Goodbye, Univera

As many of you now know, yesterday with the internal team and today with the entire external field organization I announced publicly my resignation from Univera as the CEO of International. I’ll be wrapping up my time at Univera through the end of May.

I have nothing but the greatest things to say about my time at Univera. The people involved, and particularly each of the field leaders as well as some key people internally (special thanks to Regan, a great boss and friend, as well as my teammates, too many to mention), have been nothing short of exceptional to me–you’ve been true partners all along the way. I’m also grateful to Bill Lee, who has provided me such an incredible opportunity these past four years.


It’s now been 4.5 years, and after several expanded roles at Univera, I can think of no other job in North America that could have stretched me as much as did these past experiences. From good times to exceptionally tough times, from long-term strategic planning to dealing with urgent “today” issues, from driving to objective decisions based on market data to those decisions related almost wholly to heart, emotion and subjectivity, there is no other job that I can think of which would have been as powerful an accelerator in my personal and professional life as this one. It’s been 15-years worth of experience in a little under five years of time. And while I have learned so much, at the same time, I feel like I’m just getting warmed up.

Which puts me at a place in my professional career where, for a variety of reasons, I have selected to take a different path and move onto the next thing professionally. The dream that has existed at Univera for each of you still remains; for me, however, for now my dream and destiny rests elsewhere (the details of which I’m keeping quiet about for now). While I’m very excited about my future, I’m also bittersweet for the reasons each of you know.

What’s next?

Rich RazgaitisAs some of you recall, at Convention two years ago when I spoke about our goals and dreams, I made a firm commitment to achieve four goals in my life and created a plan in order to achieve each one. Two have been accomplished (a certain business goal, and also my trip back to Kolkata, India), yet two still remain to be completed–and I’m stubbornly determined to accomplish them both, in addition to some new ones along the way.

The two goals? One is to complete a book I am supposed to write, and it needs to be done this year. The second is a physical health goal, specifically to get down to 15% bodyfat. So I’m still going to succeed at these, no matter how frustrated or off course I’ve been with them both (and as an aside, neither should you be frustrated by any delays in your goal setting/achievement…you can still accomplish them, stick with it, keep re-loading as needed…don’t quit, don’t quit!), and those are going to be a focus this year in addition to my new professional endeavors.

And, there’s more writing I’ll continue to do. It’s not for lack of content that I haven’t blogged for the past month, for a variety of reasons I just felt better to let it rest.ย But I’m going to continue blogging.

And my focus will largely continue to be about personal development–to try to write in an authentic way, without idle BS that so often peppers our talk that gets in the way of truth, and to try to continue to share stories of people who have done either the ordinary or extraordinary, or have learned lessons along the way.

Some of them are stories of the deepest magnitude, a hero who touched–and saved–so many lives, like that of Rick Rescorla during 9/11. Others have been fun filled gifts of laughter and play, like the Forever Wedding Dance couple who taught us a simple lesson about celebration and having fun. And then there are stories about the unbridled passion to make a difference in the lives of kids–like Geoffrey Canada with the Harlem Children’s Zone. None ย of those are original content, simply the pulling of stories of others with a few pieces of commentary alongside.

And it will continue to be sprinkled with some personal stories and anecdotes–some involving my business endeavorsTwitter, Facebook, Blogging and others around personal experiences. So those things will continue, and I hope you’ll freely participate along the way. You can also follow me on Twitter (@richraz2) or on Facebook (“Rich Razgaitis”).

What I get absolutely fired up about is to see people pursue their passion, whatever and wherever that may be, so that each of us can find their destiny and achieve greatness (which, has nothing to do with title or money). These can mean radically different things for all of us. The key, though, for every one of us, is to find and pursue with unbridled passion those things for which you and I were intended.

That is when the magic happens.

It’s the reason that I love movies like Crazy Heart. Stories of redemption, personal calling, overcoming a struggle to achieve greatness. I read a great quote the other day: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I love to connect with those who are fighting the hard battle–but also remain determined and destined to achieve greatness. At the same time, I would love to imprint upon others a distaste for apathy in a way that makes them sick. Yes, we should hate apathy (in most all cases) because it’s one of the greatest thieves from you pursuing your purpose. Being apathetic is giving up, it’s not caring. And once we’ve lost the heart and passion to care, well, I don’t know how to reignite that again–let alone help someone win.

So onwards with the stories of perseverance towards purpose.

Erica and the girls are both torn yet excited for our future. They, too, went “all in” with us on this Univera journey. I’mย thankful for the sacrifices they’ve made to let me have the time and adventure with each of you. They’re ready for the next move, though, and are resilient and excited despite this being bittersweet.

I will miss each one of you. Tremendously. Together we have gone through it all, especially those of you who have been on this journey with me for years. It is, really, too difficult to put into words without sounding trite or filled with hyperbole. There’s a lot that’s happened. A lot we learned. And even more we gained.

So I’ll leave it at this: together we’ve been through it all, and I love you a lot. No matter what.

Thanks for a great journey.

Your friend,



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31 Replies to “Goodbye, Univera”

  1. With tears in my eyes I wish you all the best, you are always an inspiration, and the most transparent leader I have experienced in my 63 years of life.

  2. This is not easy! Nor should it be. You, Erica, Royce and Zoe have given alot to Univera, each in their own unique way.

    We each have our own journey, and can be thankful when, for a time, our paths merge and we share experiences and lessons, only to find that they diverge again; we wish each other well and look back fondly on the time spent together. Change is both a law of the universe and of corporations.

    Leaders come and go, leaving behind various degrees of impressions.
    I believe your legacy at Univera will be energy, enthusiasm, excellence and humility – the last rare in most good leaders, and the mark of truely great ones. You always made it clear, this was not about you, it was about us.

    Wherever you go, I hope they appreciate what an amazing family is coming into their midst. Your family here will be cheering you on. Keep in touch. All the best to each of you! Thanks for our time together.

  3. It has been a good run and I know that what ever you do you will achieve the highest benefits from. I have been honored to have known you and your family these past few years. It will be interesting in the path that Univera takes and your contribution has been well deserved. Seems like Univera really has a difficult time keeping the best in corporate leadership. There will be others, but my friend you laid the ground work.
    Thank you.

  4. Rich – just caught the announcement on Facebook; please be sure to let all of us at AU know what’s next for you. Maybe you can “speak” to the students at Chapel again! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Well, it is clear you leave an imprint where ever you go–and it is one of hope, courage, strength, dignity, connection, and definately caring that moves people into action (not apathy).

    Rich, you will be missed at Univera. However I for one will continue to follow, as you continue to share with your written word, and your service to others.

    Many blessings in your new adventure, gratitude for what you have given to me personally, and to you and your family for your service to Univera.

    Great joy to you all!



  6. I have been with this company for going on 5 years and Boy I just read your email about you leaving Univera, shock… I can not believe it, Univera has lost an amazing leader one with so much passion, integrity, honor and compassion all traits that I felt Univera has as a company. This news makes me sad because I could always count on your traits as a light, beacon to guide me and my team toward when we wavered. Univera was suppose to stand out from all of the rest how does this happen. This now makes me wonder what in the world is going on with Univera. I certainly wish you and your family well on your new path where ever that may take you and know you will be Greatly missed. Thanks

  7. Rich,
    I can not say how much you will be missed. If not for my belief and confidence in Bill Lee I would be totally shaken. In my experience people of deep conviction and character don’t do things on a whim. This is hard. However we are working together to create forward progress toward peace and goodness on this planet. Your encouragement for each of us to pursue and live our passion is certainly the right and true message. The power of love is the greatest power and it is transformational. Truly I wish you the very best and that Univera can work through this period to pursue its vision to bring the best of Nature to mankind and create a community where all can share dreams, purpose, and happiness together.

  8. Your departure will certainly leave a void difficult to fill. Personally, I always admire your modesty and courtesy with all of us. I sincerely wish personally your family’s heartfelt message of full success in everything you plan to undertake. Highest consideration.

  9. Farewell Rich,

    You will leave a big hole in the heart of the company. This is not an empty hole, it is one that cannot be filled by anyone else. Your spirit will be what motivates me to be the kind of person I came to know and love – you are that person – I will watch closely as you move through the next phase of your life – have a great journey!

    With much love and admiration to you and your family,

    Gordon Folka

  10. A quick update to this blog post to also ensure that this message is also intended to include the amazing corporate staff and teammates that I have served with, some for months and others for many years. Thanks, also, to each of you.

  11. Rather than post a bunch of different replies, let me catch up on all of them in one post:

    @Ilana, you’re very generous–and I have so enjoyed getting to know you and your familiy over these years. Through our mutual writing I’ve felt such a great connection with you.

    @Craig, perhaps unknowingly, you have been a great source of inspiration to me. Your encouragement to me over the years has been nothing less than life changing. Thanks so much for your compassion and enthusiasm, as well as your never-ended uplifting spirit.

    @Charles, when it was basically just the two of us on this blog–me writing and just you reading and commenting :), you kept me going! It’s been such a blessing for me to see how powerful correspondence via social networking can be so influential in getting to know and connect with such diversity of people. You’ve inspired me to write, and you’ve helped me find my voice, something I’ll always be grateful for–thank you.

    @Ben, yes I would love to–only if AU promises not to edit my video next time. You guys took out some of my best stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL

    @Tamara, thanks so much as I will continue to follow your great path at Univera and the other amazing things you are doing in your life.

    @Fran, well…where do I start with this one? ๐Ÿ™‚ I have never edited a comment posted on my blog (though I have had to reject a few really wild ones before), and didn’t feel it right to start editing and removing excerpts of others comments now even if they might have been a bit sensitive. So let me address your heartfelt post by first telling you how honored I am by your sentiments.

    Yet let me also express that I feel Univera is a great company–and I expect it will continue to get better and better–and my leaving has only to do with professional opportunity for me to chart my course–ultimately my purpose and destiny–that rests elsewhere. It has been hard for me, as this was never my intention. All will be well–it really will. But I am really humbled and honored by your words, thank you thank you.

    @David, similar comments to you as well–in that I’m greatly appreciative of your kind words. Yes, the vision still remains! And I hope we will stay in touch as friends, I’ll be watching your success continue to unfold, and you’re right that love can break through so much, and the mission you are on is noble, worthy, and something you can accomplish. As I learned from my friend and former “coach” of sorts, Jerry Helvey, Keep On Keepin’ On! (you can read that blog entry here:

    @Ahmed, ahhhh, Ahmed. You have always been such a gracious gentleman to me, I have appreciated your honesty and always sharing with me the heartbeat of the field and what is going on “in the trenches”–whether it was easy for me to hear or not. You have such an interesting story and history, which so many people probably do not know…Continue onward your great work.

    @Gordon, I have learned so much from my Canadian friends about not just the business but also so much about life–and I’m so happy to include you as a friend. Thanks for your heart and kind words (and I can assure you, as can my wife and kids, I don’t deserve such nice words BUT I appreciate it nonetheless! ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

  12. Hello Rich…We have only met one time back in August which I am very sure you don’t remember. I imagine you meet hundreds of folks every month. I have since become a Silver and the more I learn and grow in this company the more proud I am to be part of such integrity.
    I have to admit I was very surprised to hear that you were leaving the company and trust it is merely for personal reasons and to grow in your journey. I just read your farewell and must say am very impressed with the level of insight you have for such a young man. Have you read the book Half Time? by Bob Buford. Anyway Rich may the Lord Bless you richly with all of the true treasures that last for eternity.

  13. Thanks, I admit I do not remember by name but expect by face I would remember you. Thanks for your comments, and I have not yet read Half Time but I’ve got it on my bookshelf–perhaps I’ll pick it up based on your prompting and give it a read. BTW, big congrats on achieving Silver! Great job.

  14. You are a great writer. You have a great blog and mind for the business. I will call you on Monday to get the skinny…… ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. We will miss you so much, Raz. You are so refreshing and a great inspiration to us. I love your candor and sense of humor! We wish you and your beautiful family many blessings in your next endeavor.

  16. Rich…not sure you’ll remember me but best of luck wherever your path takes you. I’ll have a hard time not equating “Univera” with “Rich Razgaitis” any more…I wish you the best of luck and success wherever you go.

  17. Rich,

    I not only enjoyed your shining leadership attitude, your funny stories at convention, and your great hair (man, I wish I wasn’t going bald), but meeting and talking with you in person, both at convention in 2009 when I joined up with Univera and in Portland, OR one Monday night were both very memorable for me. I introduced you their to my friend, now business partner, Vickie Stevens, who has her own band in Oregon and performs as Aretha Franklin in the Tribute to Music Legends Review Show I participate in. You told us that night about your passion for music and encouraged us each to sing a few bars – I think Vicki sang something from Natural Woman and I did a couple from Faithfully (I’m the Steve Perry/Journey guy), but anyway – I really enjoyed our brief meeting and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. One of these days if you’re ever back up in Lacey you’ll have to look me up. I’d love to take you to lunch and find out how you’re doing now.
    -Chris Battrick, President – Dreambuilding Solutions, Lacey, WA

  18. “…introduced you THERE to my friend” – sorry, the blue in me just snuck out!

    BTW – You can find me easily on Facebook. Got bless your whole family, Rich! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Rich

    I love reading your blogs and am still in the emotional shock of losing you from Univera and missing your amazing (Irreplaceable) energy.

    I wish you well with your health goals and in writing your book ( cant wait to read it) I hope you and the family are enjoying your summer, and if you ever get to DC – remember you have friends and a home to visit and stay as long as you want!
    Many blessings! Louise Dickson

  20. Raz: I just re-discovered your blog whilst digging through a search for “Univera Autism” Go figure!

    My wife and I have fond memories of every convention, and we attended them all. We first met in Atlanta during a thunderstorm. The hotel went dark and you finished your speech with the aid of candlelight. Always the trouper! Our last conversation was at the 10th Anniversary in Seattle, 2009. I simply thanked you for your insightful and inspirational blog.

    Our favorite story from your China trip was from our field leader who recounted your brave intercession on a public street on behalf of a women being abused by a man. Risky as that was, I’m sure you will always do “what is right” for your family regardless of the personal cost.

    Today we are even more grateful and wish you the best on your new book. We will continue to follow your career even as we pursue the Univera vision! Bob and Chloe, Charleston, SC.

  21. Hi Bob and Chloe,

    Thanks for connecting with me. Yes, I remember that Atlanta speech–it was so early in my Univera career. Your comments are very gracious, over my time at Univera I gained far more knowledge and wisdom from the field than I ever came close to remotely sharing. It was a privilege to work with you both, and people like you.

    The book…Ahhh, two very different people have messaged me about giving a push for the book today. I am actually trying to do one quick blog entry and am going to write some in my book tonight, I am getting motivated to get turn this into a “I got it done” vs. a “I’m still doing this.”

    Please stay in touch.

    All the best,


  22. Hi Louise, thanks for checking in and saying hi. Miss you as well, hope all is great. We’re getting acclimated to “the other coast”, spending lots of time in Manhattan–kids love the City. Thanks for the offer, DC someday! If I have the time when we’re there would be great to see you guys.

  23. Hi Chris, yes loved talking with you as well–I remember that night in Portland well, funny how certain instances and stories stick out. We’re doing well, in the next few weeks I’ll prob add a posting about what I’ve been doing–I’ve had little time to write recently, but things are great. Getting re-adjusted on the “other” coast, glad to stay in touch–I’m on FB as well, look me up! All the best, Raz

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