August 01, 2022

When he was a teenager, Century College alum Russell Johnson channeled his creativity into cutting his designs into his friends’ and family’s hair.  After high school, he attended Barber School, and soon became a Master Barber. He went on to own barbershops in two Twin Cities locations.

Century College: An Affordable Choice

As a busy parent, raising a family while working full-time, Russell planned to return to college.  As a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Russell wanted to continue to grow his businesses by adding to his marketing skills and knowledge.

After doing his research, Russell found that Century College’s Marketing program met his requirements.   Additionally, Century College’s affordability was another important factor in his decision.  He wanted to leave school without massive debt.

Education and Life Skills

While Russell’s decision to attend Century College was practical, what he gained was so much more.

“My education helped me navigate my way through life,” Russell notes. “Classes like Microeconomics and Communication helped a lot.  With Communication classes, I learned how to respond, not react. Education puts you in a different environment, and, as a professional, you have to learn how to better communicate.”

His Marketing classes with instructors Lynn Smaagaard and Kavi Turnbull made him trained him to work with monthly budgets, another important life skill.

“Lynn was great.  She connected me with key professors like Kavi, who also had business experience,” Russell remembers. “I got help with learning how to create a business plan, financial statements, and financial plans.  They helped me make sure that everything lined up with my goals and plans and my business mission, which was to provide high quality haircut services at affordable prices in an urban area.”

Future Goals and Plans

Education is very important to Russell because he sees himself as a life-long learner and teacher (as a parent). He has always been aspirational, and looking for ways to improve his life.  He plans to leave a legacy for his family. 

“When I was in high school, I didn’t think about college or about future plans.  At Century, I learned about Smart Goals from Lynne. and that information has stuck with me.  I began using that info, and applying the knowledge I learned from Century College directly into my businesses.

In 2017, Russell graduated with his AAS degree in Marketing Management.  (He’s now part of a Century College family.  His wife, Jasmine, also graduated from Century with her degree in Dental Assisting.)

He and his family plan to leave the Twin Cities and move to Texas in a few months.  

“I feel like I’m just starting, and still in thriving mode,” says Russell, reflecting on his future. “I love being disciplined, setting goals, reading books.  The process is really fun and enjoyable.  Setting goals and being disciplined are like working out—you keep at it, and then you begin to see results.

“And my Century College education has helped prepare me for a better future.”


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