Educators Behind the Beauty

Shaping the Next Generation of Stylists

We know that beauty isn’t just about products and services but the people who create and execute them.

Our Technical Team is an integral part of our business – they are the educators behind your beauty! The experienced professionals who guide, mentor, and inspire new stylists daily play a critical role in training and educating the next generation of stylists.

As the role of a stylist evolves, the technical team at Hair Cuttery Family of Brands is at the forefront of this transformation. They are responsible for teaching and training Salon Professionals, so they stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. In addition, they support existing stylists to ensure they continue to deliver the best in hair cutting, styling, and Guest service.

The passion, dedication, and commitment of our technical team is undeniable. From providing mentorship to creating specialized educational programs, these talented individuals are essential in our company. 

Learn more about our team and how their expertise brings the best experience to you.


Meet the Team

Heather Owens
Heather Owens
Director of Training and Development

Leads the strategic vision and execution made by the training team of all technical, soft skills and compliance training for the development of all field and SSC associates.

I’ve had the privilege of working many roles within the industry.

Starting off behind the chair moving into salon and field leadership which led me to my home in training.

I love the shared passion around our ability to transform people from the inside out.

In this industry you get to impact the lives and well-being of others while simultaneously creating your own best life. The impact and opportunities are endless.

Many salon professionals get boxed in early on to a mindset that a career in this industry will be mediocre at best.

Education breaks down those walls and clears the path for artists in our industry to create a path to beyond mediocre.

The true potential in this industry has no limits and I see education as the staircase to the next level.

There is so much opportunity at the fingertips of salon professionals and creating a space where they can learn, grow and use their craft to build their best life is my goal.

Watching the lightbulb go off when someone feels empowered is the ultimate reward!

At the beginning of my career I thought education was limited to beauty school instructors and big name platform artists. I was truly unaware of all of the unique career opportunities you could have in this industry. 

“Hire people who can do things you can’t do or do what you can do better”

The greatest gift I take stock of daily is being surrounded by talented people with different strengths and unique points of view.

Who you surround yourself with makes all the difference.

Grit, discipline and curiosity. 

Grit– Hard work and determination and the willingness to get a little dirty will take you further than anything else.

Discipline– Have the discipline to make success bearing behaviors habits and the ability to evolve those behaviors when needed.

Curiosity– Once you think you’re the smartest person in the room you have created a ceiling and hit it. Stay curious, be willing to learn new things even if they are outside of your comfort zone.

Steve Waldman
Steve Waldman
Artistic/Technical Director, Product Consultant

Lead field leadership and operations to support our Salons in creating engaging and profitable experiences for both our Stylists and Guests.

After a brief music career, I sought something artistic and engaging with a technical component; in the same way, music connected with me.

I was fortunate enough to wander into a hair school led by someone who loved what they did and lit that spark within me.

I’ve been blessed to educate hairstylists worldwide; these last five years at HCFB have been my favorite.

Seeing the result of what we do as teachers and trainers, how it elevates our profession and makes a difference to every Guest, is what gets us out of bed in the morning.

The combination of right and left brained creativity and analytical strategy with unlimited possibility and potential is awesome for sure.

Also, the human component. I really believe we are in the people business while we do hair.

The industry is changing at such a rapid pace without informing, educating and transforming yourself, it will be impossible not to become irrelevant and obsolete.

Being an educator means leaving the culture and each individual we touch, living and earning better than before. We are in a transformational business as educators. It’s not transactional. Meeting learners where they are and sharing the journey with them as they evolve is a fantastic gift.

Don’t rush to the end of each experience, savor the journey.

Mistakes and unexpected discoveries are the magic gifts where we learn. Embrace them and learn all you can. The greatest teachers have made and learned from the most mistakes.

Lack of ability is not a style. Learn it all from everyone who is generous to share. Try it all and let your style be an organic evolution of that purposeful journey.

Always be courageous, curious, caring.

It doesn’t work if you’re not brave enough to try, curious enough to search and really care about what you’re doing and the people you do it for.

The time is NOW! Start today, don’t wait for anything to be perfect, be perfectly you in the now and everything will fall into place exactly the way it should.

Gregory White
Field Education Leader

I create multiple environments to facilitate learning and development for our current and future salon professionals.

After successful years in salon and operational leadership I realized through being a guest artist at beauty schools that technical education was where my heart felt full.

Evolution, it’s always changing which means we get to as well.

We have to evolve with the industry and trends… education is how you stay in the now!

Mentorship: I love to see when the light bulb goes off in my learner’s brains about a subject and when they realize a different way to do something that will help them achieve the desired results more efficiently.

How to stay agile and adapt to any situation.

The past is the past , learn from it but don’t live in it!

My advice for future stylists is not try to keep up with your tenured salon mates , you will develop the same skills and timing at your own speed and growth.

Image: You attract the guests you want by the image you portray.

Education: Never stop learning so you are always on trend and you will continue to grow your guest count.

Patience: Speed can not be taught, it comes with practice and repetition.

Starr Mason
Field Education Leader

As part of the leadership team, it is my job to provide direction and training for my team, salon leaders, and professionals.

My team & I facilitate instructional training that strengthens the skills of our salon professionals. I coach and mentor trainers who support me with weekly virtual and in-person classes. In addition, I help develop class content that supports the growth of our salon professionals.

In collaboration with the field team, I coach and inspire those that attend our classes and celebrate their growth, identify further needs, assist with road mapping and strategies to build stronger salon teams

When I began my career as a stylist, I quickly realized that the natural leadership skills I possessed and my ability to influence peers in my salon could benefit a more significant number of people.

I joined the education team by participating in a pilot class on how to finish
textured hair. There is where I realized
I loved helping stylists grow and had fun every day reaching new stylists.

What’s not to love? But if I had to choose one favorite, it would absolutely be the people! From the heart of the stylists to the joys of happy clients, it is a fantastic industry! We touch on all of thesignificant milestones in people’s lives and build lifelong relationships!

Everything changes with time! As a salon professional, you must be adaptable and prepared for the next trend! You do not want to turn down an opportunity because a quest requests a service you are not experienced with. Education provides the tools and keys to be prepared and proficient. For example, when consulting with a guest, you can quickly map out a game plan you can comfortably execute.

Being an educator means taking what I love and bringing enthusiasm and energy to the classrooms to inspire others. I enjoy seeing the progress of the salon professional and being alongside them as they work for the possibility of a better future. I am grateful to have the power (or task) to provide techniques to help others live their best lives.

All color services start with the primary colors; blue, red, and yellow.  Understanding the color wheel is your friend. 

Things don’t happen to you the happen for you

My advice for the next generation is; Never stop learning, always set a goal and tell someone your plan that will help hold you accountable. 

Your success is not compared to anyone else’s success, stay focussed on your journey. 

Ambitious, there are no limits to a career path in this industry. So be open to the places you may go!

Creative, think outside the box, and be the best version of yourself in all you do behind the chair.

Flexible; you will need to build a clientele coming out of beauty school. Therefore you want to be in the salon when it is busy; you may need to give up some of your friend time (nights and weekends) to build your business.

Shanna Hushaw
Field Education Leader

Facilitate foundational and advanced technical classes for HCFB associates in the Chicago/Indiana market. Support Salon Professionals and Leaders at all levels with one on one coaching.

I have 10 years being in the industry. I attended a vocational cosmetology program while in high school.

I started in a salon immediately after, working part-time while attending pastry school.

Everything changed when I took my first continuing education class. I dropped pastry school and knew I wanted to educate in cosmetology.

I continued to work behind the chair for the next five years before finally obtaining my educator’s license. I was able to teach and work with beauty school students at Pivot Point Academy for my teacher’s training.

The inclusivity. Beauty and hair is for everyone.

I think it’s so special to transform others and unlock the person they want to be with something as simple as a cut or color.

Education is so important because this industry is constantly evolving and changing: New stylists, new techniques, new trends, etc.

Training and education builds confidence in our salon professionals and our guests.

Instead of clients, I now have students who are eager to learn. Its about empowering them to create beauty for all no matter where theyre starting, the knowledge they already have, or their ideal client/services.

The power of me.

By that, I mean authenticity. With fashion and beauty being so tied together, I thought being a successful stylist meant following those trends.

It’s important to understand them and stay current, but ultimately there is a guest for everyone. You don’t have to change who you are or talk about the things you think you should find your way. Your power is being you.

Slow down to speed up. We’re all so worried about what’s next sometimes that we forget what we have. Before we can catapult forward, we need to slow down and take stock or strategize.

Learn everything you can.

Education will always empower you.

Take classes, make the mistakes.  

Everything will work out! 

Jose Rojas
Jose Rojas
Regional Training Artist

Provide continuing education for all of our salon professionals at HCFB. Help stylists be/become confident in their technical skills behind the chair.

I dropped out of nursing school to follow my true passion. I enrolled at Paul Mitchell, the school in Chicago. I worked at Target after graduating from beauty school for three months. I was nervous and scared to work in a salon. Then leaped and applied at Hair Cuttery.

After year two years with the company, I wanted to grow. I knew I didn’t want to become a salon manager or an assistant because it was not for me. So then I heard about the RTA position. I did some research and knew right away I wanted to apply.

Education is so important because you have to understand the fundamentals/theories/principles first. These will always stay in style and stay with you forever.

Trends are always evolving, whether it be a new cut, color, or product. Our guests come in showing us photos and videos of new styles, and we must be confident in providing the service for your guest.

Being an educator is an amazing career. When I first started with hair, I didn’t have anyone to go to with all of my questions.

Now when I’m teaching and I see the faces of the learners light up because it’s finally clicks or they learned something new… it’s the best feeling ever!

It’s not all fun and games. There is a lot of business involved in it too. Of course, you’re a person who creates art with hair and how you treat your guest, and how to make them feel, but there’s also the business side, which is scheduling your guest, knowing your timing for services, and building your books with requests.

Now that social media is big, many stylists have beauty pages to help promote their work and build a portfolio, and some make hair content.

Just be yourself and make time for YOURSELF. It’s okay to say no.

Always keep learning.

You can never know enough. And always practice.

When you’re bored at home or in the back of the salon because it’s a slow day; watch a YouTube video or a tutorial online and grab a mannequin and practice.

Have tough skin and a lot of motivation. When you first start, there will be times when you want to quit either because you don’t see growth or you become unmotivated and uninspired. You have to surround yourself with people who push you to grow.

You will only please some. Some people will love you, and some may not. But that’s okay. Not every guest you see is for you. So don’t let those who don’t support you bring you down because a whole crowd is rooting for you.

Paije O'Connell
Florida Field Education Leader

I facilitate our technical and soft skills education. I also foster relationships with salon professionals and leaders, virtually and in person, to keep the message of education and self/client care our priority!

I began my journey in my senior year of high school through a vocational cosmetology program. By high school graduation, I had acquired my first 500 hours of the required 1500 Cosmetology hours in IL. I excelled through the rest of beauty school, beginning to grow my clientele in the W. Chicagoland suburbs.

In 2011 after a year and a half at a competitor’s salon, I joined Hair Cuttery because a former coworker shared with me that I could be my eclectic, authentic self AND be provided free continuing education with Hair Cuttery.

Inspiring others to see the beauty in themselves through the aesthetic of the hair!

With continuing education in our industry, salon professionals can achieve consistent technical results, navigate through guest and other social experiences, and succeed in upkeep required health and safety standards.

Being an educator means engaging with others in order to elevate their understanding and application of knowledge in our industry.

Your mistakes will build and grow your ability to react to unexpected results and guests challenges!

One goal at a time. 

I tell future stylists to be early to be on time; on time is late.

Agility, willingness, openness.

Salon professionals must be open to and welcome change to pivot and grow in all areas and keep up during times of challenge and competition.

Colleen DiMario
Field Education Leader

My focus has changed from who is in my chair to the person standing behind the chair.

I help Salon Professionals become more confident in their skills to help them be successful behind the chair.

From when I was a little girl, I could always see myself as a Hairstylist. I went to beauty school right out of high school and have loved every minute of being behind the chair.

Later in my career, my journey took me to the opportunity to be an Educator in a beauty school, and I loved helping students. Joining the Hair Cuttery Education team has been exciting and rewarding watching the progress of Salon Professionals just starting in our industry.

Making clients feel better about themselves and loving their look and helping a student become more confident.

When we think we know everything about this industry, we lose the excitement and the drive to become a better version of ourselves. We can always learn something new!

I have the responsibility of helping Salon Professionals build their skills, to be their biggest cheerleader and watch them become more confident and successful behind the chair.

How rewarding it would be, how the connections I have made with clients, coworkers, and students have brought me to so many new experiences.

Believe in yourself!

My advice to the future generation is to give yourself the opportunity to learn, and the grace to make a mistake. Never stop believing in yourself!

Patience, it takes time and practice to become proficient at a skill, don’t give up!

Confidence, even when you have doubts, keep trying and believe in yourself!!

Trust, in the process, you will get to where you want to go, one haircut at a time!

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