SINCE I ARRIVED at the Direct Selling Association office a bit late, I backed up our normal Monday morning executive staff meeting one hour. My staff filled me in on the past week's activities and pertinent developments (the office called me only twice during my vacation, a record low!). During the meeting I took a call from a congressman who asked me to his home for breakfast Thursday morning to discuss fund raising for him. I accepted the invitation even though I dislike fund raising, have ever since I first did it with the McGovern presidential campaign.
After the staff meeting, I tried to catch up on back mail and memoranda. I'm learning to pass more and more documents on immediately without reading them instead of holding them for four or five weeks and then passing them on, still unread. I then took three of my staff members to lunch. (My 3-year-old daughter was once asked, "What does your daddy do for a living?" She replied, "He goes to lunch." I sense my wife's humor there.) I've got an excellent staff that I'm proud of but don't know many of them nearly as well as I'd like.
Later, I meet with the executive director of our foundation and discussed our new $2.2-million fund-raising drive. The foundation excites me. It is a public foundation dedicated to serving the public interest and is largely targeting its resources for 1979-80 to supporting local, state and national consumer protection organizations. DSA itself is perhaps a unique trade association. We perceive ourselves as consumer advocates working within industry as well as an organization committed to promoting women and minority opportunities. Such a posture helps me justify the time I give to my work.
Toward the end of the day, I spent time on the most important issue facing the industry, the battle with Treasury/IRS over the independent contractor status of our 4 million salespeople. Failure to win this one before the Congress will be devastating for the industry and probably for the association. Outlook is pretty good however. We've a strong and just case that we're lobbying effectively.
I have to leave early to mow the lawn which I neglected during my vacation. At home, I go over Carolyn's plans for Meredith's and Michael's upcoming birthday parties. I can't believe Mike will be 1 already and my big girl will turn 4. The joy of them sometimes brings tears to my eyes.
A busy day today with a myriad of little chores. Since becoming president of DSA two years ago, the management of my time is my biggest challenge. The need to spend more with my family is increasing, as are the number of issues and opportunities facing the association, I cancel my attendance at the Federal Bar Association meeting in San Antonio since I've got to be in Dallas just before and after and I'm not willing to be away from home for 13 straight days. I's a matter of priorities, but I feel badly since I'm on the FBA National Council. I line up my trip to St. Louis for the American Society of Association Executives meeting, will leave Saturday. Carolyn especially doesn't like to lose me on weekends and I try to be home. Can't help it this time.
I work quite a bit on the independent contractor issue. Speak to Congressman Dick Gephardt, the sponsor of the bill we're supporting. He's a real winner, destined for great service to our nation. I'm looking forward to a lasting friendship for him. (It's ironic that this battle pits me against the administration since I frequently work with the White House, at their request, on numerous non-direct selling issues. Also because, if Treasury wins, women, minorities, the handicapped and senior citizens will be hardest hit.) The day turns out to be fairly typical in that I have to deal with such diverse items as legislation of concern to us in Italy and Germany, signing the payroll, helping several job hunters sent to me by friends on the Hill, finding out that the marks on Meredith's and Michael's tummies are caused by poison ivy, perhaps off our fearsome looking but cowardly German shepherd.
This morning, I drive to Time-Life (member company) in Alexandria, for a meeting of our Consumer Affairs Committee. I can only stay 15 minutes because of a meeting with Congressman Wyche Fowler on the independent contractor issue. I felt it was important to show up to show my personal support for the pro-consumer activities of this committee.
I arrive at Fowler's office and meet Harold Heltzer and Henry Poole, two Avon attorneys who set up the session. I find out I misunderstood and the meeting is with the congressman's assistant, Kathy Rudder. I'm a little ticked about it since I recently met with Kathy and gave her my pitch already. It turns out to be a productive session. I consult with tax attorneys Art Rothkopf and Paul Oosterhuis at Hogan and Hartson and Avon's top government relations lawyer Bob Grimm. Head back to Alexandria for the rest of the committee meeting which breaks at 3:30 and then back to the office.I call my boss for this year, the chairwoman of the DSA board, Carol Cook of Stanley Home Products, and update her on numerous activities. I catch up with some paperwork and phone calls and get home by 7:15, fairly normal arrival time (except when fund-raising receptions beckon). CJ (another name for Carolyn) looks great. She's on a liquid protein diet (under strict medical supervision) and has lost a lot of weight. I admire her for many reasons, the diet but the latest. She's motivated me to shape up and I've shed 20 pounds myself recently. I take time to read some of "War and Remembrance" and find the book moving and enlightening. I'm glad I recently got back to reading non-work related items. I got scared that I was narrowing my horizons by failing to take time to read. Meredith tells me that I'm always in a hurry."If you take time, you'll have time" she says. Out of the mouths of babes. Carolyn and I take a late night swim in out pool, au naturel . Fun!!
The baby wakes me up at 5:45 a.m. A bomb could go off and CJ would sleep through it. About to fall back to sleep when the dog makes her morning attack at The Post boy. I can't sleep so I take a 6:30 swim and head on out for breakfast with the congressman (he'd rather not see his name in this article). Then its off to see if I can catch Congressman Ray Lederer, a key subcommittee member on the tax problem. He's at the White House with Jimmy and I talk independent contractor with his legislative assistant. They're getting a lot of mail from our people. He informs me that all of the mail from one specific company has no return address. Since I know it's all constituent mail, I say to myself "Aargghh!!" Then drop by Congressman Frank Guarini's office and leave a document with Ray Jacobson, his administrative assistant, again on the independent contractor matter. Finally, before heading back to the office, I meet with John Crosby who is Dick Gephardt's administrative assistant and a hell of a good lawyer. A lot of credit on this bill (supported by an internationally coalition of 50-plus associations) belongs to him. When I was a legislative assistant, I found that serving as an aide was often very rewarding but it certainly doesn't provide much real personal recognition.
Back to the office. Lunch with Marlene Futterman, our foundation's director. She's set up consumer protection seminars at the Universities of Wisconsin and Ohio. We've just completed sessions with local consumer group leaders, government officials, academicians and business types at the University of Arizona and Willamette University. We've got a real winning program here and it's doing some good for both the public and, tangentially, our industry.After lunch, I give an interview to Industry Week magazine on, you guessed it, independent contractors. I spend the rest of the day with my executive vice president, Jay Hescock, going over our 1980 budget forecasts. I'm worried about the impact of a recession on dues revenues. Making contingency plans accordingly. I work late and forget to get home on time for CJ to go to a meeting. She's beat and therefore doesn't seem to mind missing it.
I sit in on our Government Relations Department staff meeting, then conduct the monthly full staff meeting. I take a bright congressional intern to lunch and then work on independent contractor matters, as usual. I catch up on phone calls and paperwork and attend an office goodbye champagne session for an employe who's leaving. Chat informally with numerous members of the staff. Finally, I look forward to going home and playing with Meredith, Michael and CJ. Tomorrow, I'm off to St. Louis.