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Becoming Politically Active in State Legislation

By: Susanne S. Warfield
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Create an action plan. Once both an issue and a position have been agreed upon, a plan needs to be put into place to make your voice heard.

Follow up and evaluate. Did the plan of action work? It is crucial to follow up in order to ensure that the approach taken was the right method for this position or issue. Finding another way to get your voice heard often is part of the advocacy process.

The need for advocacy in the spa profession is not based solely on motivation, but, as a licensed esthetician, it is important to understand that your livelihood is at stake. People get involved for all kinds of reasons beyond the bottom line.

Process

Process is how the message is delivered. For example, suppose that in your state, the cosmetology board has proposed a rule that requires an esthetician to work under the direct supervision of a physician in order to perform invasive microdermabrasion. You are outraged about this and attend your first-ever state board meeting. You show up at the designated time, and the meeting seems to go on and on. You are agitated and are waiting to express your outrage when the topic of the newly proposed rule finally is raised. You yell and scream at the board members, telling them that you always have performed this treatment and asking them who they think they are in taking away this revenue stream from your business.

Remember, the people with whom you are communicating have their own feelings, emotions and beliefs. Their responsibility is to protect consumer safety by having rules and regulations for each licensee to follow. They don’t deserve to be abused. Sure, there are times when you may disagree, but following a professional course of action always is the best way to advocate your cause.

Walk the walk