Meet our second featured beauty advocate, Marcia Bird, who brings over 40 years of experience to the beauty industry! She’s been a stylist and education manager, and co-chair, chair and board member of several beauty organizations including the Professional Beauty Association. Marcia is dedicated to the industry, to say the least, and she’s sharing her thoughts on why industry involvement is so important.
“I knew at a young age that I wanted to be an educator. In my teen years, like most girls, I became interested in beauty and it became my career path. I became licensed and worked as a stylist behind the chair for 12 years. During that time, furthering my education was still important so I pursued my B.S. degree in Occupational Education from Rutgers University. I’m proud to say that I paid for my education through my salon work!”
Marcia’s career evolved through several avenues of the industry including teaching, educational management for manufacturers, and involvement in the school market. These experiences taught her about the bigger picture of beauty and the value of engaging with people who have the same commitment to elevate our industry.
Currently, as the Director of Beauty Professions at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Marcia says industry advocacy is more important than ever, because:
- Beauty careers are sometimes still considered unviable options.
- Where knowledge is lacking, education is critical. Government officials make decisions based on a lack of industry knowledge and this jeopardizes licensing.
- State mandated licenses have more value than what’s perceived.
- Future professionals need to know how to be an active advocate in our industry.
Marcia also has extensive experience as a volunteer leader in the beauty industry, especially with the Professional Beauty Association. She’s spent nine years on the PBA Advisory Council, two years as a Chair and Member of the PBA education committee, currently sits on the Foundation Board and has also volunteered as a co-chair for Career Educators of America.
Industry Success with Legislators
Marcia’s first step to getting involved in advocacy was to educate herself with the help of the PBA Government Affairs team. She learned everything from the evolution of a bill, to monitoring its status, and taking joint action steps. By aligning and using the same language as legislators, she says, it’s possible to bring together groups of people and be on the same page.
Personally, Marcia is still learning about the ins-and-outs of legislative processes and how to maneuver through local government. The best results have come from working with other local industry advocates in New Jersey and PBA. Some successes she’s experienced are:
- Hosting a Regional Welcome to Our World! Event that revolved around the hair braider’s license. The event included senators, aides, county officials, salons, manufacturers, salon professionals and students.
- Removing a blow dry regulation bill with a group of advocates from schools and manufacturers. The bill ended quickly through phone calls amongst advocates, which reached the legislator who proposed the bill.
- Adding a legislative impact segment to the curriculum of RVCC Beauty Profession programs. This will be taught to each class, along with their PBA Membership.
Marcia’s advice for industry professionals who want to have more impact is clear and simple. “Get involved and join the PBA! Learn from others. Unify with your local salons, schools and professionals. Let go of the mindset of competing but rather join forces and share your knowledge for the sake of our industry.”
One of the easiest ways to become instantly involved and receive up-to-date industry information is to text PROBEAUTY to 52886. Take it one step further with a PBA Membership! Explore our Membership benefits today and join a network of thousands of professionals who are passionate about protecting our industry.