Bellus Academy has been a fixture in beauty and wellness education for more than 40 years, but it wasn’t until 2005, when Lynelle Lynch stepped in as President, that it became the leading institution for advanced education, earning the title “the Harvard of Beauty Schools” (San Diego Magazine 2008) and attracting international students and the most prestigious industry figures alike.
Lynelle’s multi-faceted background is colored with professional achievements in fashion, business, marketing, and even politics, but it is at Bellus Academy where Lynelle has discovered her true destiny and passion. Her husband, entrepreneur William Lynch, had first purchased the school in 1972, subsequently acquiring three more schools that were united and rebranded from 2010 to today under the Bellus Academy name. When the academy’s long-standing president passed away suddenly in 2005, Lynelle tapped into her vast experience in marketing, retail, politics and management experience to completely revolutionize the beauty school industry.
With her unique professional background and a fresh perspective, Lynelle saw a shining opportunity to transform the perception of beauty school within the industry, reinvent the quality of beauty and wellness education, and engage an elite level of professionals to offer advanced academics and a stronger focus on career development – an endeavor no other academy or leader had ever attempted to accomplish.
One of her first initiatives was to assemble a world-class Advisory Board to gain an understanding of how Bellus serviced the industry. Finding that the nation’s top professional salons and spas required a minimum of five year’s experience, she tackled what would become a two-year project – engaging elite professionals and elevating the curriculum in an industry that mainly focused on state-required basics. She embraced the task of forging a never-before-seen dimension of education in the industry, achieving the nearly impossible task of convincing the leading industry experts to support her vision. She also spearheaded a complete rebuilding of the academy’s facilities to meet the new level of education she was creating.
Most Beauty Schools focus primarily on the Cosmetology course, yet Lynelle saw the tremendous growth and evolution in the spa industry and focused on the development of advanced courses in wellness that range from the basic Esthetics to Master Esthetics, Holistic Health Practitioner and combined courses that add advanced make-up artistry and duel licenses such as Massage and Esthetics. Bellus is proud to offer 8 accredited and state approved spa and wellness courses.
Partnering with the Luxury Spas and Medi- Spas in 2006, the Bellus team engaged Industry experts to create a Master Esthetic program focused on training estheticians on the advanced protocols that the discerning client expects today. The program consists of 12 weeks of “Medi – Spa” protocols such as Microdermabrasion and re surfacing procedures, light therapy, anti cellulite devices and oxygen facials. The Master Esthetic course, which is constantly updated with the latest innovations, concludes with 8 weeks of Luxury Spa treatments that includes one week of the Dr Murad Inclusive Health training.
Bellus has transformed the hiring process for Top Spas by delivering expert professionals at graduation that are equipped with technical skills, marketing skills and duel licenses to be successful from the first day.
Under Lynelle’s vision and tenacity, in addition to the Wellness programs, Bellus has grown from four basic programs to 15; the Poway campus has expanded from enrolling 140 a year to over 400 students with an average attendance of 300 annually. Formerly servicing only the local community, the academy now draws both national and international students from New York, Florida, Arizona, and Montana, and as far as South Africa and India.
Lynelle has cultivated a distinctive Bellus culture that encourages students to approach their education from an entrepreneurial perspective and where educators work together as part of a winning team that changes lives. Bellus offers cutting-edge curriculums and programs, such as the technologically advanced S.T.A.R. Precision Haircutting System, financial literacy and goal setting programs used by Fortune 500 companies and Olympic Athletes, and a coveted extern program that places students front and center in the most elite salons, spas and backstage at red carpet award shows. Bellus Academy is also the only US affiliate of the Howard Murad Inclusive Health University.
In addition, Lynelle has forged numerous partnerships with industry leaders in the professional community, winning the respect of an elite community that would otherwise have not been involved at the educational level. Valued relationships she has fostered include New Beauty magazine’s chairman, Dr. Robert Singer, Wella, P&G CEO, Reuben Carranza (who transported the top 30 stylists and owners from LA to San Diego to the school), and Dr. Howard Murad (who held his first-ever book signing of The Water Secret at Bellus). She has also put Bellus on the map with regular speaking panel engagements for the Global Spa Summit, the International Spa Association and others that look to Bellus for new innovations in the Beauty and Wellness industry.
A testament to Lynelle’s forward thinking and passion, Bellus Academy and its educators, students and graduates continue to achieve greatness. Most recent accomplishments include hosting auditions for America’s Next Top Model, and Elle Magazine’s feature on the academy’s Artistic Director and Wella Top Stylist, Diego Raviglione. Recognized by Modern Salon every year, Bellus has been repeatedly presented with the “Excellence in Education” award for achievements in advanced education, career services, branding and technology. It’s no wonder Lynelle has garnered honors such as SD Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business Award” (2012) and AACS “Director of the Year” (2012 and 2008), and the San Diego Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business – Winner of the Small Business Achievement Award (2010).
PSCUs open doors to many of the 9.1 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.