Meet the Management Team

Interim President, General Counsel, Secretary & Director

Gerald Wells

Wells joined Dessange Group North America in 2014 and is currently Interim President, General Counsel, Secretary and Director as well as a member of the Board of Directors for parent company Dessange International. Prior to his current position, Wells was a partner at Quarles & Brady LLP in Washington, D.C., and prior to that he was a partner at DLA Piper LLP (US) in Atlanta. He also previously worked in the legal departments at Hewlett-Packard Company and US Office Products Company. He received his B.S. from the University of Maryland and his J.D. from the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law.

Vice President of Marketing

Ruth Swanson

Swanson started her career at Fantastic Sams in 2010, and has revamped our marketing and messaging. Previously, Swanson worked for Dunkin’ Brands and Arnold Worldwide on the agency side, gaining insights into the complexities of large franchise networks. Swanson has served as a speaker panelist at the Multi-Unit Conference and the Cross Marketing Channel Conference.

Chief Development Officer

Robert Loffredo

Loffredo joined Fantastic Sams in 2004. Over the years, Loffredo has owned salons with Fantastic Sams as well as other brands, and he was the general manager of a multi-unit salon chain in New England. Previously, Loffredo held the positions of Senior Director of Development and Construction and Vice President of Sales. He believes in giving back to the community and was President of the local Lions Club for many years and served as a director of the RI Lions Cancer in Children Fund. Loffredo is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and has an MBA from Providence College in Rhode Island.

Director of Human Resources and Administration

Cynthia Larkin

Larkin has been Director of Human Resources and Administration for the FSI Entities, DGNA, Dessange USA Entities and CA Entities since 2012. She was Director of Human Resources and Administration for the FSI Entities from 2003 through 2011.

Director of Finance

Sabrina Lelli

Lelli has been Director of Finance for the FSI Entities, DGNA, Dessange USA Entities and CA Entities since 2017. She was a Financial Analyst for the FSI Entities, DGNA, Dessange USA Entities, and CA Entities from 2016 to 2017. From 2015 to 2016 she was Comptroller for PCVue, Inc. in Woburn, Massachusetts. Between 2013 and 2016 she was involved in relocating from France to the United States. From 2011 to 2013 she was a Consolidation Financial Analyst for Bouygues Construction in Guyancourt, France.

Regional Director and Operations Specialist

Gary Padfield

Padfield has been our Regional Director for the Wisconsin Region and Operations Specialist since 2017. Previously he was the Regional Operations Director for GWB Enterprises, Inc., a subfranchisor of Fantastic Sams in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Director of Curriculum and Career Development

Janet Williams

Williams has been our Director of Curriculum and Career Development since 2015. She was Director of the Aveda Institute in Washington, D.C., from 2012 to 2015. From 2000 to 2012, she was a self-employed Professional Training and Instructional Consultant in the D.C. area.

Region Director, South

Lisa Counts

Counts has more than 30 years of experience in the beauty industry, including 20 in hair salon franchising. She is a chairperson of the National Skills U.S.A. cosmetology program and judges the national competition of cosmetology once a year. Counts has held virtually every position in the salon industry, including manager and educator, and has owned her own salon.

Region Director, Central

Vernon Suemnicht

Suemnicht has been a Fantastic Sams Region Director since 2002. His role includes franchise sales consultant, site selection, new owner training, assisting owners with operations and salon marketing and regional marketing. Previously, Suemnicht was a District Manager for Medicine Shoppe Pharmacies, where he assisted franchisees with marketing and advertising strategies and worked with pharmacists on pricing to maximize revenue from various benefit plans. Suemnicht was also in Walmart management for 20 years. His first store as store manager was a 32,000-square-foot store that incrementally progressed to a 118,000-square-foot store with more than 300 associates.

Region Director, Midwest

Carla Simpson

Simpson has been in the beauty and franchise industries for over 25 years. Her experience has spanned manufacturers, salons and schools, focused on training and operations. Most recently, Simpson was a Business Director for Sport Clips, Inc. Prior to that she was Vice President of Education for Regency Beauty Institute. Her other training positions include time at Regis Corporation in the franchise division, Aveda Corporation and a start-up franchise. Simpson also ran her own consulting business writing franchise operations manuals and training materials for various franchisors.

Region Director, West

Catia Morgan

Morgan has been our Regional Director for the West Regions since 2017. Previously, she held leadership positions for a variety of concepts, including Regional Director of Operations for Yogurtland, Inc., Franchise Director for Dickey’s Barbeque and Regional Operations Manager for Famous Brands, Inc. in Los Angeles.

Region Director, Mountain Region

Carmela Hughley

Hughley has been the Director of Store Operations for Dessange Group North America since 2015. From 2013 to 2015, she was Director of Operations and Training for DGNA. Previously, she was the Vice President of Operations for Dreamdry in New York City and the Regional Business Development Manager at ULTA Beauty for the west region.

Region Director, Lakes Region

Denise Gorlick

Gorlick has been our Regional Director of the Lakes Regions since 2017. She was our Franchise Business Consultant for a portion of the Lakes Regions from 2016 to 2017. Previously, she was a General Manager of Retail Operations for Ellicott Development in Buffalo, NY, District Manager for the Retail Division of NOCO in Tonawanda, NY, and Director of Operations for Reid Stores, Inc., in Lockport, NY..

Development Advisor

Donald Welsh

Welsh is a Managing Member and employee of DRW Advisory, LP (DRW) in Malvern, PA. Since 2016, DRW has served as our Development Advisor through Welsh, who is also a principal for Franchise Performance Group. Since June 2005, he has served as Managing Member of CADDIS Partners in Malvern, PA. DRW provides loan referral services to Bancorp, which may offer financing to franchisees operating under the System.

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