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  • Writer's pictureGina Pickett

Career Life Lessons

Updated: Feb 27

When I was 18, I knew precisely what I wanted to do with my career: create beauty around me, help people feel good about themselves, and connect with new people by building relationships. I had been honing my interpersonal skills since I was fifteen at restaurant jobs, grateful that I grew up watching both my parents in the workforce. They instilled in me the importance of work ethic, providing for one's family, and not being afraid to pursue career goals.

My parents Joe and Piera Pickett

At the age of 19, I was a licensed beauty professional and hit the ground running with big dreams. There is value in surrounding yourself with people who excel in your industry, so I cold-called a top salon in Beverly Hills and asked if they needed an assistant. I was offered an interview and secured a job assisting twelve celebrity hairstylists who were in the midst of filming a Bravo reality television show about the salon and its owner. The job news shocked my parents, as they gently reminded me that I was living in Orange County, California, at the time. It didn't faze me, because when the universe presents an opportunity, you seize it. I drove four hours round-trip a day to learn from the best of the best. It was at this salon that I learned my first career life lessons: hustle, and people will notice; integrity and professional polish go a long way; good manners will never go out of style; and everyone has a story to tell, so be a good listener.

Extension specialist

It was at that salon that I met my first business mentor, Kiara Bailey. She was a celebrity extension specialist and a business shark. She recognized that in an industry of emotional artists, I was a steady employee. She hired me as her personal assistant and took my professional career under her wing. I worked for her for two years. She trained me to excel behind the chair, in a classroom, at fashion and award shows, press junkets, on stage, and on TV sets. It was with her that I learned my second career’s life lessons: a positive outlook is important to clients, always dress up because you never know whom you will bump into, find strong leaders to work under, peers and colleagues can be your greatest network, and relationships are the tools to advancement. It was because of her mentorship that I was given a chair at a top salon in Beverly Hills. I soon found myself with my own celebrity clientele under an incredible boss who valued my skills.

Years later, I was presented with a new business opportunity in a new state. After relocating to Texas for my husband’s career, I was hired at a salon in Southlake, Texas, among twenty other stylists. I started without any clients or extended family but felt confident that I could adapt and build new connections. I had no idea how that move would drastically change our lives. We were quickly scooped up and indoctrinated into Texan culture by a Fort Worth couple we met while vacationing in St. Lucia. They came from a large family of beauty professionals and taught us about Friday night football, dove hunting, lake days, and what Southern hospitality looked like. As I navigated the new wonders of Texas in my personal life, I began to patiently rebuild my professional one. In the salon, I met the most amazing families who began to invest in me in ways I had never experienced as a stylist in California. As I transformed their hair, they transformed my loneliness by inviting me to their social events, family gatherings, and treated me like a daughter.

Fourth of July in Southlake, Texas

They helped me navigate motherhood without my parents nearby and offered to babysit when we were sick, attended Grandparents' Day at my son's school, and made sure we never spent holidays alone. It was at this salon that I learned my third career life lessons: loyalty is built through human kindness, networking can happen over nachos at sports stadiums, and your ability to appreciate and adapt to new cultures is critical.

Event styling

Four years after rebuilding my clientele, I took a significant step in Southlake as a small business owner and opened my own salon studio. I assumed ownership of my dreams and professional goals and excelled in building a luxury experience for my clientele. I added retail lines, learned bookkeeping, trained in new hair trends, and continued to connect with clients regarding their own dreams, wishes, and major life events. It was in my own small business that I learned my fourth career life lessons: don't forget to invest in yourself, keep learning new skills, protect your assets, utilize your network for moral support, and good organization saves you money.

I met the Lord after serving in youth ministry.

During all of this, my clients began to pour into me spiritually. My family did not have a relationship with the Lord, so we began to fill our lives in new ways by joining a church. Little did I know back then that meeting the Lord and entrusting my heart to Him would change not only my personal life but also my professional one. I started helping out at church and found ways to serve others in my community. I met another small business owner, a shear sharpener, who prayed for me at work and told me he used his business for ministry. The conversation gave me the motivation to use my career for God. I found a women's and children's shelter in need of haircuts and gave free haircuts to six children. I spent the following week at work with the realization that when you serve people through your career, you feel connected to a greater purpose. I felt passionate about my craft, knowing I had skills that could help uplift people and impact them positively.

Serving the community through beauty
Beauty Blessings volunteer network

I started attending local shelters regularly to provide free beauty services and began inviting my friends to help. I created a ministry network for beauty professionals to gather together and provided volunteers with matching shirts. Our network quickly gained traction and began to cross state borders.

World Wide Hair Tour 2018 Parma, Italy

With God's grace, I was invited to Parma, Italy to receive an award at the international World Wide Hair Tour. My testimony about the importance of serving in my career was shared with over 3500 industry professionals who collectively spoke 44 different languages. Beauty Blessings was provided tools for our community events. along with pallets of beauty product donations that were to be used to bless people in the community.

I Sustain Beauty 2018 award for Beauty Blessings
Donations from Davines spread nationwide

It was while running this nonprofit ministry that I learned my fifth career life lessons: serving in the community can teach you things about business that the office can't; serving with friends and colleagues can be a great way to deepen relationships; giving back always blesses you tenfold; and stepping out of your comfort zones will grow you as a leader.

Small Business Ownership

When COVID-19 hit and shut down my business, my family and I used that time to make a big decision. We decided to close my salon in the city and build a luxury salon space and boutique on our home property in the country. As businesses in Texas resumed, I thrived in my home salon, excited to pamper my clientele, connect with my local community, and have more time for hobbies such as writing and photography. I believed I had found the ideal balance of small business ownership and planned to utilize my new space until I retired. Sadly in 2023, after two decades in the industry, I began to develop allergic reactions to the salon chemicals I used daily. My doctors advised me to stop working behind the chair and find a new way to earn a living. It was at this salon that I learned my sixth career life lessons: always put your faith, your family, and your health first; never give up when your career takes a turn; keep your resume updated even if you're betting you won't need it; and walk boldly into new beginnings because you have no idea what blessings God has planned for your life.

New Career Beginnings

It is with great pleasure that I announce my new business beginning with Higginbotham Insurance as their Community Relations Coordinator. I will work with my incredible manager, Priscilla Miller, as we help Higginbotham employees with philanthropic efforts nationwide and assist with the "Hig Help" grant program that allows employees to give back to local charities and serve in the community. 

While my career title has changed, my "why" has not. In this next chapter of my work, I will continue to create beauty around me, help people feel good about themselves, and continue connecting with people every day by building relationships. Life happens, but I encourage you to stay true to yourself and never forget your "why" because the world needs exactly who you were created to be.

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