Pillars of Strength

By definition, "pillar" refers to a person who is a mainstay of an organization or society. In recognition of those members who have made outstanding contributions to the association and the salon industry, the National Cosmetology Association (NCA) instituted the NCA Pillar Awards for Leadership in 2005, honoring them for their impact on education, community service, legislation and career success.

At the 86th annual national convention in Chicago, two Pillar Awards were presented to NCA members who have given significantly of time, energy and passion for the industry to help other cosmetologists achieve a better life.

 Sam Brocato and Lydia Sarfati were honored with the NCA's Pillar Awards for Leadership.
Sam Brocato and Lydia Sarfati were honored with the NCA's Pillar Awards for Leadership.

The 2006 NCA Pillar Award for Community Service Leadership was presented to Sam Brocato of New York City and Baton Rouge, LA, for his extraordinary contribution as chairman of the Beauty Associations for Katrina Relief and the NCA Disaster Relief Fund/Katrina. Brocato International products are sold in salons worldwide, and he has received many other awards throughout his career. He was named World Top Fashion Hairstylist by the World Hairdressing Congress in London, and in July 2005, he received NAHA's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Just one month later, after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, Brocato immediately reached out to the industry to help salon professionals affected by the catastrophe. The NCA Disaster Relief Fund, established by the NCA as a tax-deductible charitable foundation in 1956, was the logical beneficiary of the industry's generosity. Brocato has spent countless hours raising more than $650,000. He also helped distribute the funds to more than 400 salon professionals who lost so much to Katrina, providing them counsel and more often than not, a welcome hug.

"Sam Brocato epitomizes the reason why the NCA established the Pillar Awards," noted NCA president Josephine Zeppieri. "He is a hairdresser's hairdresser. Sam believes hair design is a personal signature and something to pass from educator to stylist to consumer. He also believes in giving back to the industry. This has always been the NCA's philosophy. We are proud to recognize Sam for his efforts on behalf of stylists everywhere."

The 2006 NCA Pillar Award for Education Leadership was presented to Lydia Sarfati, also of New York City, for her dedication to the esthetics industry and her work with the NCA in developing EstheticsAmerica. As honorary chairman of EstheticsAmerica, Sarfati was instrumental in bringing the CIDESCO World Congress to America in 2005, as well as organizing and sponsoring the 2006 American Spa Expo, to be held April 20-May 2 in New York.

A dedicated educator, she has produced a library of videos and other educational materials on facial and spa services. Her book, Success at Your Fingertips, chronicles her own success in developing her trademarked Four Layer Facial, owning skin care spas and founding Sarkli-RepEAchage Ltd., an internationally distributed skincare manufacturer, which is still owned and managed by her family.

"There is only one Lydia!" quipped Zeppieri, when presenting her Pillar Award. "Her loyalty and dedication to the association and to educating estheticians is legendary. Her charm and warmth are just as familiar to all who have met her. NCA is truly grateful for the time and energy she has dedicated to establishing EstheticsAmerica and making it a leading organization throughout the world."