Industry Leaders Who Helped Revolutionize Education

By Erin Muncsch
Published in, January 20, 2016

Leo Passage

Pivot Point founder Leo Passage believed that teaching was a higher calling and with that calling came a responsibility to the learner. So when he opened Pivot Point Beauty School on Chicago’s North Side in 1962, he took that responsibility seriously. Passage was a lover of the Bauhaus art movement and applied many of those principles of art and design to his teaching. One thing he learned was that teaching is as much a science as it is an art, so he spent a lot of time and money developing teaching strategies that would help his students to become successful. Passage was a proponent of audio/visual teaching methods before they were popular—he was usually the first one to use new technologies. Frustrated with the low quality of mannequin heads, he started his own company to make high-quality mannequins that would better serve the needs of his students. Good teaching methods have always been the foundation at Pivot Point and still are, but it was also important to Passage that the teachers themselves were schooled in his method of teaching as they would be the ones to pass on his knowledge to other “hair designers,” a term he coined to pay homage to his love of design.

Winn Claybaugh

Before becoming dean of Paul Mitchell Schools, Winn Claybaugh owned a salon in Provo, Utah. Frustrated with his inability to find well-trained stylists to work for him, he opened his own school, which was conveniently located across the street from Brigham Young University. It was a brilliant plan that allowed him to attract students looking for inexpensive services, while providing his students with a constant influx of young clients who were more likely to let them experiment with cut and color. Today his focus is to inspire and motivate the students who attend the more than 100 Paul Mitchell Schools nationwide. His decision to call the students “future professionals” was motivated by a desire to encourage students to take their learning seriously and to instill in them a sense of professionalism before they even graduated. Even the schools themselves are designed to resemble a real salon, not a classroom, so that graduates would find it easier to transition into the workforce. Larry King called Claybaugh one of the best motivational speakers in the county, but his students already knew that.

Beth Minardi

While she cut her teeth at Clairol, Beth Minardi was also savvy enough to know that salons use multiple brands and that brand-specific education does not offer transferrable skills. So when she started teaching 30 years ago, she democratized hair color education in the process. A celebrity stylist, educator and color expert, Minardi has worked hard to elevate hair color to an art form, which isn’t surprising since she received a B.A. in Education and studied painting before going to beauty school. In 2010, NAHA honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2013, she launched Beth Minardi Signature Shades, a color system featuring over 55 dimensional, high-shine hues.

Sam Villa

It’s hard to believe that industry icon Sam Villa was ever anything but a hairdresser, but an early stint as a sports coach served him well, helping him hone the skills as a motivator and educator that have informed his career. “As a teacher, I’m always learning,” says Villa, who believes that it’s important for hairdressers to “keep one foot in your comfort zone and one foot out of it.” Good advice for anyone who works in a creative field like hairdressing because, says Villa, you’ll lose your passion if you don’t challenge yourself. His passion is to inspire other beauty professionals to become successful, which starts with confidence building. One of his strengths as an educator is his ability to be honest with himself after every class or show and reflect upon what worked and what didn’t so he can make adjustments if necessary. No wonder he’s one of the industry’s most popular educators, both online and onstage.

Vidal Sassoon

Arguably the most important hairdresser of the 20th century, Vidal Sassoon created a system of cutting hair that could be replicated and taught, a monumental achievement that altered the course of education as we know it in this industry. His system of advanced education aimed to take signature Sassoon looks—the Five Point Cut, the Graduated Bob—and break them down so they could be perfected. Sassoon’s passion for education began as an apprentice at a London shop at the age of 14 where he quickly learned the value of continuing education. When Sassoon’s wash-and-wear haircuts became all the rage in the 1960s, hairdressers from all over the world flocked to London to study with him. Eventually, the demand was so high that he opened an academy to celebrate cut and color in its purest form. Today there are Sassoon Academies in the U.K. and North America that raise the bar for all of us.

Source:  American Salon

Phil Pallen

Phil Pallen is a brand and social media strategist based in Los Angeles. His roster comprises of recognized personalities from TV shows like Shark Tank, X Factor, Project Runway and Dr. Oz, along with passionate entrepreneurs. Hype from Phil's social media campaigns have garnered press from more than 100 international media outlets. Outside of consulting, Phil speaks at conferences across the US and teaches social media strategy in LA.