Operation Relaunch Career
Carmichael Salon and Color Bar
San Francisco, California
Owned by: Russel Thompson, Angela Berk and Mick Aguilera

Many people in the Carmichael community were out of work post-recession, so the owners of Carmichael Salon were determined to do something positive to help. With the idea of Operation Relaunch Career, they lent a number of their professionals to a dream team that included a cosmetic dermatologist, dentist, personal trainer, wardrobe consultant and job coach. Together, the businesses held an essay contest and solicited entries through social media, and by emailing to the databases of all the dream team members, and through stories in the San Francisco Chronicle.

After a heart-wrenching judging process, the team narrowed it down to three women: Eva, Marilyn and Pamela. Each dream team member put together a three-month program for each woman. The dermatologist gave them a little lift with botox and Restylane, the wardrobe consultant helped the women add crucial pieces to the clothes they already had, the job coach helped them update their résumé and interviewing skills, the dentist whitened their teeth, the personal trainer helped with fitness goals, and the stylists updated the women’s hair and makeup, giving them lessons to recreate their new looks at home.

Throughout the three months, the salon did updates on its blog so clients could follow along, and afterward hosted a big media launch introducing the winners at the Fairmont Hotel. The salon received a tremendous amount of media, including multiple stories in the San Francisco Chronicle, local TV news coverage, and three interviews on a radio talk show with a reach of 8 million people.

“This was such a heartwarming experience for the whole team, and we’re happy to report that both Eva and Pamela got jobs, and Marilyn decided to go back to school,” says Thompson. “Best of all, in addition to gaining new clients through this effort, we kept Marilyn and Pamela as clients and are in constant contact with Eva. They will be friends for life.”

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