Sara Jones, senior vice president and general manager of Joico and ISO, enrolled in beauty school the day after she graduated from her Sioux Falls, South Dakota, high school.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” she says. “As a teenager I was always interested in beauty and fashion and I also loved music and drama, so it only seemed natural to combine my interests and find a profession that would allow me to explore them.”
The practical aspect of the craft appealed to her particularly. “I’m a ‘doer,’ which means I like to get involved in projects and get my fingernails dirty,” she explains.
“I’ve always been a very competitive person, so I am generally motivated by challenges. Whether it’s business or personal, I like to do things that produce something tangible.”
As her career developed, Jones added education and business to beauty, starting stints as a distributor/educator and moving on to work directly with Arnie and Sydell Miller in the early days of Matrix. She packed on corporate experience at Wella, Graham Webb, Sebastian and Matrix under L’Oréal’s ownership, finally reaching her current leadership position at Joico/ISO.
“Even today, I use the skills I received with my cosmetology license to play a hands-on role in product testing and explaining and demonstrating products to our customers,” she says. “And I do still cut my husband’s and daughter’s hair!”
Talk to Jones and you can feel her pride in the profession. “To me, the best thing about being in the hairdressing world is the joy that comes from the people in this industry. Hairdressers are creative, modern and fun! This business is a face-to-face/person-to-person business.
“I love the interaction and passion that the people in the beauty business possess. I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself by great people—creative, energetic and risk-takers—that’s what keeps me going.”
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