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Woman of the Year: Katy Townsend

By Bridget Brewster
Posted: 05/01/2024
Tags: bios, bridget brewster

From switchboard operator to electronics, to meat cutter, back to electronics, to School of Beauty teacher to salon owner . . . Katy Townsend is living a full life. This is a woman with a clear understanding of where she’s been and how she’s gotten to where she is.


Recently, Katy was honored by Congresswoman Judy Chu as a Woman of the Year in the San Gabriel Valley. This award is in recognition of women who have made a difference in their communities through service and leadership. “The annual Women of the Year Awards ceremony is one of the highlights of my year,” Congresswoman Chu stated.


Clearly, no one begins a career path with recognition such as this in mind. When Katy moved from her home in Mississippi at the age of 21, leaving her three children with her mother while she found work and a home, she knew she had to focus on making a life for her family, which has always come first in her life.  While Katy was raising her three children alone in California, she focused on success and advancement. She found her calling as a hair stylist, but she didn’t stop there. She established her own salon in Pasadena, Katey’s Salon, then began teaching and coaching at Marinello School of Beauty. Her passion extended to helping other stylists become successful entrepreneurs, eventually garnering awards such as induction into the International Educator Hall of Fame, and she recently was elected president of the California Cosmetology Association.


Along with Congresswoman Chu, Congressman Adam Schiff and State Senator Anthony Portantino have recognized Katy for her leadership in raising funds for the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.


When asked what has been most professionally rewarding for her, she said, “Teaching. You can never learn too much. When I was asked a question I couldn’t answer, I researched to find an answer. So, as I taught, I learned and grew.” She expressed gratitude for her success professionally and for being able to raise her children to think of others and treat everyone with kindness and respect.


In her book, Faith: My Life in California, Katy tells her personal journey and includes letters from friends and colleagues who attest to her faith and determination. Interestingly, at the end of the book, she lists “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me.” Two things stood out to this writer: She loves motorcycles, and her dream is to drive an 18-wheeler! 


With her granddaughter now running the show at Katey’s Salon in Pasadena, Katy has time to not only be of greater service to her profession and community, but she also has time to be part of Pasadena Village life. She’s just starting to do a few things with the Village and loves the monthly TGIF on Thursday.  She’s looking forward to participating in more activities and getting to know more Villagers along the way.

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