Articles > A Roundup of PBA’s 2016 Sold-Out Executive Summit
December 27, 2016

A Roundup of PBA’s 2016 Sold-Out Executive Summit

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The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) hosted its third annual Executive Summit from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, 2016. The sold-out two-day event, with its Understanding Consumer Behavior theme, brought nearly 200 industry executives from 115 professional beauty companies from across the U.S. together to learn about future forces, experience presentations from leading digital experts and gain access to unique salon hair care data.


“The consumer journey has evolved at a swift pace, which is why PBA packed this year’s Executive Summit with thought-provoking information about what that means for the beauty industry, and how beauty businesses and professionals need to approach, think and respond to it in order to stay relevant,” says PBA Executive Director Steve Sleeper. “The Summit’s highly esteemed speakers covered trends based on data, the evolution of the consumer perspective and what actions to take so you’re not left behind.”


PBA Board Chairman and Group President of R+Co, V76 and Luxury Brand Partners Reuben Carranza talked to the room for a bit during the event.


Executive Summit speakers included:


  • Ken Hughes, Leading Consumer Shopper, Behaviouralist and Playologist
  • Claude de Jocas, Vice President of Beauty—L2
  • Carrie Mellage, Vice President, Consumer Products, Kline Group
  • Abigail Posner, Head of Strategic Planning, Google’s Creative Think Tank for Agencies and Brands
  • Steve Sleeper, Executive Director, Professional Beauty Association



The team explored some of the unique opportunities facing the beauty industry and armed attendees with information and resources on how to best leverage their brands, speak to today’s consumers and build solid relationships that will continue to grow.


behindthechair.com Founder and Creative Director Mary Rector-Gable attended the sold out Executive Summit and came prepared with some questions for the event speakers.


Blue Dot Consumers
Ken kicked off the event with a thought-provoking perspective on the next generation consumer, which he coined the “Blue Dot Consumer,” and the need to engage with them on a more authentic, individual approach. “If you’re doing the same thing you were doing five years ago, you’re in trouble. We’re living in an age of disruption,” noted Ken. “As part of this disruption you need to treat the conversation with your customer like a conversation with a friend—authentic and genuine. Part of your success hinges on you understanding that you no longer own your brand, your customer does.”


Hair Care Market Analysis
The Executive Summit continued with Carrie, who presented an overview about the salon haircare market and associated opportunities. The Kline Group has been working with PBA to create actionable market intelligence on the professional beauty industry while helping members identify trends, benchmark performance, evaluate competitive sectors and assist in the decision making process.


Hair Care, Color Benchmarking & Digital Performance
Armed with knowledge about the direction of the industry, Claude shared how to benchmark digital performance in the hair color and haircare industry. Specifically, she provided an overview of the ways brands are working to maintain relevance in an increasingly splintered marketplace, walking attendees through L2’s Haircare & Color 2016 rankings, while highlighting the disruption that digital is having on the professional beauty industry.


Claude de Jocas’ presentation focused on color benchmarking and digital performance while highlighting the disruption the digital world presents.


 Cracking Creativity
Abigail guided the attendees through a lively discussion on how creativity is a business imperative.  She discussed the importance of getting to the “why” and how the “why” can help you understand what motivates people. This understanding creates links, allowing you to turn the why into an idea. Abigail urged the attendees to understand that creativity, collaborating with others not like yourself, and thinking emotionally is what is changing the world.


PBA Strategic Plan
The event culminated with a presentation by Steve, who shared an overview of PBA’s highly anticipated 2020 strategic plan. Steve zeroed in on PBA’s new strategy to grow PBA’s membership with front-line salon/spa professionals by 150,000 e-members over the next five years. Attendees were walked through the six pillars of the plan: Membership Growth, Government Advocacy, Industry Trade Shows and Events, Education, Industry Research and Industry Reputation.


“As an industry, we’re the healthiest when our salons and individual licensed professionals are thriving. When we strengthen the salon environment, we strengthen and support our manufacturers and distributors,” said Steve. “An increase in the number of beauty professionals actively involved with PBA means an increase in influence for the industry among all our stakeholders, including consumers, policymakers and other industry supporters.” 


Taking notes during speaker presentations was popular among attendees during the two-day event.


Steve also provided the group with an overview of the work being done by the Future of the Beauty Industry Coalition (FBIC), which focuses on creating consistent cosmetology curriculum hours for licensing and developing a national test for licensure, license reciprocity, and continuing education. For more information on the FBIC, please visit futurebeautyindustrycoalition.com


Looking Ahead to 2017
The 2017 Executive Summit will take place Dec. 6-7, 2017. To see 2016 PBA Executive Summit pictures,
click here! Event highlights are accessible on social media by searching for


All work and no play? Of course not. PBA’s 2016 Executive Summit gave attendees time to mingle throughout the event.