10 Lessons in Connecting From Nadine By John Hackett Ed.D.

What Connection Can Look Like  and Enhance Your Leadership Practice and Network Marketing Success,10 Lessons in Connecting From Nadine


Successful Network Marketers know that delighted team members and customers are the keys to success. This is really true in any organization, yet it is especially true with network marketing. The degree you can delight your customers and team members is the determiner of your success.

Network marketing is in part determined by delighted customers or as Leadership Expert, Ken Blanchard  often refers to them “Raving Fans.”

The second critical factor in network marketing success is attracting and developing team members as leaders. It is often said that “the function of a leader is to create more leaders, not more followers,” A loyal, solid customer base and a strong team of leaders lead to the highest success.

At first, this may seem an overwhelming and challenging task to be successful in both arenas. The truth is one core leadership practice is vital to developing both Raving Fans and developing team leaders. That critical practice is the intentional practice of connection.

The network marketers’ ability to connect with customers and develop team members to be leaders will create a ripple effect of success. It isn’t great products, marketing, and financial incentives. They are all great, yet the human connection is the key to success with customers and team members.

People must know you care about them and will encourage and support them before they buy anything or join your team.

Anybody in any organization’s ability to build connections has always been the measure of success.

In network marketing, where you have to reach customers you don’t know and develop volunteer team members to follow you, the practice of connection is paramount. My Father always told me that “it is a long wide world, Junior. What comes around goes around.” When I first heard this, I thought he was referring to the effect of my bad behavior choices. He was, in truth, teaching a timeless leadership lesson, even if I was leading myself.

My Father taught me that life is about leading yourself first, and leading others was based on a choice to build relationships and nurtured by intentional connection to get things done.

Connection is a core leadership trait. Leaders who intentionally connect grow leaders create a ripple effect. Their organizations thrive and are resilient and agile. The lack of leaders intentionally choosing to connect is evident in many trends reported recently.

Today, leaders see change, shortages, and an exodus of workers. We all have read articles about or even experienced “quiet quitting,” the great resignation, “and  Gallup reports record highs levels of worker disengagement

Gallup also reports that their research worldwide indicates a rise in worker reports of the perception that their leaders lack concern for their well-being.

This is also listed as a significant factor for workers seeking new positions. It would seem the missing piece looking at the data is the leader’s choice to intentionally practice connection.

Connection is a core trait of effective leadership.

This core leadership practice is often discussed in articles, books, and podcasts, illustrating how leaders can connect with those they lead and serve. The best way to illustrate connection is to show the connection in the real-life example of a leader.

This Month’s Network Marketing Magazine article will serve two purposes. First, It will be a testimony to Nadine Bowers, a great leader in Network marketing at one of the oldest, if not the oldest, network marketing companies. She affected many people, including my wife and me, during her 42 years as an Executive Senior Sales Director at Mary Kay Cosmetics. Second, ten connection practices used intentionally by  Nadine that built solid relationships and legacy will be shared.

Nadine was the ultimate connector. She modeled and taught how to connect to many through teaching and her life model. At her Fall Retreat and later memorial services, several of the Mary Kay directors and consultants she had touched and connected with shared specific examples of how she connected with a wide variety of people.

These ten practices of intentional connection are shared with specific examples in the words of those who benefitted from how Nadine connected with people. These personal examples are shared here as a model for other leaders to follow to build connections.

These concepts reinforced by personal stories will provide examples for any leader in any organization. These concepts, when practiced intentionally, will enhance. I personally experienced these concepts in action and saw the effect.

Nadine was a chief legal secretary and mentor to those seeking to enter beauty pageants. She chose to be her own boss and joined as an Independent Sales consultant 42 years ago. Nadine quickly became a very successful Mary Kay Director rising to the rank of Executive Senior Sales Director. She led a group of Mary Kay directors who led hundreds of consultants.

Nadine (“Na” to most directors in the family) developed other leaders by teaching and modeling intentional connection and mentored these leaders and her own very successful sales units. The exciting thing to remind the reader is that everyone in Mary Kay starts at the independent sales consultant level.

They are their boss and can choose their path.

Nadine was an extremely successful sales director and mentored other leaders and consultants who were all volunteers.No director in Mary Kay can fire or discipline. Only the company can. Leaders are successful in Mary Kay through customer sales and because they develop others who choose to follow. Mary Kay functions on a family line model. Yet, it also has an outstanding adoptee model where a director or consultant from another Family line could be adopted into another family line. The adoptee Director who uses this system is not compensated for doing this by Mary Kay Corporate. The adoptee or “Go-Give spirit “is highly valued and recognized and is usually very successful. Nadine was a model of this Go-Give Spirit. Nadine consistently went above and beyond.

She intentionally practiced connecting and mentoring anyone who wanted to come along and “join the family.”

As a director’s husband, my wife and I were both benefactors of Nadine’s desire to connect with others. My wife was often recognized as a top Director in the Bowers family and wasn’t in the Bowers family line. Nadine didn’t care. She mentored and connected with Sales Directors and consultants who were never part of her commissions and were often an expense.

Nadine cared more about connecting and developing leaders than considering her financial gain. Nadine did very well in Mary Kay, developing many leaders as Sales Directors leading their units and others.

One of her directors became a National Sales Director, Jeanie Martin, who led an area of directors, and is now an Emeritus National Sales Director. The ripple effect of her intentional connection and influence was significant. Nadine’s real treasure was connecting to building others up, who got things done; see the picture below.

Nadine died unexpectedly early this September. She had had her annual fall retreat planned for later in the month. Nadine had it planned down to the smallest detail, and so, of course, it went on as expected.

Her legacy and connection were a significant topic at that retreat and last weekend at a  memorial service. Nadine would never have condoned the term funeral service. Nadine’s life as a person and a leader was about connection. Her actions are a model giving any leader in any organization real-life examples and models of connection.

Here are ten practices demonstrated by Nadine on how to connect as a leader. These ten practices certainly apply to connecting with customers and building a solid customer base. Remember, many team members started as a customer.

“She believed in you, and you knew it.”

#1 Think of and value others first and demonstrate it is about those you lead; it isn’t about you. Be clear that you value people as they are

“She believed in you, and you knew it.”

“Nadine loved us for who we were and was committed to helping us.”

Communicate clearly for all on business attire and behavior  for business events, communicating expectations with people and holding people accountable with grace, and modeling care

“Nadine’s practical, frugal and organized leadership helps us be the best we can be”

Practice kindness

“She had a heart bigger than the Planet.”

Care about what those you lead to care about . “she knew the names of all my children

“She connected on a very personal level. (she )asked about our families, and her encouraging words showed she cared.

Be present in as many lifetimes as possible to demonstrate resilience and empathy

“She was always there for us.”

“She was there if you needed help.”

Be available for those you lead about how they were doing as much as what they were doing

“She always showed up.”

Be inclusive and welcome everyone who wants to join and work.

“Inclusive” She loved our (Bowers) family and extended family the same”

“We were always family to Nadine; She was family to us.”

“She loved to gather us and make us feel important.”

Be clear about how you value people in success or learnings to celebrate and encourage

“She always recognized and encouraged “

Be a model for all of integrity in word and action.

“She always followed thru and followed up.”

“Act in integrity.” Her word was her bond.”

She was genuine.”

“Nadine equipped us to carry on.”

 Be a model of the behaviors you expect in the present and moving forward.

   “She expected we were organized and professional

   “She showed we should have times of fun and not take ourselves or her too seriously.”

 “Nadine equipped us to carry on.”

A personalized story that exemplifies a leadership practice in human situations is a practical and effective learning approach. We all can identify with heartfelt examples and stories.

The ten practices displayed consistently and intentionally by Nadine Bowers, and there are probably many more. They are examples of practices any leader can choose to connect. Her ability to connect and engage with those who choose to follow is a model for any leader.

Connecting as a leader does require a choice first. That choice is to value and love the people in your organization and your life. To some, this may seem weak. It is the epitome of strength when a leader chooses to lose oneself to serve others. The result is high levels of success for self and others and a legacy of any leader.

Stephan Covey, author of  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, used a tombstone exercise in leadership conferences asking people, “what would it say on  the epitaph on your tombstone? Mary Kay Ash, The founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, was asked a similar question, She responded she hoped they would say “she cared.” Mary Kay’s legacy can be seen in the legacy of Nadine Bowers “she cared'”

It is not a bad legacy to leave; it is a model to build and nurture connections in leadership practice.

The Leadership Questions for you then are,

1. How are you connecting with those you lead and serve?

2. What will your legacy be?

John Hackett
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