Michael Hansen is the chief executive officer of Cengage Group, the parent company of Milady. He has led the strategy, performance, and ongoing evolution of the global business since 2012. Under Michael's leadership, Cengage Group has been transformed from a traditional print publisher to a global education technology company that advances the way students learn through quality digital experiences.
Michael has deep experience in heading organizations and is a thought leader in the information services sector. He has an extensive track record in developing successful business models and high-performing executive teams. He has transformed Cengage Group into an industry leader—united by a transparent culture and shared belief that through the power and joy of learning, students can enrich their lives and achieve their dreams.
Michael was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2020 for his leadership in tackling the affordability crisis in higher education with the introduction of Cengage Unlimited. He was also recognized by Glassdoor as a Top CEO as part of its Employees’ Choice Award in both 2018 and 2019.
Prior to joining Cengage Group, Michael served in the CEO position in a variety of large media and information services companies. Michael holds a master of law degree from the University of Bonn in Germany and an MBA from Columbia University in New York. He is based out of New York City.
Referred to by his fans as “the Artist for the People,” Phil Hansen is an internationally recognized multimedia artist, speaker, author, and innovator at the forefront of bringing art to a wider audience. Crashing irreverently through conventional boundaries, Phil works at the intersection of traditional art, electronic media, offbeat materials, and interactive experiences. He is most widely known for his meta- art, videos that document the creation process (sometimes even through destruction), showing millions that art is action, not just result. Hansen's work also extends deeply into traditional media with features on the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, the Rachael Ray Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, Glamour, and many more. His work is sought-after by many influential clients, including the Grammy Awards, Disney, Skype, Mazda, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
For the tens of millions who have seen Phil’s art on TV and online, it’s hard to imagine that his artistic journey nearly came to an end when a tremor developed in his drawing hand. In exploring new ways to create art, Phil discovered that by embracing his shake, limitations could become the passageway to creativity.
His inspirational story was first shared on the TED stage to a standing ovation, and then shared around the world, including on PBS, BBC, and CCTV. Now, Phil’s ability to draw parallels to the business setting has won him followers among industry and business leaders, leading to invitations to speak at the TED2013 conference, Adobe MAX Creativity Conference, World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and the Million Dollar Round Table.
“Phil’s message of self-reinvention and the power of transforming adversity into opportunity is one that translates well across audiences—regardless of the industry. His message inspires, motivates, and re-energizes the creative spirit in us all.” - Ford Motor Company
“We need to first be limited in order to become limitless.” - Phil Hansen
At the request of some of his speaking clients, Phil has designed a unique art experience beyond the talk. Companies who are seeking an unforgettable interactive experience for their audience are absolutely stunned by its originality, value, and effect.
"A number of years ago at our sales meeting we had a very expensive performance painter present. I can say that the impact of Phil’s talk with the fingerprint art project provided much more impact and value. Being able to connect all employees to a single work of art is absolutely incredible." - Bethany Quam, General Mills President, Convenience & Foodservice Division.
Katherine D. Brodie heads the Washington, D.C.
team of the firm’s established national higher education law and policy practice
. She serves as a team lead for the Duane Morris Education
industry group. She is one of a small number of attorneys in the United States with a daily practice devoted primarily to the needs of higher education institutions (non-profit, public and proprietary), higher education associations, higher education companies, and investors in higher education. She has a keen interest in supporting institutions and their partners to effectively lead and adapt to the fast pace of change in the U.S. education sector while maintaining high quality postsecondary educational services as measured in cost and student outcomes.
Katherine supports her clients with effective and cost-efficient regulatory advice geared toward identifying and reducing operational risk or facilitating acquisitions, lending and other transactions that promote institutional adaptation and innovation. When necessary, she advocates in defense of institutional interests in response to adverse federal, state or accrediting agency actions with the goal of limiting both institutional liability and the likelihood of reoccurrence through strengthened internal controls.
Ms. Brodie’s experience includes, among other areas of the law, U.S. Department of Education Title IV student financial aid regulations and accrediting agency standards including substantive change (ownership and governance, program, location and other changes), Title IX compliance and response, campus safety, marketing (federal and state misrepresentation prohibitions), distance education, foreign school and overseas operations including study abroad programs, affiliation and partnership agreements, and skills focused programs including coding boot camp and other short term courses. Her advice also includes compliance with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), U.S. Department of Veterans (VA)/U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) education benefit, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding, state education grant program, and other federal and state regulations and programs relevant to institutional operations. Because the needs of institutions are so diverse, she is often aided in her work by subject matter experts in the firm’s other disciplines including tax, real estate, immigration, corporate, and trial.
She is a frequent speaker and writer on higher education topics and trends and, as a registered federal lobbyist, advocates before the U.S. Congress and U.S. Department of Education on higher education policy reform proposals.
Sandra Bruce is currently the general manager of Milady, a division of Cengage Learning, Inc. She holds a bachelor of science in business management and economics (BSBME) from the State University of New York Empire State College and has led the marketing, business development, and international strategies in a variety of roles for Milady for more than 11 years. Currently, Sandra is responsible for leading Milady’s publishing and business development strategies and is always striving to deliver innovative solutions to customers in both the academic and professional markets. Sandra has extensive experience with association work and has represented Milady on a variety of national and international association boards and committees, including AACS where she has been directly involved in strategic planning with the board of directors and represented the associate members for five years as chair of the advisory committee.
As Senior Vice President, leading the marketing, education and business development teams, Kevin oversees Pivot Point International brand development.
He brings a strong background and experience from over 30 years in the professional beauty industry starting as a cosmetologist; holding positions as a national guest artist, salon/day spa owner, beauty school instructor and director, and national to global education leader. For the past nearly 20 years, he has held numerous roles in global brand leadership focusing on strategic brand development, education, marketing and brand communication strategy.
Before joining Pivot Pont International in 2014, he established an admirable trajectory within KAO Salon Division, leading global marketing and education initiatives for over 16 years, including the iconic lifestyle brand KMS and GOLDWELL, often referred to as the world’s most admired expert in professional hair color–while residing in North America and central Europe.
Andrew’s journey started as an apprentice at a salon that instantly proved there is more to be had in the hair industry than could be seen from the outside. In the past 23 years, he has been a full-time hairdresser, salon owner, artistic director, education director, photographer, editorial stylist, educator, and coach both within and outside the hair world.
“Both my paths as a teacher and a personal coach were spawned from a feeling of paying it forward.”
Andrew saw first-hand how skilled teachers and his life coach were able to shape a future more expansive than his eyes first envisioned. He wanted to do the same for others so teaching and coaching became a major focus early in his career. As Artistic Director for Paul Mitchell Schools and Education Director for Sam Villa, Andrew’s passion turned towards building future teachers, coaches, and leaders. Again, all with the purpose of offering those gifts that were given to him to the widest audience possible.
“Every coaching client I work with and every class I teach returns inspiration for my own journey.”
In his life coaching practice, The Journeyist, Andrew draws on his certification as an mBit (Multiple Brain Integration Techniques) coach/trainer, an Oxygen Advantage breathwork facilitator, and his education through Soul Salt Academy and Ultimate Coach University to support people in using their own intuition, compassion, and creativity to grow personally, spiritually, and professionally.
“I truly believe that our journeys are our best teachers”.
Motorcycle trips, outdoor adventures, meditation, music, and training in Aikido are all directly infused into Andrew’s vision of life and therefore find their way into every class, every presentation, and every coaching session.
“If you are open to your own journey and ready to explore forward with joy and curiosity, my greatest hope is that I can offer some part of my training and experience to support you on your path.”
"There is something magical about bringing the crew together. When we discover life together, each individual’s unique experience shines a new perspective on our own."
Stephanie Carter is the co-founder of Beauty as a Business, a social media curriculum for beauty school students.
After spending six years in the television news industry, Stephanie moved into PR and digital marketing for education. She has spent the past decade studying how students choose schools, watching learning paths evolve with the rise of LMS platforms, and helping schools grow.
Stephanie has personally worked on the marketing campaigns for more than 80 beauty schools nationwide and is excited to share the stories of what worked and what didn’t, and the awesome twists and turns of that beast we call marketing!
With deep experience in social media and digital audience development, Joel Espinoza is focused on digital strategy development, digital media planning, and real-time nurturing of Advance 360 Education clients’ marketing campaigns. Prior to joining Advance 360 Education, Joel worked with trade and vocational schools for more than 10 years, managing digital marketing campaigns. His strategies contribute to the proven success that Advance 360 Education clients experience.
Lenore began her career as a successful stylist and moved on to become a talented educator and manager of education with globally known, TONI&GUY Hairdressing. She developed a vast knowledge of salon and basic academy operations after decades of overseeing the success of partnership/franchise locations and recently was a trainer for UNITE Haircare Paramount Business course. At her time with TONI&GUY, she mastered how to market and manage the brand image sought after by many competing companies while holding the position of vice president of marketing for 15 years. With retail being a dominant factor in a hairdressers success, she learned all she could through the introduction, training, and role out of new products developed by TIGI and Unilever. Her leadership in education, operations, and marketing gave her the experience to establish her own business in 2015, opening up COLLECTIV Academy, cosmetology school, in Salt Lake City, Utah where she loves being part of creating talented, young professionals and plans to build a brand that leads the way cosmetology schools are educating our industry’s future professionals.
practices in the area of education law
. Ms. Gill’s practice focuses on issues related to federal and state higher education law from both a policy and regulatory compliance perspective. Her experience and advice includes issues surrounding compliance with the federal regulatory process, particularly as related to the Title IV student financial aid programs authorized by the Higher Education Act and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Specifically, Ms. Gill counsels institutions regarding institutional, student and program Title IV eligibility requirements, including Title IV program review and audit response and resolution, Title IX (sexual harassment) and Clery Act (campus safety) compliance, Annual Safety Reports, EEOC complaints, change of ownership questions and approvals, incentive compensation, licensing requirements, state authorization (on-ground and distance education), DOD/VA educational benefit regulations, gainful employment compliance, and borrower defense to repayment issues. She also advises schools regarding consumer protection and disclosure regulations and trends, and a variety of other legal and regulatory issues impacting educational institutions, including marketing and advertising practices, and third party servicer relationships. She assists clients in providing formal responses to rulemaking and draft legislation. As a former staffer on Capitol Hill and registered lobbyist, Ms. Gill brings an insiders perspective to the federal legislative process. She has a strong command of the intersection between policy and regulations. She works with clients to develop advocacy and engagement strategies for issues related to higher education and more specifically the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. She is a speaker at higher education conferences on emerging and on-going regulatory issues impacting postsecondary educational institutions.
Michael is the President of American Institute of Beauty, Inc. with 2 campus locations in Pinellas County, Florida. He brings over 25 years in the Beauty Industry from the Beauty Supply Distribution arena. Additional, he is proud to say that he is a former Marine and Banker with a special love for Business Finance.
Neal Heller is currently the CEO and President of the Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers, located in Hollywood, Florida. Neal holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami and his Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. In his current role, Neal oversees the day-to-day operations, compliance and development of three campuses; including state licensure and NACCAS accreditation. Prior to Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers, Neal was co-founder, CEO and President of the Florida College of Natural Health, where he successful led the school to become the largest of its kind in the South Eastern United States. He also served as past-President of the Florida Association of Post-Secondary Schools and Colleges and as an Executive Board member for four years.
Denise Herman began her legal career over 30 years ago, having attained a dual master’s degree in education and business at Seton Hall University and a J.D. at Rutgers Law School.
Throughout her legal career, Denise has provided counsel to various regulated industries, including the aviation, health care, financial services, and education sectors. Her most memorable achievement is being appointed vice president and assistant general counsel for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York City at an induction ceremony at the top of the former World Trade Center in 1994.
Denise relocated from New York to Florida in 1995 to become general counsel for MetLife Financial Services, South Eastern Region.
In 1999, she diverted from the practice of law to attain the requisite FINRA licenses and work as managing director of five MetLife Financial Services offices on Florida's Gold Coast. In that role, she and her admissions, compliance, and sales teams led the country for three consecutive years in growth and sales. With that team, Denise supervised 165 financial advisors and brokers, overseeing daily trades and transactions.
Ready for a change, Denise opened her law offices in Florida in 2009 while simultaneously teaching undergraduate pre-law students at Keiser University in Tampa. In her law practice, her goal is to apply her extensive and diverse professional experience to help clients find practical and cost-effective solutions to legal problems. She is both a trial and transactional attorney, practicing at both the state and federal level.
In 2014, Denise began providing legal advice and counsel to beauty school owners and their management. Drawing upon her experience in the law, education, sales, and business, she has successfully defended administrative agency complaints, negotiated beauty school specific leases, addressed a myriad of employment-related issues, challenged personal injury demands, proposed the implementation of risk management tools, devised succession plans, addressed regulatory issues, and undertaken complicated contract negotiations.
For more on Denise, please visit www.beautyschoollaw.com
Sarah Holmes has more than 12 years of experience as a former executive director of admissions & marketing with a prominent beauty school, fostering one of the highest conversion rates in the industry. She uses her sales techniques and expertise to help schools grow enrollment. She has been consulting with vocational schools for the past five years. Most recently, Sarah joined Advance 360 Education and is helping to demonstrate the power of marketing and admissions working together to drive enrollment.
In 1994, Joe Mastalia came to DePasquale Salon Systems (DSS), a professional beauty distributorship that provides professional products, services, and education to salons and spas along the east Coast. As an operations Manager, Mastalia brought new ideas and energy while setting unprecedented goals for expanding the distributorship. Mastalia said, “Selling myself first, concept second and then the product that I believe in. My goals are to sell more each year and to make success stories of other team members. Success is mandatory, not an option! I enjoy long term business relationships with both clients and fellow colleagues at DePasquale Companies. Honesty and integrity, two qualities I learned from both my parents. I understand numbers and realize that the most important aspect of a successful business is profit. Another quality that I believe that I possess is that I am an excellent communicator who also leads by example.” Over the course of his career at DSS, Mastalia met each aspiration with his signature “hands-on” approach to business and, by doing so, effectively doubled the DSS sales force as well as company sales. In 2004, after more than a decade of loyal and markedly successful service to the distributorship, Mastalia was appointed president of DePasquale Salon Systems, the first-ever in DSS’ expansive history. According to company owner Carmen DePasquale, “Joe is truly an exceptional person. His blood runs hot, filled with passion and the desire to be the most he can be. Passion with desire, integrity with loyalty–that formula will build any company. I’m glad he leads mine.” In 2008, Mastalia became the President of Lakme USA, a hair color collection with color safe styling products. His Lakme USA goal is to have distribution throughout the USA. Mastalia was a former board member of Cosmoprof North America and is currently a board member of ICMAD. In 2014, Mastalia was honored with a BMA Award for Leadership and Distribution. Currently, Mastalia helps lead DSS and Lakme USA to new sales heights.
Amanda Rao is the social media and marketing coordinator for American Institute of Beauty, responsible for the development of social media campaigns, strategic growth, and expansion of the AIB brand.
Amanda holds a B.A. in marketing from the University of South Florida, Tampa where her studies focused on social media and digital marketing. Since then, she has assisted multiple local companies in various industries with their social media strategy, increasing their books of business. She joined the American Institute of Beauty team in the fall of 2020 and has brought a fresh perspective on digital marketing and social media best practices to the company. Amanda is based in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Corina Santoro is the Sr. Product Director for Milady, the leader in beauty and wellness education. Her work is focused on innovating and re-imagining products and services that prepare students to enter the workplace ready to succeed today and in the jobs of tomorrow.
A seasoned product development executive, she has launched products and programs around the globe and received numerous accolades over her 20-year career, including the prestigious 40 under 40 award. Her specialty has always been taking the power of something large and making it available to the everyday person. Her passion is empowering life change through knowledge.
When not traveling, speaking and developing new products, Corina is a mom to three boys and loves to workout and give back to her local community. She is often recognized for her signature purple, curly hair.
The cosmetology industry is a main focus for SalesComm and Rob Thatcher, in particular. Rob has spoken in almost every major city in the country with practically every major brand in the industry, helping to improve their show rates. He conducts as many as 30 trainings per week over the phone and two or three 13-hour in-person trainings per month. He has helped hundreds of admissions and service employees over the years to increase their sales and decrease their no-show rates as much as 60 percent. Schools that work with SalesComm often see show rates of up to 95 percent on a regular basis. He continually works on new ways to help each school. This is his life and his passion!
Derik Timmerman is the founder of Sparrow Nonprofit Solutions, a nationwide consulting firm helping nonprofits maximize their world-changing impact. In addition to coaching nonprofit professionals at all levels, Derik is a nationally recognized speaker and author on a variety of nonprofit subjects, including fundraising, grant writing, and operational excellence. Prior to founding Sparrow, Derik was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and a U.S. Army Intelligence Officer with two combat deployments to Iraq. Derik earned a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as well as a master’s degree, a Ph.D., and CFRE certification in fundraising. Derik has a passion for chocolate chip cookies, burning them off on nearby hiking trails with his wife and three boys, and living out his life's core purpose of building factories of hope.