of them have to sell off a cow or other valuable belongings to get there," says Adly. "But this is how people get to deeply experience the values at the heart of the business and the feeling of belonging to a bigger cause. They really grasp our company mission of RYTHM—Raise Yourself To Help Mankind."
To raise himself as a leader, Adly says he learned a lot from Randy Gage and Mark Yarnell, and he has translated many of their teachings into Arabic for his team.
Adly travels a lot to meet with leaders in different countries and to conduct regional events. Fortunately, he is also able to take his family with him whenever he wants to.
In November 2008, Adly was invited to join the V Partners, the top ten leaders of the network. This achievement puts him in the highest-ranked leadership position and requires him to speak and conduct trainings all over the world, as well as help open up new markets by resolving legal issues and creating alliances between field leaders and local authorities.
Adly believes that today we live in a world where people are coming together.
"The merging is happening everywhere: companies are coming together, countries are coming together, and I'd love to see the Pathfinders group, over the next ten years, become the strongest and biggest team, not only in Africa and Asia, but also in the rest of the world. I pray and will do everything to make sure that we don't see any kind of splitting, because this would weaken our potential.
"I see my daughters carrying on what I have started, enjoying this opportunity of changing people's lives and also enjoying the freedom of choice. If you ask my 9-year-old today, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?' she will tell you, ‘Be a businesswoman, because I can have enough money to do the things I love to do and also help many people.' It's as simple as that."