Melaleuca leader enjoys rural roots

Melaleuca Newsroom text above global headquarters

Idaho Business Review |Brad Carlson |

Frank VanderSloot grew up in Cocolalla, in the north Idaho panhandle. His father, Peter Francis "Frank" VanderSloot, worked as a railroader and operated a small ranch - earning respect if not much money.

"He believed in hard work," VanderSloot said. "He loved people and they loved him."

But young Frank, who grew up three miles from the nearest neighbor his age, was less outgoing. As a freshman at Sandpoint High School, he posted a low score on a test of a student's desire to be a leader, he said.

"I liked people, but just kept quiet," he said. "I ran track but was not a socializer.

"VanderSloot joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 17. He attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University, completing a bachelor's degree in marketing with minors in finance and accounting at BYU in 1972. He took 2 1/2 years off from college to complete a church mission in the Netherlands, where he developed people skills, confidence and a degree of toughness, he said.

After college, VanderSloot went to work for payroll services provider ADP - in sales and marketing, then general management and operations leadership.

"That is absolutely a first-class company that taught a first-class business concept," he said.

VanderSloot said he enjoyed his career with traditional corporations, but grew to like to Melaleuca's entrepreneurial spirit.

"I like the idea of the little guy getting ahead, competing with Corporate America and winning," said VanderSloot, 57. "For me it has been a great learning experience. My paradigms have changed a great deal since I was 36. "In the beginning I just felt like if we did the right things - and treated people right - that would, in the end, bring good things."

Now, VanderSloot serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Executive Committee. And Melaleuca is one of 81 companies ever inducted into the Inc. Magazine Hall of Fame, signifying a long record of growth and profitability.

VanderSloot and his wife, Belinda, live in Idaho Falls. He has six children and she has eight. Their family runs about 5,000 head of cattle on several ranches."It's a good way to raise kids, and it's a hobby," he said. "If I get a second, I go to be with the cows."

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