Sam Issari, Owner and Managing Director
Sam became the owner and Managing Director of VSBM in May 2016. He was drawn to the healing energy of the space and the human element of VSBM that is often absent in other industries. Sam has a background in health and sport supplements and comes from a successful career in sales and marketing, most recently in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce.
He is passionate about working with the school’s dedicated instructors to deliver high quality education to students at all stages of the healing journey. Sam believes in the transformational power of the healing arts and in his spare time enjoys many outdoor pursuits including skiing, volleyball and swimming.
Sam’s office is located at the VSBM studio on Water Street, Vancouver and students and staff are encouraged to utilize his open door policy should they have any questions or concerns about their program or the school.
Marie Salton, Program Director
Marie graduated in 2005 from the Spa Therapy Program at VSBM. Since graduation Marie has remained involved with the school. She has tutored, mentored, been a TA for several modalities and served on the VSBM’s Advisory Committee. In 2010 she began lead instructing and has taught Hot Stone, Spa Business Skills, Hydrotherapy and Joint Release.
She started her massage career in 2006 at Poet’s Cove on Pender Island and then Last Frontier heli-skiing. In 2007 Marie worked for the Sacred Stone Spa in Tofino, BC, first as a bodyworker and then as assistant manager. She bought the spa in 2008 and operated it as general manager to 2013, when she sold her interest. Marie relocated back to Vancouver and worked for 3 years at Sense Spa at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia (5-Star).
Marie has throughout continued her own training and workshops, taking Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Thai Foot Massage, Deep Tissue, Reiki, and Pregnancy Massage. In particular, Marie has become increasingly involved with Deep Flow, as a student, then TA, and currently as an instructor.
As VSBM Program Director Marie wants to ensure the Spa Therapy Program continues evolving and meeting demand from an ever-changing spa industry. Her goal is a program that is highly focused and effectively delivered. Read more about Marie at mariesalton.com.
Cat Thomson, Admissions Director
Cat has joined the team at VSBM with over 5 years of experience working in admissions and education. She comes from an expansive background in music. A classically trained pianist, she went on to study opera at Louisiana State University and has had the fortune of performing around the world. Cat understands what it is to follow your heart and take the path less traveled – she has channeled her passion for education and the arts into helping students achieve their dreams. Although relatively new to the world of holistic wellness, Cat’s prior experience translate easily and she too continues her journey with mindfulness meditation.
Trudi Diening, Senior Education Administrator
“I’m so very happy to be joining the team here at VSBM. My path here has had some twists and turns; all of them interesting learning opportunities in and of themselves. I have been a career adult education instructor and administrator for most of my adult life. When not doing that you can find me performing (vocalist) or building homes (timber frames with our company DV LogWorks). I am happy where I am in my life as a life partner, mother and grandmother. I am starting to realize some ‘real’ balance.”
Christine Low, Student Liaison
Christine started off her journey in the field of health and wellness, as a fellow student at VSBM almost a decade ago. She has since connected with others passionate in this industry and enjoyed many wonderful opportunities. Beachside spas, annual wellness retreats and massaging at a heli-ski lodge have all been a part of the experience. Throughout the years she has continued to advance her skills. Highlights include Certification in an Enriched Yoga Teacher Training, Deep Flow Foundations and Level 2, and a Diploma in Osteopathic Manual Practice.
For the last three years she has had the pleasure of building her practice and working alongside a passionate team of therapists at an integrated wellness centre and in October of 2016 Christine branched off to start her own business and now successfully runs her private practise in Kerisdale. Christine believes that the next chapter in her career involves sharing what she has learned with others. Christine knows firsthand what is required when working in a professional environment and hopes to help better support the students throughout the program so they are set up for a successful career. www.christinelow.ca