Originally from Lithuania, Simona had two law degrees when she decided to come to Canada.
“I had two luggage bags with me and hardly any money,” says Simona, who knew the legal education she received wasn’t quite the right fit for her. “I didn’t want to work in an office, it wasn’t attractive to me, I always kind of interested in the human anatomy and the body, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do.”
As she chatted with a friend, Simona says it finally came to her. “I liked the idea of the flexibility that came with a career as a massage therapist,” she says. “I also liked that it wasn’t in an office and there are so many possibilities for career paths.”
MaKami College was close to her home, so Simona decided to take a tour and enrolled in the 3,000 hour Advanced Clinical Massage Therapy program. “I really liked it, but it was challenging,” she admits. “I had a young daughter at the time and my English was not very good. I also lacked confidence. But the teachers and assistants were amazing – they gave me so much one-on-one attention and tutoring when I needed it, I’m so grateful for them.”
It wasn’t until she was at her graduation that Simona realized how far she had come. “I was talking with people and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I can really speak English well now!’ That was one of the things I liked the most about studying at MaKami – they helped me learn English, and that’s a skill I will always have thanks to them.”
After graduating, Simona went on to work for a few employers. “During that time our family bought a house and I had a nice set up in basement where I was treating people outside of the clinics I worked for.” Simona quickly found a lot of demand for her side business. “I had a lot of people start asking me why I work for someone else, and why I don’t just work for myself and be my own boss.”
So, Simona decided to open her own clinic. “I always knew I wanted to be in the wellness and beauty field and I wanted to be my boss – and that’s what I love about MaKami and the career of massage therapy – if you know what you’re doing you can be your own boss, you can have so much flexibility, there are so many possibilities.”
In June 2020, Simona opened her new clinic, Parkview Massage and Wellness, in Canyon Meadows.
“It’s not quite a clinic and not quite a spa – it’s somewhere in between,” says Simona. “When I was working for other people, everywhere I worked was more medical. My goal was to create a space where we can offer therapeutic massages but at the same time the client would come and feel relaxed. Here, clients can come sit, have some tea and we can discuss their treatment. I want people to have the same results as in a medical environment but in a nice, calming, and relaxing environment.”
Currently the spa offers a number of customized massage therapy treatments ranging from more relaxing treatments like hot stone and aromatherapy, to more therapeutic treatments (Gobio) such as cupping and deeper pressure. Recently the spa has also added a number of aesthetics services to its offerings, including facial treatments, body wraps, laser resurfacing treatments, waxing and more.
Simona credits MaKami with helping her find the happiness and success she has found so far.
“MaKami gave me a lot, I’m very thankful,” she says. “I have that flexibility I was looking for – if I need a day off I can make that happen. I can pick my daughter up from school. I don’t need to ask for time off, it’s great.”
For anyone currently debating going to school, Simona highly recommends MaKami.
“It really is a great school, I learned a lot, and the instructors, tutors and ESL staff are very helpful. If you are struggling you can always go ask for help.”