September 8, 2017

Posted: September 8, 2017

Our field of Youngevity Associates have hidden talents that are as varied and diverse as our field itself. It’s especially wonderful when we can reach out to them for help and let their myriad of skills shine, particularly when those skills are as talented and experienced as Mike and Kate Battistelli’s. They recently helped direct the opening kick-off celebration number for Youngevity’s 20th Anniversary Convention!

For a link to a portion of that performance, click here.

For those of you that don’t know Mike and Kate, they have a really interesting backstory. They’ve been in the network marketing industry since about 1980, having been involved in both the corporate and distributor side of the business over the years. In 2011 Mike was part of the launch of Beyond Organic, which eventually found a home here at Youngevity in 2014.  Since then, they’ve been “back in their happy place” as distributors, according to Mike. Strong leaders in the Youngevity organization, Mike and Kate love the flexibility and the lifestyle that this industry offers, especially since they are now “chasing the grandkids” around the country. They consider it a tremendous blessing to have the work-life balance that most people dream of. They have a great balance as a couple as well: Kate is more product focused, and Mike more business focused, but together they find the most gratification and greater joy in their team’s accomplishments.

But that’s not the most interesting part of their backstory.

If you go further back, before their involvement in the direct selling industry, Mike and Kate were performers. Specifically? Broadway! And if you wanted to make a Broadway show about meeting and falling in love in a Broadway show, you could do worse than use their story as inspiration. Mike had performance as part of his life since high school—taking that love of music to college and becoming a music educator at the high school and college levels. He then moved on to a position as Assistant Conductor of the national tour of the Broadway production of The King and I with Yul Brynner.

One day after joining the tour, Mike was sitting next to the conductor on the bus as they were about to depart for Detroit. The understudy for the leading lady came on the bus and began handing out blueberry muffins to everyone. Mike said it was “love at first site”. The understudy of course, was Kate.

Kate had been touring with the group as the understudy for the leading lady for a while when she got the notice one day: “She’s sick—get ready—you’re on!”. Although never having actually rehearsed the performance with Yul Brynner, Kate’s opportunity proved to be successful, as she was soon made the permanent leading lady for the production of The King and I.

After falling in love while in the show, and more than two and a half years of leading shows, Kate and Mike got married, had a daughter, and decided to leave the lights of Broadway behind. In addition to the network marketing business they built together, Kate also started a food and faith blog, and wrote a book called Growing Great Kids. She’s now working on her second book as well.

Now jump back to our opening segment for the Dallas Convention. We had an idea of a musical number that would evoke the spirit of giving that underpins not only our Be The Change Foundation, but really, everything we do at Youngevity. With our convention theme, “Lead the Change”—it became clear that one of Dave and Sunshine Briskie’s favorite songs, Man in the Mirror, was the perfect way to kick off the show. Wanting to feature authenticity and teamwork—it was decided to partner our Celebrity Ambassador, Marilu Henner, with several talented staff members for the opening number.

Great idea, but hard to pull together with a group of people who: 1) never performs together and 2) had limited rehearsal time. That’s where having a talented group of Youngevity Associates is so amazing. When we reached out to Mike and Kate, they jumped in and were able to help pull the opening together for us!

“No one can beat Mike on music and directing”, shared Kate. Which is a good thing, since they only began to put this opening number together once everyone was actually in Dallas. Kate worked on the movement and spacing, and they purposely kept it simple to keep the focus on the people and the music. With Mike and Kate’s expert help, the team of performers brought a lot of heart, warmth, and excitement to our opening number for our 20th Anniversary convention. Joined on stage by all the Youngevity staff at the show, including Dave & Sunshine Briskie, Steve & Michelle Wallach and Doctor Joel Wallach, the opening was a fun and unexpected way to kick off our event!

Thank you to our featured performers Marilu Henner, Sunshine Briskie, Annelise Brown, Omer Shrem and Betsy Gandara. And a very special thank you to Mike and Kate Battistelli for your guidance and direction for this exciting moment during convention, and for your continued leadership in our Youngevity business!