Sara Jones, Joico vice-president and general manager, and this year’s City of Hope Spirit of Life honoree, has a special and long-standing connection to the facility. As a beauty industry veteran, she worked on City of Hope Spirit of Life programs for many of her former employers, beginning in 1990, and she has attended every event since. In 2006, she became chairwoman of the new City of Hope Professional Salon Industry Leadership Council. And this year, she will be honored for all of her efforts as the recipient of the Spirit of Life Award at the annual Spirit of Life Gala in Las Vegas in July.

One of Jones’ goals is to broaden the awareness of City of Hope, since the organization is deeply involved in so many aspects of cancer care, research and treatment on a global scale. “Many people don’t realize that City of Hope scientists collaborate with more than 200 institutions in 46 states and 20 countries,” Jones explains. “It’s really on the level of a St. Jude’s Hospital or Mayo Clinic.”

Another goal is to widen the scope of the industry’s participation in City of Hope fundraising, beyond the existing base of beauty industry manufacturers. To do so, Jones’ vision is to engage salons and hair stylists at a grassroots level. “There is a gigantic pool of beauty professionals, many of whom are women, who touch other women every day. These people are very involved in women-related causes,” she explains.

To kick off this effort, Joico last year created Beauty for A Cure, a program that offered free online tools to help salons do “turnkey” fundraising projects in their communities. Jones notes that the pilot program in 2010 was so successful, it will be reprised and expanded this year. “It started with Joico,” Jones notes, “but the City of Hope Salon Industry Leadership Council is very excited about exploring ways to take the program industry-wide, as well as find more ways to engage salons.”

At the Spirit of Life Gala, held in conjunction with the Professional Beauty Association’s Professional Beauty Week in Vegas, Jones plans to celebrate the stylists who participated in Beauty for a Cure last year, and to celebrate City of Hope’s many “wins” over cancer. “Our theme is Celebrate Beauty, Celebrate Life,” she notes. “We moved the party from Monday night to Saturday night, July 30, which we think will re-energize the event.

Like many people, part of Jones’ commitment to the City of Hope is driven by personal experience. “My sister-in-law is a cancer survivor,” she notes, “and that makes it personal. It’s so much more powerful when cancer touches someone in your family. That’s why I’m so excited about this opportunity to celebrate the industry, highlight all of the wonderful people and companies who already do so much for City of Hope, and introduce more people to their important work. And besides, it’s going to a fantastic party!”