As a licensed skin care professional, you made a commitment to uphold your state license, practicing only within your scope as mandated by your state. But, have you taken the time to actually think about what goes into your state’s rules and regulations? What is going on exactly at your state’s capitol? For many, the last time they thought about their state board was on the drive to take the test, which they passed, got their license, and skipped merrily on their way, never to meet again. As far as many are concerned, what happens at their state board stays at their state board.
Well, let me remind you that the beauty industry has a voice! It’s our legislative body, consisting of our duly appointed state board members, who work tirelessly to move your agenda, my agenda, and everyone’s agenda who has a place in the skin care industry. But, they can’t do it alone. It is easy to complain about this, that, and the other thing, but have you thought about getting involved, making your voice heard where it can actually make a difference?
Contact your state board and get on their e-mail list to be notified of upcoming meetings. If at all possible, try to attend the meetings. You will hear and see first-hand what is going on legislatively. If you are unable to attend, you can normally view the meetings via webcast or read the minutes online. Another option would be joining up with your local, state, or national professional organization. Remember folks, there is strength in numbers, so please do not take the stance that it is someone else’s job to fight the fight. No, it is up to all of us. It is typical for most states to have a professional cosmetology association of some sorts. Many offer advanced or continuing education, insurance options, networking, mentoring, career building, and so much more. Along with all of that, some even have Political Action Committees (PACs) or legislative watchdogs who keep their eye on the beauty ball, advocating for all who hold cosmetology, aesthetics, manicuring, barbering, and electrolysis licenses, making efforts to keep legislation in our favor.
How can you get involved? Joining a local or state professional association. Once you become a member, get involved, attend meetings, help to fundraise, volunteer to chair a committee, sit on the board of directors, or hold office as a director. The choices are many and the opportunity to give back is huge. Becoming a member of a local, state, or national trade organization will give you the opportunity and the voice to serve the industry – to give back time, energy, knowledge, and, yes, money. It takes a lot of money to keep the industry in the public eye, to promote safety, excellence, and awareness in the workplace, and to let the public know we are a force to be reckoned with.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be involved. Start networking with peers and attend tradeshows and conferences. Often, the state board will have a booth with information that will keep you updated on what is going on. Get on their mailing list so that you can be alerted of upcoming meetings and changes to the state’s rules and regulations. Joining a professional association is also a great way to get involved and stay aware of what is happening in the industry.
Yes, life gets busy and there never seems to be enough time in the day, but every professional can make the decision to be a vehicle of change and growth in the industry. It’s not enough to just join organizations. You have to get busy. Volunteer to head up a committee or organize a day of education to build awareness of what we do on a day to day basis. Engage on social media with professional organizations. There are several groups on Facebook that you can check out, as well; get on their subscription list, so that you are notified of any regulatory changes or updates. What is the takeaway? Stay informed by staying in touch. Most of all, get up and get involved – the industry needs you and me.
Denise Gaston is a proud CIDESCO diplomat, licensed aesthetician since 1989, certified clinical aesthetician, and is NCEA certified. Gaston has served as the northern California trainer for Repêchage Skincare and as an aesthetics instructor for Miss Marty’s Hair Academy and C.I.D.E.S.C.O. Institute. She is a former spa owner, having had a private practice for 10 years. Gaston is currently the vice president and director of aesthetics at Fremont Beauty College. She is a reviewer for Milady’s Standard Cosmetology Textbook 2008 Edition; Milady Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals, 11th Edition; and Milady Standard Esthetics: Advanced, 2nd Edition. Gaston also serves as a subject matter expert for the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.