Deb John – Pushing Limits and Transcending Obstacles

Posted by Rodan + Fields on Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

As she swam across Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin, Deb John began to panic, questioning whether she had the strength to complete the daunting challenge ahead of her. Three years prior, she had begun training for an ironman competition, but stopped after she was diagnosed with leukemia. Now, she was back to training nine hours a day, determined not to let cancer or chemotherapy treatments stop her from achieving her goals. She refocused and continued swimming, reminding herself that doubts and fears had no place on the road to success.


Deb and her husband, Willy.

Deb’s positive attitude has always motivated her through difficult times, serving her especially well when she pursued a new business opportunity. She knew it wouldn’t always be easy, but she was confident she could achieve anything she set her mind to. By keeping her eyes focused on the big picture, Deb grew a successful business that consistently provided for her during unexpected situations while empowering her to help those experiencing hardships of their own.

Refocusing her training

As a nurse and anesthetist, Deb worked long hours, several days a week. After being diagnosed with leukemia, it became especially stressful and physically taxing to maintain such a demanding schedule. “We were also concerned about our finances. I spent many sleepless nights worrying about how we would pay for chemotherapy and second opinions. I knew something had to change, but we couldn’t afford for me to reduce my hours.”

In September of 2012, a friend invited her to learn more about the Rodan + Fields® business opportunity, but Deb told her she had too much on her plate. “For the next nine months, she kept telling me I needed to check it out. I didn’t listen until I saw a picture of myself and thought, ‘Wow, I look old.’ So, I told her I’d try the products.”


Deb with the Doctors.

Setting her pace

Deb started using the REDEFINE Regimen and, after three weeks, people were telling her that her skin was glowing. “I figured I might as well jump in and at least earn enough to pay for my own products.” In June of 2013, Deb enrolled as an Independent Consultant and began working her business 10 to 15 hours a week. Seven months later, she was earning enough to partially replace her anesthesia income and was able to reduce her hours from 76 to 40 a week.

A year into her business, Deb’s husband, Willy, joined her. “His goal was to get us to a place of financial stability so that I wouldn’t have to worry about working. He clearly saw the Doctors’ vision! I, however, planned to continue with my reduced hours, thinking that I could handle it; but in July of 2015, I started experiencing a side effect from the chemotherapy that affected my equilibrium, and I had to step away from my anesthetist career. It wasn’t fair to me or to my patients to be there when I wasn’t feeling 100 percent. Up until that point, I never thought I needed a backup plan, but suddenly I realized how fortunate we were to have R+F.”


Deb and Willy with their son and business partner, Riley John.

Going the distance

Over the next several months, working 20 hours a week, Deb achieved Premier Level V and replaced a significant amount of her anesthesia pay. “The best part is that I’m able to be home. I’d been a working mom for my son’s entire life, but now, during his senior year of high school, I can see him off to school, and we’re able to have dinner together as a family at night. That wouldn’t have been an option for us before.”

Deb enjoys sharing her business with others, hoping that they too will see that they can make a change for themselves. “I see so many people who don’t love what they do, and it’s unfortunate. I want to help others find a way to fulfill their dreams, and I want to show them what this opportunity can do for them. The past two years have been so incredible. I’ve been able to help others improve their lives. It feels so good when someone thanks me for introducing them to a product that is giving them amazing results, and it’s awesome to see my team’s growth. There is something fulfilling about being able to see how someone’s life is affected that I didn’t get in anesthesia—I only saw the ‘before.’ But, helping others see the vision of what we have in our hands and showing them that anything is possible has been so rewarding.”


Deb with her Upline, Joy Kapphiem, and her Level V teammate, Jessica Appl, at the R+F Born to Sparkle event.

Gaining speed

Deb is blown away by the positive and giving nature of the people she’s met within the R+F community. “Willy and I wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the help of another couple, Jodee and Jonathan Watkins, who took us under their wing and mentored us. They generously offered their time and their knowledge—to no benefit of their own. The type of collaboration and support I see on a consistent basis throughout this Company is something you don’t find in corporate America.”

When Deb chose to pursue a career in anesthesia, she knew she wanted to help others, but she didn’t know how to make the most of it financially. “There was always a limit on how much I could earn and only so many hours I could work. And when I got sick, I couldn’t go in and, therefore, wasn’t making any money. With R+F, not only can I work from bed if I need to, but my earning potential is in my own hands.”


Deb with her teammates.

After using all of their savings to pay their medical bills, Deb and Willy decided to start an organization that would help others in similar situations. “I know how hard it can be to make ends meet when you can’t work—when I left my job, I also left behind the benefits. I was grateful that my R+F earnings enabled me to afford health insurance.” In January of 2015, recognizing that she could do more with her income, Deb started a foundation, which helps people pay their deductibles during catastrophic medical events. “When I was diagnosed with leukemia, I felt extreme fear at first, but then I took a step back and realized that I have a purpose, and that is to help others. I was determined to do that.” Deb’s long-term goal is to reach a point where she can donate a significant amount of her R+F income to her nonprofit.

Crossing the finish line

In 2014, while working full-time, running her R+F business, and battling leukemia—Deb completed the Wisconsin Ironman. Her experiences have taught her that unexpected things will always come up, but we should never give up—there is always a way to succeed. “We all face difficulties in life, but we overcome by finding the strength to persevere. I am so thankful that, while facing my own obstacles, my business has consistently provided for me. It’s given me hope, empowered me to make a difference, and inspired me to keep going. It’s taught me that, if you’re willing to add something to your plate now and give it your all, you can start creating the change you want to see.”


Deb with her husband and son after completing the 2014 Wisconsin Ironman.



13 responses to “Deb John – Pushing Limits and Transcending Obstacles”

  1. Pam Romanoff says:

    Such an inspirational story! I’m truly touched by your journey! Thank you for sharing your triumphs!! It gives me hope for the future.

  2. What a wonderful story. Thanks so much for sharing. This really spoke to me.

  3. What an amazing story of courage and strength, Deb. What an inspiration you are. Prayers for complete healing over you. God bless. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Jodi Beggs says:

    You are truly amazing. Your hard work and dedication inspire all of us. So proud to be a part of your team!

  5. So very proud of my cousin, Debbie!!!! Congratulations on all of your wonderful accomplishments and thank you for taking me along on this exciting ride with Rodan+Fields! Love you!

  6. Hi Deb,
    I love how you did not let anything distract you. That is how we all should be. We should not let the things of life distract and derail us. You are inspiring.

  7. Dinah Smith says:

    Debbie, your story gave me goosebumps! My friend and I were just talking about how a Rodan+Fields business can be such a blessing in times when illness strikes and you need a career with flexibility! I have several friends who are currently unable to work because of accidents or illness. Praise the Lord for His provision and your success! What a blessing this business is.

  8. Devon Wende says:

    This is really inspirational to read. This lady is an example of how perseverance is the key to success! She is giving herself whole heartedly to so many! I am in awe of this! Many blessings to you, Deb!

  9. What an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Mendy Williams says:

    Very inspirational story!!! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Loretta Madden-Holman says:

    What a warm, inspiring, awesome story! As a CRNA myself, I understand what you have said! I’ve just started my R+F business and you inspire me! I hope your health is on the upswing…I will keep you in my prayers! Honestly, I wasn’t sure which good-looking guy there was your hubby, because you look like you’re in your 20s!

  12. […] April 2014, Janey’s friend Deb John announced she had started her own skincare business. Janey went to one of her events and was […]

  13. Donna Chambers says:

    You are one awesome woman!

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