Area entrepreneur and businesswoman Lisa Ault was honored by the Northland Pioneer College District Governing Board at its November 17 meeting as a Northland Pioneer College Outstanding Alumnus. The award honors former NPC students who are examples of lifelong learning or who are using their education to improve their communities.
Susan Olsen, (left in photo) NPC Silver Creek Campus manager, nominated Ault for the honor and made the presentation. Olsen noted that the award represented an ideal fit for a person who took her talents and interests and combined them with education to establish not one, but three successful local businesses.
Ault, a lifelong Navajo County resident, was born in Holbrook, raised in Snowflake, and graduated from Snowflake High School in 1976. Following graduation she began taking business classes from Northland Pioneer College. She studied under the late Martin Grubb, noted NPC business instructor who manned a mobile computing van, taking his unique business classroom wherever it was needed. Later Ault studied under the tutelage of Mark Engle, director of the NPC Small Business Development Center. She says, “It’s remarkable, but Mark still remembers me by name and asks about my businesses after all these years.”
Always interested in creative expression, Ault has long enjoyed sewing, flower arranging, cooking and decorating. And she was always willing to help others with these tasks for their weddings and special occasions. In fact, she became so busy doing it her husband suggested, “You need to start a business.” And she did, operating a decorating and catering service from her garage for four years before adding the formal wedding elements to the business and opening her Bridal Fair shop in Show Low.
Despite family obligations, (she and her husband raised six children, 3 girls and 3 boys) Ault has successfully maintained both businesses for 29 years. While she modestly declines to give a reason for her success, community members who have known and worked with her over these many years credit Ault’s good taste, attention to detail, and outstanding customer service.
Despite her long term successes, Ault felt the stirrings of desire for something different in her life. In fall of 2006, she enrolled in the NPC Cosmetology Program. One year later she had completed the 1600 hours of training necessary to qualify for the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology licensure examination. She took and passed her test, received her license and, in 2008, opened a brand new business, the Cutting Edge Salon & Spa in Snowflake.
In addition to being the owner of Cutting Edge, Ault manages to find time as one of the stylists as well. “I like that part of the business where I get to see my customers all the time. At Bridal Fair I usually get to know them only the one time and then they’re gone.”
When asked what plans she has for the future, Ault is quick to answer, “Ten years and retirement!”
It’s an understandable wish for someone who has put so much time and effort into building her enterprises. But with her gift of creativity, talent for business and willingness to work hard, NPC may just see Lisa Ault again for another career change.
As an outstanding alumna, Ault receives a three-credit-hour tuition gift certificate, a $25 bookstore gift certificate and a pass to NPC Performing Arts events.
To nominate former NPC students for the award, click on www.npc.edu/support-npc/alumni-association.