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.
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.
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.
Linda is an International Certified Master Groomer and President of International Professional Groomer, Inc. As a competitive groomer, Linda had many wins, including included Best in Show, Best All-Around Groomer, winning the Edemco 'Total Groom Extravaganza'. After putting several obedience titles on her dogs, she worked as a professional handler, finishing and putting championship points on over 60 champions in over 20 breeds and 7 groups. Her grooming career began in 1973, and her current grooming salon and self-wash is in Salem, Oregon. As an educator and certifier for IPG, Linda travels all over the world certifying, giving workshops, and judging grooming contests, and introducing the exciting new Salon Details Certification.
Who would have thought that someone who grew up in a "No Pets Allowed" household would end up spearheading some of the most iconic grooms in the country? Jayne graduated from the Jersey Shore Grooming Academy in the year 2000, took courses from the prestigious Nash Academy, and took private lessons from top pet stylists and GroomTeam members from around the globe. She marks herself as a perpetual student, always excited to stay sharp in her craft. She is an award-winning legend who is known far and wide in the grooming community, even being featured as a competitor in the 2021 cultural phenomenon Pooch Perfect on ABC Network. Jayne specializes in creative styling, salon freestyle, Asian fusion, poodles, and bichons.
Elizabeth Gibbs is an award-winning National Certified Master Groomer who has been in the grooming industry for over ten years. She spent nine years of her career in corporate and worked her way from a bather up to a grooming trainer. In 2018 she was nominated for Barkleigh Honors "Up and Coming Groomer of the Year". She has been featured on the educational video page "groomsource" and you can now catch her in the grooming ring competing in open level or showing her Bichon and English Cocker in the AKC ring.
Misty is an IGA Certified Master Groomer and has won many Best in Shows, Best All Around Groomer. She was on the US Gold Winning Model Dog Team in Taiwan and took BIS Creative. She won the Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Award for her Charity "Groomers for Groomers." Nominated for Creative Groomer Barkleigh Honors and awarded IJA Creative Groomer. Misty started grooming in 2005 and helped open 3 other salons. She owns 2 upscale salons in Columbus Ohio with a staff of 15; Designer Paws Salon. 1st opened in 2013 and second in 2018 with receiving multiple service awards.
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.
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.
Jameson has a degree in International Business Management & Marketing, and has always had interests in working with animals at a young age. After working for a massive online retail company, managing over 300+ employees amongst 7 different call centers both domestically and internationally, he decided to jump right into the world of grooming with his wife, Milena. Now the proud owner of Driving Me Knots (Mobile Grooming), DMK Bowtique (Pet Accessories), and DMK Marketing Solutions (Custom Graphic Designs), his ability to multi-task and market the companies since 2013 is only the beginning for the DMK branding.
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.
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.
John Seal is a passionate advocate for small businesses and accountable marketing. For the last 20 years, he has helped businesses in the pet services space improve their bottom line and capture market share by implementing highly targeted marketing campaigns. Drawing from successful campaigns for national brands like Costco, US Bank, and hundreds of businesses across the country, John has demonstrated the ability to identify the most impactful marketing tactics for each budget and competitive landscape to help you drive more bookings. John and his team at Hangar Marketing provide actionable insights to connect prospects with pet service providers to get results.
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.
GM of Sales and Operations at Whitman's Sharpening, Nick Sklar was raised at the sharpening wheel. With more than twenty years' experience working with grooming equipment and the people who use it, Nick is an expert in proper equipment selection and care. He has done extensive research with top scissor companies and assisted with product design for several brands including Chris Christensen and Whitman's products.
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.
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.
“Dr. Jim” is a 2nd generation chiropractor, author and speaker. He has trained doctors in 42 states and 13 countries. He has worked with health concerns of elite athletes and grooming professionals, specializing in self-help techniques. Dr. Jim has taught customer service and client control and education for over three decades, winning awards for management consulting, marketing and communication training; teaching skills to succeed and live the life of your dreams.
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.