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Cover Story: Louanne Roark – A Passion for Service

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: February 11, 2008, from the February 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
Back to the February issue.

Ask a group of people which superpower each would choose and the answers would quite likely include the ability to fly, invisibility, the power to freeze time and even time travel. If Louanne Roark could assume any superpower—one already known or one as yet unleashed upon the world—she would choose the one that would put her out of a job. Such power would be welcome if it meant she could find the cure for cancer and eliminate the need for Look Good ... Feel Better (LGFB), the program she oversees as executive director of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) Foundation.

LGFB is a free, nonmedical, brand-neutral, national public service program started to help women cope with the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment through workshops in which beauty professionals offer tips about skin care, makeup techniques and guidance for coping with hair loss. The program has served some 600,000 people in the U.S. since it began in 1989. As Foundation executive director, Roark is responsible for all aspects of operations, as well as the LGFB program, from establishing strategic direction and priorities to program operations and implementation. She oversees funding and development and nurtures the Foundation’s long collaboration with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Cosmetology Association (NCA).

Roark has served as executive director of the Foundation for about three years, but she has been involved with LGFB almost since its inception. She worked on the program from 1990–2000, holding the positions of LGFB program manager, Foundation associate director and Foundation director. Carolyn Deaver, whose name was nearly synonymous with LGFB when she was its executive director, worked with Roark and remembers her as a good listener, an excellent problem solver and, “most importantly, committed to doing the best possible job to help people facing cancer, as well as representing the cosmetic industry and the important role
[it plays] in LGFB.” Deaver was instrumen-tal in bringing Roark back to the program, and Roark considers Deaver a mentor.

“As I approached my retirement, I knew that Louanne would be just the person to pick up the program and continue to make it grow,” says Deaver. “I understood her reasons for leaving the foundation after 10 years for a position with a public relations agency, but I still felt that she had a soft spot in her heart for LGFB.”