Our Alumni | Paul Mitchell the School Chicago
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Our Alumni

Take a moment to get to know a few extraordinary Paul Mitchell The School Chicago alumni. Their stories speak to the power of dreaming big and getting a great education.

Frank Zito


Before enrolling at Paul Mitchell The School Chicago, Frank was not only our admissions leader here at the school, but also a part of Paul Mitchell's national admissions team. While in school he was admissions leader during the day while attending night school. During his time as a Future Professional, Frank committed to learning the industry inside and out. A member of Phase Two, he enhanced his technical and take-home skills, leading him to receive the Take Home Sales Award on several different occasions. Frank also attended Caper 2011, a great opportunity for Future Professionals to earn their way to Las Vegas to learn from and work next to our industry's top professionals.

Since graduating, Frank continued as Paul Mitchell The School Chicago's admissions leader until Paul Mitchell The School Lombard opened. He continued his journey as admissions leader there, building a strong admissions team. Currently, Frank is the director of operations with Ten Friends Salon. His favorite part of his job is building relationships with cosmetology students and showing them the benefits of the industry.

Frank's advice to Future Professionals: "Say YES to every opportunity the school provides. Even if you don't feel like it or if you think it isn't for you, say yes and put yourself out there, because it is incredibly important to create the habit of saying yes." To Future Professionals who are close to graduating, he offers, "Patience is virtue."

Craig Cowan


Craig Cowan continues his family's legacy as a fourth generation member of the beauty industry. Growing up around hairdressers, his passion was sparked further following time spent with Paul Mitchell The School dean, Winn Claybaugh. Shortly after, Craig enrolled at Paul Mitchell The School Chicago. Envious of his classmates who he saw as naturally gifted at doing hair, he spent many evenings working hard at mastering the basics on mannequins. While at the School, Craig participated on the Take Home team, student council, FUNraising, and the Be Nice or Else team. He credits saying "yes" to those opportunities as a spring board to having other opportunities follow. While at school, he volunteered to help the Paul Mitchell Show Team at America's Beauty Show, which led to his eventual role as Angus Mitchell's assistant. 


After completing the program, he worked behind the chair at BCS Hair Design - A Paul Mitchell Focus Salon, and became a licensed instructor with Paul Mitchell The School Chicago. His love for cutting hair led to time spent as a cutting specialist, Phase Two leader, and other roles including Core Learning Leader, clinic floor Learning Leader, theory leader, and sales leader. 


Craig currently serves as a salon consultant for his family distribution company, Professional Salon Concepts. His fondest times are when he encounters fellow graduates of The School in salons, bringing their dreams into reality. Helping salons increase their service volume, take-home volume, and overall salon profitability fuels him to help guide them to new levels of success.

Lauren Dengel


Lauren Dengel and her best friend, both Paul Mitchell–graduates who spent time as educators and in admissions, followed their dreams and created a women's only salon, Salon for Women. Established in San Diego in February of 2013, the salon is where women come to not only look good, but to feel fabulous! With the success of its location in San Diego, Lauren decided to open another, sharing the salon/style bar trend in her beloved hometown of Omaha. After months of planning and hard work, SFW's second salon opened its doors in August 2015. Find out more about Lauren and her work on social media:

Instagram: @salonforwomen
Website: sfwsalon.com

Ashley O’Shaughnessy


Ashley graduated from Paul Mitchell The School Chicago in October 2013, and soon after moved to San Diego in pursuit of working for a dream salon. In February of 2014, she was hired at A Robert Cromeans Salon, and has been loving it ever since. Her road had definitely been fraught with some sweat and tears, but the experience has been unbeatable thus far: She is thankful to be able to say she loves what she gets to do, who she gets to do it with, and who she gets to do it for.


Licensed in both Illinois and California, for Ashley now the sky is the limit. She has been a full-time stylist behind the chair at Robert Cromeans Walk In Salon in Pacific Beach, San Diego for just over a year. Her days are filled with meeting amazing people. She has worked multiple Paul Mitchell shows behind the scenes, and has been a hand-selected attendee of 2015 Business Revolution. She is a proud car owner at the age of 21, and soon-to-be dog mom. She could not be happier with the decision to attend Paul Mitchell The School Chicago three years ago, and is thankful for the amazing souls she's encountered along the way. 


For Ashley's latest work, inspiration, and California sunsets check out her Instagram page: @ashleychicago_arcs

Mark Torres


Before enrolling at Paul Mitchell The School Chicago in January 2012, Mark had been cutting the hair of friends and family for 15 years as a self-taught and unlicensed stylist. He had worked in the entertainment, health, fitness, and mortgage industries before attending the school; however, he knew his true passion was hair and that it was time to start moving in the direction of making it his life-long career.


While in school, Mark made it his goal to take any and everything offered to expand and enhance his skill set. This would include seeking advice and ideas from mentors like Steve Cowan, Jim Salerno, and Craig Cowan, all of whom played a key role in Mark's decision-making after graduation. While in school, Mark took part in Hair Battle, winning a $10,000 photo shoot with Jean Sweet. Mark spent six months in Phase 2 where he really shined being behind the chair. He would regularly be recognized for having top Dangerous Service Dollars, Dangerous Take Home Dollars, and Dangerous Repeat Request for Phase 2 students. Mark also attended Caper in Las Vegas, as well as New York's Fall Fashion week.


In only two months after graduating, on February 1, 2013 Mark opened ReMarked Salon, A Paul Mitchell Focus Salon (located in the trendy Bucktown neighborhood), thus fulfilling his life-long dream of owning his own salon. The salon, with its team consisting of all Paul Mitchell graduates, has been recognized as a Top 10 Chicago Salon by the Chicago Traveler, and has achieved the coveted 5-star Yelp rating with over 100 written reviews. This past year, the salon was selected to be 1 of 10 to compete in Hair Wars, and was selected to showcase its creativity.


Mark stands in the salon as the top producer month after month. He is behind the chair from open to close every day, and his appointment book is typically reserved two weeks in advance, with clientele consisting of 50% men and 50% women. As busy as he is every day, he absolutely loves what he does. He suggests people find out what makes them happy, and figure out a way to make money doing it—then, it's not work! You can find out more about Mark via social media:



Benjamin Jay


Benjamin Jay is a second generation hairstylist who has been in the salon industry since he was 14. Having started working with his father, he fell in love with the business and customer service aspect of a salon. He decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps and attend beauty school, being the first student to enroll in Paul Mitchell The School Chicago. 


His passion for branding, business, art, and giving back led him to do multiple Paul Mitchell School tours, sharing his success formula with Future Professionals all over the country. His school tour resulted in raising $25,000 in just four months for charities such as the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation, The Morris Animal Shelter, No Limits, and the Children’s Miracle Network, just to name a few.


Benjamin is the owner of the HAIR LOFT ltd, which is the number one Paul Mitchell Salon in the city of Chicago. His visionary thinking, leadership, and passion for business has helped the HAIR LOFT ltd see a 44% increase in less than five years and surpass the $1M mark in revenue.


Benjamin was a national educator with John Paul Mitchell Systems and has developed Form + Function Salon Education, which has become host to some of the best advanced education offered in the beauty industry by industry icons.


“Never bet against passion because passion builds potential into reality.” - Benjamin Jay.

Amber Jasmin Morrow


Amber is a NYC-based makeup and hair artist. Currently, she is supervising the hair, makeup, and wig department of Les Misérables on Broadway. On top of her supervisor duties, Amber is also a part of the styling team for "Saturday Night Live" where she has the opportunity to work on various styles and periods of hair styling every week. She has also has the pleasure of working on various TV shows filming around NYC (e.g., "The Get Down" [Netflix], "Limitless" [CBS], "Vinyl" [CBS], "The Today Show" [NBC]). Her work will also be seen on the upcoming production of "The Wiz Live" premiering on NBC December 3, 2015.

Aside from her TV and Broadway work, Amber has had the pleasure being a part of the Maybelline Cosmetics and Garnier Teams in NYC for the last three years. Her work has been featured in magazines including Elle and Shape. She has also toured with three national Broadway tours as supervisor ("Monty Python's Spamalot," "The Color Purple," and "Rock of Ages").

Amber's career started at Paul Mitchell The School Chicago where she received her cosmetology training and license. Not long after graduation, she moved to NYC on a quest to take the city by storm! You can find out more about Amber via her website: AmberMorrowArtistry.com.

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