Salon Business News

PBA Wins 2015 Public Affairs Council Grassroots Innovation Award

Stacey Soble | February 11, 2015 | 10:28 AM

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) received the Public Affairs Council’s (PAC) 2015 Grassroots Innovation Award for Social Media Innovation for the “I Am Licensed” campaign. The Grassroots Innovation Awards were presented February 5, 2015, at the Council’s National Grassroots Conference in Florida, and winners were invited to present their innovations during one of the conference’s keynote sessions. PBA’s Manager of Government Affairs, Bridget Sharpe, accepted the award for their work on the campaign.          

“We are so honored to be given this award. Our goal through the “I Am Licensed” campaign is to provide an outlet for beauty professionals to speak out against deregulation and arm them with facts to fight against deregulation legislation in their states. This campaign is largely successful thanks to the support we’ve received, and continue to receive, from the professional beauty industry. To be placed amongst such high caliber companies speaks volumes about our efforts and motivates us to keep informing and fighting for beauty professionals across the country,” said Sharpe. 

PBA was honored for its unique approach to engaging, empowering and activating their grassroots advocates. Licensed cosmetologists, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians and nail technicians make up a large portion of PBA’s membership, and these professionals have not traditionally been politically engaged. In response to threats of deregulation within the professional beauty industry, PBA created a visual grassroots plan to appeal to its unique audience. At the cornerstone of the campaign was the “probeautyiam” Instagram account and the #IAMLICENSED hashtag. PBA encouraged its members and social media followers to post photos of themselves or other “I Am Licensed” collateral using the hashtag. PBA would then automatically repost the photos to generate awareness about the important message of fighting deregulation. During the 2015 International Salon and Spa Expo in Long Beach, PBA’s Government Affairs team promoted the “I Am Licensed” campaign encouraging licensed professionals to take their own photos with the #IAMLICENSED hashtag and posting them to PBA’s as well as their own Instagram accounts for further outreach and promotion.

The “I Am Licensed” campaign aims to build a stronger, more united front of licensed professionals, and arm them with information to share with their clients on why licensing is important to protect the public from potential harm and the spread of communicable diseases. Many states across the U.S. have or are considering measures to deregulate occupational licensing, often focusing on the cosmetology industry.  However, if the beauty industry were deregulated and licensing requirements removed at the state level, manufactures, distributors, salon owners, licensed professionals, and most importantly, consumers would be negatively affected.  To combat deregulation and its repercussions, the “I Am Licensed” campaign also seeks to arm all licensed professionals with information to educate law makers in their states on the importance of maintaining state cosmetology boards and regulations.

Novo Nordisk won the 2015 Grassroots Innovation Award for Corporate Innovation and The American Heart Association also won the 2015 Innovation Award for Association Innovation. Past winners of the Grassroots Innovation Award for Social Media Innovation include Credit Union National Association, Microsoft, American Motorcyclist Association, American Express, Edelman, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and Grassroots Enterprise, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many more.

For more information on PBA’s honor and “I Am Licensed” campaign, please visit and

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