This week, the Modern Direct Seller Podcast went on the road! Becky kicked off summer at the DSA Canada conference in Montreal not only to learn about innovations in the industry, but also to connect with direct selling professionals and snag some of their insight. In between speeches and panels, Becky caught up with friends and sales leaders and recorded quick conversations about their conference takeaways. Listen in to learn from the best!

Connect with our guests: Megan Ranco with Tocara, Randy Parris with SeneGence, Gordon Steele with Bloo Kanoo, Terrence Dempsey with Pampered Chef, Ashleigh Gough with Amway, Housni Ammor with Arbonne, Ryan Litwin with StreamStyle, Donna Pinsonneault with She’s Got Leggz, Janelle Holden with Modern Direct Seller and Peter Maddox with DSA Canada.


Time based notes:

  • 1:11 Introduction to DSA Canada
  • 2:39 Megan Ranco and company camaraderie
  • 3:48 Randy Parris and lifelong connections
  • 4:37 Gordon Steele and global brands
  • 5:52 Terrence Dempsey, Google, and influencers
  • 8:19 Ashleigh Gough and adapting to change
  • 9:24 Housni Ammor and company connection
  • 10:17 Ryan Litwin and industry innovation
  • 11:52 Donna Pinsonneault and “just the kit”
  • 12:50 Janelle Holden and conference speakers
  • 15:11 Peter Maddox and industry education
  • 15:40 DSA Canada conclusion


Side Conversations with Becky Launder at the DSA Canada Conference

Recently, the Modern Direct Seller Podcast went on the road! Those of you that have been following for a little while know that my summer is full of lots and lots of trips. I have the pleasure of speaking at many company conferences this summer, plus mixing in a little bit of family vacation. So, to kick off this whirlwind of a summer, I first ventured my way up to Montreal for DFA Canada—the Direct Selling Association of Canada’s annual conference. And, Janelle Holden, our director of business development, also joined me on that trip. One thing we thought might be a little bit fun was to capture some of our hallway conversations, so you’re going to meet some of my new friends that I had the opportunity to connect with in Montreal.

First up, you’re going to hear from Megan Ranco with Tocara. I’m super excited that I got to meet her back in March when I was in Montreal, then we got to hang out together here at DFA Canada, and I will be going back in August to Montreal for Tocara’s Celebration Conference that’s coming up! Let’s hear from Megan:


So, I’ve actually been really enjoying my experience. It’s my first time at a DSA conference. And, what’s really striking, I think, is really the camaraderie of everybody here. Everybody is so supportive of one another. And, it’s exactly what you see within your company’s culture, supporting one another in the team. And, corporately, to see that from company to company corporately who have that same support structure is really impressing me. It just shows “leading by example,” right, from the company down.


It’s definitely leading by example. I also was incredibly impressed with the collaboration and the transparency across companies, but everyone is truly working to elevate the industry as a whole. It was really inspiring and exciting.

The next guest I’m going to introduce is Randy with SeneGence. And, Randy and I got to spend some time together before I flew back home, and we had some lunch together and walked around and had a really great conversation. So, here’s Randy:


Hi, my name is Randy Parris. I’m the country manager for SeneGence Canada. And, I loved attending the DSA Canada meeting in Montreal, because I got to meet so many new people and make connections that will last a lifetime.


I couldn’t agree more. So many great connections. And, there’s something just about being face-to-face, belly-to-belly, hanging out and having a good time with people; I feel like it really solidifies those relationships that you’re making. I loved that.

Next up, we’re going to hear from Gordon. Gordon also joined us before we flew out; we actually shared a very long ride to the airport together. I don’t know why we hit so much traffic, but somehow, we made our flights, and definitely bonded running through the Montreal airport together. So, here’s Gordon:


This is Gordon Steele with Bloo Kanoo, and my takeaway from this show so far is that doing DSA Canada is something every company should look at in the director sales space. The business in Quebec may seem challenging at first, but if you can get past the language barrier and over the fear of doing that, you’re going to have a lot of success and really build a global brand.


I couldn’t agree more with that. One of the things that was really interesting for me, being an American and visiting Canada, was just hearing about some of the complexity around compliance and language translations and really what it’s like to do business in Canada. That was a takeaway that I had as well.

Next, I am going to introduce Terrence with Pampered Chef. We had a great time together. There was even some karaoke had. So, without further ado, let’s hear from Terrence:


Hey, I’m Terrence Dempsey with Pampered Chef, and this has been an amazing conference, getting to interact with everybody, being in-person, seeing everyone. But, the takeaways truly are what’s happening right now in the direct selling industry related to how people are searching on Google here in Canada, to how we get to be able to use influencers across our entire industry. It’s something that’s so new for us that it’s… If I hadn’t been here, I would definitely be missing out on a lot of this information. So, it has been a fantastic, fantastic couple of days.


Definitely a couple of fantastic days, that’s for sure. We got to hear from somebody from Google Canada that came in and talked about how people are searching to really optimize products and visibility when people are going through a Google search process—like we all probably do a million times a day. That was really insightful. And, I’m sure many of us have seen some of those shifts in our companies, and how, really, there’s movement to include more influencers or leverage more of an affiliate model. So, I also had the privilege of facilitating a panel all about affiliate marketing and leveraging affiliates or influencers as another revenue stream for direct sales companies.

I think my biggest takeaway is that everyone’s doing it just a little bit differently. And, I think we’re all in the process of trying to figure out what that looks like. How do affiliates fit into the larger scheme of a direct sales company? And, how do they fit into a social selling model? How can you leverage influencers to promote products? And, we talked about micro-influencers all the way up to more super-influencers. I think, you know, it all comes back to the fact that, really, social selling is about influence. No matter how big your following is that you have the opportunity to share something incredible with your friends, family, and followers. And so, I think that’s one area that’s going to be really interesting to watch, to see how influencer marketing, as well as affiliate marketing, evolves over the future.

Next up, let’s hear from Ashleigh, the country manager from Amway:


I’m Ashleigh Gough. I’m the country manager for Amway, Canada. And, you know, one of the great things about coming to a DSA conference is really taking a look at something that Amway loves to embrace, which is holding on to all of those things of the past that bring us value and tradition, but being able to be nimble and change with the environment as it’s changing. And, coming to DSA, speaking to all of our peers in the direct selling organization is a really great way to be inspired, to share best practices, and really look at how we can move this industry to better, together.


I couldn’t agree more. There are so many things that I feel like don’t change in the direct sales world, and building relationships and connecting with others is definitely the heart of this business. We all felt that at DSA Canada. And, I also love that we’re thinking forward about how things are evolving and growing and how we can do things better together.

Next up, we’re gonna hear from Arbonne:


Hello, my name is Housni Ammor. I’m the Senior Director of Finance and Operations at Arbonne Canada. What I enjoy about this event is, I’m here actually almost every year, and it’s a great way to connect with other real estate companies and see what they do. And, it’s also a fun way to learn new things about the industry.


I couldn’t agree more, Housni. You know, hearing what other companies are up to, and how they’re leveraging technology and growing and stretching in new ways was really fascinating to me being part of the conference.

So, I figured our next clip can come from somebody that is really innovating in the industry. Let’s hear a little bit about SteamStyle:


My name is Ryan Litwin. I’m Director of Business Development at StreamStyle. StreamStyle is a short-form video technology platform where direct sellers can utilize our platform to create short-form content that you can shop directly in the video itself.

I’d say, you know, so far at DSA Canada, I think what’s been very apparent is how close the industry is. And, I think what’s really cool is everyone’s pushing each other forward to, you know, push into more innovation, to figure out more digital strategy, but harness the information and knowledge of each other to push the industry forward. And, a key takeaway for myself would be: A lot of people want to understand more about the unknown, more about the influencer world, more about the affiliates, and I think being open with one another and trying to understand that more in-depth, will yield a better result for the industry.


The live shopping was definitely a topic that came up quite a bit throughout the couple of days that we were together, and how companies are leveraging new technology to help the sales field sell more, and leverage their presence on social media, and connect in better with their customers. So, I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more about that in the near future, as well.

Next up, I’d love to introduce Donna Pinsonneault with She’s Got Leggz. You’ve heard her here on the podcast before, and I’m thrilled to say that I will get to see her again very soon as I join She’s Got Leggz for their upcoming conference, as well. So, let’s hear from Donna:


I think my takeaway from this was the “I just wanted the kit.” Right? How many people have said that they started in this industry with just wanting the kit, and how it’s transformed their lives, and where they are today because of that one kit.


It all started with a kit. We have heard that over and over again before. I know that’s how my direct sales journey started. I just wanted a great deal, so I was a complete kit-napper and just wanted the kit. And, here I am now, and I know many have a very similar story to share. So, love hearing from you, Donna!

Next, let’s pop over to Janelle Holden! You all know Janelle, our Director of Business Development here at Modern Direct Seller. She is incredible—and such a great travel partner. She even found a gluten-free bakery with croissants that we walked to in the rain. So, with that said, here’s Janelle:


Hey, hey! This is Janelle, the Director of Business Development at Modern Direct Seller. And, it has been my privilege and pleasure to be at the Direct Sellers Association of Canada’s fabulous conference in Montreal. There are a couple of speakers that I want to shout out. We had Geoffrey Molson, the owner of the Montreal Canadiens—a hockey team here in Canada, if you’re not familiar. And also, he’s the CEO of Molson Coors Brewing Company. So, one thing that he said that I think all of you will be interested to know is he, despite owning several companies, is not too busy for family. And, the way that he has fit it in is that he drives—or drove—his kids every day to school. And, that was his dedicated time with his children. And then, at night, he didn’t do dinner meetings. He made the point that you can get a lot done without a dinner meeting in business; you don’t have to give up your evening time with your family.

And, also, get your Google businesses set up, because we had a great presentation by a representative from Google who shared with us that what people are searching for right now is very specific. So, right now, “skillets for new cooks” might be a great search term to really invest in making content for. You can search and see what people are looking for in Google’s auto search and start to make content based on that, which was a really, really great tip.


I echo Janelle. Hearing from Geoffrey Molson was super cool. I loved the insights that he shared and how family remains the priority for him. And, that Google presentation was really, really interesting as well. We might have to do a deep dive on Google in a future episode based on what we learned from DSA Canada.

Last but not least, let’s hear from DSA Canada’s president, Peter:


Hi, this is Peter Maddox, president of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada. We’ve just finished our conference. It’s been amazing. Number One, it’s been educational, but it’s been fun education. So, I think that’s been really important. It was just so great to see the industry getting together and sharing ideas. This truly is an amazing industry, where people are anxious, even, to help each other out. So, we love that. And, we love having Modern Direct Seller here. They were, like, an amazing addition to our family. So, we hope to see them again soon.


We loved being part of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada’s conference this year. We can’t wait to come back again next year! I know, I personally walked away with a ton of new, great connections; you’ll probably be hearing from many of them on the podcast in the future. And, I also just learned a lot. It’s interesting to hear what other companies are doing and what those suppliers that support the industry are doing. I think sometimes we’re so focused on products and the sales field that we don’t think about the infrastructure and the number of different organizations—whether that be legal or technology or travel—that really help elevate the larger industries. So, it was a great first-timer experience at DSA Canada.


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