Remembering Paula Kent Meehan


Pictured L to R: Paula Kent Meehan, Paul Dykstra, Luz Segovia and Jerry Gordon during the 2009 America’s Beauty Show, Chicago, IL.

This week, the salon industry collectively, and sadly, sighed on the news of the passing of Paula Kent Meehan, co-founder of Redken, a company loved by millions of stylists and consumers alike.

Paula’s contributions to our industry were numerous during her reign at Redken…from pioneering “The Scientific Approach to Beauty” education for hairdressers back in the 60s, to championing salons to increase revenue by selling products to clients for at-home care, to launching, in partnership with MODERN SALON Magazine, the North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) at The Midwest Beauty Show (now America’s Beauty Show) in 1989.

Most recently, Paula chose America’s Beauty Show as one of the new producers of her Global Salon Business Forum & Awards in 2009. She was a friend to many Cosmetologists Chicago members through the years, and a strong supporter of everything Cosmetologists Chicago and America’s Beauty Show stands for…especially the working hair stylist.

Redken @ 50

Some thoughts on Paula from her Cosmetologists Chicago friends:

Paul Dykstra, CEO, Cosmetologists Chicago & America’s Beauty Show: Under Paula Kent Meehan’s leadership, Redken championed, reinforced and unabashedly loved the creativity of salon professionals. Her unbelievable support of her favorite professionals led to years of unwavering involvement with Cosmetologists Chicago and its then branded Midwest Beauty Show, now America’s Beauty Show. I fondly remember working personally with her as she turned the reigns of the Global Salon Business Awards back to the industry and its associations. Meals at her home, brainstorming the future of GSBA, are among my fondest memories of my career.  Her impact on this business and its professionals is quite simply immeasurable.

Karen Gordon, CC Treasurer and co-owner J. Gordon Designs: I had the pleasure of meeting Paula a few times. What a dynamic woman she was and what a huge contribution she made to our industry. I personally was grateful for her endowment to the UCLA Anderson School of Business. Because of this, I was able to attend a week long advanced management program at UCLA designed specifically for salon owner/managers. I believe it was at no cost. People came from all around the globe to participate. It was a wonderful educational opportunity. One of the best! And of course, Paula’s love of animals was second to none.  What amazing work she did. I hope her legacy will live on far into the future.

Vi Nelson, Vi Nelson & Associates, CC’s Salon Industry Communications Director  I first met Paula in the early days of Redken, while I worked at MODERN SALON Magazine. She married one of the MODERN sales guys – John Meehan – so the connection between MODERN and Redken was always close. Later I was offered a position at Redken that was ultimately taken by Ann Mincey. I often wonder how different my life would be today if I had taken that job! Paula was a shining light in the salon industry – beloved by those she nurtured both as Redken employees, and the salon owners and stylists for whom she sought a better, more profitable business. She was also a great prankster…but you’ll have to ask others about that! And of course, I remember her beautiful, always perfectly coiffed Redken-Red hair, and her dazzling smile.

Please join us by commenting below on your own remembrances of Paula’s  life well lived in service to others.



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