Searching for your dream job can be stressful, even in a field that can help alleviate stress. As Dee Shockey began exploring the world of massage therapy, she realized sometimes you’ve got to create the career you’ve always wanted from scratch. She and her husband, Jared, shared a life-long goal of being 100% self-employed. Using guidance from Shockey’s Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne education, they used the pandemic to hash out a business plan and make their dream a reality.

In January 2022, New Leaf Massage and Bodywork opened its doors. It’s an affordable option for massage therapy, with a mission to spread understanding that healing touch is essential to the human wellness experience. Shockey stumbled across her passion while exploring other types of treatments. 

“I have some educational background with exercise science and always enjoyed the exposure I had to hands-on therapy, holistic wellness practices, and yoga,” Shockey says. “But I hadn’t connected with the right area of wellness for me to build a career in.”

Shockey started taking classes at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne as a high schooler. She knew friends who participated in the massage therapy program, and learning more about their experiences drew her in.

“Amazing” is how Shockey describes her teachers and staff in the program who she also credits with equipping her with everything she needed to become a professional. Shockey says she still uses her experience from the student-run Healthy Essence Massage Clinic to connect with her current clients. She also says her teachers were able to help her network and give her resources that have provided her with great opportunities.

“Education will give you everything if you show up to learn with an open mind and apply yourself. Day one after I got my license, I started my literal dream job. Ivy Tech made that possible for me.”

Growing in a field doesn’t stop after graduation. In addition to living her best life outside of work with their cat, Dwiggy, she’s also working towards furthering her education in both craniosacral therapy and myofascial release.

To anyone interested in a path as a massage therapist, Dee offers this advice: “Give a lot of massages and get a lot of massages. Experience and exposure to the practice are crucial to knowing if you’re a good fit in the field.”

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.