Barbara 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.”