10 December 2022

Finding and founding a tribe: Goldwell’s mentors

There is no room for professional jealousy when finding and founding a tribe. And Goldwell educators have a mentoring philosophy based on a tribal mentality.

Finding or founding a tribe in our chosen profession is not always easy. Luckily, Nick Pagano, today owner of ID Salon in Woodbury, NY, found a special teacher when he was starting out: Charles Larocca. Nick remembers him as a fierce hair cutter and stylist. Larocca was the Dean of the Beauty College he attended and provided Nick with the inspiration he needed to start a career.

Finding his tribe

But as Nick Pagano was growing his craft, he was drawn to avant-garde fashion. He was an avid fan of Sebastian Creative Directors Robert Lobetta, Edwin Lombardi and Michael Polsinelli. Their stage shows prompted him to teach and perform. “Our Industry, the environment, made it possible for me to be myself. I belonged; it was a perfect fit. I had found my tribe. Now I had a place to create with other artists.” His affiliation with Goldwell as a National Artist also made a difference. “I am blessed to be part of the Kao family which includes Goldwell, KMS, Oribe and Varis. I use these brands behind the chair at my salon,” he shares. But more importantly it has brought others into his circle – like Teresa Medina. “Nick was always very honest and grounded all feedback, about how I could learn, better myself. I feel like I was much harder on myself because he never gave me negative feedback, just opportunities to grow. That’s what mentorship is about,” she explains. Today Teresa is also a Goldwell USA Educator.

Mentoring came very naturally to me; it’s really just paying it forward. I love to teach and mentor while sharing my knowledge and experience,” Nick muses. “There is nothing like seeing a new hairdresser’s eyes light up when they see something new and exciting and realize that they are capable of creating and achieving anything.

Mentoring vs. Education

Nick has clear ideas about his teaching methods. “The difference between mentoring and education is that mentoring is sharing from the soul. Mentoring is passing on your life experience. The good & bad,” he explains. It’s allowing your mentee to see their full potential, building their confidence and find their passion. Understanding that making mistakes is OK and it’s an important part of growing. When mentoring I feel it’s my responsibility to help ease the fear. It’s about reassuring your mentee that being yourself is OK!”

Then mentoring becomes a sort of self-propagating activity. Indeed, it was Nick who inspired and encouraged Teresa to fulfill her true calling. “I have always been a mentor of sorts, a person willing to help others. From family to friends, I feel inspired and fulfilled when helping others. And I have always felt the urge to teach and educate. When Nick started to mentor me, the calling became even stronger,” she shares. “I can’t believe I do this for a living! I am truly grateful that Nick took so much time with me. He was selfless in sharing his talent and teaching me every day. I will always be committed to paying it forward.

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