BeautyLink - Volume 8, Issue 4 - 18
s the new Executive Director
of AACS, Adam P. Nelson is
ready, willing and able to
bring a fresh perspective
and new ideas to the association. In a 10-question
Q&A, BeautyLink discovered more about
our industry's newest leader and his plans
for AACS' bright future.
BL: Tell us a little bit about your
background and career up until
Adam: I caught the political bug early on in
high school, and after successfully graduating from college, I worked for the American
Society of Association Executives (ASAE),
a non-profit that works to develop bestpractices in leading associations around
the country. There, I grew to appreciate the
role a well-rounded executive could play in
shaping an industry.
Throughout my career, I have been
blessed to work with incredibly intelligent
people in Government Affairs in a variety
of industries, in both corporate and nonprofit arenas. Along the way, I have had
unbelievable mentors who have shaped my
ideas of leadership, policy outreach and
What inspired you to go from the
political scene into a world of
beauty, wellness and education?
What was appealing to you about
this role and the association?
After years of success in developing mass
communication campaigns in grassroots
advocacy, raising countless dollars for
various Political Action Committees, and
direct lobbying in State Capitols and on
Capitol Hill; it was time for a change. As
much as I enjoyed large aspects of my
| B E AU TYLINK | TA LK I NG TEC HNOL OGY | 2 016
career, I felt I had something else to offer;
and more importantly, I felt I could make
a difference. I wanted my children to be
proud of the work I was doing and that I
was helping someone.
So when the role appeared for AACS, it
felt like a natural fit. The learning curve
has been steep, but really exciting. With
just a few months into this role, I can see
that there is a lot to accomplish.
What do you see as the top
priorities for AACS, and how
do you plan to address them?
As exciting as change can be and as much
as it can be needed, it takes time. It takes
time for a reason; we need to evaluate the
environment and understand our weaknesses. When I talk with the board and staff
about plans for the next year, I'd like to
address Education, Government Affairs,
Membership and Operations. This is not to
say I don't see other areas for improvement,
or other areas that need attention, but these
are a few areas I'd like to address.
What has been the best part
of your transition to Executive
Director, and what has been
your most challenging?
The Board of Director's Transition team
made my on-boarding a memorable experience. The team includes: Christine
Gordon, Chairperson; Anthony Civitano,
Vice President; Frank Trieu, Treasurer; and
Sandra Bruce, Director. I also need to give
credit to our incredibly patient and hardworking staff: Lisa Zarda, General Manager;
Linda Williams, Membership Manager;
and Kiera Oralla, Bookkeeper. They have
helped me absorb the day-to-day operations
through thoughtful decision making.
Top photo, Adam at
Mount Everest base
Second photo, a view
Mt. Makalu in Nepal from
one of Adam's hikes.
expertise is in
Affairs, I find
it also the most
industry has its
own policies, procedures and lexicon that govern the
businesses it oversees. Understanding
the history and culture
of those policies takes
time. In our case, the
rules and regulations of
the U.S. Department of
Education are deep and
complex; often leaving the
most experienced with questions. With the guidance from
our policy advisor and others,
I have been able to get up to
speed relatively quickly.
During your transition,
what was the best advice
Jim Cox or the AACS board
Jim really made this a successful experience. I spent the first 3 ½
weeks of the job working in Scottsdale,
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