Dozens of incredible individuals make up our Oregon school of massage. Each member of our staff has a unique story of how they found massage as a career. Today we’re kicking off a new series of staff profiles highlighting the talented people behind East West College. We begin with Cindy Boyum, our massage clinic manager and a talented LMT in her own right.

Ask Cindy to describe her career in one word, and she comes up with love. Ask her to add three more, and she tacks on calm, healing and giving. Altogether, those four words have guided Cindy’s journey into the world of massage.

As a PSU student working toward an undergraduate degree in micromolecular biology, Cindy found herself drawn toward careers in healing. Her family had always encouraged her to become a doctor, but Cindy hesitated on choosing that track, knowing that life as a medical doctor is stressful. Moreover, Western medicine’s focus on time efficiency with patients didn’t appeal to her. (It’s not unusual for doctors to see each patient for fifteen minutes or less.) Cindy did consider becoming a nurse, but was dissuaded after seeing how stressed out her mother-in-law was after a lifetime in nursing.

At the time, she was making her way through school, working as a credit union teller. Being a highly organized, analytical person, the work with numbers suited her. But she was still looking for an entry into a healing career. She researched becoming a physician’s assistant, but found that it required too many hours in a hospital. While researching careers online, she stumbled across massage school as an option. As she describes it, the idea to become an LMT “came out of the blue.”

Cindy had previously received massage while healing from a car accident. She was drawn to the calm environment of massage; by this point she had realized that she didn’t want to work in an atmosphere where she felt stressed out. Although her family all expected her to become a doctor, she followed her heart and Googled “massage school Portland Oregon.” East West College was the first result, so Cindy set up a visit as a prospective student.

One of our admissions representatives, Rann, met with Cindy, and they clicked immediately. As Rann provided a tour of our campus, Cindy admired the beauty and calm milieu. She signed up for classes right away, and soon met with Danielle, an East West College financial aid representative. Again, Cindy was impressed with how East West does things. She explains, “I’d been to universities. Financial aid, I totally get all that stuff. Being able to work one-on-one in admissions, as well as one-on-one in financial aid, that was very unusual in a university.”

Cindy selected our 15-month program, and completed it while continuing to work at a credit union. Being a science major, the rigorous content of our program was enjoyable for her. After graduation, she opened her own massage space in August of 2012, providing mainly Thai massage. Cindy enjoyed this modality as it allowed her to use her whole body, not just her hands. Eventually, Cindy rented out her massage space to focus on finishing her undergraduate degree at PSU.

In March of 2013, Rann contacted Cindy about the possibility of working in admissions at East West College. Given Cindy’s work history and experience with the East West curriculum, Rann thought it would be a great fit. Once her schedule at PSU settled down, Cindy began working in admissions in July of 2013. After a week of working in the admissions department, David, our owner, suggested that Cindy would be excellent at running the campus store as well as our massage clinic. Today she manages the massage clinic, having transferred her store duties to Kathy, our current store manager.

Like many of the people who work at East West College, Cindy maintains her massage therapist license, and continues to provide massage on the weekends as an alumna, through our massage clinic.

Stay tuned for future stories on the staff stories behind East West College.