To summarize the personal, professional, and spiritual life of an extraordinary woman like Rosa Acevedo de Sallas, is almost an impossible mission. However, let us take a glimpse into the journey of her life as she is inducted into the “AIA Academy of Legends”, and allow the professionals of the world the opportunity to know her as an authentic leader of aesthetics worldwide.
It is impossible to know Rosa and not feel attracted to her strength, creativity, and imagination. Her history can be qualified as passionate, innovative, bold, courageous, creative, and original. Without a doubt, she is a born leader who early on bluntly displayed her capacity as a leader when she would sell the tiny crabs she would gather on the Caribbean shores of her native town of Guanica, Puerto Rico to her friends for buttons. Another example is when she would take bed sheets from her home to improvise a tent for a circus where she would perform for her friends and their mothers, singing, and dancing. What she did was so original and such fun that her friends always wanted to follow her.
Looking at the varied profiles that make up her extraordinary and versatile personality, we can follow her academic and professional career. Rosa was a student at Colegio La Milagrosa and later at Puerto Rico Junior College. Thereafter, she graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in Secretarial Science and Business Administration. After the passing of her only sister, Rosa bravely decided to take the reins of the business previously established by her sister. The business was dedicated to a clinic of electrolysis, Terry System, Inc., an operation that enjoyed a fine reputation especially among those in the medical field. She immediately traveled to the U.S. to study electrolysis at Hoffman Electrologists Institute of New York where she graduated with highest honors. Later, Rosa traveled to Canada where she completed further studies at Canada Electrologists College, specializing in vascular blemish removal.
Because at that time the concept of a spa was unknown in Puerto Rico, Rosa decided to further her education, and therefore proceeded to the Lady Ann Institute of Madrid, Spain, where she pursued studies in Laser Therapy and Laser Hair Removal under its Director, Dra. Avelina de Estevez. This made Rosa the first in her country to obtain advanced certification in the practice of electrolysis. She returned to Puerto Rico and purchased a vintage home in the exclusive medical sector of Hato Rey, in San Juan, which she remodeled to open an exclusive, two story, Mediterranean-style, one-day spa, as the first spa in Puerto Rico, Terry System Clinic and Spa Center. In the beautiful ambience of the center, 22 professionals of aesthetics and beauty were employed. It was truly the meeting place of high society in Puerto Rico, the largest in the Caribbean where the quality of the services offered were comparable to the services in the best European centers. This was all due to Rosa’s determination to always be in the vanguard of aesthetics, studying and mastering the latest techniques. From then on her development was centered in the field of aesthetics, studying and perfecting all of its aspects without regard for where she had to travel in search of greater knowledge, obtaining certification in many advanced disciplines of aesthetics. This knowledge she would then share with her employees and other professionals in the field in her country. Simultaneously, Rosa was the Hostess of a Puerto Rican television program on beauty and aesthetics, while writing an entire page for the newspaper El Mundo and for the exclusive magazine Imagen.
Rosa founded and presided over the Association of Professional Aesthetics of Puerto Rico where she developed a grand educational program, organizing the Caribbean Congress of Paramedical Aesthetics to complete the task. As if this were not enough, Rosa began to pursue one of her most ambitious efforts yet; to bring together the knowledge, resources, and talent in the Hispanic communities. As a contributing editor to DERMASCOPE Magazine and the Vice President and Ambassador of Aesthetics International Association, she had found her voice and her audience. She established the Hispanic satellite chapter of Aesthetics International Association bringing together industry leaders from America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Santa Domingo, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil to share education and resources with Spanish speaking professionals. Her tireless devotion led her to become the creator and Publisher of DERMASCOPE en Espanol, a magazine devoted to the advanced education of aestheticians in the Hispanic communities. She was further named Ambassador and Representative to the hispanic countries of the prestigious International Guild of Professional Electrologists of the United States.
Among the most outstanding traits of her rich and versatile personality are her great creativity and initiative, which confirm the fact that she has not been satisfied with developing one of the most brilliant professional careers; but she has gone much further, meeting greater challenges such as the creation of the Enlace Mundial de Estetica y Belleza Hispano (Hispanic Worldwide link of Aesthetics and Beauty). This movement is pro-hispanic professionals, who because of their lack of proficiency in the English language do not have access to the wealth of knowledge offered at congresses and other important professional events in the U.S. This organization unites the most important Spanish-speaking aesthetics associations on a worldwide level and offers them the best educators within the circuit of aesthetic and beauty. These two impressive and unique projects within our specialty are the result of her love and concern for the professionals of aesthetics.
In the year 2000, Rosa decided to retire and enjoy time with her family. She later moved to Rockford, Ala., the native town of her husband, Harry, where she has unleashed her favorite hobby… painting. She has created a collection of paintings of flowers and historical structures in Alabama, which has captured the attention of the first newspaper of Alabama, as well as the local paper of her hometown, Rockford.
Meanwhile, the spark that united the Spanish-speaking countries began to fade, and no one was able to fill the space Rosa had left behind. She comments, “There are times when we find ourselves obligated because of family to make decisions that change our path, but during that time, I never stopped thinking of my people with nostalgia.”
In June 2007, William Strunk and his wife, Patricia, old and dear friends, convinced Rosa to turn her passion toward the aesthetics industry again, but not before her asking, “Why me?” It was then that she contacted leaders of our profession in various countries who immediately and delightedly welcomed and encouraged her return. It was thereafter that she contacted William to confirm her intentions to which he responded: “Now you know why you!” By December great professionals and leaders in their respective specialties met in Alabama, establishing an advisory board, the members of which are closely working with Rosa on the gigantic task at hand.
A JOYOUS RETURN
Rosa has returned to occupy the empty space she had left behind, and it almost seems as if she never left. Her countries continue to support with enormous enthusiasm the ideal that has given life to her movement. Her first trip to Tijuana, Mexico was filled with emotions and memories of many professionals who warmly welcomed her and who now, more than ever, support her effort.
We know Rosa as a lecturer of special events and congresses in numerous countries; we know her as friend, daughter, mother, grandmother, and wife, whose priority is always her family. We know Rosa for her long standing professional career where her true passion for education stands out. She is above all a woman committed to the professionals of aesthetics and beauty, who has been and is the link in educational exchange between countries.
Beyond her prestige and fame lie her simplicity, her values, and her total commitment to the ideal which moves her beyond unreachable frontiers: the unification of the countries, as she says, “I dream that some day all professionals of aesthetics, no matter where these may be, may benefit from advanced education, without frontiers nor barriers of language, and that simultaneously we may be the bridge for many companies in search of expanding their markets to other countries so that they may enjoy the diversity of cultures and all that our beautiful countries can offer” …and that she is already achieving.
Rosa has been honored innumerable times within and out of her native country. Among her numerous accomplishments she was named Outstanding Business Woman of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, an honor granted by the Small Business Administration of the Federal Government of Puerto Rico, plaques of acknowledgement by the honorable Governor of Puerto Rico, Rafael Hernandez Colon, as well as other departments of government. The walls of her office speak for themselves of the many honors bestowed on her by different countries.
This brief summary has been edited by Cruz Sanchez of Madrid, Spain, with the help of Irma Betanzos in Mexico, Mari Paz Gomez in Barcelona, Spain, Luis Romero in Zaragoza, Spain, and Kirsis Pucheu in Dominican Republic. In addition, this article includes the feelings and opinions of many people in different countries: friends, business men and women, dignitaries, associations, and ambassadors of Enlace Mundial de Estetica y Belleza Hispano who know well the life of Rosa Acevedo de Sallas. Translation is by Rosario Perez Garza in San Antonio, Texas.
We are proud to have among us a professional like Rosa. She has been and is an inspiration for all of us, and thus she continues to open new roadways, offering her enthusiasm, knowledge, leadership, and personal magnetism to our industry. Thank you, Rosa, for always being you and sharing your life with all of us who make up the industry of worldwide beauty, without frontiers, without language barriers, all united in the search to know in order to create beauty!