- Starting a Business
- Inventing a Product
- Buying a Franchise
- Home Business
We had the pleasure of getting connected to Candace Matthews, CMO of Amway through our mutual participation in the Dynamic Women in Business conference at Harvard Business School - Women Studies Association this past February. She has led quite an accomplished career and has shared some of her journey with us.
Candace was born to a very large family in Western Pennsylvania. With 17 brothers and sisters and the daughter of a minister, she quickly learned that education was of utmost importance and studied mostly math and science growing up. She received her Bachelor of Science in metallurgical engineering and administration, and management science at Carnegie Mellon University and received her MBA from Stanford University. She’s a smart cookie!
Her first marketing job out of graduate school was with General Mills. It was during that recruitment process that Candace met her mentor who helped guide and encourage her success. The mentor also helped Candace understand the importance of “paying it forward” to other women as they go through their careers, and is now something that Candace cares deeply about. After learning and growing at her first job, she went on to hold positions such as President of SoftSheen-Carson, Consumer Products Division of L’Oreal USA and Vice President, New Product and Package Innovation, and Managing Director, Non-Cola Brands, with the Coca-Cola Company. In addition, she had senior marketing positions at the CIBA Vision Corporation; Bausch + Lomb, Oral Care Division and Procter & Gamble.
Candace’s most recent role at Amway is one that she finds fulfilling in many ways. She was hooked on the company culture from the first time she set foot into their world headquarters located in Grand Rapids, MI. She remembers that at her first interview, all 8 of the people she interviewed with, told her how engaged and happy they were with the company culture. Delighted to find that they were family oriented and more of a global organization than she had anticipated, she happily joined their senior management team as Chief Marketing Officer, where she leads the Amway global marketing strategy and team. Since 2007 she has led category marketing for beauty, nutrition and home brands; the Amway brand; consumer and market Insights; digital and experiential marketing; corporate citizenship; and public relations.
As Amway’s business model differs greatly from some of her previous organizations, we inquired about the challenges with marketing into a distribution business model as opposed to a direct-to-consumer organization. She told us, “We like to say that the business is run through our distributor channel but we are rich in the support of them. We train them in the skills they need to understand the product and we are working on training them on digital as well.”
She shared with us that over 80% of the direct selling population is comprised of women. Amway has noticed that in many circumstances women are the first to start their businesses and the men then follow suit to create family businesses that solely exist on selling Amway products.
This past February, many of those in attendance at the Dynamic Women in Business Conference were lucky enough to hear Candace speak about issues related to women in the workplace. She is not shy to talk about her experience with trade-offs as she was 40 when she married. She was hard at work on her career and ended up facing reproductive challenges when she was ready to start her family and went the adoption route. This is something that many women go through and she feels it needs to be discussed.
Candace has had an incredibly impressive career and is now in a position to help many women start successful businesses through Amway. We are pleased to have been able to chat with her through a connection from Harvard Business School’s Dynamic Women in Business Conference where Candace was a featured speaker and will look forward to possible collaborations in the future, in support of women in business. Rock on Candace Matthews!