December 2008

Great Inspirations from Leading Industry Professionals

By Jayne Morehouse

As this challenging year draws to a close, we look forward to a new beginning filled with anticipation for meaningful change, new opportunities and the courage to find peace.

To help get you into the new mindset, we asked inspirational industry leaders and friends in the trenches to share whom or what inspires them.

Beth Minardi, Minardi Salon, New York:

“Of course, Alexandre and Vidal Sassoon have inspired me on an industry level, but my wonderful team really inspires me each and every day. My husband and business partner, Carmine, inspires me with his dedication, kindness and ability to focus and work so hard. My daughter inspires me with her energy, artistic ability and intelligence, plus her love of life that makes me want to get up and get going every day.

“Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton inspire me, and Martha Stewart’s self-discipline and skills inspire me. Finally, my clients who are authors, businesswomen, chefs, actors, organizers and moms inspire me.”


John Moroney, P&G Professional Care:

“I have had the opportunity to work with so many inspiring artists that to choose just one is almost impossible. The person that I have become today has been shaped by every hairdresser who has inspired me in my 25-year career.

“I’ve worked with amazing visionaries: Horst Rechelbacher, my first mentor at Aveda, who taught me never to compromise on quality; Geri Cusenza, the co-founder of Sebastian, who challenged me to raise the level of my art to encompass fashion and design; Robert Lobetta, who demonstrated how to stay true to an artistic vision that goes beyond trends.

“The people who inspire me are the professional hairstylists working today. I love to watch them get inspired when they come to our Wella and Sebastian shows, when they come to seminars at our Studios, as they become completely engaged in the learning process. Most of all, I love to go into salons and watch them working with their clients. That’s what inspires me.”


Winn Claybaugh, Paul Mitchell Schools:

“My future professionals inspire me. They keep me passionate with their ‘beginner’s luck’ attitude and approach to their careers, which basically means that they don’t know that a new idea won’t work.

“I can walk into one of my schools with the stupidest idea, and my students will respond with, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’ And guess what happens with that idea? It works! Why? Because the students put their passion behind it, and passion is attractive.


Teri Guardino, Alfaparf Milano:

“Annie Humphreys. She sees things in a different light than other people. She creates beauty in a way that others would never even imagine.”


Gordon Logan, founder of Sport Clips:

“There are so many personalities in this industry worthy of admiration. I have always admired stylists who start out behind the chair as outstanding artists and who build amazing companies.

“Charles Penzone, Paul Brown, Rocco Altobelli and John DiJulius are great examples of super-successful artists [and] businessmen. These men are great role models of everything that’s positive about our industry … proof that your altitude is only limited by your attitude!

“Who doesn’t admire John Paul DeJoria, who with Paul Mitchell built the largest independent product company in the industry, and who remains a very nice, down-to-earth person dedicated to the professional industry?”


Nuccio and Cheryl Basilisco, ESBI International Salon, Ohio:

“The first thing that inspires us is our church, where our pastor keeps us spiritually grounded and focused every day. It inspires us to reach out and help others. We also inspire each other. Having each other to rely on and help each other get through life, knowing that we both know who we are, grounds us and keeps our relationship strong and balanced.

“Bennie Pollard, Dr. Lew Losoncy, Gary Ahlquist and Geno Stampora are great industry leaders who inspire us and today we are proud to call them friends.”


Dorothy McKinley-Soressi, Empire Education Group:

“Nick Arrojo—a hairdresser, salon and school owner, media personality and product marketer. I love his very clean basic concept of where the industry should go. Whether working with ordinary people on his television show to teach them—in front of America—the quick and easy styles that are best suited to them or sharing with salon professionals, his work is meaningful and relevant.

“I watched him teach a razor cutting class at the New York International Beauty Show, as younger stylists looked on in amazement. He’s revolutionizing the art of hairdressing and finishing for our next generation of clients and stylists, by bringing back these techniques that will be so important to helping our aging clients look soft and feminine.

“He makes hairdressing fun, and when that happens, new professionals will want to stay and grow in this wonderful career.”


Mark Goodman, president of the National Cosmetology Association:

“The hairdressers I meet on a daily basis who work in salons across America every day. They dedicate themselves to serving their clients, raising their families and volunteering in the communities—often to no recognition. They get their reward from helping people look and feel better and [from] the positive energy they feel from giving back to their communities. I am in awe of them.”


Suzie Bond, Master Hair Color Educator:

“Frank and Belinda Gambuzza and their team at Salon and Spa Visage in Knoxville, Tenn. Their salon has an amazing culture that uplifts the entire team to a new level of professionalism. Any big business in any industry could look at them and say, ‘We need to run like that.’ Their level of mentorship and their willingness to share their systems and programs is truly unrivaled.

“I am also truly inspired by salon owner, educator, stylist and my friend, Dimitrios Tsioumas. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him since early in his career and he is extremely intelligent, highly talented, incredibly light hearted and an amazing learner. He has achieved so much, including NAHA finalist and rising to the top level of platform artists, all while remaining a truly positive force.”


David Babaii, co-creator of David Babaii for WildAid to benefit wild life:

“I owe my career choice to my mother, Hilda Zakarian-Babaii. She was a fabulous hairdresser whom I admired and looked up to my entire life. As a child, she would often bring me to the salon. I would sit for hours watching her do hair. My mom was an artist who loved her craft. Her passion and devotion to hairdressing made her successful and highly respected. That is something I hope to mirror in my own career.”


Brooke Carlson, RUSK:

“I am inspired by my brother-in-law and sister-in-law while battling cancer. They both exhibited courage, calm and a kindred sprit toward others in the face of such great pain and adversity. Their bravery was inspiring, reassuring and uplifting. It keeps me grounded and focused on the important things in life.

“I always like to follow this credo: Be better, not bitter.”


Alan Benfield Bush, Ahnu:

“Vidal Sassoon. He revolutionized the industry, and changed hair styling for hairdressers and consumers alike, forever. I was honored to have him as my mentor and to this day marvel at his professionalism and class behind the chair.”


Elizabeth Fantetti, Professional Beauty Association:

“To the world, you’re just one person, but to one person you can mean the world.’ My kids inspire me the most. We are constantly asking children to learn new things and challenge themselves, yet as adults, we tend to stay in our comfort zone. They also keep me very honest.”


Andrew Jose - JLife:

“I find inspiration from people in sometimes the most usual of circumstances, the way two people are talking animatedly to each other, the way [a] girl moves her head [and] flicks her hair, or [the way she] has created an individual sense of style. Living in a city like London everything is there to see and find.”