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Like all great events, it started with a cocktail party and an opportunity to mix and mingle. This year's 6th Annual Pro Beauty Association Executive Summit hosted in Phoenix, AZ boasted a robust list of who’s who in the beauty industry all coming together to listen to inspiring, thought-provoking speakers and connect discussing disruption in the industry.

After our first day meet and greet, the second day kicked off with Pro Beauty Association Chair, Zach Reiken taking the stage. Zach spoke of the goals of the association – they aim to elevate and serve the industry striving to help business leaders understand the powerful dynamics driving the industry today. Their objective: provoke thought and introduce provocative ideas into the industry. In addition to fighting for stylist's rights, the PBA and it’s Executive Director Steve Sleeper have established itself as the ultimate resource for regulations and keeping people in the know when it comes to policy, changes to taxes, and new laws around independent contractors.

Currently, the PBA team is working in Washington DC to ensure fair tax laws for salons and stylists where they are attempting to pass a bill to create more FICA Tax fairness. *To get more information, Text FICA to 52886 to learn more about the bill and send a message to your senator.

In addition to regulations, the PBA has a strong focus on giving back to the industry. Whether it’s financial assistance or empowering artists with the tools to spot domestic abuse, they are a go-to for their members on various fronts.

Important Resources To Bookmark:

  • Taxes: Small business Tax fairness and Compliance and Simplification Act probeauty.org/fica
  • Cut it Out: Train professionals to recognize the signs of abuse and places they can recommend for help in their area. probeauty.org/cutitout
  • Disaster Relief: Supporting causes designed to help licensed professionals. Helping colleagues to rebuild with 100% of funds collected given to organizations. probeauty.org/drf


The Speakers

Erica Keswin

The first of three speakers was Erica Keswin, author of Bring Your Human to Work. Erica’s mission was sharing ways for us to be real, know who you are, speak in a human voice and empower organizations with employees that span ages and backgrounds. Erica reinforced tips and tricks to bring the human connection back to the workplace. She brought up ideas such as: When should this email be a call? Do we have to email? Could we walk down the hall and have a conversation?

There is a strong correlation between connection in the workplace and performance. Loneliness and isolation are the biggest health risk to humans today, and research shows people who have a best friend at work are 7X more likely to be engaged at work. While this proves tech is great to bridge certain gaps, it shows that human connection is essential for both personal and professional growth. While you think about the changes you can make, your values should help drive you.

As a company, she asks us to think about what our values are? Have you written them out? To ensure success, write a list of up to six and think about how you can get your values off the walls and into the halls.  How do you get your customers to know who you are? All such great questions posed to us by someone who specializes in the art of human connection.

Mitch Joel

After a break, a little socializing and a warm cup of coffee, our second speaker took the stage. Mitch Joel, Digital Disruptor, Agency Owner and Author of 6 Pixels of Separation & Control Alt Delete. His succinct info and hysterical candor had the room captivated. He talked a lot about the “big bad wolf” aka disruption. And where there is a wolf, you must have the 3 little pigs.

  1. Transformation: From the inside out. How are you transforming? What are we doing?
  2. Innovation: What doesn’t the customer see from us? Digital products and services that add value to everyone’s lives.
  3. Transactions: Market and build equity. What does your customer do? Do you know how many steps it takes to get to the result you want?

Customers have a new set of questions they are asking at the purchase point, like “what do we need to own?” While Millennials are giving up “things” to have access to everything. They are looking for a company that has a cause.

Talk is cheap, or is it? With the rise of voice-activated devices like Alexa, Dot, and Siri, Joel shared his perspective on how voice-activated tech, with a human touch, can be incorporated into business and corporate culture. Identifying ways to create less friction for customers is key.

Kate Ancketill

Our final speaker, Kate Ancketill, focused on Global Innovation reporting and projected changes to trends in the industry over the next 5 years. Her unique insights focused on where the customer is looking to moving towards 2025 and how brands will need to acclimate to adhere to their buying standards. They are looking for the following:

  1. Sustainability: Removing single use plastics
  2. Commodification: Smart homes and auto replenish goods caring less about the brands and more about ease of access to them
  3. 5G: Integration of digital & physical experience
  4. Urbanization and diverging of worlds: If you have not adopted digital, you have fallen behind. Creating a society of people left behind, those who don’t have access to digital
  5. Cataclysmic change: Climate change, mass migration, how do we handle these changes?

It’s important to ask yourself: What platform meets the needs of these changes? and How are you breaking the mold? She offered examples from the Asian market and how they are molding human connection to the shopping experience. Considering how you fulfill underlying customer needs and fulfilling them creatively is critical to your success.

With executives from brands like (abbreviated list):

  • Amika
  • Beauty Craft
  • Bosley
  • Coty
  • Dry Bar
  • Fromm
  • Hairbrained
  • Henkle
  • John Paul Mitchell Systems
  • Kevin.Murphy
  • Living Proof
  • L’Oreal
  • Macadamia Beauty
  • Mariana Beauty
  • Moroccan Oil
  • Olaplex
  • Prive
  • Reuzel
  • Revlon
  • Sam Villa

This year’s event left us all thinking and feverishly ordering up the speaker's books on Amazon. It was a fantastic way to wrap up our year and set our sites on an even more successful 2020!