Women Building Bridges

   
Women Building Bridges Stories

Galina Ogromnova500K Select – Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia
 
After birth of my first son I developed psoriasis. The medics did not promise me any hopes of full recovery, therefore I began to seek help amongst people, and in this way in 1993 I became acquainted with network marketing.
 
I became a client in a company, then in another one. This was up until 1996 when, through meeting many of the leaders, I realized that in this industry one can make money. I was meeting different, strong people from whom I began to learn how to build your downline, how to build relationships and bond your team together. I witnessed many people’s lives change for the better; I heard stories of success of those who were committed to their goals. And my own dreams and new goals began to emerge. Particularly, I had a dream that my husband and I could work together – to be team and soul mates and build our business together. I recognized this possibility in MLM.
 
At first he viewed my enthusiasm as a chance to solve the problem with the psoriasis, then he began to see it as a hobby, some strange pastime. In 1996 I made the decision to begin working on it seriously – not as a client anymore but as a distributor, and invested $2500 in the product of a company where I had been a client. Oleg was not particularly pleased about that, but I was very determined – I believed in the business.
 
Two weeks later I experienced a shock – my sponsors left for a more another company. They told me I could follow them if I wanted to. I had $2500 worth of the product on my hands, no experience in sales and no knowledge of the business… In short, I decided to follow them. However, it turned out that I had to invest in the business again (this time $1000); moreover, I was told that if I wanted to get into it seriously, I must go to a seminar, which was a big additional expense. I really have to thank Oleg for understanding and supporting me in these first steps. At the seminar I had a vision and upon my return I changed the rhythm of my life completely.
 
Three months later Oleg joined me and we began working together and giving it our 100%. In this company we achieved the maximum qualification. Unfortunately our efforts in it were cut short when Russia nearly defaulted on its foreign debts, the company split up and our sponsors went into another business. We followed them.
 
Fast forward thirty months from 1999 – we had worked at first in Germany, then in Russia, and the results were not satisfying. The problem lay in the company which eventually went bankrupt. We then joined another company, with the goal to wait and decide which way to go towards a more promising future. In this company we achieved outstanding results, namely, fifth cheque in the ratings. However, we were not happy with the financial results (despite the ratings), nor with the founders’ attitude towards the leaders.
 
In the summer of 2003 it was our destiny again to meet Daniel Laroque. We took the decision to work with him. From a whole downline of 4000 people only three followed us. Working with Daniel, in 2009 our team already boasted several millionaires. And it was in 2009 when Daniel Laroque recommended to us XANGO!!! We took the chance, knowing that we would incur losses, which did happen, however Daniel was right – XANGO is the best choice!!!

Betty QuattlebaumWhen most people hear the expression Appalachian poverty level, they know it means being pretty poor. Poor yes, but there is an individual pride and pioneering spirit amongst the mountain people. Betty would know; she grew up in the mountains of Appalachia, the only child of hard-working parents who eked their living from the hills and a few acres of bottom land. The comforts of home meant there was electricity. When Betty became of school age there was the option to walk down the road to the one- room school house where her dad’s cousin taught seven grades in one room, or to literally walk a mile up a mountain and another mile down to catch the school bus to a regular grade school (which used to be the Mission school where her dad lived when he was orphaned as a boy). Her dad, determined Betty would get the best education available, wouldn’t hear of her being taught by his cousin who basically told stories from WWII all day. Betty developed a thirst for learning as well as wanderlust . . . she traveled the world through the pages of books and dreamed of the day when she could do it for real.
 
“Dad gave me mixed messages as a kid”, says Betty. “On the one hand, he encouraged me to get an education, get good grades, and in his opinion, employers would beat a path to my door. It was probably because of his insistence that I became the Valedictorian of my class. On the other hand, he always encouraged entrepreneurial activities, such as delivering Grit newspapers (google it) to local farms. He even gave me a small allotment of land on which to grow, manage, and sell my own tobacco crop. We cultivated the soil with horse-drawn plows and hoed the rows of plants. My father would hire field hands for $3.00 per day, and he would pay me the same wage to work in the fields. However, when I was cultivating my own allotment of land, I was not paid a wage, but got to keep the profit from the sale of the tobacco instead. I was no stranger to hard physical work, and being a tomboy, I would do anything to stay out of the kitchen!”
 
Because of her dad’s death in her senior year of high school, her local college plans had to change as there was no way for her mom to earn a living in the mountains. Betty took her SATs three days after her father’s funeral and she began college at George Mason University in Northern Virginia where she and her mom had relocated. She dropped out of GMU in order to work, and met her first husband while attending a few semesters at a local community college. Her entrepreneurial spirit alive and well, Betty and her husband opened their own restaurant while in their early 20s. During this time, she was introduced to network marketing by her father -in-law. Betty remembers that they filled the basement of their new home with $3000 worth of soap, which she attempted to sell door to door. Despite this inauspicious beginning Betty developed an interest in the industry because she watched her father-in-law go on to make a fortune in the business internationally. There’s nothing like success to get your attention!
 
Betty married again in her early thirties, lived with her new husband for a few short years in Germany, where she finished her degree in Business Administration and indulged her growing desire for travel and adventure. Her husband died of lung cancer, and Betty stayed on in Europe for another year before returning to the States. She spent a couple years in real estate as a residential agent before going into residential lending.
 
Betty learned to go with her strengths, including vision, being a big picture person, and knowing how to stand on her own two feet and make decisions. Betty hit her stride with the mortgage banking industry, where her penchant for action got things done. By the mid-90s she earned an income that few in Real Estate achieve; she was a powerful and attractive woman who enjoyed the lifestyle her income made possible. But her early experience in the network marketing industry continued to haunt her–the idea that she could have a global business–with residual income, without being tied to a geographical area. She dabbled in the industry over the years, looking for the right company that would bring her closer to her dream.
 
Due to some bad business decisions, Betty lost it all, the vacation land, the boat, even her home. She moved into the basement of her mom’s house. There is a devastating sense of powerlessness that goes with having no money – “I was emotionally bankrupt,” Betty reminisces. “I had over $100,000 of credit card debt. But more than net worth, I was engaged in a battle for the recovery of my sense of self-worth. I guess I was going to find out how much grit I really had.”
 
Betty finally found the network marketing company she was looking for in XanGo, and in October, 2003 she set about rebuilding her world.
 
“As essential as money is to living a life of choice and contribution,” Betty says, “sometimes women are reluctant to talk about money, and even have negative programming – in their mind about money – that prevents them from reaching their potential, and helping others.” She says men are often more comfortable with the world of business. Most women didn’t grow up as little girls with the dream of running a successful business. At least not most women of the baby boomer generation. Betty wants women to talk about money. Straight talk. Starting with, without money you are powerless. Life without money tends to be life by permission, rather than by self-direction. Without money, even the concept of giving back is nothing more than a dream. “Money itself”, says Betty, “ is not the goal. The goal of all humans should be to discover and pursue their own particular passion in life. Women need to dream again, and ask themselves what passions they would pursue if money were not a limiting factor. It could be anything, from travel, to animal refuge and rescue operations, to building wells with clean water in third world countries, to building churches, to making sure elderly parents can live a life of dignity, to staying home with the children, . . . and maybe even bringing Dad home.”
 
“Unfortunately, dreaming is not enough. It is a beginning, but dreams cannot become a reality until they are put on paper in the form of a plan. Women have to learn to ask, and answer the tough questions; to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Whether we like it or not, God is in the details.”
 
“Women in the traditional workforce go to work and focus on other people’s goals and priorities. They are not in the habit of focusing on their own. They think like employees, not like owners. They need to think of themselves as owners, beginning with being the owners of their own life.”
 
Betty sees network marketing as the only vehicle available today that can give the average woman the freedom and sense of ownership she so desperately needs. “But she needs to see network marketing as what it is, a real business, and she needs to treat it with the respect a business deserves. For example, I see housewives financing their network marketing business from their household grocery budget rather than opening a separate account; enthusiasm quickly wanes when the family decides that all network marketing does is take time away from the family and costs the family precious resources. We need to educate wives and moms on how to break even on the first month of business as well as ignite in women an interest in learning about the positive tax ramifications of owning a home-based business. The best way to ensure the support of spouse and family is to show a positive cash flow quickly as opposed to draining the family budget.
 
Betty is quick to point out that it is rare that a network marketing company offers a compensation plan that actually makes this possible, but that is precisely why she is with XanGo and their 50/50 partnership with their distributors. But she returns to her focus on acquiring financial and business literacy: “Women don’t have to go back to college to get this, though that can be part of their dream. But they do need to be open to thinking a different way; that this is not about running around selling products to all your friends and then quitting when you have exhausted all of those possibilities. Network marketing only makes sense if it is treated as a legitimate business model that gets discussed, planned for, and implemented in a professional way.”
 
“Women are nurturers by nature, and it seems when there is a family demand, it is expected that their business priorities be consistently subordinated to their husbands needs or wants”, Betty concludes. This can quickly derail a business plan, particularly when the woman is building on a part-time basis. The one common denominator we all share is our 24 hours in a day, and how we choose to use this most critical of resources makes all the difference in the world. How we spend our allocated daily business hours, and who we spend it with, will directly correlate with how quickly we are able to build a successful business.”
 
Betty found the horse to ride to recover her life. It is network marketing, and XanGo in particular. She is a member of the Millionaire Club and travels the world with her friends, again. Most of all, she is using XanGo to pursue her own personal dream, of creating and promoting a refuge for animals.
 
If you’ve never really owned your life, this is how to get it.
 
If you’ve had ownership, and lost it, this is how to get it back.
 
This is the industry.
 
XanGo is the company.
 
As Betty says, “This is awesome!”

Barbara King-SchmidtBarbara King-Schmidt has a warm, welcoming smile that will light up a room. She is the kind of woman who could easily inspire envy in someone who doesn’t know her. With her natural beauty, engaging smile, and affluent lifestyle, one could believe she has led a fairy tale life without ever a care in the world. And one would be very wrong.
 
Barbara was born in a loving extended family in a very rural part of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which she laughingly refers to as the “frozen northlands.”. Her Dad was an electrician and farmer; her Mom was in charge of the chicken farm, family garden, as well as raising her daughters and helping on the farm. Barbara and her sister Karen were loved and always welcomed in adult company, always a part of the room, although not always part of the conversation. Barbara and Karen learned their value system from their parents, not because of being preached to, but simply observing their parents hard work and sense of humor.
 
The family had a traditional and deeply conservative lifestyle; Dad earned the living and Mom took charge of everything else. Although Karen was older, Barbara says they took turns being the boss. When Barbara was 5, the family moved to Alberta so the girls’ could attend a Christian school… leaving behind 3 sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and grandparents–a big change for the family! It wasn’t until that move that both parents worked outside of the home.
 
Barbara attended the same school all 12 years, and couldn’t wait to “get out of town” and see the world. Sister Karen stayed a country girl and married locally. Barbara moved to the States, and married an American, living on a green card before obtaining American citizenship at the age of 29. It was also at the age of 29 that the family went through a devastating divorce… at that time the children were only 4 and 6.
 
Being a single parent was a very tough time for Barbara–a single Mom wasn’t part of the dream she had for her life. At first, she worked at Albertson’s grocery store from three to midnight so she could spend days with her two children, Tristi and Nicolas. Later, she got a job as an executive secretary, but always made her kids a priority, skipping lunch hour to take them here or there for appointments, coming in early or otherwise adjusting her schedule to balance responsibilities. Her immediate supervisor was a woman who had apparently sacrificed everything for her career, and she resented Barbara’s emphasis on her kids. After making her displeasure known and making unreasonable demands one time too many, Barbara promptly quit that job and within two weeks had a much better one at a family-friendly office.
 
Times were often hard, and money was short. Barbara still vividly remembers having to wait until payday to buy her kids shoes and other things they needed. “I wanted to spend time with my children. I didn’t just want to have children; I wanted to be with them, to experience them, to be a role model for them. I wanted to be someone they could respect and admire.” Barbara says being a working single Mom is an art form and can be tough to figure out. Sad to say, she went into “survival mode” during that time, feeling very isolated, in spite of loving support from her extended family. There was this sense of always scrambling to make ends meet, to get everything done, and to hold everything together.
 
“Today, I can talk about divorce statistics and how families suffer financially as well . . . Back then I was a statistic. Life kept pushing me, and I finally pushed back. I decided life is an adventure and is meant to be lived, and that no matter what, I was going to live it to the fullest. And so once again, I began to thrive.”
 
“I had tried multi-level marketing for 5 years back in 1983. Tristi was just a toddler, and I was pregnant with Nicolas. I was waitressing at the time and wanted to be able to stay home full time when he was born.”
 
“Amway (the company I was in) is the granddaddy of all network marketing companies, and they pioneered the business model and legitimized it in the eyes of the world, and for that I am grateful. I also appreciate the good habits I learned while working with Amway. But with their compensation system, it was very, very hard to make any real money. To be a “superstar” you had to live it, breathe it, and work yourself to death. The average person couldn’t do it. Let’s just say Amway had a difficult marketing plan. I wasn’t looking to make a lot of money back then, and I met my goal to be a “stay at home Mom” by the time Nicolas was born. In my eyes, I had been successful and was grateful to the industry for what it had taught me and how it had helped me.”
 
“When the industry found me again in 1996, it was a better opportunity with a network marketing company called New Vision. At New Vision, in five months I made more money as a single Mom than I and my then ex-husband together had made by the end of our five years at Amway! I was in Bob Schmidt’s downline and I got to work with him a lot because I was growing very quickly. I respected him from the very beginning. He was very direct, and I liked his business acumen. When I met Bob I owned my own business, and my upline would hire me to be a driver for Bob, picking him up at the airport and getting him to all of his appointments. We had lots of business discussions during our driving time and I learned so much about business, and also about him.”
 
“One night a group of us invited Bob to join us for dinner in a casual setting. That was the night I discovered he had a sense of humor–who knew? The next day he asked for my business card and gave me a hug before he left… Bob Schmidt was not a hugger. We began to date soon after that and our story is a wonderful one of romance and shared values, resulting in a storybook wedding two years later–followed by a storybook life.”
 
“Within just a few short years, in 2002, Bob was diagnosed with stage four Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His tumor was very large, and very aggressive. Bob’s response upon getting the news was very telling—“We’re going to fight this as if I’m going to live, not die.” And he did!”
 
“I don’t think Bob really understood how sick he was back then. He was at death’s door twice but failed to give in, fighting hard every day for what he termed as… “more time with you.” The miracle is that he did survive, and as part of his recovery, XanGo was added to his diet. A friend of ours told us about the health benefits of the mangosteen and we were excited to add it to Bob’s nutritional regime. I am not qualified to make medical claims about XanGo, but I can tell you that within 90 days after he started the XanGo juice, Bob’s blood work was perfect, which is unheard of after a stem-cell transplant!”
 
Even though over 70% of New Vision’s business was part of their downline, Bob and Barbara were so compelled by the XanGo product that they sold their New Vision business and joined XanGo in the fall of 2003. Bob and Barbara began marketing with XanGo in earnest, and they never looked back. Bob experienced a full recovery from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and he and Barbara got “five bonus years” as she likes to put it.
 
In 2008 Bob Schmidt died in a kayaking accident. He lived his life to the fullest, in a place he loved, with the woman he loved, doing the things he loved, right up to the very end. . . And he left a legacy of impacting others.
 
Barbara is philosophical: “I live a life of no regrets. Everything doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to. God is not done with me yet.”
 
Barbara says she is honored to be a part of Women Building Bridges. “This will grow and evolve as we learn what women want and need.” Barbara says women…

  • typically put everyone else’s needs first, sometimes to the neglect of themselves.
  • have to be committed to becoming life-long learners, and to taking charge of their lives and education.
  • are often waiting for other things to happen before they get moving, before they read, before they study, before they learn.
  • with the Internet, are running out of excuses not to learn.
  • wear more hats than men, and sometimes have to work harder to narrow their focus and achieve their goals.

Barbara advises women to give up the job of being Superwoman, to learn to say “No,” and to not be afraid to ask for help.
 
“Women need to learn that with discipline and a team effort, and in a network marketing company like XanGo, there is no glass ceiling anymore. They need to understand how much easier their life can become with greater income; more control, more freedom to live life on their own terms. Even if all they want to do is add another stream of income to their family budget, it can make a world of difference in the quality of life!”
 
“For myself, I had to be open to what is happening in the outside world, and I had to be open to doing things differently. I learned about money, and I love the world of finance. I learned to do the investing for Bob and me.”
 
Barbara is still doing the things she believes in. Tristi is 29 and Nicolas is 27 now, and Barbara has a granddaughter. She is still a role model for her children. “I have learned from my kids, and I have shared my own experiences with them. The lessons I have learned would go to waste if I did not share them with my children. There were many times when I honestly did not know if I was making the right decision. But I learned that I can be real, that I don’t have to be God. I have made lots of mistakes. This is true in business as well, and it is my hope that I will be able to share things with women so they won’t make some of the mistakes I did.”
 
And what does Barbara want now? “I want to make a difference. One life at a time.”