On April 17, 2019 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, it was a fabulous evening of smiles, laughter, hugs and handshakes. Conversation flowed for hours among families and old friends – current and former IBOAI Board members, key Amway executives, and special guests of the five founding families. This was a special night to celebrate and honor the genius and vision of the founding families as well as the passion and commitment of those who continue to make the Amway Business the best in the world.
A flourishing garden theme served as the perfect backdrop for the 60th Anniversary Celebration. Beautiful, fresh floral displays and a floral photo wall of pink roses, yellow mums, and blue hydrangeas added vibrance to the Welcome Reception in the IBOAI offices. Lavish floral arrangements and strings of white lights transformed the Pantlind Ballroom into an enchanted garden for the elegant dinner and awards presentation. Even the dessert reception was punctuated with the radiant spirit and sweet fragrance of fresh flowers.
Throughout the Welcome Reception, the IBOAI Board members and guests shared smiles, reminisced, and caught up with old and new friends. The professional photos against a colorful wall of fresh flowers were a big hit. In the meeting rooms, photo boards displayed Board members and Amway executives during meetings and events. The original 1959 charter outlining the purpose and mission of the Association was showcased in the ANA Board Room and was a popular topic of conversation. A Memorial Table paid tribute to IBO leaders who have recently passed – Bill Britt, Jim Dornan, Ron Puryear, and Dexter Yager. Historic Amway products on display prompted many great stories. Amway Kool Wash® liquid detergent, Wonder Mist® silicone lubricant, and Mint Condition® bug & tar remover were just a few of the many featured, thanks to the donation of special guest and IBO, Vicki Brewer. Vicki explained, “I’ve been in the Business for 47 years and had collected the discontinued products. I’m glad the IBOAI wanted them. It’s a treat to be here and meet my longtime heroes in the Business.”
In addition to current and former IBOAI Board members, special guests included acclaimed members of the founding families – DeVos, Van Andel, Hansen, Victor, and Dutt. Doug DeVos and Dan DeVos were present, as were Barb and Rick Gaby, Dave and Carol Van Andel and Steve Van Andel. Several Amway executives also attended including; Milind Pant, Chief Executive Officer, Mike Cazer, Chief Operating Officer, Candace Matthews, Regional President of the Americas and Europe, John Parker, Chief Sales Officer, Jim Ayres, ANA Managing Director, Rajneesh Chopra, ANA Vice President of Sales, and Jim Payne, former Amway Regional President. Rajneesh commented, “It is an honor and privilege to be part of this wonderful celebration. 60 years wouldn’t have been possible without such distinguished IBO leaders.”
Howie Danzik, IBOAI Chairman, welcomed guests to dinner, expressing excitement in celebrating the rich history of the Business, the great founding families’ vision, and excitement for the future. Guests enjoyed delicious cuisine and each other’s company. Gourmet Sugarfina® candies at each setting added a sweet touch.
Jody Victor, IBOAI Governance & Oversight Chairman, recalled the very early days with Rich, Jay, Fred Hansen, Joe Victor, and Jere Dutt – and his fond memories. Jody said, “Rich and Jay were heroes to my parents – and heroes to many others. You’re all heroes here tonight – committed to the Business and helping people, giving your time and talent to the IBOAI Board, growing your Business into a family Business. We’d like to honor the family of a rising star I presented the President’s Award to in 1990. Tonight, two of his sons are here to accept this special award for the Dexter Yager family. Thank you for all your family has done to make this Business bigger and brighter!”
Bob Andrews, IBOAI Executive Committee, expressed gratitude for the founding families and their wisdom in “building a solid foundation of enduring values and principles we live by and continue to pass on. Without these five families we wouldn’t be here.”
Bill Hawkins, IBOAI Governance & Oversight, explained the IBOAI wanted to recognize each of the founding families with a one-of-a-kind award, a commemorative 60th Anniversary coin.
He shared his personal Rich DeVos story and mentioned everyone who encountered the man had a meaningful “Rich story.” Accepting the award, Doug DeVos spoke about how families stick together through tough times, whether personal or business-related. And how appreciative the DeVos family is of the support and kindness everyone has offered them. “We’re tremendously honored by this award. You’re like family! We have 60 years together and that’s a good start.” Dan DeVos added, “We are honored to be here tonight, talking about old times and making new memories. Can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done and will do!”
As Bob Andrews spoke about two men, Rich and Jay, who were so different yet so complimentary to each other, heads began to nod across the room. He described Jay as “so smart, you could practically see the wheels turning inside his head. He navigated the Business through some difficult times and we learned from him.” The Van Andel family agreed with Bob about their father’s intelligence, but couldn’t help but joke a bit about growing up as a child of this wise man. Steve Van Andel commented on family as foundation of the Business and said, “It is an honor to be recognized and be a part of your family.” Dave Van Andel talked about how Rich and Jay “set something in motion, believed in what they were doing, and it captured the attention of many people. It changed their lives – and all of ours. Because of what these two men did, we’re able to celebrate 60 years in the Business!” When Jay’s daughter Barb (Van Andel) Gaby took the mic, she remarked, “My father was certainly smart but the real brains belonged to my mother, Betty. She taught me so much about being a business woman and a mother. My guess is that most of the successful Businesses represented here tonight have a strong business woman and wife working beside their husbands.” The audience responded enthusiastically.
The Hansen, Victor, and Dutt families were also recognized for their valuable contributions, unwavering commitment, and visionary leadership. Fred and Bernice Hansen’s daughter, Karen DeBlaay, currently on the IBOAI Board, commented, “Now I better understand how important the IBOAI is for the Business and how the founding families had the foresight to create an Association 60 years ago. I am thrilled to accept this award on behalf of the Hansen family.”
Kathy Victor remarked, “The IBOAI is not just a passion for Jody and I, serving on the Board is a calling. Jody Victor added, “We are grateful to have our sons involved in the Business and hope someday they’ll be running it.” Jody Dutt, Jere and Eileen’s son, humbly accepted the Dutt Family award, thanking everyone for all they’ve done and for the special recognition.
Following the awards, Bill Hawkins invited everyone to join him in a toast. “Even though we’re 60 years old, we still have promises to keep, miles to go, and many lives to touch with this Opportunity. The spirit of the Business is people. Let’s raise our glasses to the employees at Amway, past and present Board members, and the founding families.”
Vinny Pappalardo, IBOAI Vice Chairman, wrapped the presentation up with his poignant personal story of how the Business saved his life and kept his family together. A tribute to what the Business is all about – helping people live better lives.
Following the presentation, a coffee bar and array of luscious desserts awaited guests in the Family Suites on the 26th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza. A jazz quintet provided soft music while guests enjoyed latte, espresso, or cold brew coffee, prepared one cup at a time, poured through a cascading multi-level glass carafe.
Guests were surprised by thoughtful gifts throughout the celebration. A distinctive Leatherology journal with an engraved IBOAI 60th anniversary emblem awaited guests in their hotel rooms. During dinner, additional gifts were delivered; including a silver Tiffany frame showcasing the photo taken of the guest(s) during the Welcome Reception, beautifully gift-wrapped. Also, a generous chocolate bar and thank-you note, a mini cake, and 60th anniversary emblem slippers. When guests exited the Dessert Reception, they were given a S’well® insulated traveler featuring the IBOAI 60th anniversary logo.
60 years of Business success is a great reason to celebrate – and the IBOAI honored this anniversary and the people who made it happen in grand style!