First job: Selling greeting cards door-to-door
Residence: Austin, with homes in Manhattan, Hawaii, Colorado and Malibu
Career moves: Went from being a sales rep to a division manager in the beauty industry to a management trainer and consultant for a variety of companies until starting his own firm in partnership with hair dresser Paul Mitchell in 1980; currently involved in 17 other business ventures, including House of Blues nightclubs, Patron tequila, a Harley Davidson dealership, NRG Natural Gas, Lone Star Energy and Solar Utility Inc.
Service: Board of directors of the Solar Electric Light Fund; Council of Advisors of Global Green USA; advisor on issues of management, motivation and global thinking to U.S. Navy Seals and the CIA; special emissary to the United Nations Environmental program; board of advisors, Waterkeepers Alliance
Benefactor: The Special Operations Fund, providing financial assistance to families of American service personnel killed in the line of duty; Mineseeker Foundation, an initiative to detect and disarm land mines worldwide; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Starbright Foundation for seriously ill children; Stanford Solar Car project
What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
Healthy, sustainable business growth happens gradually, not by leaps and bounds. Don’t run when you should be walking. Always remember, it’s a cinch by the inch, but hard by the yard.
What was the greatest business challenge you’ve faced?
Unscrupulous individuals are marketing counterfeit, stolen and diverted Paul Mitchell Systems products. We sell only to professional salons. If consumers buy our products on the Internet or anywhere else, no matter how reputable the store, we can’t guarantee their quality or safety.
They may be old or even dangerous if counterfeit. Alerting the public to the problem is a top priority for us.