Debra Masselink is the granddaughter of one of the original founders of the American Way Association, Walter Bass . She has been a prolific contributor to a number of anti-Amway websites, and in 2006 was involved in a dispute regarding allegations by Amway Critic Scott Larsen against Crown Jody Victor.
In an interesting move, several weeks ago, Jody Victor invited Deb along to the IBOAI offices. Here is her post about it (reprinted with permission from Deb) -
Yes, my beloved friends – I spent 5 hours with Jody Victor yesterday!!!! I wasn’t sure where to post this, and decided the “Quixtar Critics” section because you folks are the ones who made this all possible!
I was greeted warmly at the IBOAI offices in downtown Grand Rapids by Connie Altschwager, the Executive Director; and by Mr Markerman himself. I received a tour of the offices – a far, FAR cry from the rows of filing cabinets at the Walter Bass Co that my Mother presided over back in the ’80s when she was the Executive Director….LOL!! I particularly enjoyed what Connie calls the “Denny Crane” balcony (for those of you not in the USA, it refers to a TV program’s character) overlooking the Grand River.
I can tell you the place that I’d LOVE to sit and read for a few hours, or days…. Jody’s Office, where there are beautiful leather binders with the minutes of every IBOA and ADA meeting ever held!!! The entire history of Amway is there, neatly cataloged – and he pretty much knows every bit of it!!! And always watching over everything Jody does are 4 large portraits: his father Joe Victor, my grandfather Walter Bass, Jere Dutt and Fred Hansen; the Founding Fathers of the ADA. (Amway Distributors Association)
And in my “moment of personal triumph” (HAH!) – I sat at THE table – the huge table where the IBOA meets, and defiled some Kingpin’s seat with my non-SA8-washed pants
So yes, I sat at the huge Board table and talked for a LOONG time with Jody Victor – we reminisced about the past and talked about the future. I didn’t cut him any slack about the abuses many IBOs have had at the hands of their uplines, and he acknowledged it. Admits there are horror stories that make him cringe. I talked about some of the stuff I’ve been saying on this forum for years – what it will take for Amway to be a respected name and how to keep IBOs happy and renewing. He took notes, folks!!
He, in turn, explained where he hopes to take things; for one, an even more stringent Accreditation system that is designed to help a new IBO be truly profitable while they learn the business. I learned more about the current Accreditation – and really like what I hear! Yes, the Corp does have “monitors” who interview random IBOs to find what they know – stuff like “Do you understand that BSMs are completely optional?” and “What makes you feel uncomfortable at a meeting”. As it stands right now, an Accredited AMO submits a certain percentage of tapes/CDs to Amway for review; Jody chooses to send ALL that he makes (and it sounds like he makes a LOT fewer than some AMOs) to the Corp for review.
He explained how the Board handles complaints about IBOs – it is carefully documented and all parties are well-aware of any charges brought against them: it’s all recorded in black 3-ring binders. Some folks’ binders are thin; and some folks’ binders rival those that hold the recorded history of the IBOAI :) Despite claims to the contrary by certain disgruntled ex-IBOs, changes to the Rules of Conduct are laboriously hashed out; then announced to the general population of IBOs for MONTHS before they are enacted.
We talked about Arbitration – something I generally questioned – but he has a valid point: in resolving a dispute between an IBO and the company, let’s say – it’s in the IBOs best interest to have someone who understands the business. PV and BV and all the other catchwords are going to go sailing over the heads of an arbitrator who’s not in the business. Also, arbitrators are chosen based on their lack of LOA (or AMO) connection to the disputed parties. In other words, if a Britt IBO has a beef, the arbitrators will be chosen from LOAs not affiliated with Britt.
We talked about how some LOAs (AMOs) have been quick to adopt the new changes – Ron Puryear’s name was mentioned as one who’s making a difference. And others are moving at a snail’s pace, because their material-as-presented is not passing muster. The Corp and the IBOA are NOT simply rubber-stamping “business-as-usual” – and the proof is that not everyone’s Accredited yet.
I liked what I heard and saw. Jody listens and asks questions – even from a peon like me (although he DID refer to me as the “Mother of the Critics”…LOL!!!!!) He’s warm and friendly and funny – still has his boyish good looks even though he’s a few years older than me. We laughed about our “swapping blows” after the Cookware Crown accusation – and if any of you remember, I had said I’d be willing to “sit down with Jody and talk over a cup of cocoa”. Well, I still owe him that cup of cocoa, but Connie gave me a gift bag and Jody gave me a copy of “Success Magazine”; then we all had a WONDERFUL dinner at a local restaurant!! (Thanks again, Connie!)
As an aside – my Husband had been invited to attend also, but had to take his truck for repairs. I left him a note, (since I was not sure of how well I’d be received at the IBOAI), that said “In case I don’t return home, my feet are in cement and I’m “swimming with the fishes” in the Grand River. The Victors are the likely culprits….LOL!!” Jody thought that was pretty funny!
And yes, Dear Folks, Jody reads our forum when he gets a chance (keep in mind the man is BUSY – he’s like the Energizer Bunny!). He said there are “others” who don’t read “negative” sites – but he feels we bring up issues that need to be addressed. Personally, THAT is the kind of person I like seeing in charge – one who is willing to see the good AND the ugly – then work to fix it.
I didn’t get to meet Kathy, his wife. Hope to, some day, because she sounds like a “fighter” :) I get the impression that the “Boy’s Club” on the IBOA wasn’t exactly happy to have a woman break their ranks – but as a woman, I find it critical to see a female in a leadership role on the IBOAI – there SHOULD be more than one.
And Jody refers to Connie Altschwager as “The Most Powerful Woman On Earth” and all I can say is I wish that were TRUE. She is gracious, sweet, articulate, downright brilliant – and obviously keeps all the IBOAI members running as an efficient unit. I wish we could get her to run for president…sigh…
In the past, I’ve said that I would believe the “heyday of the Kingpin was over when the IBOAI was dismantled” – but I never anticipated the sweeping changes that are occurring within the organization. While I’d still like to see all “tools” abolished, I can live with the changes I’m seeing and like even better, some that will be proposed. Would I sign up again as an IBO?? If I did, it would be under Jody or Kathy’s LOS (Kathy has her own, separate business) – I like how they conduct their businesses because it’s the most like the way we used to run ours. But I still like “retirement” the best, and NOT being an IBO gives me the freedom to say things like Markerman IS different and better…..LOL!!
So far, I have just glanced at my copy of “Success from Home” magazine – but it’s startlingly honest! (Just seeing the name “Quixtar” in bold letters across the front page made me smile! No more hiding who they are!!) It tells about different IBOs (my copy tells about Jody’s two sons who are building their own businesses – they are both Founder’s Platinums!); plus gives business-building tips and product information. After each “success story”, there is a disclaimer saying the Average Monthly Gross Income for “Active” IBOs is $115. On page 5, they define the words “active” and “gross”. It clearly points out that business expenses are mostly discretionary and may be greater than income in the first years of operation.
I think something like this magazine has been needed for decades – it’s finally “training from the Corp”!!! It’s far more informative than the Achieve magazine, but I think you have to subscribe to this one – it’s not a freebie for all IBOs (but it SHOULD be – hey Jody – are ya readin’??? :) )
Now I realize that some of the critics are not going to be happy until Amway is out of business – and I seriously doubt that is going to happen. Some want the Corporation to apologize for turning a blind eye to the abuses heaped on the IBOs in the past – while that would be nice, from a legal standpoint, I can see why they wouldn’t do that. But as for me?? I’m happy. I like the new rules and the IBOAI having the guts to enforce them, even if it means huge groups of tool-mongers will leave as a result. I’m predicting that some day soon, Amway will be held as the “model” of MLM done correctly; and that other MLMs will be forced to follow that model (Geez – where will the Tool Mongers go then???)
Anyway – yes, Anon, I DO talk to Kingpins :) And they DO listen :)
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