As the co-founder and dean of Paul Mitchell Schools and the author of Be Nice (Or Else!), Winn Claybaugh is a man who can move mountains. He speaks and writes words of pure inspiration and brilliance with his kind heart shining through every word. With over 100 locations, Winn spends much of his time heading the schools’ philanthropy. Over 10 years ago, the institution established their own nonprofit to represent the Paul Mitchell Schools and have raised over $8.5 million, which has all been given away. Winn is constantly touching lives and moving mountains, whether it’s through the words of his inspirational best-selling book or through the schools’ yearly three-month fundraising campaign. Even with many phenomenal accomplishments under his belt, he claims the greatest thing he has ever done was to become a father to his now nine-month-old daughter, Sofia.
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Loyal, honest and a crier!
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
My mom rocks because she has molded me into the type of person I am proud to be. I am one of eight kids and somehow she found a way to instill in me compassion, a strong desire to help others and the confidence to do whatever I set out to do. She also taught me how to be clean and to balance my checkbook. She is now 86 years old and still has the fun curiosity of a child.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
My newest ambition is to be a good dad to my nine-month-old baby daughter. My goal with her is to never miss anything. Beyond that, I want to do less busy stuff and grow my circle of influence. I want to be approachable and easy to relate to so people think, Ã¢Â�Â�If Winn did it, so can I!Ã¢Â�Â�
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my daughter, Sofia. After that, it would have to be my book, Be Nice (Or Else!). IÃ¢Â�Â�m honored to be the person who was gifted with writing the information in that book, which can change and save lives.
What do you find most sexy about a girl?
Kindness, plain and simple. Meanness, gossip and cattiness are SO un-sexy!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Traveling the world with my daughter so that her eyes are open and her mind is expanded. I will have no problem pulling her out of school for a month to have those experiences. I also know that I will always need to stand in front of an audience to share my personal stories, struggles, victories and passion. The best teachers and mentors are storytellers. I always will need to share my story because it reminds me of who I am and what I stand for.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
To live in Italy for an extended period of time.
Who has been the biggest male influence in your life and why?
My oldest brother, Denny. He has a curiosity that keeps him constantly trying new things and seeking new adventures. He is nonjudgmental and a peacemaker, which is so needed in this world.
What is the biggest risk youÃ¢Â�Â�ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
Going into business 29 years ago, with no college education and no experience. What really made it risky was that my parents mortgaged their home and retirement to finance me. I learned several things. Sometimes being naÃ�Â¯ve is a good thing because with my Ã¢Â�Â�beginnerÃ¢Â�Â�s luckÃ¢Â�Â� attitude, I absolutely did not know that it wouldnÃ¢Â�Â�t work. IÃ¢Â�Â�m sure there were many red flags along the way that an experienced businessperson wouldÃ¢Â�Â�ve recognized as warnings and perhaps that person wouldÃ¢Â�Â�ve slowed down or given up. Since I didnÃ¢Â�Â�t know what the red flags were, I sped right past them. The advice of 'donÃ¢Â�Â�t do business with family and friends' is bogus! My mom has now worked with me for 29 years, as do many of my siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews.
What is one stereotype about men that isnÃ¢Â�Â�t really true?
That men who cry are weak. Men who cry are powerful, passionate and true risk-takers!
*Interview conducted and compiled by Lauren Rhew*