I recently spoke with Michael O’Rourke who is receiving the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s NAHA awards ceremony in Las Vegas July 31 during Cosmoprof/PBA Beauty Week. Speaking to Michael is always an inspiration because the passion he has for the industry is genuine and infectious. If you have seen him on the show floor or on the stage, you know what I mean.

Michael’s varied career includes salon owner, educator and product innovator. He established Carlton Salons, founded the Sexy Hair Concepts product line, established the Institute of Courage, a creative and educational center for professionals, and is now debuting what he says is his best endeavor yet, his Rock Your Hair line of volumizing products. But, first and foremost, he is a hairdresser’s hairdresser and believes his success lies in part in his willingness to share that success with others.

“When you build a business, it’s all about your people and making sure that they grow along with you--that they can buy a home and get an education. I’ve spent the last 50 years making sure whomever I touch is going to have a better life and it’s really been an amazing journey," he said.

The Institute of Courage where Michael teaches his signature Structure in Motion hair cutting techniques is a lush retreat in Topanga Canyon near Los Angeles and is devoted to, not only teaching, but empowering hairdressers to take chances, take charge and tap their creativity. He re-designed the former art and pottery studio make hairdressers feel respected and special as they expand their education.

“When you teach, you learn,” says Michael. “Not only do you learn about the art of hair, but you learn about yourself. I learn so much from the people in the classes and the way they give back to me. It is an amazing circle of art and love. Most people have no idea the power, compassion and creativity we have as hairdressers.”

Michael’s Lifetime Achievement Award measures the amazing success of his beauty industry career so far, but stay tuned, he’s not slowing down. With a new commitment to his hairdressing family and an upcoming marriage and a new product line ready to go, he is, in his words, “creating his legacy.”
To learn more about this year’s NAHA event, visit probeauty.org.
To learn more about Michael O’Rourke and his new products, visit michaelorourkehair.com.

Click here to listen to Michael O’Rourke’s live podcast.http://modernsalon.com/Michael-O-Rourke--2011-NAHA-Lifetime-Achievement-Award/2011-07-12/ListenToPodcast.aspx?oid=1330276&fid=MS_PODCAST&aid=37

Michael O'Rourke Podcast with Jan Hillenmeyer