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On the Job with Jodi Mann

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

Q. If you were a young adult fresh out of college, what would you do first in searching for a job?

A. Oh, to do it all over again. College was never my forte. My first love is and always has been music. If I could go back I would have studied music theory and music business.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?

A. My first paycheck was spent on groceries. I had a brand new baby boy at home and a cute little duplex and needed groceries and diapers. I remember thinking that I couldn't wait to make enough to be able to decorate my house and have my own furniture.

Q. What's the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. Working in an artistic field, it is important to always learn from each other and to constantly look for inspiration. Encouragement with a little commission helps, too.

Q. What was your first job?

A. After my softball games I stayed and worked the concession stands and kept score of the other games. It was awesome. I spent my weeknights and summers playing softball and selling hotdogs. Both of my sisters played and worked there so it was a no-brainer. All I needed was enough money to fill up my Jeep to cruise around town on the weekend.

Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?

A. At age 20, I moved back from the Carolinas after finishing up my contract with Paramount Carowinds. I had a taste of my dream and was looking for the next step. I decided to go to Albany Tech and study cosmetology so that I could have a plan B. If I couldn't be onstage, I could still be backstage. And there you go, Backstage was born and so was my beautiful baby, Ashton.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. Vidal Sasson and Robert Cromeans are some of the smartest people in the hair industry. I love their unique business saviness that teaches you how to be cutting-edge and classic.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. You have to offer something different.

Q. What is your favorite tradition?

A. I love having Christmas brunch at my house. We do your typical breakfast casserole, coffee and fruit along with some sweets. The whole family comes over to exchange gifts. I get the most joy from giving, so Christmas gives me a good excuse to spoil my loved ones.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology - examples email, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. - what would you most like to see go away?

A. Voicemail. I don't mind checking my emails after a long day of work or even reading a text or two, but voicemails are a nightmare. I know some of them are important. I have probably missed a few important ones, but I know I can't be the only one that hates it.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. My iPad

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. I tend to read biographies. I just read Janet Jackson's latest and now have moved on to Kara Dioguario. I love all the fashion magazines and read at least one a day. Some of my favorite magazines are Elle, W, Us weekly and Elle Decor.

Q. I'm up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. I drop Ashton off at school at 7:45 in the hottest mismatched clothes and the best bed head you've ever seen. Shower up and get to work while sipping on my triple shot espresso on ice.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. When I am not writing, I am singing. I love the whole creative process of being a singer/songwriter. I carry a journal in my purse and have stacks of them by my bed. It wasn't until I turned 30 that I realized all of my thoughts and poems could turn into songs. I go up to the LeVee every Monday and write with fellow musician Jared Humphries. I also love recording just as much as performing.

Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?

A. All of my mistakes have made me stronger. It is important to admit when you are wrong and to move on.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. I get to create all day. My day consists of hanging out with my clients and making them feel and look their best.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. All the aches and pains of standing in one position for hours on end with your arms in the air.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. Psychology. I'm not even gonna go there. God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. We should listen more than we talk.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. I would love to sing and write for a living.

Q. Finish this thought; "on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself ...

A. Kicked back in the lap of luxury watching my grandkids play in the brown sand on the Isle of Palms.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. Faith. You have to have faith like the mustard seed.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?

A. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Adele and Sheryl Crow. I also have been listening to Phil Collins on repeat lately

Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?

A. I hope to see downtown Albany come alive. There is so much room for growth there.

Q. What was the best vacation you've ever taken? Why?

A. Spending the Christmas holiday with my husband in London and New Years in Paris. Just saying it sounds awesome. It was hands down the best.

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. Hair styles change by the month and makeup changes with the season. Beauty lies within.