Licensed nail technician, 17-year industry veteran and founder and director of the Georgia Advocacy of Concerned Beauty Professionals (GACBP) Tamara Johnson isn’t laying down when it comes to protecting the industry she loves.

Recognizing issues in the oversight and regulation of continuing education for licensed professionals in her home state, Tamara took action, crafting a bill and working with Georgia state legislatures to help hold the entire industry to the highest standards. PBA sat down with Tamara to learn more about her mission, journey and future plans.

I would not trade a moment of this for anything. I have learned so much about the political process and I love fighting ‘the good fight’.

PBA: Why is consistency among continuing education requirements so important to the industry?

Johnson: Education itself is detrimental to the sustainability of the beauty industry. Consistency in continuing education is important because it creates adhesion; it creates a oneness in the industry that forces it to be held to the highest standards.

PBA: What prompted you to write state legislation regarding continuing education?

Tamara: Honestly, that was never my intention. I was a Continuing Education Provider for the State of Georgia from 2008 until early 2012. During that time, no matter how much I marketed, no matter how many classes I hosted, the enrollment was ridiculously low.  I started asking questions to licensees and most thought that continuing education was just a way for the state of Georgia to make money. Most licensees knew that the state did not monitor continuing education. I then went to the Georgia Board of Cosmetology and found that they had no power and actually no interest in the status of continuing education. That was when I knew something had to be done.

PBA: What is the goal of the bill?

Tamara: The bill’s purpose is two-fold: (1) To create a tracking system similar to the State of North Carolina. North Carolina tracks the Continuing Education Provider and the Licensee to verify completion of required hours. (2) To qualify and limit the number of Continuing Education Providers that the state will allow.

PBA: What has been the process of the bill from start to present?

Tamara: A lot of prayer, lots of trips to the Capital building in Atlanta, lots of phone calls, a lot of reaching out to licensees, a lot of work! (smile)…

However, I would not trade a moment of this for anything. I have learned so much about the political process and I love fighting “the good fight”. I feel like God has blessed me with the assignment of saving the beauty industry in Georgia.

PBA: What is the status of the legislation now and what are your plans for the bill in the next session? Will you change  your strategy?

Tamara: The bill was drafted and is prepared to be given a bill number. My plans are to definitely move forward with re-introducing the bill. For this bill to pass, it would have to be part of bigger legislation in next session. I will continue to develop relationships with state representatives and licensees to raise awareness of the need to reform continuing education.

PBA: What was your relationship with your state representatives before this all started and what is it like now?

Tamara: I actually had no relationship with my state representatives until now. Now, I am interested in getting to know them, understanding their initiatives and working with them for the common good.

PBA: When and why did you found the Georgia Advocacy of Concerned Beauty Professionals?

Tamara: It was founded in March 2012 when I realized that continuing education was just the tip of the iceberg of problems and [licensees] have no local, organized representation. It was shear necessity.

PBA: What is the mission of your association?

Tamara: The Georgia Advocacy of Concerned Beauty Professionals’ (GACBP) mission is to RECONNECT licensees to the legislative process that affects licensure, rules and regulations, REFORM and create new legislation and REBUILD industry-wide relationships.

PBA: How has the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) assisted you throughout this process?

Johnson: I thank GOD for the efforts of PBA. I had no clue where to begin or what to do. I just knew that the beauty industry in Georgia had a problem that had to be fixed. Offering guidance and support, the PBA and [its Director of Government Affairs Myra Irizarry] have been with me EVERY step of the way.

To learn more about this legislation and the Georgia Advocacy of Concerned Beauty Professionals (GACBP) visit GACBP.org or call 404.918.9460. To discuss an issue that you are concerned about with the PBA Government Affairs team, contact Myra Irizarry at myra@probeauty.org.