CC 2016-2018 Board Member Candidates



Submitted to the Nominating Committee for Consideration to Serve on the
Cosmetologists Chicago® 2016 - 2018 Board of Directors

All candidates listed below were recommended by the Nominating Committee.



Larry Silvestri

Nominated for President

Larry Silvestri, Senior Vice President and COO for Chicago-based Mario Tricoci Hair Salons & Day Spas, is a seasoned business owner and operator with more than 30 years of experience in overall salon operations including management, business development, training and education, sales and marketing, product and services, and design and construction. Larry is highly recognized for his pragmatic and simplistic approach in achieving goals and delivering results. He is a visionary operator, focused on continued business growth through the reinvestment and strengthening of the brand. Silvestri owned and operated a multi-unit salon group before joining Mario Tricoci in 1997 to help grow and expand the Mario Tricoci Salons & Day Spas brand. 


Karen Gordon

Nominated for Vice President

Karen Gordon is the owner of J. Gordon Designs. She has been a licensed cosmetologist for 35 years and is also a Hair Color Specialist. Karen has a Master’s Degree in Applied Business from De Paul University. She is an active member of Cosmetologists Chicago. She serves on many committees, including the Scholarship Committee and Education Committee. She is a four-time recipient of the Presidents Scholarship Award, four-time winning photographer of the Stars Competition and is the co-director of CC’s Photo Trend Release. Karen lectures on business development, hair loss and is also a member of Intercoiffure America/Canada. 



Robert Passage

Nominated for Secretary

Robert PassageChairman, CEO and Global Ambassador for Pivot Point International, has dedicated his career to improving the image of the cosmetology profession and cosmetology education. A member of the board of directors of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) since 1995 and past-president of the Illinois Association of Cosmetology Schools (IACS), Robert continues involvement in these organizations on behalf of Pivot Point. His involvement with Cosmetologists Chicago (CC) and the Advisory Council on Cosmetology Relations and Education (ACCRED), along with maintaining his own cosmetology and cosmetology teacher’s licenses, give him a thorough understanding of the educational needs of cosmetology students and professionals alike. But it is the time Robert spends with beauty students, on global trips and in the classroom, that are the most rewarding for this dedicated Pivot Point officer.


Lorrene Conino

Nominated for Treasurer

Lorrene Conino has been a cosmetologist for more than 31 years and a salon owner for 16. She is the owner of Salon Lorrene in Palatine, IL. Lorrene received her BA in Marketing from Roosevelt University’s Marketing program and currently works with students in the Master’s program providing internships in marketing and business. She is Vice President of CATIF Charity, an organization that benefits women in need and the Women’s Center at the Jesse Brown VA. She has been a member of Cosmetologist Chicago since 1983 and has worked on the Sunset Committee. She is also a member of Intercoiffure America/Canada. 



Chris Damolaris

Nominated for Director

Chris Demorlaris started in the beauty industry when he was 23 years old. While attending beauty school, his first job was with Brian Michal Salons where he launched his career by sweeping, shampooing clients and assisting senior stylists. Once he graduated, he began mentoring with Brian Michael McGrath. Chris assisted Brian for a year and a half, at which point he earned his own chair. Three years later, in 1993, an opportunity arose for Chris to buy the Brian Michael Company. At the time there was one Brian Michael salon in Wheaton with 25 employees. By 2002, Chris had opened two additional salons in Naperville with more than 100 employees. 

Chris has always conducted business in a professional manner with respect for other salon owners. In 2004, Chris was approached by Frank Gironda with an opportunity to purchase the three Frank Gironda Salon & Spas. In 2005 Chris acquired the company and merged his Brian Michael employees into the Frank Gironda Salon locations. Today Chris is the owner of the Frank Gironda Salon & Spas, one of the western suburb’s largest salon and spa chains, with 150 employees.

In 2009, Chris invented the Color Tracking Systems. As a salon owner, he recognized the universal issue with hair color waste and developed the Color Tracking System to measure and monitor the use of developer. Color Tracking Systems has units in salons throughout the United States.


Kathy Jager

Nominated for Director

Kathy Jager is a motivational industry writer, educator, and keynote speaker. In her book, As The Chair Turns, Tips & Snips for a Promising Future…the ESSENTIALS, she unveils the secrets to her success by sharing information on marketing, networking, personal and professional development, and practical skills that define success. Her focus is on helping professionals develop, master and remain committed to the beauty industry by providing valuable leadership and interpersonal skills that go beyond the beauty school program. She offers timeless tips that support the beauty industry and prepares professionals for real world interactions, and discoveries on what it takes to be successful for today’s cosmetologist. She is a living example of creating a life time career and wants to help you get prepared for the journey.



Coral Lahiani

Nominated for Director

Coral Lahiani is a beauty entrepreneur who ignites her students’ passion for the creative process. She is a 30 year veteran stylist and a 21 year veteran salon owner. Through her unique understanding of chemical processes and hair textures, she engages the learner at every level. As an educator, colorist, stylist, cutter, platform artist, organic extension master, product developer and salon owner she has now launched The Coral Lahiani Institute for Advanced Cosmetology (CLIAC), Training Center. A first of its kind, bridge program for entry level cosmetologist for the purpose of development through incubation. With three decades and counting Coral Lahiani still celebrates every opportunity to learn, teach, and grow with passion for new methodologies and beauty technologies.


Chris Valavanis

Nominated for Director

Chris Valvanis has always been fascinated by the effect a simple haircut can have on a person, and how it can change the way someone looks and feels. That fascination is what drove him to start cutting hair himself, then to open a salon, then two more, all while teaching others the art of the above-mentioned transformation.

Valavanis is the man behind the Vanis Salon empire, with salons in Schererville, Valparaiso and Crown Point. When he opened the first Vanis 31 years ago, Valavanis says he “had no ambitions of growth, none, zero. I just wanted a little four-chair salon with a few people who had the same passion for service and the craft that I did.” But he did things differently than at most other salons. He started the first salon apprenticeship in Northwest Indiana, developed an education fund so stylists could learn in other settings, and provided health insurance for his employees, the first of any salon in the area.