Meet Kari, Director of the Schools

woman in blue glasses

Meet Kari, Director of the Schools


Above: Kari, Director The Institute of Beauty and Wellness & Aveda Institute Madison

Looking back, did you see yourself becoming the Director of two beauty schools?

Not exactly, but I always saw myself in higher education.

Why did you see yourself in higher education?

The adult learner is a different learner. They’re driven, have direction, and know what they want.  I love being in environments where people choose to be. I love to encourage people to what they love.

What’s an average day like in your shoes?

Honestly, it’s always different, but I can say I have a lot of conversations–with students, with instructors, with administration.

What makes an effective conversation?

 Recently, I’ve learned that it’s not my responsibility to change people during a conversation. It is my responsibility to respond to people. When I speak with someone, I do my best to be present and to respond with compassion and empathy.

What inspires you?

I’m an artist; I love to paint and quilt. I’ve heard that artists can be distinguished from designers, because artists enjoy the process of creating art, whereas designers enjoy the finished product.

I also connect with a group of friends from college – we call ourselves “pep talk friends.”  There’s a writer in the group, a graphic designer, an illustrator.  We’re all from different cities now, but we try to Skype every month to share our newest interests and creations.

Do you have a mentor?

All my bosses have been incredible women. An old boss really took me in during my formative years, and never judged me when I had breakdowns at work. I really respect her for that. 
I also consider Susan a mentor. Susan pushes me and reminds me of the importance of serving our students and guests.
Really, I’m a learner by nature. I feel like I can learn from anyone, younger or older than me.

Any last words of wisdom?

Going back to the first question–I want to say that, although I never knew I’d be part of this industry, I am so happy to be here.
I like to say  that “plans change as people change.” Stay nimble and open-minded, because you never know what opportunity might come your way.

 Check out this fun Q+A with Kari: