Huebner, Bert & Helen
|Bert (dec.) and Helen Huebner|
|LOS Upline:||Marks, Dick & Sandee|
from defunct site www.amwaycameo.com
Helen Huebner wore a lime green suit when she and Bert emerged from one of the three airplanes their group chartered to fly to the Amway® Annual Convention in 1967. 'We created quite a stir with those planes," she chuckles now, piling cold cuts high on a tray for her visiting grandchildren. "We didn't intend to. We were just determined to get to Ada and not miss a minute of the Convention. We knew it was important!. "A couple of years before that," she continues, "when we were new in the business and really discouraged, Rich DeVos came to Winnipeg. "He said, 'What you have to realize is that not everyone is going to stick with this business, some people are going to quit, but you cannot let that affect your own goals. What you need to do is come to our Convention in Ada.'
"Well, we believed him, so we piled into a station wagon and drove straight through because we couldn't afford the hotel rooms. Upon our safe arrival, we saw that he was right. That Convention was an eye-opener, and we were really excited. The next year there were enough of us that we needed buses to get there, and then the third year, we chartered the airplanes, big events. It keeps us energized."
Watching Helen serve lunch to a kitchen filled with family and friends, it's clear that energy is not a problem. "I travel most of the time," she says, citing recent trips to Peter Island, Hawaii, Europe, California, and North Carolina. "People say, 'Oh Helen, you still travel all over, don't you get tired?' So then I think maybe I should get tired! But people are like batteries: If you're not being used, you go dead; if you are being used, you get revved up. And having personal goals always gives you energy.
Helen is a Double Diamond Direct Distributor with an international business, and, since Bert's death 20 years ago, she has built it alone. Besides showing the Sales and Marketing Plan, merchandising the products, and traveling to events, she spends a lot of time counseling prospects and downline Independent Business Owners. "People need help in a variety of ways," she says. "IBO's sometimes reach a plateau and need help moving forward. Many are just undisciplined. They imagine they're working hard in the business, but really they're just thinking hard about it. sometimes couples get into the business and, for the first time, they really start to talk to each other. So they have to learn to communicate. It becomes very rewarding to help people grow in these ways.
Helen still enjoys the lovely home on the Red River that she and Bert bought shortly after they started their Amway business 30 years ago. Bert was a teacher, and they needed the extra income to keep up with the financial demands of their four young children. Today, daughter Denise and Garry Stratychuk are Pearl Directs, and Denise is Helen's office manager. Her daughter Michelle and John Sherritt are Platinum in California, where John is also in land development, and her two sons, Mark, who is married to Stephanie and is an award-winning advertising writer in Toronto, and finally Brock, who is a Systems analyst married to Sandra.
Watching the grand-children splash in the hot tub on her shady deck, Helen automatically dead-heads the geraniums and petunias, turns a pot of succulents, and anchors a stray vine. Gardening is a favorite pastime, along with cooking. She has a huge collection of cookbooks and has edited three of them for various community organizations.
Helen remembers cooking all the time when she was growing up on a big Manitoba farm. "We were five sisters," she says, "and we cooked three or four meals a day for up to 12 farm hands, plus our parents and three brothers. There would be a big breakfast, then a full dinner at noon, and faspa at 4:00. Faspa was our Mennonite word for tea, and we would serve fresh buns, desserts, jam, cheese. When the men were finished in the fields, we would serve supper, probably soup and cold cuts. And that could be midnight on some days. I remember lying down behind the table and sleeping while we waited.
"We had a big house, but there was a separate cookhouse where we prepared the meals and ate. My mother had a bake oven made of brick, which she would feed with flax straw, and that's how we baked the bread. The cookhouse was built right over an ice cellar, and we kept our food there. There were cows, pigs, chickens, and horses, and we helped with all the livestock. I also drove the combine, when I wasn't needed in the kitchen. It was hard work, but we had fun too. A river ran close by, and every summer afternoon we went swimming with the neighbor kids. I still love to swim, and you can see that I live on the river!"
Helen's Mennonite roots led her recently to a group of relatives in Germany. "My father was Dutch," she explains, "and the Dutch Mennonites were pacifists. Because they were hard-workers, they were able to secure agreements from various monarchs that allowed them to live in a land without conscription for 100 years. On the basis of these 100-year agreements, they moved from Holland to Germany to Russia, and my relatives came on to Canada in 1874. Bert's relatives, however, were trapped in Russia by the revolution in 1919. When the Iron Curtain fell, they left their native Siberia and went to Germany, where we made the connection. One of the interesting things is that we could communicate immediately, because the Mennonites took their low-German dialect wherever they went. It's been quite an experience for us."
Sponsoring is Helen's favorite thing to do these days, and she smiles about the moment when a prospect's eyes light up ... oh, now I see, now I know. Such relationships have been the most important thing in her Amway career. She says, "I think you have to love people to really help them. I usually believe in them a lot more than they believe in themselves. I've been in Amway long enough to know that the business is basically the same as always. You market products, you build a network. People come in for the same reasons - almost anyone would like more income."
Helen Huebner is a successful parent, loving grandmother, formidable businesswoman, and revered counselor to thousands of Independent Business Owners. Among her memories is this: "We had a trip to Spain one year, and I wanted to take a speaker along, but none was available. I that heard that Rich DeVos was going to be in Portugal at that time, so I gathered my courage and wrote a letter asking him to be our speaker. Days passed without a reply, and we finally had to go with our 75 people and no speaker. On the day of the banquet, Rich called and said he was coming. He had wanted to surprise us, but at the last minute thought he'd better let us know. He came with Helen and all the children - can you imagine how we felt?
"You see, you just can't wait for everything to be perfect. You have to get started anyway, and trust that things will begin to unfold in perfectly amazing ways."