Meet The Team

All about the great team at GroomArts

We have dedicated, experienced and friendly group of staff that are here to help you make the successful journey to your new career.

Leo Cunningham

Chief Commercial Officer

Leo Cunningham

Chief Commercial Officer

MSc Behavioural Economics, MA Filmmaking, BSc Computer science, certified teacher assessor and presenter of over 200 workshops

Background

Leo was appointed CCO in 2013. He worked formerly as a strategist in branding and communication for 20 years and also spent some time working as a Commercials Director and Promo Producer in South Africa. He has vast experience of guiding people and brands towards success and is responsible for the overall commercial management of GroomArts Academy.

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Laura Campanella

Styling Director and Head Teacher

Laura Campanella

Styling Director and Head Teacher

LCGI Vocational Degree, Master Craftsman, BDGA Higher Diploma, Certified teacher (PTLLS), City and Guilds Certified Assessor, First-Aider and all-round Grooming Guru

Background

Owner of the first GroomArts Salon and creator of the original GroomArts philosophy. Since 2004 Laura has consistently garnered a reputation as one of the UK’s best and most loved groomers. She is absolutely passionate about excellence in grooming standards and passing on GroomArts high values to others

Laura is an expert in hand stripping, understanding and treating skin conditions, delivering high standards in customer service, creative and breed standard colouring, animal behaviour, styling pure breeds and cross breeds. Terriers, Spaniels, Poodles, Bichion Frise’ and Tibetan Terriers, Coton de Tuléar. I also have extensive experience of working to prepare cats to a show standard.

What most people don't know about me is that I used to compete as a roller skater in Italy and was a junior champion. I also like wine.

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Ben Cunningham

Education Manager, Business Development Executive and SENCO

Ben Cunningham

Education Manager, Business Development Executive and SENCO

Bsc Human Biology, GTP, GTC L6, SENCO, Autism Awareness L3, Assessor, Behavioural Specialist and IAAF L3 Strength and Conditioning Coach

Background

I have a real passion for people and as a result, all of my jobs have been built on supporting others. I have worked as a teacher and SENCO since 2008 and dealt with a variety of students in both mainstream and specialist education. In addition, I have worked as a high level PT, nutritionist and a strength and conditioning coach for elite athletes.

As Education Manager at GroomArts Academy, I am responsible for links with other colleges as well as organising the structure and content of everyone’s learning and adapting any resources to ensure that all students can access the material. This expands to online material and for those that really want to stretch themselves. I also try to look after all students to make sure everyone is happy and getting the most out of the GroomArts experience.

I love running, singing, song writing, languages and just any sort of competition or learning. Any chance for me to compete or to grow and get better or be part of something special, I'm there in a heartbeat and that's why I'm at GroomArts.

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Eleonora Bucci

Teacher and Lead Assessor

Eleonora Bucci

Teacher and Lead Assessor

City and Guilds L3 Diploma in dog grooming, Assessor A1, PTLLS L3

Background

I’m and Italian national and I have lived in the UK for 7 years…and I love it…apart from the weather. Previously, I worked in the Italian Consulate for 2 years, assisting Italian citizens with a variety of enquiries and communicating all the information provided by consular services. I later worked in the Canadian Visa Office, providing a similar role and processing applications before my love of dogs brought me to GroomArts. 

I have worked my way up and am now a teacher and lead assessor, having previously been a teaching assistant and in charge of data protection. I know the experience that all of our students go through and because of this, I can help them achieve the best they possibly can.

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Susie Hill

Teacher and Assessor

Susie Hill

Teacher and Assessor

City and Guilds L3 Diploma in dog grooming, Assessor A1, PTLLS L3

Background

After school I trained to teach riding, working for an event rider and then a national long distance British champion. I also worked in London for approximately 17 years for a photographic lab, which enabled me to buy and compete with my own horse. For a change of career, I worked at the dentists for 9 years but I have wanted to follow my passion of dogs. Dog grooming has become a passion of mine and now it's the time to continue but to help others follow their passion.

I am a teacher and assessor for the students that come through our doors. Having previously gone through the course, I know how they feel and can help to give them guidance to achieve the most they possibly can.

I love my cycling and have cycled from Lands End to John O Groats and also from Bilbao to England. I am also an independent film buff.

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Ernest Boakye

Sales and Marketing Manager

Ernest Boakye

Sales and Marketing Manager

BA Film Production and Creative Writing. Future Published Novelist.

Background

My background is in film. I enjoy martial arts, wrestling and am keen to be a writer. I love a job that gives me the chance to learn and grow and develop new skills and that's what drew me to GroomArts Academy.

My role at GroomArts Academy is to support students before, during and after their training, ensuring they achieve exactly what they want to during their time here so they can go on to start their new career and business with pride, confidence and the greatest success. I’m also in charge of GroomArts Academy’s marketing, PR and events and business development.

Something that not many people might not know about me is I have won several poetry awards.

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Sonia Thaibsyah

Part Time Administrator and part of the assessment team

Sonia Thaibsyah

Part Time Administrator and part of the assessment team

1st class BA (hons) Event Management, Black belt, SINDO self defence and future L3 Dip Dog groomer

Background

My background is based on Events Management where I organised charity and music events, as well as working front of house in customer service roles.
Throughout my life I have always remained active and enjoy challenging myself through exercise. My greatest achievement to date is running two Marathons and one half Marathon!

As well as having experience being front of house, I now help process some of the admin that keeps GroomArts ticking. I'm also really excited to begin working towards my Level 3 Diploma to be able to get involved in the assessment of our students.

I am fascinated by science, nature, and the moon, and a huge music lover that was born in the wrong era!

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Amber Papenfus

Front of House Office Manager

Amber Papenfus

Front of House Office Manager

1st (hons) BA Events Management, Part time Cellist

Background

My background is based on Events Management where I organised six figure weddings and events all over the UK. I have lived in about twenty houses and am originally from South Africa. Finding a job that means I get to spend my day around dogs was too good an opportunity to miss out on; that's what drew me to GroomArts Academy.

As well as being the first face you’ll see at the Academy, I manage the day to day grooming schedule for all animals whilst ensuring all students and teachers are kept happy.

My best (and only) friend is my miniature dapple dachshund, Frankie.

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Lavinia Cirsmariu

Junior Teacher

Lavinia Cirsmariu

Junior Teacher

City and Guilds L3 Diploma in dog grooming and experienced barista

Background

Before moving to the UK, I worked in the hotel and hospitality industry, however, having had dogs since I was a child, I thought about starting a career with dogs. I came to GroomArts Academy to initially train to be a dog groomer but because I enjoyed the experience so much, I decided to come and work here.

I am a junior teacher and am looking forward to improving my skills and particularly competing next year. I want to win everything!

Something not many people will know is I like hiking and really enjoy designing. I used to make my own handbags.

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