Leo Passage / Godfather Of Hairdressing / 1936-2011
The life of Leo Passage is an inspirational story and the kind of stuff that dreams are made of to boot. He came to America from the Netherlands with his young wife of one week and created a network of educational programs for beauty schools that today spans the globe. Leo’s career began at 17 when he was sent to apprentice with a family friend in Holland, where he worked five days a week. On weekends, he returned to Belgium and worked Saturdays and Sundays in his father’s barbershop. His father encouraged him to venture out and try new things. This led him to the world of “competitions hairdressing” where he won more than 95 competitions. He then set his sights on American with a two-year contract at a salon owned by a French expat in Evanston, IL.
With his unique hairdressing techniques and the help of two full-time assistants, in six months he was serving fifty clients a day__ what most hairdressers might do in a week. However Leo could not walk away from the competition hairdressing world and began teaching his competition techniques around the country. By 1959 Leo captured the coveted titles of World Supreme Champion as well as Hairdresser of the Year and became the youngest member of the U.S. Hairdressing Team in Paris, France. With his reputation as original, fresh thinking innovative hair stylist Leo was asked to represent professional product companies, at beauty conventions held in hotel ballrooms to standing room only hairdressers.
Armed with a passion for teaching Leo walked away from his salon business and opened what was to become known as the Pivot Point Beauty Academy on the north side of Chicago. Leo had a dream of creating a path to success for hairdressers by teaching students to see, think, create and adapt as a designer — not just duplicate the latest fashion trends — but to be the innovator of these trends. His Pivot Point system embraced not just (the how to_ but the why it works) and remove the guess work with a systematic scientific approach that produced predictable results every time. He defined this as the Pivot Point Difference.
Beauty school owners soon took notice and began asking him to implement the “Pivot Point Hairdressing System” in their beauty schools throughout the United States. Over the past half century Pivot Point International has become a global company creating high-quality cosmetology and esthetics educational programs used in schools around the world. It’s estimated that more than a million hairdresser’s have studied the Pivot Point System of hairdressing, including a number of the industry’s most influential giants, leaders and educators. Today and into the future, Pivot Point continues to drive the paradigm shift in education by offering the educational materials and programs to help empower the next generation of designers to succeed in the beauty industry. Whether you dream of working or owning a salon or spa — or heading for Hollywood, the fashion stages and even the competitive arena, Pivot Point provides the most comprehensive hair and skin care education in the U.S. and around the World!
In an industry that champion’s individuality, Leo was a giant whose humility was well known—always sharing with others without self-interest, and possessing a timeless, creative spirit as fresh on the last day as on the first. He truly lived his life to the fullest, and inspired everyone to follow your heart and your dreams. In 2008, the L.E.O. Award for “Leadership, Education and Outstanding” contributions to the hairdressing profession was created to annually acknowledge the best and the brightest in the industry in an awards ceremony at the annual beauty show held in Chicago. His legacy will continue to live on in all Pivot Point educators and graduates in the best salons, spas and companies in the world.