Meet another one of our successful independent Representatives: Sydney Mokwena
For nineteen (19) years Sydney Mokwena was a teacher before he discovered direct-selling through Avon’s earning opportunity. It was in 1989 that he began teaching at Letshele High School in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga. The experience ignited his passion for educating and developing future leaders and he thrived on it for almost two decades. In 2003 he decided to join Avon, the largest direct-selling company in the world, as an independent Representative in order to make extra income. “It was challenging at first because my friends and colleagues laughed at me for selling women’s products,” he says.
But he didn’t let this stop him. Instead he worked harder and was soon made a Group Sales Leader with his very own team. He took full advantage of the opportunity when Avon, introduced the Avon Sales Leadership Framework (ASLF) or Sales Leadership to the South African market. “It sounds complicated but it’s really just a multi-generational direct-selling approach that encourages and rewards Avon Representatives to sell more but also to share the earning opportunity. And its supported by a great training and development programme which equips even the most introverted of individuals to become sales gurus” he says excited. Sydney explains that his background as a teacher has enabled him to fully embrace Sales Leadership because sharing knowledge and developing others is second nature to him.
In 2008 he resigned from teaching so he could focus completely on his Avon business. His hard work and commitment paid off a year later when he became only the second independent Representative in the country to achieve the status of Senior Executive Unit Leader. Not a shabby achievement for a man. The training he was continuously receiving through Sales Leadership was horning his business skills, he was ready to take on more. He established a guest house in Bushbuckridge and now also owns a courier company.
He wasn’t content with just being successful however, he wanted more, he wanted to share his success. He managed to develop Susan Mkhabela into a Senior Executive Unit Leader who, through her Avon business, built her own dream home. He then developed Audrey Khumalo and Gift Nziyani to reach the same level which has allowed them to buy new cars and homes. “It’s an incredible feeling to be able to empower others and see them succeed,” he confesses. His ability to develop others was just one of the reasons he was nominated for and received the DSA Personality of the year Award in 2011 from the Direct Selling Association.
The highlight of his career was sharing the stage with then Avon CEO and Chairman in Johannesburg during the company’s Believe World Tour which took place in September of 2011. The tour was in celebration of Avon’s 125th anniversary.
Oxford University, world renowned institution had this to say about Avon’s earning opportunity
- Avon representatives in South Africa with 16 months or more in the system earned enough to cover a typical household’s expenditures for food, non-alcoholic beverages, clothing, shoes, and healthcare.
- The representatives’ income placed them in the top half of black females in their community and brought them in line with what a black South African man earns.
- 75% of the representatives reported that Avon had helped them achieve financial autonomy and nearly 90% said they had learned skills from Avon that could be transferred into other employment.
- Respondents reported in very large numbers that working for Avon had given them confidence and social skills, as well as earning them respect from family and their community. This effect on their sense of empowerment seems to result from the supportive and gender-friendly network, as well as the formal recognition system that Avon employs to reward and inspire achievement.