After her incredible spa treatment at the Bellagio Spa & Salon in Las Vegas, Nevada, Leslie Nelson-Cooke’s entrepreneurial acumen awakened. She was so impressed with her experience that she committed to start her own company, Rejuvenation Skin Institute, a business dedicated to helping women discover and understand “their specific beauty and attributes special to them,” says Nelson-Cooke.
Rejuvenation Skin Institute, founded in 2009, offers “non-invasive spa options for women looking for alternatives in achieving a more youthful appearance,” says Nelson-Cooke. When she opened the institute in 2009, Nelson-Cooke hired estheticians to work for her but without the proper training, she was unable to fill in when someone didn’t show up. Recognizing this gap, she decided to train and get her own license so she could open a school to train others.
Attending American Spirit Institute of Williamsburg, Nelson-Cooke graduated six months later with the credentials needed to offer educational training. The Rejuvenation Skin Institute School of Esthetics was accredited in fall of 2021 and in 2022, the first group of students arrived, with the option of taking basic and/or master esthetics courses.
The basic course is 600 hours and offers content in communication, fundamentals of esthetics, understanding workplace respect, professionalism and guidelines for working with clients, as well aa an overview of business practices and sales. The master course is also 600 hours and delves more deeply into performance of esthetic treatments, understanding and achieving a professional image, best practices in the workplace and the like.
The school attracts a diverse group of people, says Nelson-Cooke, some seeking a secondary career, some who have been working in corporate America and who are tired of the grind and want to pursue something more meaningful, as well as younger students interested in launching a career in the beauty industry.
“The ideology of what I thought beauty was is so different from what I learned in this process,” says Nelson-Cooke. “Every person has a beauty very specific to that person. My goal is to get my students to see, acknowledge, recognize and sustain the belief that they exude beauty, to believe in themselves and get past the external.”
Those who come to Rejuvenation are often looking for ways to look younger and less tired, says Nelson-Cooke. “Our job is to target different layers of skin with different modalities that provide a very solid outcome for the client. We customize facial treatment based on their needs and budget to get to a realistic expectation and
In addition to her work at Rejuvenation, Nelson-Cooke also works in the hospice industry, providing care for patients. “A lot of people don’t know about hospice,” she says. “A person can stay on hospice for more than eight years and can graduate from hospice — it can be provided in a home or in a long-term care facility. It’s not something to fear but, rather, a place where life happens and where bucket lists and goals are established and met,” she continues.
Clearly, Nelson-Cooke has a passion for helping people find peace and happiness in whatever state they may be in, whether psychological discomfort or physical limitation.
Her love for others was born out of her relationship with her grandmother, who Nelson-Cooke says played a significant role in nurturing her self-esteem and sense of self-worth. “When I was scared to stand up, she pushed me to do it. She forced me to speak up and have a voice, which made such a difference in my life,” she says.
Nelson-Cooke uses her sense of self-worth to help others, including her son, with whom she enjoys snow skiing, jet skiing, bike riding, movie watching and so much more. Her grandmother’s influence has permeated all of Nelson-Cooke’s life experiences. As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Nelson-Cooke bears this out as a business owner, caregiver and parent.