My youngest daughter was born in the early 80’s, but she refuses to be grouped in with Millennials. In her defense, she did learn to type on a typewriter as opposed to a PC and didn’t own her first laptop until college. She can use a library card catalog, knows the difference between the white and yellow pages, and writes in cursive. She wouldn’t know which way to swipe if her life depended on it, but she’s also too young to be a Gen Xer. So, where does she fit? The answer comes in the form of a newly formed micro-generation called the Xennial generation.

Xennials were born between 1977-83 and fit snugly between Gen Xers and Millennials. Like Gen Xers, Xennials grew up in a non-digital world. They didn’t text their friends, they called from a landline, and they weren’t constantly being photographed or videoed by a parent with a smartphone. However, most middle class families had a family PC with a dial up modem by the time Xennials were in their mid-teens. So, while they might have had a digital-free childhood, they were introduced to technology early enough that they are able to navigate it like they grew up with it. Most Xennials will still prefer a text to a phone call or an email to a face-to-face meeting, but they also recognize the benefits to meeting in person (but only occasionally).  

Xennials are cautiously optimistic. They are old enough to vividly remember the events of 9/11, but are too young to remember the aftermath of the Cold War. They know all of the words to Ice, Ice Baby but also love them some Bruno Mars. Like a Gen Xer, they believe success is best earned through dedication and hard work, but they aren’t against cutting corners and becoming an overnight success either. Unlike a Gen Xer, a Xennial does not worry about losing their job to a more qualified Millennial, but they also don’t expect to become CEO within the first year (or maybe even ever and they are ok with that). If the Gen Xer is a cynical realist and the Millennial is an expectant optimist, then the Xennial is a realistic, ever so slightly cynical optimist.

A Xennial brings the best of both the Gen X and Millennial worlds into the classroom, but they can also be difficult to motivate. Financial security is important to them, but not to the same degree as a Gen Xer. A Xennial wants to do what they love, but they also want to be paid well for it. They aren’t likely to be willing to give up their happiness for more money or vice versa. Xennials did not grow up receiving participation trophies, but they do value achievement awards. Expect your Xennials to respond well to personalized recognition and to strive to be the best whenever a prize or award is on the table. A Xennial might not strive to change the world, but they will work really, really hard for a Target gift card.

Encourage your Xennials to be their personal best and watch them bloom!

Why I love Chairing CEA

My favorite time of the year is coming up, I can hardly contain my excitement—the CEA Annual Convention! I’ve had the privilege of serving as chair of CEA for four straight years. I, along with a team of incredible volunteers and the staff at AACS, spend a full year developing and planning an annual convention for beauty and wellness educators.

I’m especially excited about this year because we’ve included an entire track of educational sessions for marketing and admissions professionals.

If you’ve never been to CEA it’s almost impossible to describe in a simple blog post. At its core CEA is three days chock-full of education, networking, catching up with old friends, making new ones and getting the inspirational boost to last you a full year.

From the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep (which, let’s face is, is way too late each night), you are dedicated to your own personal growth as an educator. Attending these conventions as an attendee has formed some of my most valued friendships and business partnerships. Now that I’m chair, I’m dedicated to giving every attendee that same experience.

Here are my TOP reasons why I love chairing CEA:

  • The people. The attendees are electric. We all know that educators are some of the most selfless, fun individuals. Now imagine a room full of 300+ of them. The laughs are contagious, the hugs are around every corner and the deep relationships that are formed are invaluable.
  • The Expo Hall. The top manufacturers and distributors in the industry are represented at CEA and they have giveaways, live demos and meetings with attendees to showcase the newest and best products they have to offer. I always bring an empty suitcase just to fill it up with all the goods the vendors are so generous at giving away.
  • The venue. The AACS office, year after year, chooses the best locations for these conventions. This year’s event will be at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas—so from shopping to the action on the strip, you’re in the middle of it all.
  • The food. I go to my share of conventions and most make you pay extra for food or don’t even offer it. CEA offers a full breakfast and lunch every day, with snacks and desserts at various times. The opening reception also includes free drinks!
  • The education. As a chair, I know the hard work that goes into finding relevant classes for our attendees. The committee spends months going through applications and finding amazing speakers from around the country to teach sessions. Whether you’re looking for technical training or methodology, CEA has it. There isn’t another convention in the nation that offers this much education for beauty and wellness teachers.

I can’t wait to see you in Vegas in a few weeks! Click here to register.

Thinking of Becoming a Teacher?

Being a teacher is a thankless, selfless, rewarding job that isn’t for the weak. The truth is, teaching is not a fallback career. It isn’t something anyone should choose when they’re unsure of what they want to do with their life.

It’s been said, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I like to think that it’s more like, “Those who can’t teach, do.”

Most daily tasks can be done mindlessly without a second thought. You wake up and get out of bed. You take a shower. You drive to work. You drink when you’re thirsty and eat when you’re hungry. These are routine daily events that don’t take much concentration. But what if someone asked you how to do your daily routine?

That’s essentially what teachers do all day long. They take a task and break it down into small elements to explain. From walking to talking to tying your shoe—there isn’t anything in life that you learned without being taught. Parents invest in teaching their children these things because they care about their well-being. Likewise, teachers have a deep desire to help.

If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher, consider these points before investing in your training and possible career switch.

  • You don’t have to be an expert in that field. I know lots of individuals who would be fabulous teachers and they don’t do it because they feel they aren’t experts. You don’t have to be. Being an expert isn’t a requirement for being a teacher. You’ll learn things as you go along (we all do!).
  • Money should not be a motivation. Teachers are underpaid—we all know that. But even if a teacher’s salary is desirable to you, it should not be your motivation. You need to be dedicated to the job and invested in your students—not a paycheck.
  • Patience is a virtue. Teaching is not for the quick-tempered or impatient. It takes time and energy to invest in people.
  • Know when to get out. I am against anyone doing anything in life that makes him or her miserable. Teaching is a job that affects too many people. Don’t damage your students if you’re better off in a different career.
  • Would you want yourself as a teacher? This is the most important question every aspiring and existing educator needs to ask themselves. If you can’t honestly say yes, you need to find a different career path.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of an educator!

Continuing Education for Educators: What To Look For

If you buy a car, no matter how much you pay or what that car is worth, it requires maintenance. It’ll lose its value and break down if you don’t get your car serviced every few thousand miles. That’s exactly what happens to teachers.

The world keeps turning and things evolve—and so should our teaching. As new generations sit in our desks and young minds ask different questions, our education needs to evolve. This is why continuing education is so important for teachers. Don’t get replaced like an old car—be a classic. Be innovative and stay current.

Most states or schools will require teachers to renew their license every few years and show annual continuing education credits. But I’m afraid this requirement often leads to teachers hitting a button to clock hours instead of finding thought-provoking material that will make them better educators.

Here’s what to look for when seeking continuing education:

■ Find a visionary. Someone who knows the newest and greatest ways to reach the youngest generation of students has the greatest value in the classroom today. Increase your own value by learning from a visionary.

■ Delivery is key. Methodology classes are great for educators, but, more specifically, any class that focuses on how to deliver is even better. When we repeat the same material year after year, we get stale. Classes on delivery will help you change up your style and energy.

■ In-person training is best. It’s not that I’m completely against online classes, but they need to be good courses. Your motivation has to be right. You have to want to do it and it can’t be because it’s easy. The human element of in-person training is an unmatched atmosphere.

■ Networking opportunities. Find continuing education settings that allow you to network with other educators from across the country or your state. It’s nice to know you’re not on an island and it also allows you to learn best practices from other educators like you.


If you’re looking for continuing education, please check out my upcoming speaking gigs. Never underestimate the power of an educator!

Teaching to Generation Z

Generation Z includes anyone born after 2000. Although they haven’t been around long and we’re still learning how this generation acts as a whole, they’re developing common traits. Generation Z is who the majority of our students will be in the next few years, so as educators we need to be prepared how to teach them.

I also should mention that as our nation becomes more politically correct, what once was accepted (or was even flirting with inappropriate) is NOT tolerated with this generation. Meaning, if you say something wrong in the classroom, they’ll tweet it and you’ll be fired. Gone are the days of second chances and sorrowful apologies.

In 2006, there were a record number of births in the US and 49% of those born were Hispanic. Since the early 1700’s, the most common last name in the US was Smith. Today it’s Rodriguez. This means that racist, generalized comments like, “This is America, learn English,” will get you in all sorts of trouble. You need to understand the “melting pot” that Generation Z is and you need to ensure that your teaching is inclusive and kind.

I have a lot more material that I cover in my full Generational Teaching program, but here’s a quick breakdown of common characteristics and how to deal with challenging situations.



  • Technology isn’t technology to them (because they’ve always had it)
  • Every kid gets a trophy in their little league games
  • More entrepreneurial – all want to own a business
  • Prefers to meet with managers in person
  • Values honesty more than any other characteristic
  • Wants to be part of the conversation, decision making and they want to change the world.
  • Short attention span
  • Learn by being entertained
  • Constantly stimulated by screens


CHALLENGE: Attention span is eight seconds.

WHAT TO DO: Dynamic openers are crucial.


CHALLENGE: Really high (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations (i.e. own a business and change the world)

WHAT TO DO: Show them the means to the end. Give them realistic expectations while encouraging that that’s a great END result.


CHALLENGE: Everyone gets a trophy, leading to entitled students who think they always deserve an award.

WHAT TO DO: Verbal praise. Find a cheap item (ribbons, etc.), reward system.


CHALLENGE: Honesty is everything.

WHAT TO DO: Be honest ALL the time. You can’t give them fluff responses or encouraging words that are empty.


Never underestimate the power of an educator!

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