Beauty Changes Lives 2015 Legacy Award Honors Leo Passage

The beauty industry united on Saturday, March 21, to celebrate the legacy of a man who revolutionized the business of beauty education. The Beauty Changes Lives Foundation (BCL) posthumously honored Leo Passage, founder of Pivot Point International, Inc. Passage’s widow Lenie, and son Robert accepted the award. Held at the Art Institute of Chicago, the sold-out event was attended by a “who’s who” of industry and media leaders, and served as the signature event for America’s Beauty Show. The event’s location in the museum’s Modern Wing paid homage to Leo Passage’s passion for the arts, particularly the Bauhaus principles of art and design that influenced his extraordinary career.

Denise Provenzano, president of Cosmetologists Chicago, co-host of the event, welcomed sponsors and other influencers at the dinner, noting “because of you, we have fulfilled our goal of filling the famed Art Institute of Chicago with our own artists – our talented hairdressers from around the country.” Paul Dysktra, CEO of Cosmetologists Chicago, echoed her comments and led a toast, along with Melanie Kopeikin, president of Pivot Point International, to the industry’s major trade shows that collaborated in sponsoring the dinner.

The evening’s sponsors included:

  • Platinum Sponsor was Bellus Academy.
  • Gold Sponsors included: American Crew; Aquage; CND; DevaCurl; Great Clips; HattoriHanzo Shears; Keune; Matrix; Mizani; Moroccanoil; Redken; TIGI and Wella.
  • Silver Sponsors included: Beauty Cast Network, and Conair/Rusk/Babyliss Pro/Satin Smooth.
  • Additional support came from journal sponsorship by the AACS Board of Directors; Associated Skin Care Professionals; Duane Morris; InSchool Pro; Katherine Frank Creative; Massage Envy Spa; Milady; Peter Coppola; Shark Fin Shears; Sport Clips; and Wahl.
  • Official media sponsors included: American Salon magazine, BARBinc, Beauty Industry Report, Beauty Link,,, Canadian Hairdresser magazine, Creative Age Publications, ESTETICA, HOT ON BEAUTY, Modern Salon Media, NAILS magazine and Sophisticate’s Hairstyle Guide.

The convergence of art and beauty was on full display during the evening’s featured “Trilogy of Beauty,” spotlighting NEXTGEN artists as the beauty industry’s future creative leaders. Each NEXTGEN artist, with assistance from their sponsoring mentor, interpreted Street Wear, Underground and Avant-Garde in hair and fashion for a delighted audience of 800 beauty industry notables.

Leo Passage is the third Legacy Award honoree. Previous recipients were the legendary Vidal Sassoon, and actress, humanitarian and nail industry champion Tippi Hedren. “The Legacy Award celebrates the spirit that lies at the very heart of the beauty industry,” said Lynelle Lynch, president of the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation. “Our industry is about so much more than art. Every day, established beauty professionals are nurturing and mentoring the next generation of leadership and no one demonstrated that generous spirit more than Leo Passage,” said Lynch.

While Leo Passage delighted in the arts, he was also an extraordinary business visionary and advocate for continuing education. Throughout his career he made a point of nurturing emerging talent, never forgetting how the industry helped him upon his immigration from The Netherlands in 1958. “We, as a family, are extremely honored that my father has been presented with the 2015 Beauty Changes Lives Legacy Award. He would have experienced such joy at the creative artistry of the NEXTGEN presentations. He had a gift for seeing talent in others, before they saw it in themselves,” said Robert Passage, Pivot Point chairman/CEO, 2nd vice president of Cosmetologists Chicago and treasurer of BCL.

While the Legacy Award spotlighted NEXTGEN talent, it also served as the venue for announcement of the BCL|Leo Passage Endowment Fund, a postgraduate scholarship aimed at helping educators expand and enhance their creativity. Those awarded scholarships will experience Pivot Point International’s Creative Jam Session; a proprietary workshop that challenges the artist to translate, interpret and fuse international and local cultures into their work. The scholarship competition opened on Monday, March 23 and complete details are available at

“I respectfully thank both the Foundation for acknowledging my father, and Cosmetologists Chicago leadership for allowing this event to serve as a highlight of America’s Beauty Show,” added Passage. “His legacy continues to inspire and change lives through tonight’s event, and the BCL | Leo Passage Endowment Fund Postgraduate Scholarship. His sheer determination to see others flourish always preempted his personal desire to succeed.”

Lynch also praised Pivot Point International and Robert Passage for the company’s creativity and leadership in initiating the event concept. “Due to Robert and his team at Pivot Point, as well as Cosmetologists Chicago, our generous sponsors, media partners, and individual artists, we have had an opportunity to inspire the next generation of beauty talent, while emphasizing the creativity and passion of today’s licensed hairstylists and teachers,” noted Lynch. She concluded that the America’s Beauty Show venue for the Legacy Award escalates the visibility and stature of Beauty Changes Lives. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation, which awards scholarships and mentoring opportunities to aspiring and licensed beauty and wellness professionals.

To learn more about the NEXTGEN talent and their mentors please visit:

[Images courtesy of Vi Nelson and Associates]

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