Serious Business 2011

By Stacey Soble | 03/01/2011 11:23:36 AM


The event: Serious Business 2011 held in New Orleans, Louisiana, in late January. Neill Corporation’s Debra Neill Baker, Edwin Neill III and Carol Augusto welcomed the sell-out crowd to the event themed, “No Ifs or Buts, Just And,” by promising to expand attendees’ lives and their businesses.

On stage: Best-selling author Keith Ferrazzi, who overcame financial hardship to earn a first-class education, kicked off the conference by demonstrating the importance of personal relationships to business success. David Wagner, owner of JUUT Salonspas, illustrated the similarities between his personal triumph over cancer and the journey salons had of surviving through the recent recession. Toni&Guy and TIGI co-founder James Morrison demonstrated how winning attitudes and behaviors push businesses and individuals to reach their full potential. Daniel Amen, M.D., pointed out the importance of the mind-body connection, and shared applicable solutions for overcoming bad habits to build a healthier brain. And, in an inspirational speech that concluded with a heartfelt standing ovation, Aimee Mullins, who was born without fibulae in both legs, shared her heroic outlook that led her to become a world-record holding amputee athlete, model and activist.

Down to business: While the main-stage speakers motivated attendees to action, the breakout speakers got down to business. Gregory Bledsoe, a civil rights and employment-related litigation attorney, revealed the inner workings of the legal system as it relates to the beauty business. As the director of operations for Jackson Ruiz Salon, Heath Smith shared his best business practices for growing a successful salon. Motivational speaker and former salon owner, Geno Stampora showed owners how to M.A.R.K.E.T. themselves. And, Harry Wood IV, salon director of Van Michael Salons, outlined the steps to becoming a six-figure stylist.

Overheard: “Disability is anything that undermines your confidence in your ability. Acknowledging it is the first step in having the power to change it,” said Mullins in her keynote speech.

“People with good social capital find jobs more quickly, are more likely to be promoted, receive larger bonuses and are 7 percent more productive,” said speaker Keith Ferrazzi.

“Don’t let a small thing like talent stand in the way of success,” said James Morrison.

David Wagner has a little fun with his before-and-after cancer pictures.

SALON TODAY editor Stacey Soble presents benchmarks from the annual SALON TODAY 200 competition.

Aimee Mullins is touched by a standing ovation after her presentation.






Stacey Soble Stacey Soble, Editor in Chief of Salon Today

Stacey has been involved in the conversation of salon business for 14 years—as a reporter, a consultant and as the Editor in Chief of SALON TODAY.

Read Stacey Soble's Blogs You can e-mail Stacey at


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