Samantha Palya started her grooming career in the year of 1996 at Great Lakes Academy of Professional Pet Styling. She entered her first competition at the All American Grooming Show in 1996. From then she earned placements in poodles, and handstripping in her division. She was awarded Best Groomer and Best Groomed Dog in Show for a handstripped terrier at Groom Expo in 1998. At the age of 21 she opened Absolutely Pawfect Pet Styling. Samantha apprentices to help give opportunities to future pet care professionals. She holds certificates for CPR and Pet Safety, Skin and Hair, Salon Sanitation, Canine Body Language, Dog Gurus College, Pricing for profits, and many more.
Grazia "Grace" Adriani is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer with NDGAA, and a certified groomer with IPG. She graduated from Merryfield School of Pet Grooming in 2015 where she was a teacher up until recently. She apprenticed under Irina Pinkusevich and Michael Lamb. Wanting to learn more, she worked with Teraz Kennels polishing her skills and expertise on hand-stripping, specifically Lakeland Terriers. Once she experienced dog shows, she was hooked. She has shown several dogs, including her very own champions CH Teraz Bringing Sexy Back (Justin) and CH Teraz Gotta Have It (Velociraptor). She currently breeds Kerry Blue Terriers and Lakeland Terriers.
Chris Anthony, weary from her travails in retail management and office work, found her calling when she discovered pet grooming. Her near fifteen year journey in this career has led her through many opportunities, experiences & life lessons, including grooming and managing in both small and corporate salons, and starting her own successful house call grooming business in New Jersey. Supplementing those life lessons by educating herself on the varying aspects of her career, she always sought out innovations in pet care, education, grooming techniques, tools and products. Now her passion for grooming & education has added more in depth knowledge on scissors, scissoring techniques and ergonomics to help preserve her own health and longevity in her chosen profession.
Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins is the Owner/Master Groomer at Love Fur Dogs in Glencoe, Illinois. Named “Best Groomer in Chicagoland” by the Chicago Tribune, Jennifer has been grooming, breeding, and showing several breeds of dogs and cats for four decades. Jennifer was featured on Season Three of the Hulu Television Series Small Business Revolution as a Grooming Expert. A retired career teacher, Jennifer is a grooming educator who also writes grooming articles and an award-winning blog. Jennifer has published a poster and is working on a book of the same title, A Groomers Guide to the Fifteen Coat Types, based on her ground-breaking seminar. Jennifer founded the Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association. Jennifer and her husband live with their retired show dogs, two miniature poodles and two Australian Shepherds. They bi-locate between suburban Chicago and their Powhatan, Virginia retirement retreat. Jennifer can be reached at www.groomersguide.com
Nadia Bongelli has been grooming pets since 2009 and competing since 2012. Her accolades include Barkleigh Honors Up and Coming Groomer of the Year in 2016, Best All Around International Groomer at Intergroom 2017, five Rising Star Gold Medals, Rising Star of the Year award at Intergroom 2016, two Canadian BIS awards and had numerous Open Level placements in Canada and several in the United States. Nadia’s proudest moment was being awarded Canadian Groomer of the Year at the very first Canadian Grooming Industry Awards. She is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer with the National Dog Groomers Assoc. of America, Inc. and a certifier with the Intellectual Groomers Association. Her ultimate goal is to represent her country on Groom Team Canada with her peers.
Dennis Brooks is a second-generation, full-time Certified Master Sharpener with over 25 years of experience. Dennis and his wife Tonya are the owners of Sharp Edges Sharpening Service - IL and Hamaguri USA, where he manufactures sharpening equipment and provides training for those in the sharpening industry. Specializing in the sharpening and service of pet grooming tools and equipment, Dennis is dedicated to his craft and believes strongly in sharing that knowledge with his customers. He helps empower groomers to maintain their equipment, which makes their grooms easier, faster and more economical, as well as extending the life and performance of their valuable tools.
Elli found her passion for grooming over a decade ago when she started as a bather at PetSmart. Not long after training to be a groomer there, she moved to the private sector. She is an award-winning competition groomer, certified pet aesthetician, NCMG, and co-owner of Retro Stylist wear. In 2017, Elli started at Smoochie Pooch and currently wears many hats as she is currently a marketing development and regional manager, helping run a company with more than 7 locations and about 40 employees. She is passionate about helping the business grow and creating an employee first, compassionate work environment for her team.
Stephenie Calhoun is a mobile groomer in the north suburbs of Chicago with 10 years' experience as a groomer. She is captain of the Illinois State Grooming team and Certified Instructor with Nash Academy. Stephenie specializes in rehabilitating difficult dogs and loves to add a little bit of flair to all of her haircuts.
Dave Campanella is an informative and entertaining seminar speaker, contributing trade columnist and genuine grooming enthusiast. He has over 30 years of pet industry knowledge, and has been Best Shot Pet Products sales, marketing, and product director for 15 years. He and his wife Tracy have co-owned a full service pet salon and self-wash in Ohio prior to relocating with Best Shot to Kentucky. Together they enjoy exhibiting at grooming shows, being industry ambassadors and showing their Kerry Blue Terriers, Lowland Polish Sheep Dog, and Samoyed.
Dana got her start as a lead veterinary technician at the North Peninsula Humane Society from 1998. While working there she witnessed firsthand the importance of basic care for our pets. She worked in many areas of the veterinary world before becoming a groomer in 2005 and founded A Purrfect Groomer. After 10 years in the brick and mortar salon she decided to go mobile and has been at it ever since. As a feline grooming expert, Dana was a founding member of the Intellectual Groomers Association and she wrote the guidelines that were used in feline certification. Now a Global Educator with Andis, Dana brings her vast knowledge of feline grooming to the everyday groomer.
Rachel Colant is an award-winning, second-generation dog groomer with over eleven years of experience. She put her stamp on the grooming industry as the go-to drop coat specialist and has become known for the cutest Yorkies in all the land. Her passion for education has led her to the coveted position of lead groomer at Jess Rona Grooming in Los Angeles where she oversees competition-level grooming on every dog, every day. Her ultimate goal is to continue to elevate the industry through education and her signature gentle grooming techniques.
Jonathan David has been the recipient of multiple scissoring awards, multiple Best All Around Groomer awards and Best in Show earning him a position on GroomTeam USA in 2008 and 2009. Jonathan was also a contestant on Animal Planet's "Groomer Has It" and has been featured as a grooming expert on multiple television shows. Currently, Jonathan owns and operates his salon, Lap of Luxury Dog Spa in Delray Beach, Florida and is a board member of multiple dog clubs.
An industry veteran, Teri has owned and operated successful salons and mobiles in Florida and California. A winning grooming contest competitor, Teri was a member of three GroomTeam USA Gold Medal teams. A multiple Barkleigh Honors and Cardinal Crystal Award winner, Teri was a regular columnist for Groomer to Groomer Magazine as well as a popular speaker and judge at seminars and trade shows across the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Kat Early has been competing for over seven years and, in January 2022, joined the Whitman’s Pro Team. Graduating with a Hon. BSc in Psychology, Kat has a passion for animal psychology and biology. As an undergrad, Kat got a job as a bather and, shortly after graduation, went to academy to start her grooming career. Kat ran a successful salon in Canada for five years before moving to Tallahassee, FL where she opened True North Grooming within an animal hospital. Kat’s heart breed is Cocker Spaniels, both American and English, and she has a wide range of breed standard knowledge she uses practically in her salon with her everyday clients.
Cassandra Eye is a groomer of 11 years from St.Louis Missouri. She has been mobile groomer for six years and worked in a salon prior. She operates a mobile grooming company called Furry & Fabulous with five employees and four mobile units. She loves attending seminars and furthering her education. She loves grooming the big, hairy dogs and personally owns a Great Dane and a Newfoundland.
Dr. Cliff Faver, a 1987 graduate of CSU, is the founder/owner of Animal Health Services in Cave Creek, Arizona. He is the US distributor for Iv San Bernard products. He uses the two businesses as a means of merging the grooming and veterinary professions to pursue his life's passion of healing and helping pets. Dr. Faver is an international speaker and teaches the ISB Pet Aesthetician Certification program. He is a member of AVMA, AAHA, AZVMA, a sponsor for the CPPGA, a Board member for the Burbank Kennel Club, and previously served on the Novartis Lead Committee, Hill's International Global Veterinary Board, and is still active in a Veterinary Management Group.
Hollus Gessler, owner of Wigglyville Inc, graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Advertising. She began working at the Chicago Veterinarian Emergency Center as a veterinarian technician and hospital administrator. Ultimately, Hollus combined her backgrounds. She opened her first pet retail location in Chicago in 2005, followed by a second location in 2011 which included grooming. To better understand grooming, she attended a grooming academy and apprenticed under a Standard Poodle breeder. Hollus has served as a board member for her local chamber of commerce and in 2019, she joined the board of IPPGA, Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association. Today she serves as Board President.
Lisa has worked with animals for over 30 years, starting in 1985 as a receptionist/vet assistant in a small veterinary practice. She went on to earn grooming certifications and is about to finish the Master Groomer Behavior Specialist certification. Lisa has worked in and managed grooming salons, taught in two different grooming schools, and developed a grooming program for Harper College. She was part of the Harper College faculty for the Veterinary Assistant program for eight years and co-wrote a portion of the curriculum. Currently, Lisa is a groomer/manager at a grooming salon and works nights at a veterinary emergency clinic. She is Vice President of the Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association and on the Master Groomer Council of Best Practices.
Blake Hernandez is a NCMG and three-time Barkleigh Honors recipient. He is best known for his online persona and caterwauling lyrics that speak to our industry. Blake has brought innovation and current outside trends to the grooming industry from Personality Marketing to the FoxEye, a phone holding device for the everyday groomer or aspiring influencer. Blake runs Foxy Roxy's Pet Salon in San Diego, CA, in addition to competing in grooming contests and dog shows all over the country. He is the co-creator and founder of GroomSource, an app made for groomers’ continued education as well as creator and producer of many products with Foxy Roxy's Supply Co. Blake was also a feature groomer in Netflix's "DOGS" documentary and a contestant on ABC's Pooch Perfect Season 1.
Denise Heroux owns Awesome Paws Pet Salon, a Cleveland-based chain with two locations and active plans for expansion. Awesome Paws fosters a healthy environment for employees and pets with a focus on employee investment and learning. While managing both locations and a staff of over 20 employees, Denise finds time to work with the Ohio Professional Pet Groomers Association, which she founded. The association focuses on setting a higher standard for pet safety, business-building opportunities, versatile learning experiences, and creating legislative fluidity in the industry. You may have listened to Denise on both the Women PetPreneurs and Small Business Hiring podcasts.
Markie James is a NC native, member of Foxy Roxy Pro Team, member of the NDGAA, and graduate of the CVCC Advertising and Graphic Design Program. She has been grooming for over 14 years and owns Bark Side Pet Grooming which has won numerous local awards for excellence and quality. Markie has competed in grooming competitions where she placed Best First Timer, Third Place at APF 2020, Honorable Mention at APF 2021, and Third Place at Safari Palmetto 2022. Recently, she had an article published in Groomer to Groomer Magazine.
Melissa Jepson has owned the award-winning Pupscale Pet Salon in California since 2013. As a founding member of the Association of Holistic Pet Professionals, she believes in creating a soothing environment for all aspects of grooming. She is thrilled to partner with Precision Sharp to offer high-quality products and also enjoys teaching webinars through Pawsitive Educational Training when she isn’t traveling. Nearly two decades of experience and a comprehensive knowledge base have made it possible to impart a fresh take with practical applications to her students which she hopes they’ll use long after the seminar has ended.
Alyssa Kasiba is an international award-winning creative groomer. She has almost 15 years grooming experience, and she began competitive grooming in 2016. Over the past years, she has specialized in creative grooming from competing on stage to teach the know hows. In the 2022 season Alyssa won 30+ awards nation wide, was on the cover of Groomer To Groomer magazine twice and ended the year won the Barkleigh Honors Creative Groomer of the Year. You may have seen her featured on Night Line News, Good Morning America, or as a Finalist on ABC's dog grooming competition show, Pooch Perfect. Alyssa has found a passion for teaching the art and creativity of grooming and can't wait to share it, through @Toesnbows on Instagram, private classes, or her favorite classrooms at a Barkleigh show!
Milena started off in graphic design and direct sales before realizing that she wanted to do more with animals. So, she went into grooming in 2013. She is now the owner of Driving Me Knots (Mobile Grooming), DMK Bowtique (Pet Accessories), and DMK Marketing Solutions (Custom Graphic Designs). She started competing in Extreme Creative Styling & Creative Abstract grooming contests in 2015, and won Up-and-Coming Creative Groomer that same year. Her creative work has also been seen on "The Greatest Showman" with Hugh Jackman and "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix. She was awarded the Barkleigh Honors Creative Groomer of the Year in 2018.
Internationally renowned creative stylist and instructor, Angela Kumpe has more placements in creative styling than anyone, worldwide. She won the first ever Barkleigh Honors Award for Creative Competitor. She is the author of A Creative Collection, a step-by-step guide to creative styling. Angela's work has been featured on Animal Planet, TLC, The Today Show, Regis and Kelly, and ABC Nightline as well as in The New York Times and on the cover of Groomer to Groomer magazine. Angela is the owner of Angela's Grooming and Pet Spa in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Lara Latshaw has been a pet groomer for over 20 years and is an open-level competitor. Lara is President of the GBGV Foundation Board (a breed that is a hand-stripped breed.) Lara owns Gordon’s Grooming and Gordon’s Feline Exclusive Grooming in Northern Indiana. Lara is also a Pet Tech CPR and First Aid Instructor and teaches many grooming and business classes. Lara currently lives and operates a grooming salon in Utila, Honduras.
Lisa Leady NCMG, CMG, is a certifier for National Dog Groomers Association and was a member of Groom Team USA from 2000-2006. In 2005 she qualified for the traveling team to France, where she helped bring home the Silver medal, in 2007 she qualified again for the traveling team to Italy. Lisa is the proud owner of Primp My Pooch Mobile in Genoa, IL, and breeds and shows Smooth Fox Terriers. Lisa was honored to be a contestant on Animal Planet's Groomer Has It 2.
Jessica Moore CMG, IGMS is the owner of Show Stoppers Pet Styling in Waukegan, Illinois. Jessica has been a pet stylist for 18 years and began competing in 2006. After accelerating in the competition ring quickly she moved from entry level to open in a matter of a few shows. In 2007-10 she ended the years in the top 20. Jessica has walked away with multitude of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place wins, including many group placements in every level as well as several Best Groomed Dog Awards and Best in Show.
Mackensie Murphy is a second-generation pet stylist, following in her mother's footsteps and becoming the very first second generation GroomTeam USA. In 2005, Mackensie started her own grooming career at the young age of 18. Mackensie began her competition career in early 2011 and has been awarded multiple Best in Show awards, Best All Around Groomer awards and is a five-time winner of the prestigious Liz Paul Memorial Best Scissored Poodle Award. Mackensie consistently stayed among the top three competitors and earned herself a position on GroomTeam USA in 2012 which she has sustained up to this current year.
Ashley LaVonne Pacini, owner of Ashley’s Barks n’ Bubbles in Port St Lucie, FL, has been in the grooming industry since the age of 14 as both a bather and a groomer. She graduated from Merryfield School of Pet Grooming, and became the youngest Nationally Certified Master Groomer with the NDGAA only 3 months later. Ashley is the winner of numerous grooming competition awards, including a Best in Show, moving from Entry to Open Division’s Top 15 in 2019, placed in the GroomTeam USA Top 10 in 2020 and was nominated for Barkleigh Honors “Up and Coming Groomer of the Year” award in 2018. She is currently on the World Team for Hyponic Americas.
As a second-generation groomer, Macie has been immersed in the dog world her whole life. She has been grooming professionally since 2010. Macie started competing in 2014 and quickly rose to the top, becoming one of the youngest competitors in open division. In 2016 she was nominated for the Barkleigh Honors Up and Coming Groomer of the Year Award. She will continue to travel and compete nationally until she achieves her dream of making GroomTeam USA. Macie co-owns the Laundromutt in Kenmore, NY.
Adriane Pope is an award-winning Pet stylist in Breed Profile and Creative Grooming. Her specialty is extreme creative styling and creative abstract design. Adriane is owner/groomer of Adriane's Groom and Go Mobile Grooming in Conway, SC., and also the owner of Rivertown Bed and Biscuit Luxury Kennel since 2004. She has 24 years of grooming experience, and has been mobile for 22 years. She started competing in breed profile in 1997 and started the creative world in 2004.
Jay and his wife, Michelle, own Here Comes the Groom, a highly successful mobile grooming salon in Germantown, Tennessee. Jay has won multiple Best in Show and Best All-Around Groomer awards and helped Groomteam USA win the Gold medal in Calgary, Canada, in 2001. Jay was named American Groomer of the Year in 2001, Groomer of the Year Award at Westminster Dog Show in 2002, and Grooming Judge of the Year in 2004. In 2003 Jay won an International Gold and Bronze medal in Barcelona, Spain, helping groomteam USA win the silver team medal. He and Sue Zecco offer seminars nationally. Jay won a Barkleigh Honors Award at the event that he emceed.
Kelsey Ann Sexton is an award winning Nationally Certified Groomer with almost two decades of Professional Pet Grooming experience. She owns an award winning salon outside of Nashville, TN that focuses on customer relationships for routine grooming services. She's also a member of Foxy Roxy Supply Company's Pro Team. Kelsey was nominated for Barkleigh Honors Speaker of the Year in 2022 and has a passion for continued education in the Pet Grooming Industry.
Corina stumbled into the dog grooming industry by chance, but has brought fresh eyes and new ideas. She opened The Laundromutt, a self-service dog wash and grooming salon, on the concept that washing your own dog should be easy and fun. She believes that your dog should always be in the most educated hands, and in the cleanest and calmest environment possible. Corina is a college biology instructor and is currently in graduate school for Biotechnology.
Jeremy Stamper is Business Partner and Director of Marketing for Hydra Professional Line. He is passionate about business management, public relations, marketing and sales with over 15 years’ experience in the service and retail industries. He is also an entrepreneur that has consulted for and launched several businesses and brands. He currently resides in San Diego, CA with his two dogs.
Shannon Tupes is a Certified Master Groomer with National Dog Groomers Association. She has been involved in the pet industry for 28 years and has owned several successful grooming salons throughout the US. She is a currently on the board of GroomTeam USA, a global educator with Andis, and has recently joined the team at Botaniqa. Shannon is a national and international speaker and judge. Shannon is very active in breeding and exhibiting purebred dogs, specifically Bichon Frise’s under the kennel prefix Releve’. She also serves of the Board of Directors of the Bichon Club of America.
Jessica Uzzetta is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer with a passion for continuing education and bringing groomers together to better the industry as a whole. She has been competing in grooming competitions since 2012 and earned multiple first place and a Best in Show award, quickly reaching the highest level in three short years. She is a single mother of two beautiful girls who owns and operates two upscale pet salons and mobile grooming businesses in Wentzville, MO. She is passionate about her Poodles in showing, breeding, rescue and education. In addition to grooming, Jessica has also been an active Veterinary Technician for almost 20 years. Her passion for animals and education to her clients, peers and the public are shown every day.
In 1998, Joey purchased the Nash Academy in New Jersey which he owned and operated until 2008. Now a well-known pet industry speaker and judge, Joey has been nominated 14 times for the Cardinal Crystal and Barkleigh Honors awards. He has been enthusiastically involved with Intergroom International for 33 years and has been instrumental in expanding the organization's reach into Belgium, Italy, and France. Joey is one of the original members of the International Judges Association and has made many television appearances. Today, Joey continues to innovate and explore new dimensions in the pet care and grooming industry. In early 2009, Joey became part of the Animal Radio on-air staff where he is known as "The Dogfather".
With over 15 years of experience, Scott is one of the top winning U.S. Pet Stylists. As 1996 & 2002 U.S. Pet Pro Classic Champion and a GroomTeam USA member, Scott is internationally recognized as a judge, speaker and competitor in England, China, Italy, Spain, Scotland as well as in many other countries. With his extensive competition experience and expertise, Scott is lovingly and respectfully referred to throughout the industry as Mr. Terrier!
Daniel J. Williams is the managing director of EZ-Groom Pet Products Inc. in Oak Park, Michigan, U.S.A. He holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Lawrence Technological University, earned a master’s degree in business administration from Baker College, and has completed the University of Chicago Advanced Leadership program. He has authored numerous articles on cosmetics, and metallurgy as it relates to pet grooming shears. Dan has designed and engineered a number of manufacturing projects at metal-making factories in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Over the past 22 years, Dan has served as president and CEO of three small closely held organizations where he managed a number of mergers and acquisitions. Dan has worked with EZ-Groom since 2002.
Olga is a Certified Master Groomer and owns two grooming salons, Elite Pet Spa & Boutique in Madison, NJ and Grooming Gallery in Morris Plains, NJ. She has multiple BIS and Best All-Around Groomer wins as well as two prestigious Winners Circle Champion titles. Olga is 2009 and 2010 American Groomer of the Year by Cardinal Pet, and was awarded the Lynne Carver Memorial Award as Best All Around Stylist 2009. Olga was born in Russia where she had a Master Degree in Engineering and finished law school. Olga was a GroomTeam USA member 2008-2012 and won the Silver medal in Belgium, 2011 as a part of the traveling team. Olga co-hosts many pet fundraising events.
Sue is a 2011 Barkleigh Honors Award winner. She is a Certified Master Groomer with both the National Dog Groomers Association (NDGAA) and the International Professional Groomers (IPG). She has been grooming for over 30 years. She has won multiple grooming awards, including her biggest show accomplishments: 1998 International Groomer of the Year and 1999 Oster Invitational Tournaments Grand Champion. Sue has been a member of GroomTeam USA since 1997 and broke all records in 1999, earning 113 points. She is also a Wahl Clipper Corporation spokesperson. With Jay Scruggs, she conducts a series of full-day seminars called Super Styling Sessions. Sue breeds Standard Poodles under the “Dreamcatcher” prefix.