Q: What are your memories of the highlights of this meeting?
A: We all just dug in our heels and got to work! I knew we were at the beginning of something great and felt honored to be a part of the birth of the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists, which we named that very day. We agreed that starting this society would take persistence, organization, determination, and commitment.
As I looked around the table, I remember being in awe of all the nurses and aestheticians with whom we were embarking on this journey. We were all pioneering unchartered waters but decided to dive right in.
Q: What was the first order of business?
A: Most importantly, we drew up a plan and program for our inaugural meeting, which was held in San Francisco in 1995. The second order of business was to create committees and start reaching out to other plastic surgery offices affiliated with ASAPS. Networking was paramount to get others to join in and help create what has since become the leading voice of clinical skin care group in the country!
As we drove to our second day of meetings, I remember Bea and I creating the very first mission statement. We also knew our job as founding members was to create as much excitement as we could to entice other nurses and aestheticians to shape our Society during its birth.
I recently interviewed Kim Kelly, second president of the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists, and asked how her involvement in the Society has influenced her personally, as a skin care professional and as the owner of her skin care practice, Kim Kelly and Co.
Q: How did you become involved in our Society?
A: Back in 1994, Dr. Fritz Barton and several of his peers saw a need to create an educational venue for nurses and aestheticians working in plastic surgery offices. The nurses and aestheticians of these physicians met in Dallas and I was invited to attend that meeting. The attendees were then asked to be the core group and founding members to start a skin care society. We were fortunate to have you, Bea, mentor the original eight of us and under your tutelage began the task of creating this brand-new society.
Q: During the first years while developing the Society, what were some of your biggest challenges?
A: In 1995, at the inaugural meeting, I was asked to present a speech about the role of an aesthetician in a plastic surgery office. Presenting a speech in front of an audience of my peers from all over the country was quite daunting. As you can only imagine, it was an overwhelming and challenging request for anybody, but especially for a new aesthetician, in the brand-new field of clinical skin care within the office of a board certified plastic surgeon.
In 1997, when I presented my speech as President to the Society, I described the role of president as one which requires “diligence, organization, fortitude, and a great sense of humor.” The position not only required these attributes but a significant amount of personal time outside of my job as a clinical aesthetician. When I look back at the amount of time and effort extended by all on the board in those early years, I am both proud and amazed at the progress our field has made over the last 25 years.
Thankfully, Bea was instrumental in providing me with the hands on experience while I was President-Elect that was absolutely necessary to make my presidency successful. It was such an exciting time! We original board members were “pioneers in aesthetics”, and have more or less been referred to as “the clinical skin care pioneers of our time.”
Q: What was your biggest challenge during your presidency?
A: At the beginning of my 1997 presidency, I decided it was time to start the SPSSCS newsletter. Never having written a formal newsletter, I found myself jumping head first to create a publication that our colleagues would find interesting and educational.
Looking back at the first edition always gives me a chuckle. I sent the maiden copy out from our little post office of my hometown of Jenkintown, PA. It was a labor of love…my degree in communications from Temple University in Philadelphia finally paid off!
Q: How did the Society contribute to your professional development and what have you personally gained from being an SPSSCS president:
A: I have watched our Society grow from the original eight founding members to over 300 active members. I know it has been very rewarding and joyful for us to see how our Society has flourished over the last twenty-three years. And what have I personally gained from these experiences over all these years?
My role as president and active member from 1994 to 2012 reinforced my commitment to work towards being a director of skin care in a plastic surgery office. My ultimate goal was achieved five years ago when I established my own clinical skin care practice. Since this time, I am humbled and proud to say our practice has been honored with community awards for best clinical skin care in Bucks County, Pa for the past six years!
The American Cancer Society’s Look Good Feel Better program and my participation with The Phoenix Society and The World Burn Congress is largely due to my fellow Society member’s support and encouragement. These volunteer opportunities are incredible, enriching experiences and have been initiated through all the years of professional development that I obtained from being an SPSSCS member.
Past President's Corner
By: Bea Hunter Erdman
Paying it forward, I have mentored several skin care specialists who have gone on to have successful careers. Recently, one of my staff members, Erin Frater, obtained her Pennsylvania license in skin care and will be joining my staff. I have been teaching and mentoring her and have watched her grow into a viable, knowledgeable, and caring skin care specialist – this has been my best experience so far. She will be a new member at our next annual meeting in New York City and I will be proud to introduce Erin to all our fellow members as an up and coming member of our beloved Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists.
So therefore, I encourage all aestheticians and nurses who are members of our Society to become actively involved in whatever way you can. You have no idea how you will blossom personally and professionally from being an active member of our amazing Society
Q: Why do you choose, after all these years, to remain active and committed to the Society? Why would you encourage other members to become more actively involved in the Society?
A: Every year, it energizes my commitment to the clinical skin care profession for several reasons. First, the profession is constantly evolving due to a heightened interest for better and more effective skin care regimens and procedures. Second, I love the camaraderie of my fellow skin care specialists when we get together to share new techniques, products, treatments and protocols. That interaction is priceless; you can’t put a dollar amount on the knowledge and dynamics that percolate during these meetings. Third, being able to reach out to my fellow members when faced with a query is fantastic. I know I can trust and have complete faith in the responses. Additionally, the Society helps keep my eye on the future with an open mind and spirit to accept new and needed changes.