Julie and Brenton Lee, owners of the Brenton Lee Salon in Pasadena, California.
Julie and Brenton Lee, owners of the Brenton Lee Salon in Pasadena, California.

Brenton Lee started his career as an educator when he was only 18 years old and fresh out of beauty school.

“I love to share and be in front of people,” says Lee, who owns Brenton Lee Salon in South Pasadena, California. “I love to inspire and teach, and I wanted to be really great at it.”

So when Lee heard about Stages last year, he got in touch with co-founder Bonnie Bonadeo and signed up. He left the workshop with a better understanding of himself and his desire to be an influencer.

“They helped me develop my brand and be specific to who I am,” he says. “I knew things about myself, but Bonnie and Alejandra brought them out and made me understand myself.”

Lee, who started doing hair at age 13, lost his father at a young age but never forgot his dad’s strong work ethic. Now, he’s proud to carry on his father’s legacy as a business owner and to speak about his past with emotion when he’s in front of an audience.

“My father is the reason I work hard; his memory drives me to do what I do,” Lee says.

Soon after he completed Stages, Lee had the opportunity to share in front of an audience in Burbank at a hair show.

“I had a packed audience and wanted to shy away from being authentic,” he says. “But I did it. I broke down in tears and so did the audience—I felt like it was the best class I’ve ever done. I felt really connected to the audience, and they felt connected to me.”

Lee says the class changed his relationship with other people, too—even his wife, whom he works with in the salon.

“The program helped me pinpoint why I like to run away from emotions,” he says. “When my wife wants to argue, I like to flee. They helped me work on expressing my emotions and to not be scared doing that in front of an audience or other people in my life.”

In fact, when Lee signed up for the L.E.A.D. workshop, his wife, Julie Lee, who was a manager at the salon, decided to attend as well. The two learned about the personality types that surround them and how to connect with all of them.

“I knew my role as a salon owner was more than just doing hair,” Lee says. “When you really learn emotional intelligence, that’s how you are authentic and connect with people.”

Julie learned more about her own personality and role in the business, too. In fact, she ended up taking on a whole new role as a stylist. She went to beauty school so she could do something other than just manage the salon. She’s now thriving on the creativity and even won a big hair competition as a student.

Lee continues to implement what he has learned in his every-day life as well as on stage.

“Learning about myself helped me to understand other people,” Lee says. “As a salon owner leading people and an educator teaching in front of audiences, this has made a huge difference in my personal and professional life.”

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