June 9, 2009

Cover Story

Success Never Tasted so Sweet

The tall, white chef hat, named the toque, has always been a symbol of culina...Read More

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Robert S. Conlee

2009 CFO of the Year

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Article

Robert S. Conlee

Distributing New Opportunities

By Janine S. Creager

June 9, 2009

If XanGo CEO and President Robert Conlee could pick one word to describe his life and work, it would probably be kaizen—a Japanese word meaning continual improvement that not only defines his work ethic, but also the global experience he brings to this latest appointment. “It’s a cliché business term [in Japanese], but I really value it personally,” says Conlee who lived and worked in Japan for almost a decade. “Every day I’m trying to get better and better. When I stop growing and learning, that is the time I won’t be able to meet [the challenges I face].” Conlee has a great ability to acclimate to new environments, a skill he learned as a child when his family lived in numerous states before coming to Utah. Moving frequently at a young age required him to find his place in well-established situations. “I think I had to really understand people well to make friends,” he says. “I had to be able to engage in new situations, come into situations that were already solid and find my place there.” When he came to XanGo last October, Conlee brought 18 years of executive and management experience in the direct sales industry he obtained while working at Provo-based Nu Skin. During that time, he served as president of Nu Skin Japan and president of the North Asia Region, where he gained appreciation for and expertise in working with other cultures and peoples. In order to do business in foreign environments, Conlee draws on his childhood experience and says you have to be very creative and when setting up a business overseas. “You have to assimilate to that culture,” he says, adding that being in Japan provided him with broad people skills and the ability to work anywhere in the world. “I learned to respect the tenets in that culture and how to be effective in that culture.” Conlee has traveled throughout the world with his wife and four children; together they enjoy boating in the summer and skiing in the winter. Now, as president of 600 employees and 1 million distributors world-wide at XanGo, Conlee is determined to maintain the forward motion that has marked the company’s growth. “My job is to ensure that the core principles that got XanGo where it’s at, the branding, the fun, the entrepreneurial spirit and the honesty, are delivered to the distributors, and [to ensure] that the million and first distributor will be able to feel the goodness and the strength of the company,” he says. “Every new opportunity you have is the greatest challenge you have. Today this new experience of being a CEO for a multi-national company is a wonderful opportunity.”
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