Becoming a Mentor – It’s Easier Than You Think

From learning a sport to becoming a better colorist, whether we officially designate someone as a mentor in our lives, having one enhances our ability to succeed.

Somewhere along life’s journey, many have had at least one special individual who has taken an active interest in their development.

Though it may seem like there is a lack of mentors in the professional salon industry, truth be told, many are right before our eyes. Often times a mentor is simply waiting to be asked.

“People like to feel needed and want to share their expertise,” stated Geno Stampora, renowned consultant and educator. “It is as simple as asking someone for additional help after class or inviting them for coffee and asking questions on how they got to where they are today.”

Stampora, who served as “lead mentor” at the 2009 Beacon program at PBA Beauty Week in Las Vegas, is no stranger to helping others. Many of the Beacon students credit him with creating a positive experience and opening their eyes to career possibilities they never thought possible.

Stampora said, “Mentors are priceless pearls of wisdom waiting to be tapped into. Don’t stop at one. Fill your life with mentors in every aspect.”

The act of being a mentor also provides a rewarding experience and enables the mentor to see things through a different set of eyes – often providing an enriching learning experience for the mentor as well.

The experience of educating the future leaders of the beauty industry and being a mentor many times over is not lost on Stampora. “For me, being a mentor has meant more than words can express. Without the mentors and leadership, I searched for and found in the industry, I know I would not be where I am today. Now I am hungry to return the favor myself, and I encourage others to share their wisdom and passion.”

But mentors are not just for those starting their careers. Even for those that have achieved owning their own salon/spa, for example, often need help. Not everyone has all the answers, even if it looks like they do. “Opening a new business or experiencing changes in your business brought on by matters beyond your control can often lead to issues that can seriously impact your business,” said Steve Sleeper, executive director of the Professional Beauty Association (PBA). “PBA has answered the call to both develop mentors and connect them with those in need at all levels with the PBA Cutting Edge Mentor Program for Salons/Spas.”

The Cutting Edge Mentor program is comprised of PBA volunteer members who are available to help other members grow their businesses. Many of the volunteers make up the Best Practice Club, an exclusive program made up of the most influential salon and spa owners with gross annual sales exceeding $2.5 million. Cutting Edge Mentors are committed to expanding the professionalism of the beauty industry and to fostering the growth of leadership and business skills. Mentors are available to consult with business owners and key employees in a one-day visit at their salon/spa free of charge, provided travel expenses are covered.

Scott Buchanan, who is a Cutting Edge Mentor and owner of the Scott J SalonSpa in New York said, “I continue to have mentors in my life and find them invaluable as they continue to expand and challenge my thinking.”

Buchanan and others who participate as mentors continue to seek mentors for themselves as well. “Mentors help me to validate what I know to be true and also provide perspectives that I have not considered when making business and creative decisions. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without having the honor of working with many people and their mentorship.”

Every successful platform artist or million dollar salon owner started somewhere. Wherever you are on your career path, realizing that you don’t have all the answers and making the commitment to ask someone for their input and time is the first step. Mentoring doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment, but it is time well spent.

To learn more about PBA’s Cutting Edge Mentor program, which assists individuals, salons and spas with finding a suitable mentor, or to volunteer as a mentor with the program, call 800.281.0424 (480.281.0424) x3442 , email teena@probeautyorg or visit

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