Jan Hillenmeyer with Eva Graham, 2010 Spirit of Life Award Recipient
Eva Graham, founder of Nioxin, received the City of Hope's 2010 Spirit of Life Award last night in Las Vegas during PBA Beauty Week. She recently spoke with News Editor Jan Hillenmeyer about what this honor means to her.
Click here to listen to Eva Graham's exclusive Modern Salon podcast.
JH: Tell us a little about the City of Hope Spirit of Life Award and what it means to you.
EG: I'm truly honored and humbled and very thankful for this opportunity to collaborate with City of Hope. The Spirit of Life award is something I've always loved seeing my peers receive, but I actually never thought that one day I would be the recipient, so I am very excited. It's been a joy to learn about all the incredible research and treatment techniques at City of Hope that are changing the lives of people experiencing cancer and many other life threatening illnesses.
Nioxin was all about helping people and, many times, it was people who were experiencing hair loss as a result of trauma or cancer treatments. It's been very special time for me to support our campaign, which is Preserve Beauty and Inspire Hope.
JH: What treatment or research category have you designated as the recipient of your campaign?
EG: We're helping fund research into a treatment for macular degeneration, which is a genetic eye disease that is also affected by environmental changes, some that are understood and some factors that are still unknown, but the disease is definitely on a serious increase. There is no current cure and without further research, patients with this disorder will eventually lose all their eyesight.
JH: The industry knows you as the founder of Nioxin and a pioneer in the field of thinning hair and hair loss. What lead you to develop this product category, which was very underserved at the time?
EG: I grew up in a family that experienced a lot of hair loss and after the birth of my first daughter, a huge amount of my hair fell out. I understand first hand how people feel when they lose large amounts of hair and can't do anything about it. It became a lifetime goal for me to find the reasons and solutions to help men, women, and even children experiencing hair loss to keep the hair they still had and to make that hair as strong and healthy as possible.
This was challenging at the beginning because I remember stylists saying, "Oh, Eva, I can't tell clients they are losing their hair," and I would explain, "Your clients already know that. "
Who better to help people with hair loss than a trained salon professional? With that in mind, we created an educational program to help stylists and salon owners speak comfortably with clients about hair loss.
Men might dismiss hair loss as inevitable, but women are very quick to address their concerns and seek help.
JH: With you long and distinguished career in the professional salon industry, what aspects of the business have inspired and influenced your professional and personal life?
EG: I could probably talk all day about that, but one thing is certainly the relationships with my peers. I had wonderful friends in the industry, connections with so many people-distributors, manufacturers, and salon professionals-and, because Nioxin is in 42 countries, it opened a wonderful vista and arenas for learning about many cultures of the world.
I think something we can all relate to is how passionate our industry is about everything they do and I was always so impressed and inspired by how salon professionals want to help people and give them hope when, perhaps they didn't have any. My 23 years at Nioxin were about helping people feel good about them selves and have a positive self-image. I'm very grateful to have had such a beautiful opportunity.