The Pursuit of Passion:
Make it Reality

Dare to Dream conference

You never know when inspiration is going to strike. When Tom Petrillo, principal at The Salon People travelled to present at a salon summit, he didn’t know a casual conversation there would lead to the creation of a major event.

“I was having lunch with some stylists and asked them to tell me their story and their dreams,” he says. “Some of them had very defined dreams, and for others, planning big for the future wasn’t a priority due to other life experiences.

“We can all have big dreams. If we articulate them, put a plan into motion, then they can come true,” he says.

“And from there, I realized we need to put together a forum to help people see how they might make their dreams become reality.”

Petrillo also felt the market was lacking in conferences specifically for stylists and salon and spa teams who want to grow in different directions, but aren’t sure about their path. He says “The conference is interactive—participants are able to create a plan that weekend that they can start immediately.”
< “Serious Business is the best conference for leaders, owners and managers—that’s their primary audience,” he says. “And big hair shows focus on technical inspiration, new products and tools. But where I saw a void was bringing service providers and salon and spa teams together and giving them a clear articulation of how to make their dreams come true,” he adds.

“Maybe a stylist wants to become an editorial hairdresser,” he says. “But to do that, they must understand the process of what being an editorial stylist is all about. How do you get there? Sustain yourself? This event illustrates stylists’ storylines and how they made their dreams come true.”

Keynote speakers Van Council, David Wagner and John DiJulius

Dare to Dream: The Event

Petrillo’s own dream of helping salon service providers reach their goals came to fruition for its first year September 11-12, 2016 when The Salon People hosted Dare to Dream at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Three owners, Van Council, David Wagner and John DiJulius, spoke about their unique paths in the industry.

“Van told his story about running a successful salon group and facilitating the dreams of others,” Petrillo says.  “Achieving your dream is a lot of hard work and a deep commitment to getting there—he surrounds himself with people who do just that.”
David Wagner spoke about his approach of giving people purpose beyond the chair with his Daymaker movement, and John DiJulius dove into his specialty—why quality service is so important and why stylists should want to provide it.

These three keynote speakers created a core to the event with a focus on being successful behind the chair.
Rounding out the two-day conference were three panels with three to four people on each, which helped attendees dig even deeper into their passions and carve out a path for success.


The first panel was all about building a brand. The panel, which included Ian Michael Black, J’Keren Sears, Shelley Simmons and Kathleen Turpel,  told attendees how they built their own brands while working alongside their owners and/or manufacturer. They also gave attendees real-world tips on building your social media presence, hashtagging strategy, how to take the perfect picture of your work, and how to share it the right way.

The second panel focused on how to find a mentor. Panelists Sara Pestella, Alberto Rossell-Davis, Allison Burton and John Souza discussed how they mentor their own teams and what mentors have meant to them.  (And Ian Michael Black couldn’t help but make a cameo.)

Daring to believe was the theme of the third panel.

Frank Rizzieri, TJ DeMarco and Louis Ferrie talked about their hard work, dedication, and the importance of not just putting their dreams out into the world, but also working on them tirelessly, and the reward of seeing them manifest.

“I want service providers who attend the event to walk away and say, ‘I can do that because someone just like me did it,’” Petrillo says. “Panels like these illustrate how the journey is done and how attendees can do the same.”

Speakers Include Ian Michael Black, Lupe Voss and Frank Rizzieri

Join Your Peers, Chase Your Dreams

Petrillo says Dare to Dream is for service providers, owners, and “anyone with a dream.” And anyone who attends can expect to leave with a plan.

“We’ve worked extensively with Qnity and distributed a workbook with a 9Grid for every attendee to write down opportunities at the end of the event,” he says. “We want to give them the tools so they can identify their mentor, develop their brand and carve out their journey. We ask the questions and they fill out the 9Grid.”

The 9Grids from the first conference were photographed and held in a “treasure chest” of dreams.

“This is an event we are annualizing,” Petrillo says.

“Dreams are not a one-time thing and they’re not a one-approach-fits-all.

I feel so fortunate that most of my dreams have come true, and now I’m at a place where it’s no longer about me. It makes my heart sing to help others figure out their dreams. My goal is to pass it forward.

In addition to the world-class speakers and panels, attendees were also invited to “Dare to Give” on the first evening of the event, by attending a gala with a silent auction to benefit breast cancer research, held at the stunning Salvador Dali Museum—right next door to the Mahaffey Theater.

Pyure Salon Team
The Pyure Salon Group dreams of being a globally-recognized show team. Witness their groundbreaking work as they gain the experience needed to achieve their dream.

The second annual Dare to Dream conference will be held September 10-11, 2017.  

Tickets will be $249 or $299 at the door, and only $50 for students and educators.  For more event details and registration, visit Dare to Dream.


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