Today we had the opportunity to interview Joni Rogers-Kante.
Considered to be an industry titan, Joni Rogers-Kante is the Founder & CEO of SeneGence®, a billion dollar network marketing company and global leader in luxury cosmetics with a mission to
Joni Rogers-Kante is the visionary and driving force behind SeneGence®. Her dream of developing a company that gave women an opportunity to build their own business regardless of age, background, or education has become a phenomenal success, with offices in five countries and hundreds of thousands of Independent Distributors across the globe.
Joni began her career at 16 years old, working for the Sav-On Corporation. By 23, she was the Assistant Manager of the highest-performing store in the Sav-On chain. Having learned from high-level management, buyers, and operations experts, she knew the corporate structure was not for her. Joni was introduced to a direct sales cosmetic company, and her 13-year career produced jewelry, cars, awards, trips, and recognition, and most importantly, a burning desire to create her own company.
Armed with a plan and her business experience, Joni pursued her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. In 1999, SeneGence and its flagship product, LipSense®, were born. Joni’s guiding principle for the company every step of the way has been, “Choose to Live Life in Love and Abundance, and Then Work for It!”
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Table of Contents
Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Joni Rogers-Kante: I was raised in a small Oklahoma town called Sapulpa. My husband and I still have a home there and operate part of SeneGence out of Sapulpa, so I’m never far away from the business. While I grew up on a farm, I’ve always been something of a girly-girl. My first job was at Sav-On Drugs so, no surprise, my favorite aisle was cosmetics. I loved the color and “magic” of the products. A friend then introduced me to Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Now a single Mom with a toddler son, the ability to flex my work schedule to suit my life was what I needed. From there, starting SeneGence was really inevitable. Based on two simple ideas: offering women great products that really work and careers that really work by selling these products, remains as true today as when I founded SeneGence 20 years ago.
What are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Joni Rogers-Kante: The biggest challenge is balance. Generally, it is women who share the greatest percentage of responsibility in the home to clean, organize, orchestrate others schedules, and with children, the many tasks and providing needed items of all types within the home as they grow. A full-time job in itself! Women are likely more torn between work hours and the time they desire to run a home of their choosing. This alone is a big part of the reason fewer women make it into the higher C-suite jobs compared to men.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help them thrive?
Joni Rogers-Kante: To achieve something bigger than yourself –– well there are a lot of moving parts that need to align –– and they will as long as you do your part to the best of your ability. Here are the top three basics I believe one must do to move towards achievement:
- Build on truth. Making decisions or choices that are not built upon truth is a fool’s folly. Nothing stands unless built upon absolute truth.
- Do not waste a single day on idleness. Yes, take family time, because family is and should be a priority. However, even on family weekends, you can carve out an hour to accomplish a single task or two that will move you closer to your goal.
- Step out in quest of your goal with faith. Know that as you think about, dream about, talk about the fruition of your vision, you will attract amazing, like-minded human beings with the talents needed to help each of you reach your respective goals.
What is your silver lining to the global COVID-19 pandemic?
Joni Rogers-Kante: Immense challenges always bring opportunities and are often the fodder for new innovations. I am hopeful, and have complete confidence, that forward thinking individuals will create new remedies and find better solutions to overcome the shortfalls of today’s challenges. I believe great strides will be realized in manufacturing, medicine, hospitals, communications between State and Private affiliations, internet technologies…wherever we have discovered there can be room for improvement, improvement will happen. Also, I am very hopeful of the human spirit. Times like these? Well, we see the best in others through their helping hands, selflessness, and generosities — putting aside gains for profit for the betterment of their neighbor.
When thinking about new ideas for SeneGence, what inspires you?
Joni Rogers-Kante: There’s so much. Actually, our earliest product was inspired by my toddler son. I needed something to withstand his little fingers since every time I picked him up I had to re-apply my lipstick. Hence our 14-hour lip-color, LipSense, was born. From the original six shades we now offer it in more than seventy different colors. Today, inspiration tends to come from the discovery of new and improved technologies and conversations with our thousands of SeneGence distributors who are in touch with our millions of customers. We have such a wide-ranging demographic across all age groups, ethnicities, geographies and lifestyles so we are constantly looking for colors, shades and skin-healthy products that will enhance both the way they feel and the way they look.
What do you feel is the best part about being your own boss?.
Joni Rogers-Kante: I love being able to realize my vision for the Company and everyday continue to lead its growth. It’s also nice to be able to make decisions along with other like-minded executives who give their all to enhance our experience each and every day. But, without a doubt the best part is being able to provide a pathway for our growing SeneGence family to achieve success for themselves and for the next generation of their families, while choosing a lifestyle that best suits their dreams.
What is next for you and how can readers support your business?
Joni Rogers-Kante: In February, I launched and hosted the bi-weekly video podcast “Billion Dollar Lips” featuring entrepreneurs all over the world sharing stories of success, discoveries and lessons learned.
Later this year, I plan to release the follow up to my first book Million Dollar Lips, and it’s called Billion Dollar Lips. The best way to support our business? Learn more about what we do and who we are…and purchase our products from a local SeneGence Distributor. Go to senegence to find your nearest Distributor and try the products for free and with no obligation to purchase. Once you try them, I know you will fall in love with them as millions of others have.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be?
Joni Rogers-Kante: My favorite “Life Lesson Quote” Choose to live life in love and abundance — and then work for it!”
How do you view the network marketing industry? Do you consider SeneGence a multi-level marketing company?
Joni Rogers-Kante: I think that term is misunderstood. We are a direct-sales company. That means that SeneGence is the manufacturer and the provider of the product to our independent contractors—the distributor—and the distributor sells directly to the end consumer. The difference is that the distributor buys it from the company and what they sell it for to the consumer is their profit, no different than a department store earning profits on items sold. The Independent Distributor usually works from home and represents one or two lines while building her own clientele.
That’s direct sales, and 90% of our distributors are simply direct sellers. They buy wholesale, they sell it for retail. Then, there’s a small fraction of women who also earn an override by the company for expanding our distributor base, which is expanding our market share. That’s multi-level marketing. The women earn a commission paid to them, separate earnings on sales, who are building levels of the salesforce, and they manage and train that salesforce to do so. Based upon the success of the sales of their group, they receive the commission overrides.
Why do you think MLM has a bad rap?
Joni Rogers-Kante: I think people have a misconception of what it really takes to build your own business. It’s tough. It really is tough, no different than if you’re an ambitious woman within any other career, you have to put in the hours and do the work to climb to whatever level to which you aspire. You have to work the same amount of time whether in a home office for Direct Sales or a corporate office for another company. You have to work hard. There is no free lunch. Only a few, either way get to the top.
When people join a company like ours, where the results are up to you 100%, I don’t think most people have been prepared for that kind of a challenge. So, we try in our company really hard to face the facts, to give them the truth, to say this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. We’re going to take you through all kinds of scenarios and trainings to gain skills so that you can learn from our mistakes or benefit from what really works. We are constantly training our girls in sharing with one another. All of our leaders share, not only amongst themselves, but with all of our people, on winning strategies constantly. That helps to create a really beautiful type of culture that lends itself to a safe place to grow while learning.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Joni Rogers-Kante for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
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