Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Year of graduation: 1992
Allison Hegedus is President of Vida Spas which has five locations throughout Vancouver and Seattle, Washington. Vida Spas have been listed among the best spas by Glow and Seattle Magazine over the past year. Distinguishing oneself in an industry that has grown by leaps and bounds recently is not easy. Despite their increased popularity, spa treatments are still considered a luxury, particularly when economic times are tough. “In response, we continue to come up with creative treatments to target individuals who are time and budget conscious,” says Allison.
She believes that spa treatments help balance the body, mind and spirit, leading to overall wellness. As this philosophy evolves, Allison sees corporate and government medical plans expanding their offerings in the future. “I am hopeful that medical coverage will include not only treatments from registered massage therapists but all wellness massage, as well as facials to treat various skin conditions.”
In fact, the modern spa is increasingly a hybrid, with hospitals incorporating spa elements, and spas bringing in more medical doctors and specialists. Facial acupuncture (a type of natural face lift) is an example of a particularly exciting area of growth right now, says Allison. “The challenge will be to see if both practices maintain high standards of quality as we merge the two industries together,” says Allison.
Originally from the Niagara region of Ontario, Allison was eager to work right after high school. An information session about the esthetician’s program at Sheridan led her to the college following graduation. After several years of working as an esthetician, Allison returned to Sheridan to study marketing management and worked as an educator and sales executive for a variety of cosmetic companies. In 1999, she found her niche in the spa industry, as the Spa Director at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Allison went on to open and manage the Still Water Spa at the Park Hyatt Hotel, consult with the Elizabeth Milan Day Spa at The Royal York, and open and direct the Spa at The Old Mill Inn in Toronto. Eventually, she moved west again and joined Vida Wellness Spas as a regional director, before being promoted to president in 2006.
Allison has worked hard since her days at Sheridan, but credits the college with giving her the technical and communications skills necessary to thrive in a field she loves. “Helping people find their balance so that they look and feel better truly is a gratifying career,” says Allison. “I am proof that you can have success and happiness while maintaining your values.”