Bringing Wellness to the Workplace
"After a 15-year career, I decided to become an employee benefit and bring wellness to the workplace," says AMTA volunteer Marilyn Kier, owner of Wellness at Work LLC, who has some advice for AMTA National Convention attendees. Read on for Marilyn's story.
What drew you to the massage therapy profession?
Honestly, I think it was "divine intervention.” I was a stressed out director of employee benefits communications at a large consulting firm. After my 15-year career, I decided to become an employee benefit and bring wellness to the workplace through onsite massage. Although I don't recommend this approach, I boldly quit my career and went to massage school. Two years later I graduated with my business plan in hand. To my surprise, my business grew faster than my plan predicted!
What has kept you in the profession?
Over the last 15 years, I have continued to follow my passion for helping people in pain by focusing on orthopedic massage. I still have therapists who do onsite work at some of the same companies I visited when I first started. When it comes to my own practice, passion is what has kept me in the profession. I genuinely enjoy assessing soft tissue injuries and developing appropriate treatment plans that get results.
What types of education and experiences have aided in your success?
On a professional level, I decided early on to find masters and mentors who could both teach and support me. I was fortunate to study with some industry experts like Dr. Ben Benjamin, Whitney Lowe and Tom Myers. On a personal level, I have found it very rewarding to volunteer as a national media spokesperson for AMTA. In this role, I've had an opportunity to use my communication skills to help educate consumers about the health benefits of massage therapy and how to find qualified therapists using AMTA's Find a Massage Therapist locator service.
What do you enjoy most about your current work environment? What are some of the challenges?
I've rented my own space in a professional office building for 11 years. I recently obtained the landlord's permission to remodel and soundproof the space to my exact specifications. I am in a quiet corner of the building, with tree-lined windows through which just the right amount of light shines between the blinds. My clients appreciate coming to a professional office that is also inviting, warm and comfortable. In order for my clients to be comfortable, I need to be comfortable. I can honestly say that I love my space.
Although I have part-time administrative help, running the business requires me to step out of my role as therapist. One of my mentors once told me that I would eventually need to decide whether I wanted to run my business or work my business. My biggest challenge is that I enjoy doing both--that means I put in many long hours.
What is one thing you would tell a first-time attendee to expect at the AMTA National Convention?
Expect to receive quality education, experience camaraderie among your peers and be introduced to the industry's latest products. Most of all you are going to have FUN! The education is great, but if you don't leave some time to attend social events and connect with other therapists, you will miss a very important part of the experience.