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The phrases Network Marketing and Multilevel Marketing brings a variety of thoughts to many. But to Debra Bonneau, Darieth Chisolm, Njide Chukwumezie and Liz Sanford the phrases mean business, opportunity and hard work. Women in network marketing have set examples of what Chisolm says has "provided the opportunity to dream big."
"I see tremendous value in network marketing and understand why so many women are getting involved," said Donna M. Baxter, president of NAWBO Greater Pittsburgh. She pointed out that statistics indicate that 82 percent of women in the United States who make $100,000 a year or more accomplished it through direct sales.
More than 50 women participated in NAWBO Pittsburgh's recent Saturday Seminar titled Successful Women in Network Marketing. Sharing their experiences were Bonneau of Pure Romance, Chisolm of It Works Global, Chukwumezie of 5Linx Enterprises, Sanford of Mary Kay, Kristen Sarnic of Lincoln Heritage and Linda Thomas of SendOut Cards.
Falling into the 75 percent of successful network marketers, each panelist pointed out that they started their businesses as a way for supplementary income and as a way to help others. "I was injured at work and was not sure if I would be able to return on a full time basis," said Bonneau. Chisolm began as a way to bring income to subsidize her Fullbody Fitness Club business. Chukwumezie uses 5Linx as a way to build wealth. Sanford, retired since 2004 serves as an example and role model to women. Always an entrepreneur, Sarnic a single mother says Lincoln Heritage offers a career that provides income to meet the needs of her household. Thomas uses SendOut Cards to help herself and professionals create financial success and to be financially independent while living a balanced family life.
Small Business Encyclopedia describes network marketing as not a franchise but as a business model in which a distributor network is needed to build the business. Popular for more than 70 years familiar names include Amway, Avon and Tupperware. After a 25-year career at Port Authority Transit, Bonneau has retired and operates her Pure Romance company full time after being a consultant since 2001. She has recruited more than 150 women into the multi-million dollar corporation. Based in Loveland, Ohio the woman-owned corporation boosts more than 100,000 specially trained or certified independent sales consultants in more than 260 markets, making it one of the industry's foremost in-home direct selling companies and a leading resource for women's sexual health issues. "We help women feel good about their selves and I like the company motto of empowering, educating and entertaining," said Bonneau pointing out that she conducts a lot of college seminars.
Known by most people as a television news anchor Chisolm left that position last year while operating her South Hills based fitness studio. Since then she has become Top 100 Money Earner with IT Works Global. "Nine months after I began my It Works journey, I was able to match my fulltime six figure TV News Anchor salary and retire from my job," she said. A 13-year old company, It Works Global offers beauty and wellness items marketing body slimming products and the It Works botanically based skin care line.
Chukwumezie has hopes to inspire and educate people to diversify their portfolio with employment and business ventures. Looking at the Network Marketing Industry is just one way. As National Director of 5Linx Enterprises she aims to assist the multi-million dollar company expand into Pittsburgh and the western Pennsylvania region. She describes the company as an Inc500 diversified company that is engaged in the telecommunication and energy industries with plans to launch a health and wellness line of products.
A Mary Kay distributor since 1994, Sanford had a 35-year career with the Pittsburgh Board of Education and is currently the only Black American Sales Director in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
"I believe in the principals of the company," she indicated. "Faith, family and career and I like that the company was started by a woman."
With the philosophy of inspiring women and transforming, the company now has more than 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants in more than 35 countries around the world.
Intrigued that Lincoln Heritage cares for families, Sarnic says she likes how the company works to serve their clients and meet their specific needs. Lincoln Heritage operates in 49 states and is a leading provider of Insurance products for services with more than 443,000 policies in forced valued at more than $2 billion.
Thomas likes to work with people that have the mindset and drive to grow, learn and achieve. As National Trainer for SendOutCards she is involved with a company that is considered one of the largest first-class mailing companies in the U.S. and one of the fastest growing network marketing companies in the world. SendOutCards is an online greeting card and gift company with more than 100 million cards and 3 million gifts sent since its 2003 inception.
Baxter, agreeing with President Obama that when women succeed America succeeds emphasized that women must support each other and that taking steps toward ownership through Network Marketing is a step in the right direction.
by Diane I. Daniels
For New Pittsburgh Courier