Husband & Wife Team Credit JVS for Successful Start to Their Careers
Cindy Willi , Cosmetology, Class of: 2002
If Cindy Willi ever opens her own beauty salon, she'll probably hang a picture of her grandmother in the waiting area.
"She was a hair stylist who loved making people feel comfortable, beautiful and special. I learned a lot from her," said Cindy, a graduate of the Lorain County JVS Cosmetology program.
"I come from a big family and my parents couldn't afford to send me to college," said Willi, "But I knew I'd get a solid education at the JVS and learn skills that would help me pay my own way to college if I wanted to go," she said.
Cindy's JVS training, including classes in hair cutting, styling, coloring, permanents, safety and sanitation, prepared her well for her Ohio State Board of Cosmetology Exam when she completed the program.
She landed her first job at Headquarters Salon and Spa in Lorain, after graduating from Firelands High School in 2002.
"I started at Headquarters being am assistant; doing necessary tasks like greeting customers and cleanup," she said. "I was promoted to an active stylist immediately after passing my state boards and receiving my license."
Which meant learning a new set of procedures that tested her mettle, she admits.
"Every salon has a system you must abide by," said Cindy. "I was working one-on-one with my boss, attending an on-site boot camp, which taught me things like customer service, professionalism and how to pay close attention to your customer hair needs. I struggled a bit but I honed my skills and took a job at Trendsetters Day Spa and Salon in LaGrange in 2004."
At Trendsetters, Willi built a steady following of clients, thanks in part to her commitment to continuing her education.
"I'm a go-getter," she said. "I enjoy bringing something new to the table for my customers, which is why I attend as many trade and business shows as I can, learning the most state-of-the-art techniques in hair styling and beauty treatments."
Cindy's clientele included boy and girls, women and men, entire families…and her future husband, Rob Willi.
Cindy had been styling Rob's hair for about six months when they bumped into each other at a local restaurant and discovered they had a lot in common, including graduating from the JVS.
"It's funny, our classrooms at the JVS were right next to each other, but we never met while we were there," said Rob, who completed the Network Communication Technology Program.
"I was a computer geek and she was this cool-looking, cheerleader type who was very outgoing. I doubt that she would've dated me anyway," he laughed.
Rob said that Cindy was also a good salesperson, evidenced by the number of hair care products he purchased from her at Trendsetters Salon.
Which is the same place where Rob, on bended knee among a roomful of customers, proposed to Cindy.
"He got down on his knee and gave me a ring-I was speechless and very surprised," she said.
"I told her it was a tip for cutting my hair," Rob laughed.
The couple wed in 2005 and now live in LaGrange.
Cindy's current employer is Blue Water Salon in Grafton and she dreams to open her own salon one day.
"I want to wait until our three boys (ages five, three and 11-months) begin high school, Cindy said. "All of the experiences I've had at different salons coupled with the strong foundation I received at the JVS will help make me a better salon manager."
Cindy's husband, an Information Technology Specialist and sales representative for Brohl and Appell in Elyria, said that he supports Cindy's dream of opening her own salon.
And he is in absolute agreement with his wife about their JVS training being the perfect educational choice to build a foundation for a great career."
"Like a lot of students, I was concerned about leaving the comfort of my high school because I had so many friends there," Rob said. "But I was able to take my technical classes at the JVS and stay at Keystone for my electives. I made many new friends, too."
Rob also earned almost an entire semester of college credit for classes he took at the JVS which transferred to LCCC.
"What a deal," affirmed Rob, who earned his Associate Degree in Computer Technology in 2003.
He also marvels that he has been with the same employer since his graduation from LCCC.
"It's unusual in my career field, but I work for a great company and great people," Rob said.
"I will always be a crusader for the JVS; it's a great place for people who have a career goal and really want to do something with their lives."