I am always excited to share the experience and knowledge of many of my incredible friends and colleagues with you. As you may know, each of them has a unique perspective, talent and journey that led them to find success. I’d like to introduce you to Melissa Rhodes, NP-C and founder of Ona Skincare, a boutique medical spa with two locations – one in historic East Nashville and one in Belle Meade.

They pride themselves in customizing treatments and products for each individual client. They have treatments from facials to lasers and whole body Cryotherapy to body sculpting with TruSculpt Flex (the only ones in Nashville with this technology). They customize a plan for each individual in order to build their confidence inside and out.

But it is Melissa’s back story that makes her interest in helping others through her medical spa so interesting. She is originally from Connecticut and, by all accounts, she was a typical young girl growing up in the Northeast. As she got older, though, what seemed to be a cute little pout turned out to be a birthmark called a hemangioma in the tissue of her lower lip and chin. It started out pink but quickly turned to a dark red wine color that was very difficult to cover with makeup. Melissa underwent several surgeries to remove the tissue, and while most children might have found the experience troubling, these procedures piqued Melissa’s interest in the medical field. She was intrigued by what the doctors accomplished to keep her from having a potentially disfiguring ailment, and it inspired her to pursue studies that would allow her to participate in the medical field in order to help others.

Graduating early from high school, Melissa entered St. Vincent’s College and completed her Nursing Degree. From there, she worked in some of the most prestigious teaching hospitals in the United States. Yale, NY Presbyterian, and Emory University Hospital were only a few of the hospitals that she worked at over the years as she accepted travel assignments to work throughout the country. Even though she found the work challenging and fulfilling, she felt like there was something missing. She decided to leave the ICU and began working with a plastic surgeon. Utilizing her training, while seeing how procedures and protocols could change people’s lives, she endeavored to open her own business.

In 2006, Melissa opened Glow Skincare as her first location in East Nashville and just six years later, expanded with her second location in Belle Meade. The Belle Meade location, formerly known as Reiko Ultimate Skincare, was owned by her friend and colleague, Reiko Zeiler. Reiko was a light in the community and taken from us too soon in an accident. When Reiko’s husband approached Melissa to keep the business going that she had loved so much, Melissa felt a calling to do so. The name Ona was born, meaning “to honor or favor” in memory of Reiko and both locations took on the new name of Ona Skincare.

Since that time, Melissa has worked to build a reputation as one of the premier skincare clinicians in Middle Tennessee. In 2015, in an effort to gain more knowledge and increase the offerings of her businesses, Melissa entered the Nurse Practitioner Program at UAB Medical School, in Birmingham, AL. In 2018, she graduated with her degree.

For most people, that would be the end of their scholastic pursuits. In Melissa’s case, it was simply another step toward increasing her skill set and gaining better tools to achieve more desirable outcomes for her clients. As Ona Skincare continues to grow, so will her knowledge regarding the ever-evolving field of aesthetics and skincare. As methods and protocols change over the years, Melissa will be at the forefront of working on the cutting edge of technology and treatments.

I had a chance to visit with Melissa about her career and advice to young professionals.

Q: What do love most about your chosen career?

A: I love that every day is different, and I can make such an impact in someone’s life by making him or her feel better about themselves.

Q: What do you wish you’d known at 25 years old entering this career field?

A: I honestly would not have changed my career path. I loved working in the hospital and it truly formed me into becoming a much stronger person. When I was ready to leave and start my own business, my nursing background allowed me to pursue my passion of making people feel more confident. I wish I had grown into my confidence when I was younger but that’s part of my story and what makes me so passionate about what I do now.

Q: What are the qualities a young professional needs to be successful in your industry?

A: I think empathy and caring for other people is crucial and a desire to always strive to be better. There is always so much to learn, and this field is constantly changing and quickly.

Q: What advice would you give to a young professional just starting their career?

A: Be a sponge! Seek out and soak up as much knowledge as you possibly can. Even when you think you know how to do something, always be open to other ways to do it better.

Q: How do you find work / life balance?

A: That’s a great (and funny) question that I don’t know I have the answer to. It’s really hard for me because I love what I do so much, I tend to work a lot. I try to slow down by spending time with my husband, two dogs and not so mini pig named Lucy. I like to hike and travel when I can. I am one of those people that loves being in school, so I am usually taking some sort of class or another in my spare time.

Thank you to Melissa for sharing your personal journey with us.

Well, that’s all I have for now.