Shari Aldrich’s Story
Hey – Shari Aldrich here. I’m the President and Clinical Director for Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage. I’ve been a massage therapist since 2006. Before my career in massage, I was an IT Director for a local company. Life certainly has its ups and downs and as they say, when one door closes, another opens. I believe this with all my heart.
I actually loved my IT job. I loved the challenge. I loved the changing technology. I loved how I grew into a leader. What I hated was the stress. I was covering 10 offices in 2 states by myself. There were over 150 computers in the field used by staff who were not computer savvy. I was pulled in a hundred directions – every day.
Personally, my family had suffered 3 significant losses in 7 years with the deaths of my brother, mother and sister. I was afraid that something similar would happen to me if I wasn’t able to deal with my stress. I started training for the Seattle Marathon in 2004 and got my first massage while in training. I made a decision to start massage school and take control of my life. So, in March of 2005 I enrolled in Bodymechanics School, going to night school and working all day long. I’m not going to lie, it was very stressful. My daughters were in high school and played sports year round. I missed a lot of their games. Even when I was home, I was studying or giving massages. It was crazy, to say the least.
I did find ways to incorporate my studies into my kids lives by taking my massage table to the softball field and providing sports massage to parents and kids alike. This helped relieve some of the guilt I felt by missing out on so much of my kids lives while I was in massage school.
The good news is that schooling when I went was just 1 year. In the scheme of things, 1 year goes by in the blink of an eye. I graduated in April of 2006.
At that time, I thought that I would take my time growing my private practice. I had rented an office for use in the evenings and weekends and started building a clientele. But, in July of 2006, my younger sister was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I just knew right then that I had to make a leap, decrease my stress and believe in my own ability to make my happiness happen.
I was creative with giving notice from my IT job. Rather than resigning outright, I gave a “Notice of Transition” from full time employment. I gave 3 months and dropped down to 3 days a week of working and spent the other 2 days a week building my practice. I was also hired to be an assistant instructor at Bodymechanics School and taught on those 2 days that I wasn’t working in my IT job. The beauty of how I did this was that I was using up vacation time on the 2 days a week that I wasn’t at my IT job. I had guaranteed money while I was building my practice.
When the 3 months were over, I had a decent clientele already and had 13 clients in my first full week of massage.
I closed the door at my IT job but another was opening slowly.
I was teaching steady and became a full time lead instructor in November 2006, just 7 months out of school. I had started traveling around with the school’s owner and assisting him teaching his continuing education classes. I was learning and adapting my practice. I was having a blast!
In 2009, the previous owner, Robert Haase, decided to close the school down because of the economy. In July of that year he put the school on hiatus and I started talking right away about how I could keep the school going. I just felt that the program was too amazing to fade away from memory. I had seen what other schools were producing while I was traveling and I knew our graduates stood above many massage therapists and that our education was top-notch.
In December, 2009 Robert and I came to an agreement and I opened the school back up and in July 2010 I became the owner of the school. In the first class, I had just 6 students, the next class had 7 students, and there was just a slow upward increase in enrollment over the next couple of years.
Since those early days, the school has grown and I’ve been able to purchase a new building and moved the school to its new, permanent home on Mottman Road in Tumwater.
The Bodymechanics building houses 3 separate business, but each business supports the others. There is a professional clinic with many Licensed Massage Practitioners, we have a chiropractor and nutritionist. We have the school that now encompasses massage and personal training. And, we have a fitness center that serves the community with bootcamp classes, functional aging classes and individual personal training.
In October 2013, I suffered a traumatic finger amputation while participating in a obstacle course mud run. At the time, I was massaging between 25-30 clients a week. The injury was a “de-gloving” injury that ripped the muscle/tendon unit, nerve, and blood vessels from my arm and hand.
While it essentially ended the large scale massage practice I enjoyed, the injury has allowed me to focus on how I can serve the school, students and the community more.
2015 was spent creating new programs that will support students in Bodymechanics School even more – through advanced mentoring, increased network of professionals, advanced business coaching and other incredible programs.
2016 saw the opening of our second school campus. Those in Vancouver and surrounding area seeking a massage therapy education, can attend our beautiful campus at 7723 NE Fourth Plain Blvd. It’s been an incredible process launching a second school location and building it from the ground up.
More than ever, I believe our program is outstanding. I have a phenomenal core group of instructors who are passionate about teaching. I have great supportive staff. I have incredible students who put their heart and soul into learning all that they can. I’m proud of the school. I’m proud of our graduates who are creating their own happiness helping their clients to feel better every day.
Stop in, check us out. I would love to talk more with you about the school, the career and my story. It’s been an amazing ride since graduating in 2006 and I look forward to many more to come.
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