#IBWSUPPORTS: A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO MS. CATHERINE SENDEK

#IBWSUPPORTS: A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO MS. CATHERINE SENDEK

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At the Institute of Beauty and Wellness, an Aveda Institute, we value family and friendship. Once a part of the culture here–whether it be instructor, student, alumni, or faculty—we remain supportive and uplifting of one another regardless of how far our paths drift. As an Institute that believes in empowerment, motivation, connections, and community—we believe in taking time to appreciate those who have left an everlasting imprint on not only the institute, but also the thousands of students throughout the years.

Ms. Catherine—a cosmetology instructor at the Institute of Beauty and Wellness Milwaukee—has officially turned in her professional shears this year. While we are sad to see her go, we cannot help but to appreciate her incredible journey and extend our deepest gratitude for the all the lives that she inspired along the way.

We spoke with Ms. Catherine one final time on behalf of the Institute to further reflect on her time as an instructor and provide you with some little messages of encouragement and inspiration. For those who knew her, you know the impression she has left. For those of you who have not met her, let this serve as a source of encouragement and understanding of Ms. Catherine and how she viewed her students and the world of beauty.

About Ms. Catherine:

“My name is Catherine Sendek and I have been a Cosmetology Instructor for well over 30 years and have been in the industry for over 50 years. Would I have changed anything? No. It has been a whirlwind, a blessing, a rewarding, excellent, and exciting ride.

Working within this industry, we have multiple levels of education. You can do as much or as little as you want. Speaking of myself, I held myself to a higher expectation. I became a global student to the point where I knew London better than I knew Milwaukee. The feature of working in a global field is that you are sometimes in a class with people who are from Japan, Poland, Italy, Germany, and France and you cannot necessarily speak the language to them, but you speak the language of hair. That to me is extremely rewarding to be able to connect not only technically, but globally with all facets of what we do professionally.”

Her Journey of Aveda:

“When I first came to the Institute, I was not even really looking for a job. I came out of curiosity. What I found, however, was that other salon environments and other educational environments did not have the wellness aspect that Aveda had. That was what I was truly looking for. When I came for my first interview, I stayed here for two and a half hours, and they hired me on the spot. My first thought was, ‘Where has this place been all my life?!’ I was so excited.

Some of my highlights here at the Institute include some years ago I was in Minneapolis, and I was presented with a beautiful medallion of glass awarded to me as Instructor of the Year. 

 It was incredibly moving. Once I received it, I called my dad, and he was so touched that I received this Instructor of the Year Award. He passed away shortly after that, so it meant a lot to me to be able to achieve a really high goal within this industry and share that with him.

Another important factor with Aveda is the ability to work with professionals on a global level that I have never experienced before. You have the likes of Ginger BoyleVivienne MackinderCharlie PriceOscar Bond, and Allen Ruiz. To pay individually for all this education would be very costly. To me, it was a gift and a blessing to be at the right place at the right time for my career to work alongside these individuals. What an honor and a pleasure for our students to have this experience to be able to engage with these people with a one-on-one conversation.

Every way that I can look at what has happened here at Aveda for me has been a win-win. So, I cannot say enough, I cannot thank everyone enough, for what has happened here.”

Another important factor with Aveda is the ability to work with professionals on a global level that I have never experienced before. You have the likes of Ginger BoyleVivienne MackinderCharlie PriceOscar Bond, and Allen Ruiz. To pay individually for all this education would be very costly. To me, it was a gift and a blessing to be at the right place at the right time for my career to work alongside these individuals. What an honor and a pleasure for our students to have this experience to be able to engage with these people with a one-on-one conversation.

Every way that I can look at what has happened here at Aveda for me has been a win-win. So, I cannot say enough, I cannot thank everyone enough, for what has happened here.”

Her Passion for Teaching:

“The pleasure to talk with new students, to share with them on what can be done with their license, how they can be a perpetual student as I have been not only nationally but globally as well, and the amenities that are offered to you at the Institute here are far beyond anything I had ever imagined from the way beginning.

I love talking with the newer students when they come on board because it helps me to inspire them and to let them know what can be done because I did it. I am so excited and so pleased that I had that opportunity and I want you to have that opportunity, too.”

Why Support Matters:

“Family support is important when you are going through any educational program. Understanding and listening to what your child or significant other is saying to you is important. When you can listen, you can communicate. Communication is everything and that is one of the key factors within our industry. One of the biggest complaints from guests is that ‘they did not listen.’

When parents or significant others listen, that helps us get through the process. Sometimes we have a bad day– that will pass, some days you will have a good day and think you are flying high but listening and having that support is important. Sometimes words are not even necessary, just be there.”

Her Words of Wisdom:

“For the future of my students, it can be anything you want it to be. It is up to you to make that decision, it is up to you to set your goals—at your one-year mark, your five-year mark, your ten-year mark—it never ends, and it never stops. Your future is your decision to move forward and be all that you can be. I never left any rock unturned. I was a busy little person, and my busyness took me to worlds that I could not imagine. I have been to over 30 countries, and was able to connect with hairdressers, people around the country in Washington D.C. and Beverly Hills. All these things are opportunities for each and every one of you. I am so thankful and so grateful, and I hope that you too, will have that opportunity.

If I could give a piece of advice to anyone who is entering into this industry—follow your heart, follow your passion, and follow your goals. Set yourself up for success because that is your responsibility. It is your respect to have that line-up. It is there, set yourself up for it.”

We are so blessed for not only Ms. Catherine’s time to share some insight into her journey and words of wisdom, but also the impression that she has left on the Institute and all the students within it. Her journey with Aveda has led her to take on many amazing adventures that she was able to learn and grow from. Her dream is to continue the legacy of every-learning and ever-growing students within the industry. Regardless of your path and your goals, Ms. Catherine will always be your number one fan. As someone who has traveled around the world and came back to share her knowledge and experiences with new members of the industry—she is a proud supporter of people’s passions.

The Institute of Beauty and Wellness, and Aveda Institute, offers our sincerest gratitude to Ms. Catherine for her time, knowledge, and passion. We are so blessed to have been a part of her journey for so many years and we wish her all the success in her future endeavors.

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