Registration & Orientation
As the sun rose Sunday morning, April 15th, 2019, it was time for Influance’s 10th Annual National Educational Symposium to commence. Sales consultants and educators were preparing classrooms, while registration lines stretched out along the entrance way of the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
Registration was followed up by a brief orientation session. CEO, Rudolph Artis, welcomed everyone who had traveled from all across the United States, thanking them for taking the time to invest in their education and business development alongside the Influance Hair Care family. Shortly after, Mr. Artis called out the members of the NES educator dream team: Al Kelly, Shameka Anderson, Fawnne Smith, Imani Whiteside, April Toliver-Wilkins, Renee Boston, Lakkia White, Cindy Pierce, Karen Brace, LaJoya Dailey, Angelice Smith, and Tynisha Barnes. After a few inspiring words from Influance’s founder and CEO, it was time for classes to begin.
This year Influance provided a more extensive course line-up: locs, color blocking + root shadowing, custom wigs beginner, custom wigs advanced, clippermetrics, entrepreneurship done right, grey coverage, trichology, knowing your Influance, color placement, color gone bad, blonding, cutting beginner, cutting advanced, and natural. Every beauty industry hair trend had an entire class devoted to that topic from which registered guests could choose.
A first-time student from Philadelphia was at a loss for words when trying to describe all she had learned, “Words cannot describe this event … There is so much education here, this is a black-owned product line that is salon exclusive, and Influance has everything – education and a complete product line and all the products are awesome! This event is 2-3 days of education, and we got to pick 6 out of about 18 different classes. I’m so happy to be here, and to witness this.”
Three returning participants from New York had a lot to say about their take away, “We learned so much. I have taken six classes so far, and I feel inspired. The blonding class and the entrepreneurship class were our favorites by far. One of our absolute favorite classes was the trichology class, so much information so much to take home and think about.”
Others enjoyed the cutting and wigs courses. Returning attendees from Jacksonville, Florida had this to say, “We took the advanced cutting class it was fun and educational. We took the wigs class as well; I learned so much and felt energized. We love color and specialize in all areas of hair care, so that’s why we are here we love hair color, cutting, wigs, and Influance products cover all of that. We got a lot out of the products and the classes.”
Night of Elegance
Sunday evening brought the first day of classes to a close. The sun set, and it was time to unwind, grab a drink, network, and enjoy some live entertainment.
Around 7:30 pm the locally sourced Virginia Beach talent, Kustom Made Band, made their way onto the Influance stage to perform their renditions of classic hits by Earth Wind & Fire, Lauren Hill, and Bruno Mars to name a few.
By 8:00 pm it was time to hand out the NES Image Awards to this year’s recipients: Shameka Anderson, Lakkia White, Renee Boston, Hullema Reddick, Lajoya Dailey, Tynisha Barnes, Alicia Shaw, Monica Lane, Tamiko Williams, Imani Whiteside, Ebony Jackson, and Al Kelly. Educator’s names were announced as they walked the stage alongside Mr. Artis holding their framed award-winning looks.
Shortly after, it was time to award top sales consultants to Ralph Shaw for his outstanding accomplishments. The audience loved seeing how the Influance family rewarded their hard working and talented stylists and sales consultants. One onlooker was in awe, “That all white affair paint party was beautiful to see, there was a sea of hairdressers and awarded excellence, it was very inspiring.” The pride the company has for its team members led to a brief dance party on stage, and then it was back to business.
The catwalk was the main event of the night. Everyone pulled out their phones to capture their favorite moments. Fawnne Smith’s models’ natural curls were worn like crowns as they owned the stage walking the runway with the confidence of royals. Angelice Smith created stunning looks and stunning locs. Her intricate styles looked like colorful sculptural headpieces adorning the stage. The grand finale was something for the history books, Lakkia White orchestrated fine art inspired choreography. As if a Degas painting had come to life, her three models were frozen behind frame until her paintbrush animated them, and they stepped forward dancing fiercely and serving custom cut and color looks that left everyone speechless.
Influance’s CEO Mr. Artis and Vice President Rosalin Vinson were surprised to receive their award from the educators in honor of their commitment to building up the company into the establishment it is today; it was a very emotional and beautiful way to end the night.
Inspired participants were taking the pledge to become educators at next year’s symposium, one of the Jacksonville students shared her goals with the CEO, “Mr. Artis, I plan on being an educator at 2020, I’m stepping up next year.” One of the attendants from Philadelphia felt like she was a part of something grand, “When I saw that color party, it wasn’t even a color party it was an awards ceremony, and all I saw was power, and I saw all those sales consultants and educators up there uniting together and lifting each other up. Influance is more than hair; this is a movement, and I have to be a part of it. I am Influance; we are all Influance.”