A Heart for Changing Lives through Beauty and Wellness

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As the 2019 recipient of the Sydell L. Miller Total Image Esthetics Student Scholarship, Shauntavia Ward’s passion for a holistic commitment to beauty and wellness echoes Matrix co-founder Sydell Miller’s integrated beauty philosophy. Ironically, both women hail from Cleveland, Ohio.


As a child and young woman, Ward had a passion for makeup and skin care and was always interested in helping others. The world-renowned Cleveland Clinic provided her first entry into helping people feel better. Her career evolved from secretary to registered nurse and she eventually became a nurse practitioner, aspiring to eventually work in various medical aesthetic roles, from medical spa settings to plastic surgery offices. 


It was in her work in the medical realm that Ward began thinking about the integration of beauty and wellness. “Medical treatments seemed like a quick fix, but I wanted to help women cultivate a confidence that was born from within and helped a person look good from the inside out,” she said. Ward explored the intersection of diet, wellness, and a holistic approach. Inspired by findings from the Global Wellness Institute, she was convinced that earning an aesthetics license should be the next step in her career journey.


After relocating with her husband to Austin, Texas, Ward enrolled at Aveda Institute, where an instructor encouraged her to apply for a Beauty Changes Lives scholarship. Just two days before she planned to film her scholarship application, she broke her foot. Undeterred, she managed to pull off the video while concealing both her crutches – and pain!


Ward completed her aesthetics program on June 1, 2019. With no time to waste, she is moving forward with velocity, opening her spa Elemint on July 1. The spa will offer a menu of facial treatments, along with healthy beverages and dietary treatments, providing a comprehensive approach to feeling and looking one’s best.


Asked to share advice for the next generation of beauty professionals, Ward says, “Be able to accept fear and use it as a catalyst to overcome any obstacle. Believe and trust in yourself and know you can do whatever you dream. Replace fear with excitement and you can achieve anything!”


Ward’s spirit of confidence is also expressed in the application video that initiated her career change. In the video she states, “When people can’t put their best face forward, they usually don’t perform well.” As a medical professional, aesthetician, entrepreneur, and Beauty Changes Lives scholarship recipient, Ward is paying her success forward to help others in a healthy and beautiful way.

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