In the #PMTSONE series, we celebrate our diverse and inclusive culture by highlighting Future Professionals, alumni, and team members who use their voices to make a difference in their communities. In honor of Pride Month, our June 2021 #PMTSONE features Paul Mitchell The School San Diego alum Dice Moreno, who leads the charge in advocating for safety and inclusivity in salons everywhere.
Growing up in a small town and being bullied in high school, Dice Moreno dropped out, earned a GED, enrolled in community college, and ultimately graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in education. For the past decade, Dice has worked with students on college campuses—conducting trainings on diversity, social-emotional intelligence, and how to be a good support network—before moving to San Diego and becoming a case manager at the YMCA.
“Part of my job [at the Y] is to train doctors, therapists, and educators about LBGTQ competency,” Dice says. “Lots of people are on board with LGB and not everybody knows about the T, and they definitely have a lot of anxiety and fear about doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing…. Part of my job is getting to talk to folks about what it means to be a good ally, how to be inclusive.”
Dice’s position is funded by a grant that ends in a few years, which means it will soon be time for a career shift. “I was already kind of on the page of looking for a trade because I just kept finding myself stuck in positions where there weren’t opportunities for me to move up,” Dice says. “My wife is a hairdresser and has been doing hair for 20 years. I watched her life unfold in front of me and thought, I have this amazing opportunity here, so that’s what inspired me to start at Paul Mitchell.”
As a Future Professional in the midst of Covid, Dice’s intro to cosmetology took place on Zoom. “I just want to give a shout out to the admin folks at the school. They managed to flip everything around to online education so gracefully. Having been a person who’s done that admin work, I understand what a true miracle it is that they got the whole thing so well. It’s impossible to teach hair over the Internet and somehow they managed to do it.”
It wasn’t long before Dice realized that school was another opportunity to spread the message of safety and inclusion. “I asked permission … and got to speak to every single day and nighttime faculty and staff member about how to be inclusive in the salon for LGBTQ folks, particularly the T and nonbinary, because people just don’t know. They were amazing! They had so much heart, so much care, so many good questions. Somebody cried at every session, and not because I was mean, but because it brings up all this stuff or they realize there’s somebody in their family who really needed more support, and now they know what to do.”