Stacey Carroll, Cost Cutters of Madison

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Stacey Carroll, president, Cost Cutters of Madison.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most challenging aspect as president at Cost Cutters of Madison Inc. is building a team and leading change. I recently rebuilt our Cost Cutters management team representing the 30 salons in central and southern Wisconsin in our franchise. We are developing plans for our company and employees to continue to make Cost Cutters a great place to work. We are focusing on the future of the company and our new top talent will inspire our entire team to grow. I want everyone in the company to feel like they have a stake in Cost Cutters and know they make a difference.

The most rewarding aspect of my job is getting to know the team. Although I had planned to get more involved with Cost Cutters in a couple of years, I became president without a planned timetable due to the unexpected death last fall of my father, Bill Kaminski, who owned the franchise. I am making sure that I set the right examples and make sound decisions, while staying positive and keeping our team informed.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I look up to and admire my dad, who started this company and was a great businessman up until the day he died. He had great ideas and really took the company to new levels of success. He started out very poor in Brainerd, Minnesota, and had to go to work at a very young age to help take care of his brothers and sisters. His dad died when he was two and his mom died when he was 12. He had to get jobs as a young teenager and selflessly give up his paychecks so he could help feed his family, which included his five siblings. He got in trouble in his teenage years and ended up in prison, where he learned to be a barber. He took that skill and his motivation and became a founder of Cost Cutters. He had to overcome a lot in his life but he taught my brother, Steve, and me how to work hard and never give up. He had a lot of drive and determination and that is what made him so successful. He was the recipient of many awards for his leadership, as well as for giving back to the community. He received the Rotary of Madison Senior Service Award two years ago for all he had done for the community, including establishing a hair salon at the Ellen & Peter Johnson HospiceCare Residence run by Agrace in Madison, where Cost Cutters stylists provide free hair services for terminally ill residents. He was also a lot of fun to be around. I strive to continue his legacy and make him proud.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

The high point of my career is right now as I lead the company that meant so much to my dad. I worked with Cost Cutters for over 25 years under his leadership and am very proud that he believed in me enough to provide me the opportunity to take over someday. I have gone up the ladder in this company from being a receptionist in a salon, to going to school for business management and being a co-worker. The last few years, before rejoining Cost Cutters, I worked as an accountant for a senior housing facility and then Life Assist USA. My accounting and business background has been very helpful as I jumped into the position as president of Cost Cutters of Madison Inc.

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Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

The advice I would give to my 21-year-old self is to try not to be so gullible. Trust, but verify — with independent, objective sources. I like to be around optimistic people with a positive outlook on life in general. I would tell myself to pick my battles on things that are important in the grand scheme of things. I have learned that things can’t or don’t always go the way you want or think they should. Learning from mistakes gives a foundation for future success.

What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

The best things about living and working in Dane County are the countless options for activities, and different types of eating options, sporting events, and shopping. We are like a big city but with a small town feel. I love how everyone in Dane County is different and unique and we celebrate that difference and uniqueness.

What are your guilty pleasures?

My guilty pleasures are hanging out with my husband, Brian, my niece and nephew, and our friends. And golf. I absolutely love to golf and shared that passion with my dad. I started golfing in my 20s with my dad at Cost Cutters-sponsored charity events.  It was a great way to help raise money for a cause, but also became a great way to spend time with my dad. We had the same passion for the game and it became a wonderful pastime that we did together up until he passed away.

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