Standing Stronger and Better Together
By Louanne Roark
Look Good Feel Better Foundation
International Women’s Day marks a moment in time to reflect and to celebrate how women continue to shape and transform our world. As an organization led by women to serve women – with the support of an industry where nearly 77% of the workforce is women – the Look Good Feel Better Foundation (LGFB) is a microcosm of what can be.
Of the 27 LGFB global affiliates, 24 are led by female executive directors – myself included. Women lead all aspects of our LGFB operation in the U.S. – from technology deployment to partnership management, program development to delivery. The vast majority of our network of more than 3,000 professional beauty volunteers are women, many of whom are enterprising entrepreneurs and business owners.
LGFB has helped 2.1 million women around the world regain their confidence in the midst of cancer treatment. Numbers are impressive, but they don’t tell the whole story. Every level of our organization is fueled by passion and collaboration, shared values and experiences. For more than 30 years, we – and our global LGFB affiliates – have maintained an unwavering commitment to stand strong alongside other women as they endure the greatest challenge many will ever face.
LGFB’s bedrock philosophy is to transform crisis into community. We built our program to provide a safe space for women to connect and share, and to provide the tools, knowledge and products to help them regain a sense of control and restore some normalcy at a time in their lives that is by no means normal.
When the pandemic changed the rules of how we operate as an organization, our teams responded. With in-person workshops simply not feasible in the midst of COVID-19, we rapidly expanded our capacity to reach and connect women virtually.
Today, 90% of LGFB global affiliates – representing 24 countries – feature enhanced virtual programming or online resources to serve patients. Women around the world can still find comfort, support and community through LGFB during a time when they feel more isolated and more vulnerable than ever before because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am excited about the future of LGFB and our industry. I see emerging leaders from within our ranks, like our recently appointed Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and Look Good Feel Better Foundation Chair Keech Combe Shetty. Keech is fueled by purpose and desire. She is eager to share new perspectives, explore new approaches and solutions to the challenges we face today, and anticipate what may come.
“Our industry is made by women for women. We have the opportunity to step up and do even more to support each other.”
Keech Combe Shetty
Executive Chair, Combe Inc.
PCPC and LGFB Chair
I am inspired by our BeautyCares Next Gen committee supporting our annual DreamBall event and by the visionary young women representing the next generation of beauty industry leaders. Inside the Look Good Feel Better organization itself, an infusion of strong, young, female talent helped us navigate a challenging 2020 and evolve into a more digital, connected and nimble organization than ever before. These young leaders have a new vision of what’s possible and necessary to create a more vibrant, equitable and inclusive industry. Let us all step up to support that talent, passion and vision.
At the same time, there is an important opportunity to instill in a new generation the understanding that, despite being fierce market competitors, our industry shares a common mission. Cancer is indiscriminate. It doesn’t choose who to affect or when to strike. It recognizes no political boundaries or philosophies. It does not care about education, skin color, culture or economic circumstance. The women we serve are our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters, our friends and colleagues from every walk of life. LGFB is there for them all.
Our strength and shared mission are women helping other women in the midst of a frightening health diagnosis by lifting one another up, helping all to feel confident and more beautiful inside and out. Standing stronger and better together.