23 April 2024

LEAD time! An interview with Francis Tesmer

Francis Tesmer, has spent the last 11 years conceptualizing and developing the Lead degree program to transform professional beauty education to meet the needs of its workforce.

Francis Tesmer, ROLFS Global CEO, Economic senator of the German and International Senate of Economy, global entrepreneur, and philanthropist, is clear-eyed about how the over $500 billion dollar beauty industry has the highest obligation to positively impact the world and its workforce. With over 25 years of outstanding global business, leadership and humanitarian commitment, Tesmer’s inspiring professional journey reflects her lifelong passion for affordable education and her commitment to making the world a better place. And LEAD is her latest achievement.

Setting an ambitious goal

The recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the beauty industry revealed the need for beauticians to have a substantial knowledge of business, finance, and beyond. Tesmer is passionate about feminism and fully committed to the education, development, and empowerment of women. This is why she collaborated with a team of academics and higher education specialists to transform professional beauty education to meet the needs of its workforce.

To create future beauty professionals and leaders for this fast-growing industry, ROLFS partnered with Mesa Community College (MCC), Arizona State University (ASU), and L’Oréal USA Professional Products Division. The goal was to launch LEAD, the first college and university degree for beauty professionals. Estetica was eager to now more about this fantastic opportunity.

Why did it take so long to actuate such a great idea as LEAD?

Actually, I have spent the last 11 years conceptualizing and developing this degree program. It took collaboratoin with a team of academics and higher education specialists. But it was all worthwhile.

Are there mandatory courses or is there some freedom in choosing a “major” and “minor”?

The LEAD degree program is highly innovative, modern and customized for the professional beauty industry. As a result, it has proven to be extremely effective, while offering the fastest and most cost-effective higher education pathway.

First of all, this pioneering degree program is available either online and/or on campus. We designed it to create an elevated future filled with prestige and financial stability. in this way, we can reach not only for the 1.7 million beauty professionals in the US, but also on a global level. LEAD prepares them for a wide range of career opportunities that meet, and exceed, the ever-evolving expectations of 21st century customers and markets. Courses teach students skills in finance, marketing leadership, ethics, communication, and evidence-based decision-making.

Furthermore, LEAD extends new career opportunities. These range from customized pathways in areas like research and development, management, marketing, entrepreneurship, health and wellness, and more. With the customization opportunities of this program, a student can pursue a personalized pathway toward their desired career and goals.

“A complex profession requires education. A license gets you behind the chair. A degree lets you lead.”

Do graduates always have a cosmetology license? Can they focus only on business management or HR?

Graduates enjoy a variety of opportunities depending on which career they would like to pursue. So they can certainly focus just on business management or HR as well as other areas in the beauty industry.

LEAD is a game changer. It provided the necessary platform to change the dynamic that has played for too long in the life of the beauty professionals. This higher education pathway proves to the world that this profession is truly complex. It requires and deserves the next level of educational support.

LEAD offers an Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree in an accelerated timeline. Furthermore, it also awards beauty professionals up to 30 college credit hours against their license. As a result, LEAD has opened a new future for beauty professionals especially in case a basic license is taken away.

Can these courses be followed by working salon professionals, or do they require full-time participation and commitment?

This customized and innovative degree program allows beauty professionals to earn a higher education degree while maintaining a full-time career. Therefore, it offers maximum flexibility. This means students can pursue their degree part or full time. Indeed, most LEAD students have been full-time working beauty professionals (hairdressers, educators, etc.) and attending college at the same time. So LEAD sees many students who are not only working full time, but also have family and children. Most students have obtained top grades and many are honor students. LEAD has an innovative approach to the education experience. There is a concierge enrollment process, specialized tutoring, industry-specific curriculum support, and personal and professional training. Moreover, a community of beauticians studying together plays a central role in the total success of the program

Will there be courses on specific skills, like editorial collections, artistic direction, platform work and education?

This degree program offers extensive, customized, and modern curriculum in various areas. In this way, students experience curriculum that is highly intricate and essential with multiple skill sets. LEAD graduates are well-rounded professionals and leaders in this $500 billion dollar growing industry.

Tell us more about the European Exchange program.

The European Exchange program is an incredible opportunity for students to experience global exposure to beauty, humanity, culture, and beyond. It expands their life experience and enriches them as humans. It takes their communication and interaction skills to a whole new level. On the technical front, it will expose them to global fashion, trends, and the intelligence and strategy that goes into this space. Beauty has the power of bringing people together. So the more the students feel and experience their power in different cultures, the more intellectually confident they will become. It is extremely valuable to teach them diversity. And it trains their eyes to see new and different approaches to beauty and become more open-minded and flexible.

What is the “Salon of the Future” and how will it differ from today’s in terms of approach and technology?

LEAD graduates will create the salon industry of the future. They will bring a fresh, modern mindset and approach to the consumer experience. It starts with highly educated and confident beauty professionals who understand the needs and demands of the 21st century consumer. These professionals are able to create the next level beauty experience like never before. Their focus is on humanity and creating customized beauty that causes one’s inner beauty to radiate by luxuriating the outer and esteeming the whole.

For more information on LEAD and how you can get your career on track, visit: leadinstitute.degree/


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