No Action is Too Small: Everyday Leaders Are Changing the World

Giving back. Paying it forward. Philanthropy. Charity.
Jul 2, 2013 2:45 PM ET

By Jesse Hertstein

Giving back. Paying it forward. Philanthropy. Charity.

In the past, much of the power of community support came from the wealth of bequests. Consider Carnegie, who endowed libraries across the United States.

Today, many with wealth want to see the impact of their donations during their lifetimes. Consider Gates, who is addressing global health issues through a highly active foundation, and pushing others with wealth to give it away.

In between the extremes of amassing and distributing wealth are “everyday leaders” who integrate giving and social causes into their lifestyle. Amway provides great insights into everyday leaders through Amway Business Owners that represent a diverse set of self-made entrepreneurs, many from humble beginnings.

After visiting Amway leaders on four continents over the past ten years, we’ve found  compelling case studies and common themes about how and why these leaders are supporting great causes—and mobilizing others to do the same.

Everyday leaders want to see a better world in their lifetime

Leonard and Esther Kim, successful Amway Business Owners in South Korea, built their business by helping others to succeed. That focus on others extended to the many Korean children who are not reaching their potential – either because they don’t have families or they lack adequate education.

Leonard and Esther worked with their top leaders to start a charitable foundation that utilizes Amway networks to raise money for child welfare centers. They can raise more than $30,000 at a single event, and mobilize volunteers around the country to help their local center. They want to see change now, one child at a time.

Everyday leaders make a personal, emotional connection to their causes

When Jim and Nancy Dornan’s son Eric was born with Spina Bifida, they determined that failure was not an option for their Amway business. They needed the money to pay for medical bills and special equipment to provide for Eric.

As their Atlanta-based business became successful they supported many causes, but were most moved by Power Soccer, an organized sport for those in power wheelchairs. There, Eric found a community, a passion and a lifestyle that brought out his best attributes. The Dornans helped to grow the sport from 6 to 60 teams, hiring the best coaches and creating a shop that provides modified wheelchair parts and soccer balls so more, like Eric, will be helped through Power Soccer.

Everyday leaders want to leverage their ability to mobilize others

Holly Chen grew up in a small fishing village off the coast of China, where poverty was common and her family struggled to get by after her father died. Today, Holly and husband Barry Chi have achieved the highest level of success in the Amway business, and have networks of Amway Business Owners across more than a dozen countries.

Holly is in high demand as a speaker, a mentor and an entrepreneurial expert. She tirelessly travels around the world helping others build their Amway businesses. Holly uses her influence to inspire action in local communities. Her focus is on marginalized communities in rural Taiwan and China like the one she grew up in. She knows that she can inspire more action by getting more people involved – and she isn’t afraid to ask.

How do these leaders find the time?

In fact, recent research from Harvard University revealed that volunteering actually makes you feel like you have more time. And a New York Times article makes the case for getting ahead by giving of yourself.

Last week, thousands attended a conference on volunteer service in Washington DC. Points of Light Foundation CEO Michelle Nunn spoke of a movement in the area of volunteer service. “We are the optimists,” she said. “We believe in the power of people to make change.”

You don’t have to have great wealth or celebrity cachet to make a difference. Everyday leaders can see change happen in their lifetime by mobilizing others, by connecting to causes that are personal to them, and by using their influence to inspire others.

No action is too small.

Jesse Hertstein is Amway Senior Corporate Citizenship Specialist, and author of the Amway One by One Campaign for Children blog, which provides thought leadership around grassroots cause activation and captures stories of successful partnerships around the world. He has traveled extensively documenting Amway CSR programs, and serves as a leader in his own community around issues of literacy.

Gary Wade
Amway Corporation
(616) 787-7639