In 2000, two years into our marriage, Chris Gross and I had a vision: we saw network marketing as the perfect vehicle for creating Global Prosperity through a Philanthropic Economy™. To contribute our part, we began outlining a plan for a media company that would serve the network marketing profession. During that sabbatical year, a unified business model emerged consisting of an educational journal, a certification program, a professional association, and a charitable foundation—with each of these four elements strengthening the other facets.
In 2002 we launched Networking Times; in 2003 we founded Networking University—and both kept us so busy that the plans for the association and the foundation were put on the back burner.
In the fall of 2012, the president of the Association of Network Marketing Professionals (ANMP), Garrett McGrath, invited Chris to run to fill a vacancy in the ANMP board of directors. Inspired by Garrett’s vision and leadership, Chris accepted and was voted in. As a result, the third piece of our vision is taking shape. Recognizing our alignment in purpose with the ANMP, Chris and I lent our support and we were elected as members of the new board of directors.
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.M.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.
Honoring ANMP founders Rod and Marcie Cook.
Sarah Robbins delivers a training.
Who is involved in the current ANMP?
Starting with our founders, Rod and Marcie Cook, the association has been led by some of the most vocal and passionate advocates of network marketing. This includes our board of directors, thousands of supporting members, and prominent industry spokespeople who are energized by our shared vision and aims. Our current board (elected in March 2013) includes, in addition to Chris, you, and me, Jordan Adler, Scott Burnett, Sandi Cohen, Marcie Cook, Troy Dooly, Todd Falcone, Keith Halls, Carlos Marin, Bret Matheny, Sylvia McGrath, Paula Pritchard, Sarah Robbins, Jackie Ulmer, and Larene Williamson.
Many of our board members are also on the faculty of Networking University, which clearly shows our affiliation and alignment in purpose.
As a busy network marketer, why did you decide to lead the ANMP?
I consider it a blessing to be able to contribute 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.
With Todd Falcone.
Kody Bateman presents.
With Paula Pritchard.
Donna Imson presents.
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.
How do you see the unifying force of the association?
I see three major constituencies that could come together powerfully: first, there is the Direct Selling Association, which is over a hundred years old and has made a huge difference in shaping direct sales and network marketing. Through its member companies, it represents the lion’s share of the amount of sales volume. Our associations should work together!
The next group is the company owners and executives. As long as corporate and field leaders have an us-versus-them mentality, it will be hard for either of us to realize our full potential. If most of our communication is around policies and procedures, with each side taking a defensive position, we both miss out on the possibility of co-creating our future. Based on our shared history and common goals, let’s align our interests by working together. Strength comes from unity!
The third and largest constituency is the top distributors and their organizations. They are the ones who are going to embrace and amplify the message we create together with the DSA and company leadership in order to make things happen in the field.
At the ANMP convention a company owner got up on stage and said, “Before being a company owner, first and foremost, I’m 70 percent a distributor.” I love that!
Many company owners took the time to invite their corporate teams to the event. They sat at the table with their top distributors and some new distributors, and after each presentation, they would discuss it with each another. Over lunch and dinner they said, “What did you think of this? How could we implement that?” There was vibrant, real conversation happening that can open new pathways to the future. That was exciting, but that’s just the beginning.
I loved the fact that all meals at this year’s convention were sponsored by companies that support the network marketing profession. This enabled us to keep our ticket price at just $99 for all training sessions and six meals, including a gala awards dinner.
Over the course of the convention, I went around to visit at all the tables during mealtimes at least twice. I got to speak with most of the people there, and it was fun to hear their conversation when I would approach their tables. They wouldn’t see me coming, so I could hear a spontaneous buzz of company owners, top distributors, and their teams all interacting.
Many times there were people from different companies sitting and talking at the same table, sparking lively conversations, sharing ideas and making new friends. This new spirit of openness, collaboration, and harmony helps all of us and our profession.
Some of our readers may be hearing about the ANMP for the first time. What is their next chance to get involved? They can join as members?
Absolutely! This year was the first time we had an international convention with speakers from different countries. Donna Imson flew in from the Philippines, Chanida and Nat Puranaputra from Thailand, Nobuhiro Kaneko from Japan, and several speakers flew in from Canada.
As we launch regional ANMP chapters in all these regions over the next few years, our annual international convention will grow not only in size but also in terms of the value it provides. The reason I’m confident about this is that we have had numerous corporate and field leaders come to us and say, “How can I participate? How can I support this association? How can we collaborate?”
I believe our goal of having a million members worldwide within five years is absolutely achievable, given the millions of distributors represented just by the company owners and top leaders who attended this year’s convention.
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.
John Gray teaches Mars and Venus in business.
With Jordan Adler.
Carlos Marin and family.
How does the ANMP communicate with its members? And what’s happening between now and the spring 2014 convention that we can get involved in?
Through our web site, we are setting up an online outreach program where the network marketing community can connect, learn, benefit, and contribute. We are also offering webinars through Networking University, conference calls, and Google hang-outs.
Our board members, who all volunteer their time, are top leaders in their fields and very well connected. They are excited to bring value to the membership over the course of the year. These are people who want to make a difference—and it’s what I love about our profession. Every great profession unifies up and that’s what you saw at this year’s convention.
One of our proudest moments was Saturday night’s awards ceremony, recognizing our profession’s top achievers, speakers, companies, and ANMP board members for their extraordinary contributions. One attendee who had brought a large team said to me afterwards, “This is the first time we stood on our feet and applauded leaders from other companies.”
We all recognized and cheered for each other, celebrating our collective vision for what we can accomplish on a global scale as a unified profession.
What is the long-term mission and vision of the ANMP?
Top leaders, executives, experts, and educators within the network marketing community have come together to elevate the entire profession to a whole new level of public awareness, credibility, partnerships, education, service, and global reach.
Network marketing continues to provide the vehicle for millions of people worldwide to achieve their goals, dreams, and aspirations; over 90 million people are engaged in a $154 billion slice of the global economy. World renowned investors like Warren Buffett and respected business gurus such as Robert Kiyosaki have shared their positive views about our business, where the average person who is willing to work and grow has the ability to succeed.
Our culture is based on personal development and helping one another to grow and achieve. This is the time to unite and show the rest of the world who we really are, as professionals within our respective companies and as people whose desire is to help others and effect the positive change we wish to see in the world.
The ANMP is the premier organization representing and promoting the entire network marketing profession globally. It aims to be the catalyst and driver of many programs that can revolutionize the financial futures of millions of people worldwide. We embody the social entrepreneurship inherent in the network marketing business model, and its positive impact and endless ripple effect throughout the world.
We see ourselves making a major contribution to the future global economy. Long term, we envision ten million new independent distributors around the world—“new” meaning those who have never been in network marketing before—generating an extra $500 to $1,000 per month for themselves and their families.
Yet our impact is so much more than just financial; it’s building stronger people and better leaders, leaders who build happier and healthier relationships, marriages, families, and children; leaders who volunteer of their time, talents, and resources; leaders who build stronger networks to get big, hairy, audacious goals accomplished; leaders who live by the Golden Rule and are committed to be of service to the world, who lead with love, hope, and generosity; leaders who are both thinkers and doers on a grand scale, people who are results-oriented and who may go on to solve some of the world’s seemingly intractable problems.
We see a talented, world-class group of leaders whose mission it is to promote and celebrate the people and lifestyle of network marketing throughout the world, through media, PR, events, press releases, public service announcements, social media in all its forms, possibly feature films, TV shows, and much more.
Through the cooperative impact of the DSA and the ANMP, we see network marketers having a voice in ensuring that legislation that could harm our businesses and families is amended or doesn’t get passed in the first place.
We see the ANMP increasing its outreach and impact through mobile technologies, apps, and perhaps other technologies not yet invented that create unity and connection, respect diversity, and celebrate success, leadership, love, and service.
We see fully functioning chapters not simply for each continent but also at a local and regional level. We want to bless as many lives as possible around the world with the abundance we have been given.
Nat and Chanida Puranaputra, Keith Halls, and Nobuhiro Kaneko.
Leading ladies in network marketing.
Amen, count us in! Any closing thoughts?
I wish to thank our founders and past and current board members for their tireless efforts, and especially my wife and business partner, Sylvia McGrath. We work as a team, and while I’m the president, her contributions working behind the scenes in 2012 and now as a board member in 2013 have been invaluable.
At the ANMP we are keenly aware of the incredible power, heart, and skill women bring to our profession, and we are committed to giving them an equal or greater voice in our boardroom and on stage. The times of the old boys network are over, and we are heralding a new future where people of both genders and from all cultural backgrounds can grow and prosper in true partnership.