Selfless Advocate for the Independent Business Owner
More than anything else, unrestricted opportunity first attracted Walter Bass to the direct marketing business venture that Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel presented to him. Fittingly, it was also unrestricted opportunity that Walter championed so successfully during his tenure with the American Way Association (AWA).
Walter's involvement in the business stretches back nearly ten years before the AWA was formed. He was among the very first Nutrilite Distributors sponsored by Ja-Ri Corporation. At that time, Ja-Ri was little more than two young men selling Nutrilite products and a big idea from the trunk of a car. Walter saw the enormous potential in their idea.
Walter worked closely with Jay and Rich as they built Ja-Ri Corporation into a regional company with thousands of business partners. His early experiences deepened the strength of his belief that unrestricted opportunity was the key ingredient to the company's growth. When circumstances threatened that opportunity, he joined together with Rich, Jay, and the other AWA founding members to draft the original Sales and Marketing Plan, which guaranteed unrestricted opportunity.
From the Association's inception through 1976, Walter served as President of the AWA (now the Independent Business Owners Association International) for all but one year. Under his guidance, the Association embraced its charter to serve as an advocate for the business owner. Largely through Walter's efforts, the IBOA International built the very close working relationship with the Corporation that continues today.
To honor Walter's contributions, in 1990 the Association voted him the inaugural member of its Presidents Cabinet. Walter died in 1993.
Walter Bass qualified Emerald in July 1985, being recognized in the July 1986 Amagram.