Concorde Blog - Mar 25, 2020
San Diego has been referred to as "America's Finest City." That's where we find our latest subject in our series, Meet Your Campus Presidents. Rachel Saffel came to health care education from massage therapy and became president of Concorde's San Diego campus in January 2015.
So, kick back, enjoy the sunshine, sand, and surf, and learn about Saffel's road to a health care education job she finds "very rewarding," as well as her love of Netflix, her history as a dancer and burgeoning work as an artist. We'll even learn what "assemblage" is all about.
What's been your journey to becoming a Concorde CP?
In my 20s, I trained as a modern dancer and performed in a small dance company in New York. After suffering an injury, I went to a massage therapist and was amazed at the improvement and benefits from the sessions. A few years later, this memory inspired me to become a licensed massage therapist, which I practiced for more than 15 years.
After several years of practice, I thought it would be fun to teach massage therapy and found that as an instructor I could give back to the profession I had come to love by helping to mold new practitioners entering the field. I later became a director of education and then the manager and owner of a school of massage therapy. I found that my passion for massage therapy had grown into a passion for adult education, and the rest, as they say, is history!
What's the best part about being a Campus President?
For me, the best thing is being part of the growth process for people who are ready to make positive changes in their lives. I am so fortunate to work at a job in which I measure my success by the success created in other peoples' lives. What is exciting and amazing to me is that it doesn't stop with our students. The impact of our students' successes extends to their families, into the greater community, and even into future generations.
What is it that makes the San Diego campus stand out?
Most definitely it is the people who work and go to school here that make it special. The San Diego campus has developed a strong sense of teamwork among its faculty and staff, and I believe our students and guests can feel it when they walk in the building. Some of our faculty members have taught here for more than 15 years, and their dedication to our students is unquestionable.
What's the best piece of advice you ever were given?
My favorite and most frequently relied on a piece of advice is not to worry about the details when it comes to accomplishing your goals or dreams. Whatever it is, just start - take the first step and then the next step, and the universe will help take care of the details as long as you remain committed.
What's a favorite TV show, movie you've seen or book you've read?
I love to read, and I have a few favorite authors that I am devoted to reading all their work. One of those is Louise Erdrich, a Native American writer, and I just finished her latest book, LaRose, which is a fairly serious read. On the other end of the spectrum, I love a good Netflix series and tend to get hooked on one and watch serial episodes until I've seen every season. I did that this year with Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.
What is a hidden talent, favorite hobby or little-known fact people don't know about you?
Until a few years ago, I would say that I was a closeted artist, but then I got brave and came out of the closet and started showing my work. I've been doing assemblage artwork for about 10 years. Assemblage is like collage, except it's three-dimensional. I enjoy collecting random treasures I find at flea markets to transform into sculptural pieces. Two of my favorite pieces were built using an old typewriter and a broken violin.
Being open to creative inspiration and constructing a sound piece is a great exercise in using both sides of the brain, and it brings me a lot of joy. If others appreciate what I create, that's just a bonus!