LEADERSHIP: Bill and Peggy Britt
This IBO couple mentored and supported others worldwide, creating a legacy of leadership that lives on.
Bill Britt lived by three mottos.
“One was ‘May the work I have done speak for me,’” says his wife, Peggy. “The second was ‘Honor and courage’ – that was the patriotism one. He appreciated the freedom in his country. And last, ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’”
After Bill passed away in January 2013 at age 81, Peggy placed these three sayings in a shadow box in their home, displaying the values that guided the couple to their success in both life and in work. The Britts are Founders Crown Ambassador, the highest achievement in Amway. Independent Business Owners for 43 years, Bill and Peggy made a career of helping other IBOs succeed, creating a network of support around the world and instilling in others the values needed to become leaders themselves.
For a lifetime of guidance, Bill and Peggy Britt are the recipients of the 2013 Amway Hero Award for Leadership.
A born leader
As Peggy recalls, Bill was a leader from a very young age. He was one of eight children and took on responsibility to help the family get by – doing things like managing two paper routes to provide extra money. “He always had to work hard for anything he got,” says Peggy. “It was out of necessity that he drew from his inner being to rise to the occasion.”
Time and again, Bill’s leadership shone. As a young man enlisted in the Army – Bill served in Korea – he was chosen to go to cavalry school. He finished second in his class, despite having no prior college education. Later, after meeting and marrying Peggy, Bill spent just a year as assistant to the city manager of Raleigh before he became a manager himself: first in Sanford, North Carolina, and then in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
Alongside Bill was Peggy. Where Bill was outgoing and engaging, Peggy was calm and gentle, supporting him from the wings. Everyone knew that Peggy was Bill’s “quiet strength,” a hand of support that made sure every detail was just right.
“Bill was always in the spotlight,” says Peggy, “and that was fine with me. He was always a leader, a born leader.”
“Bill always said the meaning of success was if one person, or a situation, was better off because he was there.” | Peggy Britt
When Bill heard about the Amway™ opportunity, he was balancing several commitments. He was a city manager, a student pursuing his master’s degree in public administration, and an officer in the National Guard. But after many discussions with Peggy, they both recognized an opportunity for self-fulfillment and financial freedom that they couldn’t pass up.
“We started the business jointly,” says Peggy, “and he progressed and was very, very busy. He showed the Plan a lot. He traveled a lot, and at the same time held down his position as city manager in the little town we lived in.”
And wherever they took the business, success followed. “Bill had no problem in creating a lot of activity and excitement in people,” says Peggy. “He was ‘Mr. Motivator,’ and I was his helper, staying home and tying loose ends together.”
Bill and Peggy grew their business as a team, eventually making it their full-time jobs and establishing BWW, one of the largest global IBO organizations in Amway, with networks spanning five continents.
Throughout, Bill and Peggy focused on helping others succeed. “You could not outgive him,” says Peggy. “Bill always said the meaning of success was if one person, or a situation, was better off because he was there.”
A perpetual legacy
What mattered most to the Britts was ensuring that the IBOs they worked with were not only good businessmen and businesswomen, but strong leaders in their own right.
“Bill would say a good leader would be one who could be depended upon, who was trustworthy,” says Peggy. “Who was honest. Would stand on his word.”
Bill lived by these values and helped the IBOs he worked with understand their importance. “Always take care of the people in the field first before yourself,” says Angelo Nardone, Executive Diamond and member of BWW’s Management Operating Committee. “Always put yourself last in everything you do. That’s a lesson we’ve always learned.”
The Britts also encouraged those they mentored to appreciate other key aspects of life. “You learn about relationships, and you learn about health,” says Shivaram Kumar, Double Diamond and fellow Management Operating Committee member. “You learn about having fun, laughing all the time, and uplifting people.”
Peggy explains that anyone can make a difference if they put their mind to it. “It’s very, very humbling,” says Peggy. “People look up to us, but we feel that we really have not done that much at all. It’s not that unusual.”
Peggy believes that if Bill were here today, he would share her feeling that this award reflects not simply a personal success, but the success of many IBO leaders around the world. “He would accept it very humbly and thank everyone,” says Peggy. “He would say, ‘This is not my Hero Award, it comes from my heroes. And I have many heroes in this business.’”