Mara Gourdine onstage during Paul Mitchell's The Gathering in Las Vegas, July, 2018
Mara Gourdine onstage during Paul Mitchell's The Gathering in Las Vegas, July, 2018John Paul Mitchell Systems

Mara Gourdine is the Corporate Culture Ambassador for John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS), where giving back is part of the company’s DNA. She began her time at JPMS as Show and Event Coordinator.

 “At our events, I was the first person in and one of the last out,” Gourdine says. “I wore a pink tool belt and helped to unload six semis, supervised the crews laying the electrical, the carpet and all the behind the scenes fairy stuff. Then, when the show was over and everyone would leave, I’d put my tool belt on, again, and start loading out.”

Gourdine eventually moved to the media department until she was approached about taking on a new role, that of Corporate Culture Ambassador. “Today, I spend about fifty percent of my time on corporate engagement and internal wellness and the other fifty percent outside in the community.”

JPMS sponsors so many charitable organizations and events, and Gourdine sees firsthand what makes them successful. Here she offers her suggestions for how salons can put their charitable foot forward:

1: Identify your cause. “People really do want to help but they don’t know where to start. If you’re a salon owner, get together with your salon team and find out what is important to them.  Is your team mostly concerned with humanity or do they want to commit to environmental and ecological improvement efforts?”

2: Once you have identified your salon’s passion, then narrow it and focus in. “If it’s humanitarian, then maybe you want to help alleviate homelessness or you want to find organizations or schools that donate school supplies.”

3: Start researching to find what available organizations are in your surrounding area and ask lots of questions. Also, look at the numbers. “Before we give time and resources, I like to look at the financials so we aren’t partnering with organizations that give heavy paychecks to their execs. Know where your money is going because you want it to go to the cause.”

4: Start promoting and build some excitement. “What is so cool about salons is you already have a built-in community. Also, salons love to partner with us and get behind the causes we support because every Paul Mitchell product is attached to some organization that gives back. Our Tea Tree line commits to the environment and to planting trees, for instance, and our NEON line is aligned with children’s rights and anti-bullying.”

5: Holding a charity event or fundraiser makes the salon a place people want to be. “Clients and stylists will start telling their network, ‘You’ll never believe what my salon is doing.’ Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. Giving back feels great and you’ll never be happier than when you help another person.”

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