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Ron Lopez & Elizabeth Berger on Taking The Fear Out of Networking

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Hair and makeup artists are no strangers to putting themselves out there. On the reg, you’re getting physically & emotionally close with clients –– multiple of whom rotate through your chair every day. However, when it comes to networking with professionals, the discomfort is real.

Forget shooting in the dark to get your dream job or connect with your icon. Canvas Me is doing the job for you. The most recent miracle this team worked was pairing Elizabeth Berger, a recent graduate from Paul Mitchel the School – Denver, with Owner of El Salon, L’Oréal Professional National Artist and NAHA winner, Ron Lopez, as part of their recruiting program. 

Elizabeth Berger currently works as an assistant at Bang Salon in Denver’s Washington Park. She’s already developing her competition portfolio and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was the next step to continuing her artistic growth. We chatted with Elizabeth and Ron to get their thoughts on mentorship in the industry, continuing to pursue opportunity and learning from the pros. 

Canvas Me Mentee Elizabeth Berger & Mentor Ron Lopez

The Tease: What role does mentorship play in the industry?

Ron Lopez: Mentorship is the cornerstone of hair education –– starting from beauty school, into apprenticeship, and then into career, on-the-job learning. All of these are essential to being successful in this industry. 

The Tease: Elizabeth, why did you choose Canvas Me to develop your career?

Elizabeth Berger: There was a piece of advice I received when I was 18, “Not all opportunities will be presented before you, sometimes you’re going to have to open the door yourself.” Canvas Me is a great tool because it puts the door right in front of your face, but you have to be the one to open it by submitting your portfolio. Being a new stylist, it can be intimidating trying to find opportunities for growth, but Canvas Me simplifies that process.

TT: What are your current career dreams?

EB: Five years from now, I see myself splitting time between working behind the chair and working on creative projects, such as the photoshoot I was able to participate in. Beyond that, I think I’m still learning exactly what my potential is. But, I may or may not (definitely do) envision myself winning a NAHA one day.

TT: Ron, who has / have been mentors throughout your career?

RL: I have had many mentors, some for a moment and some for more long term. A few of my most impactful are Steven Trujillo, Charlie Price, Zan Ray and, more recently, Eric Gomez. They have made a huge impact on my career. 

TT: What are some of the most important lessons they taught you?

RL: Their lessons ranged from actual technical skill to business coaching. One of the most important is also a common thing that they have taught me: “Every good coach has a good coach.” It’s important to share the information you have received throughout your career. I call it “completing the education circle.” You were taught, and it’s your duty to then teach.

TT: Elizabeth, what were you hoping to learn from Ron?

EB: I loved learning about the structure and ebb and flow of a photoshoot. Ron is this exceptionally kind person, and he really made sure that I had an understanding of how everything was going to work from start to finish.

TT: Ron, why did you choose to become a Canvas Me mentor?

RL: [Sharing] any knowledge that I have [with] people in the industry keeps me fresh. Every opportunity I have had to collaborate gives me an opportunity to not only share, but learn. Canvas Me offers an amazing opportunity to interested stylists to network. It can be really scary to reach out to people you look up to. This platform helps to break the ice and gives people an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best talent.

TT: What advice would you give to the artists just entering the industry?

RL: My first bit of advice is to practice, practice, practice. A mentor of mine once told me, “Confidence can be faked.” [But], either you’re practiced or not.  Second bit of advice is to emulate people you respect in the industry. Like energy finds like energy. Stay away from negative people. Building a clientele takes time. It’s not easy. Stay focused and stay positive. This craft has given me opportunities to travel the world. My license literally gave me the key to an amazing life journey. My mantra is to always say yes, and it’s okay to get uncomfortable.

TT: Elizabeth, what is the most exciting part about learning from an editorial artist?

EB: Literally rubbing elbows with Ron and working directly by his side throughout the day.

Meeting professionals is part of the game on Canvas Me. Thanks to the platform’s ongoing recruitment program, emerging artists get paired with industry icons on the reg.

For Elizabeth, we have complete confidence this was only the beginning of finding her dream career. As she grows her network and confidently showcases her skills on the digital competition stage, we’re sure we’ll see her win a NAHA yet.

Find your own once-in-a-lifetime opportunities by signing up for Canvas Me on our “Beauty Careers” tab. New opportunities are rolling out every week. In the meantime, let us know in the comments: What industry icons would you love to learn from? Michelle O’Connor, Tippi Shorter and Pepper Pastor are just a few in the current lineup!

Darby Hoffman
Darby Hoffman
Darby Hoffman is a creative and branded content writer based in Chicago, IL. She specializes in topics related to sustainability, beauty technology, and consumer health & safety.