Diana graduated with an associate degree in massage therapy in December of 2003. She opened up her own massage business called Cloud 9 Massage Therapy that same year. Why massage?
“I had been working in a job I didn’t enjoy for 14 years. I’d been hit by a car when I was 19 and had seen a chiropractor, but that didn’t help very much. I was in another car accident later and went back to a chiropractor. That office also had a massage therapist, and it really helped me. I knew I needed a change, so that’s when I started in massage school,” says Diana.
Diana had been serving her loyal client base exclusively until the fall of 2010, when a former classmate and MSB-Elk River faculty member reached out to Diana about a teaching opportunity. It turns out that her friend had been attempting to nudge Diana into teaching for quite some time, but Diana was hesitant: she had a young child at home and didn’t want to pile more onto her plate. Additionally, she wasn’t sure that she was a good fit for a teaching position. “To be honest, I’m a quiet, shy person,” Diana says.
Diana eventually decided to give teaching a go and worked as an adjunct professor at MSB-Brooklyn Center for four years. “I loved [teaching]. It was addicting! I wanted more and more classes every quarter,” she states. Diana started teaching just one class per quarter and progressed to three to five per quarter—all while maintaining her private practice!
In March of 2014, MSB-Plymouth hired Diana as its new massage therapy program chair. The role of program chair adds a level of supervision that was new to Diana. She has easily embraced that aspect as well, stating, “I really like it—I’m very organized by nature—it’s a good fit for my personality. I get to still do what I love, but in a different capacity.”
Diana describes what makes a good prospective massage therapy student. “You definitely need to be accepting of different people and different bodies. You either know you have it or you don’t—you have to have a passion for it. The one thing I hear most from people who say they could never massage professionally is feet—they don’t want to touch people’s feet! But you have to touch feet in this field,” she explains. “You learn a body is just a body—you don’t look at individual external features, you don’t judge. We don’t care if you shaved your legs before the visit—we are focused on the muscles,” Diana adds.
“A lot of the time the students think that if they have good massage skills, they have it made, but they still have to develop those soft skills, people skills. You have to take it seriously—take the medical side seriously—you literally have someone’s life in your hands,” advises Diana.
It is clear that Diana is bringing her passion for massage, her business-owner experience, and her (fairly recently discovered) love of teaching to MSB’s students and faculty. Diana exemplifies what it means to be an ongoing learner who is willing to challenge what they think are capable of and where their talents lie. We at MSB couldn’t be happier to be the beneficiaries of her willingness to pursue what she truly loves!