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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Think Hard About What People Need

For founder Pam McNair, employees are family and making--and admitting--mistakes is the basis for building trust.

Key Question:


Help them feel special. 

Q: How do the employees of Gadabout afford the services they provide to clients?

A: Gadabout officially has a trade-out plan. You can trade a haircut for a message when both professionals can arrange to do so. Or, the salon opens at night just for employees to trade services.

Think about it

What do the people who work for you need to be doing that they are not now doing? What can you do to move them in the right direction?

Clip from: Gadabout Salon & Spa

Tucson, Arizona: Left with two young mouths to feed and never having worked outside the home, Pamela McNair-Wingate has created a new reality in the workplace where love and generosity abide. Today, from six locations around Tucson,  she and her team of over 200 professionals deliver the newest treatments from their spas and the freshest looks from their salons. 

The company, Gadabout SalonSpas, is recognized as a leader in the day spa movement both in customer care and in business practices.

In the typical spas customers check in for a week to be pampered, to eat low-fat diets, and to participate in endless exercise classes. Day spas are different! Here you'll find only the pampering part.  Pam has been a leader in this revolution from its beginning and she is helping to transform the salon business by setting an example for all. In recognition of her extraordinary leadership skills, Pam was named Salon Entrepreneur of the Year for the US at the Global Salon Business Awards presented in London in 2004.

Gadabout SalonSpas, Inc.

Pamela McNair, Chairman

3501 E. Kleindale Road
Tucson, AZ 85726

Visit our web site:

Office: 5203229434

Business Classification:
Personal Products, human services, beauty

Year Founded: 1976

Think Hard About What People Need

PAM: One of the things that runs rampant in our profession is low self-esteem. Now the first person I need to work on is me because I can't teach you, train you, lead you, care about you if I don't care about myself. So the answer to your question isn't easy because, as all cultural changes are necessary in a company, if the leadership is not willing to change, if simply it's just agreeing to disagree, if it is admitting that you've made a mistake--do you realize how hard that is for most people who run companies and how leveling that is if you have the ability to say, `You know what? I messed up.' `What should we do about that?' That gives confidence to the people who work with you to know that you're honest, to know that they can trust you.

HATTIE: Because they saw you make the mistake.

PAM: And they can make a mistake.

HATTIE: And they know you made it. And so if you don't admit it, they're going, `Oh, boy, there she goes again trying to cover up.'

PAM: And so it gives all the people you work with the ability to practice. This is all a practice because we never get it perfect. We never get it right. And so, therefore, if they have that opportunity to practice and have some progress, then it gives them a safe place to be. So I really believe that there's no quick shortcut to having a trustful environment that you can work in.

HATTIE: What is your definition of `feel safe'? You know, people go to work at the grocery store, they're the checker and they feel safe.

PAM: They're not safe -- because of the things that are said and done, the assessments that are made of them, the decisions that are made without them having a voice... People don't feel safe in an environment where their voice isn't heard.


GLORIA: We're a family, actually, and I think that makes a big difference.

HATTIE: What is it about her that makes people love to work here?

GLORIA: Oh, I think she's a great person. She stands behind us. We do a lot of education.

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