Giving Back to Her Industry
Glenna Zwiebel can trace her cosmetology roots, and her name, back to 1937, when her mother’s grandma, Rubye (Stevenson) Eikner, went through a cosmetology apprenticeship program in New Mexico. Rubye’s first job as a hairdresser, was with a lady named Glenna (Smith) Arnett.
“Growing up she (Rubye) was always the one who did our hair,” Zwiebel said. “I have very fond memories of grandma doing our hair in her kitchen.”
Zwiebel moved to Morrill, Nebraska when she was in ninth-grade when her mother took a job at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Before that the family lived in the small Colorado town of Eads.
“My mom was a single mother with five kids,” Zwiebel said. “I am the youngest of the four girls and I have one younger brother.” In school she enjoyed art, took part in school plays and sports.
“I graduated in May, and got married in July, and started cosmetology classes at Eastern Wyoming College in August,” she said. “I was excited to start a new chapter with my sister, Jan, and classmate Anne Lewis.”
Brittany, the Zwiebel’s first child, arrived in January of 1995 and Glenna set out for a semester. She started back with classes in the summer of 1995.
“I felt like I got a very good education (at EWC),” Zwiebel said. “Donna (Charron) and Bill Schmidt were very knowledgeable and I was well prepared for my career.”
After graduating Zwiebel started working for Janet Furhman at the Hair Zone in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
“That first year I refined my techniques, slowly built up my clientele, and learned the pace of a salon. Janet was a great mentor,” Zwiebel said.
After a year she opened her own salon in Morrill called Z Total Image in November 1997.
A month after opening her salon, her second child, Garrett, arrived.
Managing family and a new business wasn’t easy, but “Morrill is super supportive of their local businesses,” she said.
Her new salon had two stations and kept her busy. It also gave her a flexible schedule to take care of her family.
“Cosmetology was the best career I could have to raise a family,” she said. “I always say, ‘it takes a village to raise a child. I am glad Morrill was our village. The kids would come to the salon after school and help out. The joke I always say is, “my kids were born Cosmo.” “Working in cosmetology you build strong friendships with clients,” Zwiebel said.
“I feel it is a profession that has many positive impacts on our clients’ health,” she said. “I belong to one of the few industries that are licensed to have client contact. For many it is the only physical contact they may receive. You make a big difference in their world and they make a big difference in yours.”
“I like to see people happy,” she said. “I can do that for them (in cosmetology).”
Zwiebel had her salon open until 2015 when she sold Z Total Image to a co-worker and friend, Carrie Feltes.
In 2019 she returned to Eastern Wyoming College to get her cosmetology instructor’s license.
“I wanted to give back to my industry,” she said. “Teaching others was something I wanted to do, help young stylists grow and foster their dreams.”
“I’m so excited to be working under Donna (Charron). To be back teaching under her is kind of a dream come true,” she said. “It has all come full circle.”
Joining the faculty at EWC has been a good transition.
“Glenna is a great addition to the cosmetology department here at EWC, and I look forward to working with her,” EWC Director of Cosmetology Donna Charron said. “As a previous salon owner she brings industry knowledge and fresh ideas along with successful business practices to share with the students.”
“The staff and faculty have been very so supportive,” she said. “It is nice to know you’re not alone.”
And the students “are eager to learn,” Zwiebel added. “When students have that ‘Ah ha’ moment, that’s fun and very rewarding.”
“Having an alumnus as a co-instructor is exciting and inspiring,” Charron said. “She has so much to contribute to the students’ education with her encouragement, optimism and energy. We are very fortunate to have someone with her skills.