By Lucy M. Pritchett


She began working part time at Z Salon and Spa when she was in college and now is part owner of the business. She has a good work ethic and enjoys the energy and company of the people who come to the salon to relax and be pampered. In a way she has fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming an archaeologist, only the artifacts she studies happen to be brushes and blow dryers. (Spoiler alert: She would rather eat Cheez-Its than chocolate.) Photo by Melissa Donald.

How did you get started in your career?
The salon has been my first and only job. I started in 1984 as part-time receptionist during summers while at college. When I moved back to Louisville I started working at the front desk, moved into inventory and purchasing, and then into operations and maintenance. In 1994 I became general manager and have been part owner since 2013.

What do you oversee at the salon?
The business side — budgeting, financial issues, hiring, employee evaluations. This includes all the designers, the guest care staff, massage therapists, and estheticians. We have two locations and 95 employees.

Keeps you coming back?
I like the energy of the place and the people. Our clients feel good and leave happy.

Not on your resume?
I can plunge a mean toilet. When I was in operations, I had to take care of anything that was broken or dirty.

Childhood dream?
To become an archaeologist. I used to look at my parents’ encyclopedias and all the different cultures I saw there interested me.

Management lessons you learned?
I always thought I could do everything myself. I’m very self-sufficient. But I realize now that having great people around you with their own strengths and talents is very helpful.

Trait you dislike about yourself?
I tend to be a little bit of a procrastinator but eventually everything gets done.

Defining moment?
Three years ago I realized that to be happy, I had to be happy with me. Nothing else was going to do that. I lost 53 pounds. I started running. It helped me professionally and in my family and personal life.

Favorite smell?
Patchouli. We make custom scents from essential oils, and patchouli is always in mine.

Books that have influenced you?
The last book I read was You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero. My go-to authors on leadership are Ken Blanchard and John Maxwell.

Who would you invite to a dinner party?
My grandfather, who owned his own construction business in Lexington, and my parents, who are both deceased. I would like to talk to my granddad and my dad about running a company. We would have a different conversation now.

What have you accepted about yourself?
That it’s not always about me.

How do you deal with your many responsibilities?
When I leave work, I leave work, and when I’m at work, I am at work. I have learned how to prioritize and get things done.

How is your life different than you thought it would be?
I always thought I’d have a family and be in some kind of business and that has come true. But, my life is better than I imagined.

Who do you go to for advice?
Zenda Stackelbach (founder of the salon). Although she’s not actively working in the business now, I have worked with her for 33 years and it’s a comfort to talk to her.

Strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I tried fried alligator when I was in New Orleans. It kind of tastes like fried chicken.

Pet peeve?
People who are late make me crazy.

How do you start your day?
I hit the snooze button.

Motto or philosophy of life?
Everything happens for a reason, and generally you will always come out better on the other side.

Secret stash?
There is always food in my office. Almonds and Cheez-Its. I’m not really big on sweets. I would rather have Twizzlers or Sweet Tarts than eat chocolate.

Parting words
You have to love what you do in order to do it well. If you love it, it doesn’t have to be work. I couldn’t have done this for 33 years and not love it and love the people I’m around.for 33 years and not love it and love the people I’m around.