Nicki Keohohou is a force of nature.
Nicki is the doyenne of leadership development programs, teaching and motivating direct sellers around the world, inspiring people with her boundless enthusiasm, passion and her industry insights.
Last year alone Nikki spoke in front of, what added up to, over 1 million people. They flock to her because she helps them to find their own strength. And she has enough of her own to go around the world and back several times.
Nicki began her career as a direct seller more than 30 years ago. She comes from an entrepreneurial family; it’s in the blood. When she had her daughter, Grace, she felt the overwhelming urge to support her, on her own terms. And everything has grown from that little acorn of emotion…
As I was in the process of building a lifestyle brand that would only be sold through entrepreneurial women at home, online, or one-to-one, I went to kneel at the foot of The Queen of DS to seek advice and a quick-fix to quell the rising pressure I felt at taking my new big step.
Our business was going to be more than a trunk-show business, we were building more than a company, we were building a community. That I knew… but more importantly what didn’t I know?
The advice came through gently but continuously. She has a good way with people; a good way with words. I felt the stirrings of my overwhelming panic subside.
Nicki is very good at what she does. So good that I kept straying from my general interview questions to tap into the extraordinary currents which run through our subjects’ life-stories.
My favourite aphorism came when we were talking about how she has come to find her self mentor to a million plus… “You have to support them, listen to them, give them what they need.” Right, OK, I thought, sounds kind of obvious when you think about it… Then she came out with the phrase which really rang true, “You have to be gracefully assertive; you need to walk in your own strength not power.” It made total sense to me and taught me a lot about what is needed to engage with a team of like-minded women…. She has that way of just turning your head slightly to see a whole new perspective….
Has she ever been frightened? (Surely not this woman, I thought – but I was wrong.) “Yes. I have.” Comes the assured reply. When I was speaking in Dubai, I fell down a marble staircase, all the way to the bottom. I was knocked out and unable to move. I was really badly hurt (I tore the bone of my left ankle, I injured both knees, a retina detached…) but my mind was clear. There was that moment of fear at the bottom of those stairs, with me thinking ‘Will I be OK?’ And it did take me a long time to recover. I was in a wheelchair for 7 months or so. But I did. And now, having made that journey, I know that I can do anything.” “But surely it wasn’t that easy?” I say. But Nicki convinces me that, for her, anything is possible: “I have learned to do a lot by managing my mind; I take my thoughts to a different place.”
So what would she tell her 14-year-old self? “To ask more questions,” she answers spontaneously. “And realize that you can learn so much from your elders – it’s so easy when you are young to think that your parents aren’t smart… it’s only when you grow up that you realize that they were!”
And she goes on, “The parenting side too is so important: if people grow up feeling loved then there is so much they can do…” which is perhaps why her daughter is now the President to Nicki’s CEO.
“Always build for the future India, build for the future.” These words are still ringing in my ears. Thank you, Nicki.