When my parents started their Amway business they were encouraged to give their group a name as most distributors were. This was another way to claim their entrepreneurial independence with a personal stamp. So my father named our Amway business, Eagle Associates as an ode to our country’s symbol of freedom, the American bald eagle. Images of this eagle taking flight and soaring through the air representing American free enterprise were mounted on the walls of my parents’ various offices and meeting rooms throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. I, along with the rest of Eagle Associates, was encouraged to take flight with Amway as the wind beneath my wings. And as corny and cult like as that and the rest of my childhood was, there were real life lessons and values in those teachings, one of them was the idea of giving back to our community.
My father started a subsidiary division of his business that he called Eagle Helping People. Every spring I watched my parents on the local Boston ABC affiliate WCVB channel 5 present a check to the Easter Seals Foundation on their annual telethon. Watching them on television I can remember saying to myself, “Whatever I do in life, I want to help people.” Of course having been raised in the capitalistic, “me, me, me” era of the 1980’s I allowed the quest for success to overshadow that childhood dream. That’s why today I feel, more than ever before, that we all have a duty to find where we can be useful and ask ourselves, “Who can I help today?” For all of my father’s eccentric, Elvis impersonating, Amway selling wackiness, he had a deep need to mentor and help people, and for that I am most grateful. Thanks Dad for passing that on.