Great Stories Start at Aveda Institutes

Our graduates come from all walks of life and their careers span a vast array of fields within the beauty industry. What they all have in common, is that their story started at the Aveda Institute. We sat down with some alumni to hear their story in their own words.

We’re excited to share their stories to inspire you to start your great story with us!

If you’re an alumni and want to tell your story, email

Dottie Green

NAHA 2020 Student Hairstylist of the Year

Columbus, OH

I came in for a tour & immediately was greeted. It felt like home immediately. It was the best decision I could have made for my career.

Johnny Haeger

Celebrity & Freelance Stylist, Self-Employed

New York, NY

Its great being my own boss but I don’t think I would have been able to do any of that without the ton of education and foundation I received from Aveda

Levi Gragg

Senior Stylist, Nurtur Salon + Spa

Columbus, OH

It was one of the first times I thought, oh my god this is a career that I haven’t thought about that opens up a lot of doors for me.

Olivia Ochs

Professional Development at Aveda Institute

Columbus, OH

I know what it feels like to be in school and work a full-time job, and what it feels like to do the long daysand to work through feeling nervous.

Mia Dinh

Owner / Manager, Hammer & Nails

Hollywood, CA

I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a teacher, and as I got older, I wanted to be a therapist. Being a hair stylist allowed me to be all of those things.

Marie Pannell-Biggs

Educator at Aveda Institute

Columbus, OH

I was working at a beautiful salon where I met someone that invited me to do New York Fashion Week

Aubrey Cole

Marketing Team Lead at Nurtur Aveda Institutes

Loveland, OH

When I toured the Aveda Institute I felt this energy in my soul that said this is the environment I want to be in.

Bethany Brown

Education Manager at Aveda Institute

Columbus, OH

Being a cosmetologist is something I’m passionate about, but my real purpose is to educate people.

Cindy Maxwell

Clinic Floor Team Lead at Aveda Institute

Columbus, OH

You only get one chance to go around in this world. Be happy & do what you love!

Savina N. Woods

Owner/Creator, Porcelain Doll Beauty

Charlotte, NC

I started Porcelain Dolls Beauty, which is a custom wig line. I have my own hair extension line as well, but my brand mostly focuses on women with hair loss issues, like alopecia, hair loss from chemo, and things of that nature.

Becca Goodson

Education Manager

Aveda Institute Chapel Hill

I don't want to be anywhere near the mold. I just want to be me and I want to help other people be themselves.

Toni Robinson

Educator at Aveda Institute

Chapel Hill, NC

If you enjoy your work then it doesn’t matter how many hours you put into it.

Katie Hammonds

Education Manager at Aveda Fredric's Institute

Indianapolis, IN

Working on movie sets are moments that I’ll never forget.

Daniel Holzberger

Salon Owner, Award-Winning Stylist, Van Michael Salon

Atlanta, GA

At this point, I have worked editorial, I’ve done hair shows, I’ve done education for Aveda for years and years and years. I’ve worked behind the chair, I’ve owned salons , I’ve owned barber shops, I own a scissor company, I’ve even worked for Aveda in a warehouse. If you go into cosmetology your options are limitless, they really are.

Jake Ivins

Cosmetology Educator at Aveda Institute

Chapel Hill, NC

It’s about the students & watching them grow. That’s where my satisfaction & fulfillment comes from.

Megan Bitterman

Educator at Aveda Institute Columbus

Columbus, OH

I went to a 4 year college... did corporate America for about 7 years and did not enjoy that grind whatsoever. I just did not feel the payoff. So, I found Aveda, took a tour and signed up!

Chloe Steverson

Stylist, Nurtur Salon + Spa

Columbus, OH

I didn’t even tour any other schools.  I knew that I wanted to go to Aveda because I believed in the products and what the company stood for.

Jake Ivins

Educator, Aveda Institute Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

Any opportunity I have to make someone else feel good, you know, my cup overflows. I just love helping people just to feel and look their best.

Jesse Sullivan

Educator at Aveda Institute

Columbus, OH

To this day I still have some family members who don't qualify what I do as a career, but I don't let that bother me because I know that I'm affecting change in the world.

Patrice Castleman

Esthetics Educator at Aveda Institute

Columbus, OH

I like to talk a lot & meet new people. Teaching has always come naturally.

Ashley Thomas

Educator at Aveda Fredric's Institute

Indianapolis, IN

Cosmetology was something I had thought about, but I had never seriously considered because I thought it was just a non-starter. Then I heard about the Aveda Institute and it just wouldn't leave my mind once I heard about it.

Natasha Perkins

Salon Development Partner at Aveda

Indianapolis, IN

I’ve always wanted to be a hairstylist.

Ebony Ivey

Esthetics Educator at Aveda Fredric's Institute

Cincinnati, OH

I didn't see a lot of Aftrican American estheticians in the field, but I felt like this is a lane for me.... I'm going to create my own lane and I'm going to be the example that I was looking for.

Sam Williams

Educator at Aveda Fredric's Institute

Indianapolis, IN

Seeing how the instructors interacted with the students & wanted them to succeed inspired me to want to be that person.

Stefanie Fox Jackson

Owner at Canvas Salon and Skin Bar

Columbus, OH

I started cosmetology school when I was 18. I actually gave up a full ride academic scholarship four weeks in to college. When the Aveda Institute opened in Columbus, it was the very first school that was prestigious for beauty in the Columbus area. When a great school opened up I think it was giving me permission to make that decision.

Hall Of Fame

The Aveda Institutes Hall of Fame showcases the talents and achievements of Aveda graduates in the beauty industry. All Hall of Fame Nominees and Honorees have a long-standing and successful career that is focused around their craft, education, and giving back to society. Learn more about our Aveda Institutes Hall of Fame Honorees below.

Anne Skubis

Aveda Institute Tucson Graduate

Since graduating from the Aveda Institute Tucson in 2009, Anne Skubis has set an example of the diversity and success that being an AI graduate can bring. Upon graduating, Anne was immediately hired at her alma mater as an Experience Center Advisor.

She quickly rose through the ranks at the Aveda Institute Tucson, fulfilling a wide variety of roles for the Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes. Stimulating her passion for retailing, educating, and branding, Anne served as Experience Center Team Lead, Esthiology Educator and Team Lead, Mission Champion, Director of Marketing, and, as of 2018, Campus Director of the Aveda Institute Tucson. As Director of Marketing for the Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes, Anne has been a driving force behind branding the multi-campus organization to stimulate enrollments, services, and student engagement. In her tenure as DOM, all eligible campuses have received honors as Salon Today Top 200 Salons at least once, in addition to earning Salon Today’s Applied Marketing Program (S.T.A.M.P) of Approval and Modern Salon’s Excellence in Education for Technology and Culture. Anne has developed and implemented marketing strategies for social media, grassroots, promotional/transactional, and eventing. Through this role, Anne also has the unique ability to give back on a large scale, leading the charge for Inspire Greatness’ Aveda Earth Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaigns, in addition to regular community outreach programs at each campus. Since 2014, the Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes have donated over $300,000 to charitable organizations. Anne’s love for education never diminished despite switching gears into a business focus. As an Aveda Makeup Pure-Fessional, Certified Makeup Coach, Aveda Freelance Artist, Anne spreads her love of Aveda Makeup to her students, team, network, and guests through specialized classes and events. Anne has assisted Aveda Global Artist Director for Makeup, Janell Geason, on the team for multiple seasons of New York Fashion Week, and backstage at Master Jam Europe, NAHA, and Aveda Congress. Her editorial work is published both nationally and internationally, motivating her participation in the Editorial Remix workshop on the Inspire Greatness campuses. With the Inspire Greatness Creative Team, she mentors students as they work tirelessly to submit collections through the NAHA Experience workshop. In her new position as Campus Director, Anne will utilize her status as a graduate to best serve her number one guest- her students. Being able to relate to their struggles and celebrations is a unique opportunity to motivate academics, attendance, and clinic floor benchmarks. Her journey from student to Pure-Fessional to Director provides an example of how making the most of a beauty school education can impact the trajectory of a career. “I love Aveda and I love education, which lends itself perfectly to my desire to help others find their purpose in this industry. My success has flowed naturally due to my desire to give back and change lives the way that Inspire Greatness changed mine.”

Rudy Miles

Aveda Institute New York Graduate

Rudy began his career in fashion as a print and runway model in Chicago which led to a job assisting new talent in developing their portfolios at John Casablancas/Elite Modeling Agency. He also studied Fashion Merchandising and Marketing at

the International Academy of Merchandising and Design. After arriving in the Big Apple in 1995, Rudy’s makeup career quickly grew after he joined the Aveda Flatiron Experience Center where his clientele included actress Susan Sarandon, singer Chaka Khan and model Karen Alexander. Rudy worked at the Aveda Corporation until 2010 as Director of Makeup. He outgrew the boundaries of retail and a career in commercials, print and runway was inevitable. His extensive travels have landed him to almost every continent. While in the Brazilian rainforest, Rudy visited the Yawanawa village learning their sacred art of face and body painting which is now part of Aveda Makeup packaging for Uruku products. Rudy also created makeup looks for EDUN while shooting in Uganda. As makeup team leader at New York’s fashion week, Rudy has created runway looks for designers Zang Toi, Malan Breton, Sherri Hill, MeghanWalsh, Oscar de la Renta, Katie Ermilio, Reem Acra, Perry Ellis, and EDUN. Rudy and his team have also created looks for the Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana boutiques. Rudy has beautified Mara Brock Akil, Kirstie Alley, Kendall Jenner, Camila Alves, Nana Meriwether, SelaWard, Paris Hilton, Nicole Hilton, Victoria Gotti and Jill Zarin. Male grooming includes Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, Matthew

Hauns Korpela

Aveda Institute Minneapolis (Horst) Graduate

Hauns graduated from the Horst (Aveda) Institute in 1982. He was apprentice to Horst Rechelbacher (founder of Aveda) and became an Artistic Director / Platform Artist for the Horst and Friends Salons for eight years. To expand his experiences in

hairdressing, he moved to New York City where he works in film, television, music video, theatre, national editorial print, Fashion Week and runway shows. He joined Aveda in opening the first Aveda Esthetique in New York City at the request of Horst. Since 1991, he has been the Artistic and Educational Director for Scott J. Salons NYC, Hauns has helped build the strongest lifestyle salons in the Aveda network. As a veteran Educator / Platform Artist, he continues his support in Aveda’s mission as a Mentor Purefessional of the “Aveda Purefessional Program”, where he mentors fellow professionals as well hairdressers in the network. Hauns has been featured numerous times, as a guest artist at the Aveda Congress Festival and travels both nationally and internationally sharing his experiences and knowledge as an educator at the Aveda Institutes, Education Centers and Salons. He has also been seen on both National and Cable TV from Makeovers to Runway Shows bringing his expertise of beauty and fashion to the limelight. Hauns states: “We are no longer just hairdressers, but living lifestyle creators for our guest in the salon. We must all share in the knowledge of our experiences and become each other’s mentors and students. Thus, hand in hand, we are continuously teaching and learning from each other”. Hauns believes this is how to become the leaders in our industry.

Scott Weaver

Douglas J Aveda Institute Graduate

Growing up, Scott Weaver never envisioned joining the salon industry. Though his parents founded and owned a very successful salon and cosmetology school, Scott saw his future in marketing or business management. He graduated from Northwood

Institute with a B.A. in Marketing and Management in 1993, and became the Admissions Director for the Douglas J Educational Center. His work developing the school led him to visit the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, where he discovered an organization that shared his standards for service and commitment to the environment. Thus, the Douglas J Aveda Institute came to be. When the Douglas J Salon needed a full-time Marketing Director, Scott successfully assumed this responsibility. He was an integral part of merging a day spa into Douglas J’s service offerings. Scott felt he needed to have a cosmetology license to get a better understanding of every aspect of the salon industry and he graduated from Cosmetology school in 1995. He is now a licensed cosmetology instructor, an Aveda hair color purefessional educator, and a platform artist. Scott is a role model for the modern salon professional. He possesses a stylist’s technical skill, but he is also able to successfully manage a thriving business. His compassion helps him do what he loves most, “build the salon industry careers of others and help them to reach their goals.” Today, as President, Scott heads up Operations and Development company-wide. The Douglas J Company now has salons and Aveda Institutes in these Michigan locations: Douglas J Day Spa Salon—Okemos Douglas J MEN Salon—Okemos Douglas J Aveda Institute—East Lansing Douglas J Aveda Institute—Ann Arbor Douglas J Salon—Ann Arbor Douglas J Aveda Institute—Grand Rapids Douglas J Aveda Institute—Royal Oak Douglas J Aveda Institute—Chicago, IL Douglas J Aveda Institute—Knoxville, TN As the company continues to grow, Scott’s focus remains constant--expanding the Douglas J brand while maintaining the same level of customer service and professionalism that his father founded the company on 49 years ago. Scott also continues to lead the company with the passion to make an impact on the greater good. Over the years, Douglas J Companies has stood behind many causes, providing much-needed fundraising to support research, awareness and education. Some of these causes include JDRF, Earth Month and Shining A Light where the fundraising efforts have exceeded $650,000 to date. Scott’s commitment to supporting these organizations as well as other organizations will continue to be a core to his leadership focus.

David Wagner

Aveda Institute Minneapolis (Horst) Graduate

David Wagner is a hair stylist, artist, entrepreneur, educator, author and “Daymaker." Innovator of the "pay-it-forward" movement of Daymaking, Wagner's philosophy for living a life that changes the world - one person at a time - through simple

acts of kindness, has captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands around the world. Wagner is the founder and owner of JUUT Salonspas, the original AVEDA concept salons, with eight JUUT locations in the Midwest, one in San Francisco's Bay Area and two in Phoenix AZ that are continually voted "Best Salon" within their communities. He is also the best-selling author of, Life as a Daymaker: How to Change the World by Simply Making Someone's Day, and initiator of the "Daymaker Movement." Wagner is a highly sought-after inspirational speaker. He is committed to transforming the world with beauty. “Beauty can transform people, society, and businesses,” says Wagner. A devoted husband and father, Wagner lives in Minnetrista MN with his wife Charlie, and their daughters, Coco and Ava where he continues to work on building his company as a model of Daymaking in an effort to change the world in a positive way.

Janell Geason

Aveda Institute Minneapolis Graduate

Minneapolis –based Aveda Global Artistic Director for Makeup, Janell Geason is known for her technical expertise as well as her ability to connect and inspire her students. Her work can be seen in publications such as ELLE, Redbook, Lucky and

Women’s Health. Janell also won North American Makeup Artist award in 2008 & 2009 and was nominated in 2013 & 2014. After Graduating from Horst Cosmetology School Janell began her career working in Minneapolis as a hairdresser. Her desire to further explore her creativity led her to pursue makeup as an art form. Janell moved to Europe and worked internationally in the fashion, video and print industry for nearly 9 years. Upon returning to the United States, Janell’s talent and passion for makeup and education led her to partner with Aveda as Global Artistic Director for Makeup. She travels globally to teach professional makeup artists and do stage presentations. Her role includes leading education for Aveda makeup, collaborating on seasonal makeup launches, shade animations, product development and how to videos. Janell also is a lead makeup artist at New York Fashion Week working with many designers and celebrities.

Jon Reyman

Aveda Institute Minneapolis Graduate

Jon Reyman is a hair stylist, business owner, educator, and collaborative partner to some of the most influential designers in the industry notably Donna Karan, Oscar dela Renta, Nautica, and Carolina Herrera. He leads up to 20 shows during Fashion

Week with teams in New York, London, and Paris. Dubbed the go-to stylist for beauty editors in New York and Los Angeles alike, Jon has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, Refinery 29, The Hollywood Reporter, Into The Gloss, and has made guest appearances on E!, The TLC Network, Access Hollywood, and Bravo TV. Using his technical and creative skills to empower others is what drives Jon further into his career. As an educator and business owner, Jon founded Jon Reyman Pro, the most comprehensive online technical curriculum for salons and institutions across the world, and opened Spoke & Weal, a nationally recognized salon with locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. More than anything, Jon values utility and simplicity in his work, he sees meaning and beauty in what’s natural and useful. Find Jon in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Roxana Dacosta

Aveda Institute Victoria Graduate

Roxana DaCosta’s career began in 1994 while attending the Esthiology program at the Aveda Institute Victoria. She is now the as Vice President of Operations and Senior Educational Administrator for Aveda Institute Victoria. In 2009 Roxana also

became the founding owner of Kazen hair & beauty; an Aveda salon in Victoria, BC. Amongst her many accomplishments, she is most proud of receiving the Aveda Spa 2004 Healing Touch Award presented at Congress for her excellence in advancing Aveda sales and education.


Aveda Institute Minneapolis Graduate

Faatemah’s distinguishing mark is hair that gets attention. She’s passionate about not only conceiving over the top hair that can be seen and admired by all, but finding great beauty in a simple haircut and flawless color. Her creations have

been featured in many publications, commercial work and runway shows. Celebrity clients include Suzanne Somers, Chrisette Michelle, Holly Robinson Peete and more. Target, Essence, Modern Salon, Bride magazines, ABC, NBC, and FOX have trusted Faatemah's chic sensibility for styling hair. Faatemah is a North American hairstylist Award winner and 3 time nominee for Editorial, Texture and Fashion Forward styling. Her charismatic personality earned her a spot on Bravo's Shear Genius 3 reality show. PBA association called Faatemah the "Diana Ross of hair". Various press has branded her unique teaching approach asp 'Edutainment'. Faatemah started her career at Aveda Institute where hair pioneer and founder of Aveda, Horst M. Rechelbacher, recognized her talent immediately. She traveled with his team, learning secrets from the very best early on. Her gift in editorial and runway hair, led to opportunities in styling hair for national magazines and campaigns. Her skills range from cutting and color, as well as over 20 years of extension experience. Faatemah continues to help inspire others through education. Regardless of the client, brand or product, Faatemah's award-winning track record and chic sensibility is trusted and internationally recognized.

Jason Backe

Aveda Institute Minneapolis Graduate

Over the span of his career, Jason Backe has established himself as a highly accomplished color artist. He is one of the most sought after hair colorists in New York and his appointment book at ted gibson salon, which he co-owns with partner Ted

Gibson, is always full. From editors and models to actresses and executives, clients love Jason’s color for its chic and complimentary wearability. They also love his friendly, down-to-earth personality and his positive, upbeat vibe. Jason considers hair color an artistic expression of personal beauty, and takes great pride in his attention to detail and commitment to impeccable customer care. Jason has worked with celebrities such as Renée Zellweger, Anne Hathaway, Ashley Greene, Christina Ricci, Elettra Wiedemann Rosselini , Lake Bell and Idina Menzel. His work is also recognized by the top modeling agencies in New York and the models he works on are seen in campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Chanel and Versace. Jason’s work has also been called on for multi-million dollar ad campaigns for influential haircolor companies such as Redken, L’Oreal and Garnier, as well as for beauty segments on the Oprah Winfrey Show, theToday Show, the Nate Berkus Show, the Rachel Ray Show and Good Morning America. Thanks to his extensive knowledge of haircolor science and trends, his ability to offer practical advice, and his exuberant personality, Jason is regularly quoted in top beauty and fashion publications such as Allure, InStyle, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Elle and The New York Times Sunday Styles. Additionally, Jason’s work has been extolled in Allure magazine’s Directory four years in a row, Insiders Guide, Best of Beauty and Bridal Guide. Jason began his career working for Aveda where he traveled the world educating stylists, salon owners and managers in both hair cutting and coloring techniques and business building. He was recently named Celebrity Colorist for L’Oreal Professionnel and was one of the first colorists to adopt their revolutionary ammonia-free INOA hair color. He is on the Color Advisory Board for The Colorist and is a part of Intercoiffure America/Canada Color Council. Today, he also guides and motivates his own staff at ted gibson salon. And as CEO of ted gibson beauty, Jason is intimately involved with the creation of new ted gibson products, which are fast gathering a devoted following. Known for uniqueness and innovation, the line has been honored with several industry accolades and awards from esteemed publications such as Women’s Wear Daily and Redbook.

Larissa Wong

Aveda Institute Minneapolis Graduate

As a graduate of the Aveda Institute in 1992, Larissa Wong joined Juut Salonspa (the original Aveda salon) in 1993 and is one of their top stylists and educators.  She has evolved her skills to specialize in the latest haircuts, styles and trends.

Larissa has been teaching to licensed hairdressers as an Aveda Global Purefessional since 2003 and moonlights as an instructor at the Aveda institute in Minneapolis. In October 2013, Allure Magazine’s Best of the Best beauty issue awarded Larissa “Best Haircut” for Minneapolis. She has also styled and been interviewed for national trade magazines, as well as local publications and televised news segments. She has worked biannually backstage at New York fashion Week and regularly participates in Aveda Master Jam shows and Congress Festivals, in addition to shows for Target corporation, Juut Salonspa and various freelance opportunities. Her inspiration is derived from extensive travel to cities throughout the world where she often surveys international trends and enrolls in classes and salon life observation.

Alumni Resources

Professional Beauty Association

The Professional Beauty Association provides Members with valuable resources, support, and connections to help elevate and grow careers and the industry: empowering Members to do their best work, while supporting and advocating for them along the way. 

Learn More

International SalonSpa Business Network

The International SalonSpa Business Network is a unique and intimate group of chain and franchise group owners and managers, united for the greater good of the hair and beauty industry. Representing over 25,000 salons and spas in North America, ISBN works in conjunction with other associations to not only drive government relations and provide resources and facilities for networking and learning amongst it’s members. Come join the business network for the hair and beauty industry.

Learn More

Associated Hair Professionals

Associated Hair Professionals is for independent stylists and barbers who want next level success. AHP offers real protection, real benefits, and real talent for the real professional.

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LinkedIn Alumni Groups


Cincinnati Alumni

Indianapolis Alumni

Columbus Alumni

Chapel Hill Alumni

Los Angeles Alumni

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