Bernie has had a long and successful career in hairdressing as a successful salon owner, industry educator and as a hairdressing entrepreneur developing products, systems, online training and waste management businesses. He is fortunate to have been acknowledged with multiple industry awards, nationally and internationally, and more recently the 2016 AHIA Vidal Sassoon Humanitarian Award which he gratefully received.
Bernie became involved when his wife Leanne read an article in the local paper about a group called ‘The Kuya Collaborative’which is based at the Sunshine Coast University, and who wanted a hairdresser to go over to Manila, Philippines and start a hairdressing program. He wrote a five-day cutting immersion program (still in use today) and asked the industry to donate equipment and trained about 40 families on that first trip. It was a life changing experience, by teaching his craft to people in need, so they could take control of their lives which made an immediate impact.
Bernie has great comfort in teaching and working with large groups of people. It is an experience that allows him to share what he has learned through his years of passion and dedication with others who may be at his level of experience, working their way, up or in need with no experience at all. Teaching to Bernie is an important aspect of being an entrepreneur.
The program has opened a door to hairdressers so they could be part of it as well and have a similar experience while helping others. After a few trips, Bernie realised that the hairdressing community didn’t know what the Kuya Collaborative was, so then the decision was made to call it Hair Aid, which people would understand immediately, which then resulted to formalise Hair Aid into a charity.
Other members of the family have been overseas with him, to be a part of the experience, as they have been instilled with the social responsibility of making a difference in life.
Bernie is the Hair Project leader and Founder of Hair Aid.