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Yesterday I reconnected with a former colleague that is running for public office and he invited me to a fundraising luncheon.

I had another conversation with a good friend of mine who happens to share my love for BBQ. We both have a passion for eating and smoking meats of all kinds.

I also had several conversations with friends and colleagues and some “acquaintances” about my new AdvoCare business. Some know, many don’t…that AdvoCare is wellness business. Classified as multi-level marketing.

During a live video, someone posted a statement/question suggesting AdvoCare was a pyramid scheme. The comment really stuck with me and got me thinking.

A definition of the word “Network” is: interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s own career.

I tried to trace back, with my own experiences, and with a little research why there is so much distrust and resentment towards people that start their own network or multi-level marketing businesses. Sure networking marketing got its roots when a guy named named Carl traveled to China and learned about herbs and supplements, came home and started selling vitamins, and then 2 guys went on to start The American Way company, later named Amway and the rest is history.

Whether you want to call it direct selling or network marketing or multi-level marketing or pyramid selling, they all have the same idea.

It is important to point out there is a significant difference between pyramid selling and pyramid schemes. PYRAMID SCHEMES ARE ILLEGAL! (Selling something without any value…look it up) Any comparison of the two are simply ignorant and irresponsible.

But why is the topic or practice so taboo…or detested by so many people?

Let’s break it down. Someone you know starts a new business. Contacts you to tell you about it. Offers to sell you the products and/or offers to let you in on the action…join the business. I don’t see anything inherently wrong with any of that.

Open a business, advertise, solicit customers, hire employees…sounds like the new restaurant down the street.

I’ve been to many grand openings and ribbon cuttings. Those are exciting events. I’ve even tried some free samples, got some discounts, and joined loyalty clubs as a result.

Are you turned off because they are selling knives, or sweepers, or makeup, or vacations, or supplements or jewelry? They are selling their wares. Such a basic concept.

How did our forefathers sell their wares? Barter their goods? I’m sure it wasn’t from billboards or SuperBowl commercials.

Where do you buy your specialty honey? Fresh butter and eggs? How about that that special batch of strawberries? Favorite jar of pickles? I’m guessing you’ve found a farmer or friend that has a side business selling that stuff.

How do you find a trusty mechanic? Or electrician? How did you know what plumber to let into your house? Or what roofer you could trust? How did you know what car salesman you can trust? I’ll bet you “know a guy.”

Now, if you try to tell me you relied on advertising from big box stores, and pop-up ads on your phone, and spam emails and car commercials screaming at you on television…I’ll have to question your integrity. (If that’s you…please stop reading my post now.) By the way, those big box stores, anonymous advertisers and big dealerships could care less about your long term wellness. They care about you as far as the warranty runs out. Think about your neighbor that sells you something knowing they have to see you every single day. Now that’s called putting your reputation on the line!

The truth is you rely on your friends and loved ones to recommend their favorites to you. You choose your movies and new restaurants to try out based on what you see on social media. You plan what meals to cook and what clothes to buy and yes, what car you are going to drive primarily from your neighbors, co-workers and the stranger that walked by.

But when those same loved ones, and neighbors and co-workers and even that stranger tries to sell you something under the banner of networking marketing you get offended and dismissive and combative.

Is that how you treat the girl scouts when they tease you with Samoas and Thin Mints or the Boy Scouts when they bring you the cheddar and caramel popcorn?

Perhaps you rely on Yelp, Trip Advisor and Google reviews. Reviews…really? Do I need to draw a line connecting those dots too? They are people giving their recommendations. Even though most of them are strangers, you trust their opinions and use them to make important decisions regarding how to spend your hard-earned money.

To me it is simple…either you’re looking for the product they are selling or you aren’t. No harm, no foul. It is certainly not evil.

It seems we should applaud those we know that are trying to get ahead with their bills and dreams rather than slamming the door in their face. Even if you aren’t going to buy something, it doesn’t hurt to let them practice on you and give them some honest critique. They are your friends, right? They would sincerely appreciate it, I promise you.

So whether it is Carl selling vitamins, my friend telling people about his campaign for office, my buddy bragging about his smoked meats or someone hawking their daughter’s Girl Scout cookies…there’s not much difference than your other friends telling you about their new business. Just have an open mind.

With that said, who’s looking to earn an extra $500-$1000 per month?


Read my thoughts regarding the recent outrage from Dodge Ram’s use of Dr. King’s voice in a Super Bowl commercial during Black History Month

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My reflections on the Colin Kaepernick saga. I didn’t intend for this to be a long post. Don’t expect it to be profound. Just my perspective on what I’ve been seeing and hearing.

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Three years ago today, at 10:00 am, I met two volunteers at 1710 S. Madison Street to start my first day as the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie. As board members, they diligently fumbled with the keys, alarm code, door to the director’s office and patiently sat and answered questions and worked their way through an ad-hoc orientation for me.

Then they left.

I found myself sitting in the office, as the new director, all by myself with my head spinning. So many questions, so much anxiety, anticipation, hope, concern and excitement. During the hiring process I was diligent in doing my homework, asking questions, researching, listening and taking notes. I still remember how thick my folder was when I went to my first interview. It doubled in size for my second interview as I got even more excited about the opportunity. My initial “to-do” list was pages long…before I even got to day one.

After taking time to reflect, I begin to busy myself with cleaning, organizing, sifting through files and settling in. Soon staff began trickling in, kids started showing up and things were off and running. I spent a lot of time just asking questions, observing, taking notes and adding to that list.

Looking back on that day three years ago, it is easy to appreciate progress with our organization. I look at our board of directors and how much they have developed. From a handful of dedicated board members, helping with day-to-day operations, to a robust board of almost two dozen members. Our board today is actively engaged, support the organization every chance they get and constantly challenge themselves, me and our staff so we can better serve kids and families in our community.

I’ve worked with three board presidents during this time, each unique in their leadership styles, but focused in their role and passionate about our mission. Our executive committee, committee chairs and every layer of the board deserves credit for constantly focusing on the big picture, while taking time for the small details.

Our staff continues to change and very little is the same as it was three years ago. The nature of our business leads to high-turnover, but we are blessed with staff that make a commitment to the work and our mission. As with our board, staff will agree I’m not easy to work for and with. High expectations for performance, low tolerance for lackluster effort and constant focus in improvement. I’ve learned a lot about my leadership style and effectiveness over the past few years, and still have a long way to go.

One of the highlights of my experience has been working alongside Antonio Benford, our Unit Director. First met Mr. Tony when he was in high school and it has been the coolest honor to see him grow and develop into the leader he is today. Contrary to popular belief, HE is the face of the Boys & Girls Club. Personally I have grown as much as a leader because of him. He challenges me in so many ways, holds me accountable and continually inspires me.

I look at our kids and families and their own progress. I/we don’t claim credit for their progress, but believe we play an important role in it. As families develop their own expectations and plans for their needs, we work right alongside them to help meet those needs. Story after story comes to mind as we witness outstanding achievements with our kids and families in spite of the many challenges they face on a daily basis.

Our community has been awesome to work with including donors, volunteers, media, program partners, schools, local businesses, and so many more. Time after time people have responded to our calls and jump in to help us at so many levels.

But all has not been peachy.

There have many troubling and frustrating times. I can’t even count the number of days I went home angry and disappointed with myself, staff, the board, donors, kids, parents, volunteers and the list goes on. I’ve continually asked myself if I was the right person for the job and if it was time to move on.

People that know me will quickly say I have a short attention span and get bored easily. My resume certainly reflected that as I’ve typically spent 2-3 years in any given position. Even my pastor helped me assess, recently, that I’m very project-oriented. So it’s easy for me to get restless and start looking around for what’s next.

The past few weeks have been filled with conversations that glaringly focused on this issue for me. One conversation asked me “how are you doing Micah?” Well, to truthfully answer that question was not easy because there are so many things going on. “I’m ready to leave!!”

To best explain, consider when you haven’t seen someone for a while and you notice changes in their hair; that they are taller; or certainly if they’ve gained or lost weight. There are other people that we see every day and rarely notice those changes as they are daily subtle. While leading an organization it is so easy to get inundated with all of the things that are not getting done and get bogged down with the frustrations and disappointments.


I’m not going anywhere. I’m committed to the work we have ahead of us and the mission of our organization. There is so much potential so many kids and families are counting on us.

As I’ve shared my vision with staff and board members, I’m more resolved than ever that we are on the right track and the future is bright.

I have to temper my frustration with the politics of leading a non-profit organization while finding the right balance of being passively communicating and boldly advocating for what our kids need to be successful and reach their full potential.

At the same time I will be bolder than ever as I enlist support. We need more partners, more donors, more volunteers and more staff, all of which must be intentionally recruited and developed. We need more as in the quality and depth of those relationships rather than the quantity. As the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie approaches 85 years of service, it is my responsibility to ensure we are prepared and positioned to have a greater impact on kids and families in our community as long as the need exists.

So, with much reflection, I believe I’m content about these past few years. I’m thankful for the many individuals that have contributed to my personal growth and development. I’m full of gratitude for the continual investment in the Boys & Girls Club by so many stakeholders. Finally, without reservation, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve as leader of such a fantastic organization in the community that I love dearly.

With that, it’s time to get back to work! Get ready…I’ll be calling you.