With most entrepreneur’s there is a story of inspiration, passion, and determination, all of which, when mixed in with a dream can pave the way to life changing motivation. That is the path that aligned so perfectly for Jonelle McMahan, President and Owner of the Sewickley Spa. McMahan began working with Dorothy Andreas, founder of the Sewickley Spa, as Spa Director in 2009. Jonelle’s story evolved into one that combined all of her personal attributes and determination in a way that would fulfill her dream of one day owning the Sewickley Spa.
As a student at Ambridge High School, Jonelle began working as a shampoo girl/receptionist at Right Angles by Kim, a flourishing hair salon in Ambridge. Owner Kim Villella, a brilliant entrepreneur quickly became Jonelle’s first professional mentor. Working at the salon was the beginning of Jonelle’s deep seated respect and admiration for the beauty industry as she watched first-hand as Villella grew her business to become one of the area’s premier beauty and wellness studios.
A 2004 graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Communications, Advertising and Public Relations, McMahan enjoyed a successful career in media advertising working for Radio Disney, ESPN Radio, KDKA Radio and WBVP/WMBA and found herself not only ready for a career change, but she was ready to go back to the beauty industry.
That change presented itself in meeting previous owner of the spa, Dorothy Andreas, who had established a remarkable business model. Her strategic approach to promoting and marketing The Sewickley Spa brand grew the business to become a celebrated destination earning national acclaim. McMahan’s past work experience in advertising, aligned well with the commitment to the marketing concepts that Andreas subscribed to and the working relationship was the perfect fit.
McMahan was a natural at engaging with the clients of the spa. It became quite clear to her that everyone comes to a day spa for different reasons. Some people see it as an escape from a hectic world, some come to search to find their sense of ‘self’, while others come to relax and feel pampered. It was the personal connection with clients that was so powerful for McMahan. This had become more
than just a job. She became emersed in the positive effect the experience was having on clients and how playing even a small role in that gave her a fulfillment that she had not experienced in her previous career.
That is when McMahan’s entrepreneurial spirit became fueled. As Dorothy Andreas was planning to take her new business ventures to the next level and sell the spa, it was clear that she was meant to be the next owner.
With the dream in motion, nothing was going to stand in her way of someday owning the spa. Not even a pandemic. Undeterred by the challenges brought on by COVID 19, McMahan kept her head down and her dream alive by growing revenue in- spite of the lock down and then the social distancing that had devastating effects on so many other businesses. McMahan went on to purchase the spa in November of 2020.
Owning the spa has also helped Jonelle embrace her passion for community involvement as she embraces the charitable cause’s she holds dear. Losing her mother to breast cancer when McMahan was only 19 years old has drawn her to shine a spotlight on Breast Cancer Awareness and Hair Peace Charites, an organization that provides financial assistance to women and girls to purchase wigs due to the devastating effect of chemotherapy. McMahan is also a champion for Beverly’s Birthdays, a charity that provides birthday parties for children experiencing homelessness and families in need. She also works to advance the fight against animal cruelty and neglect by supporting Animal Friends and the Humane Society.
The Sewickley Spa continues to set the standards of day spas in our area and under the ownership of McMahan customers can expect the same level of service and professionalism that they are accustomed to. “We treasure the relationships we build with our customers and the new clients and friends we welcome will become equally as precious,” said McMahan. “We remain dedicated to providing an extraordinary experience and I feel privileged to be able to carry the tradition.”
While realizing her dream to own the Sewickley Spa was the beginning of Jonelle McMahan’s entrepreneurial story, the most significant part of the story continues to be written every day as she engages with clients to ensure that their personal journey to wellness is satisfied in a most extraordinary way. That will always remain the mission of the Sewickley Spa.