Portland Practitioner Spotlight : World Class Esthetics & Office Wizardry from Amanda Koennecke, LE


Welcome to the second installment of our practitioner spotlight series (you can view #1 with Rowan Everard, here). Today, we shift our focus to a person who not only provides the best organic facials in Portland, but also provides invaluable energy & organization to the whole clinic. Amanda Koennecke has been a part of the clinic since we moved to the larger Ladd's Addition location – and we hope she sticks with us until the bitter end. Amanda K has a way of relating to people that puts them immediately at ease – a great boon for new patients coming to the clinic. We don't know what we'd do without her!

Read up on what Amanda enjoys outside of work, and what makes this native Portlander a unique asset to our practitioner team at Watershed Wellness!

What do you love most about the Pacific Northwest?

Probably the immediate access to fresh plants and ingredients! Foraging!! Farmers markets! Farm to table cuisine! What a dream.

Favorite cuisine?

Thai or Vietnamese.

What was the last awesome concert you went to?

We are a concert-type of family, and my dad, sister, and brother and I all went and saw The Pixies in November at the Roseland. Great set and amazing night for my dad with all of his kids!

If money was no object, where would your next dream vacation be?

Hungary—>Spain—>Iceland—>England. For the skin care/spa culture and a tour of the Eminence Skin Care farms, for the food and wine, for the scenery and the natural hot springs surrounded by ice caps, and for the music festivals and the english countryside. Respectively, of course.

What’s your favorite neighborhood in Portland and why?

St Johns/North Portland. Close second is Sellwood/East Moreland. They’re the last real neighborhoods in PDX with a community sense and vibe. The walkability and scenery of those ‘hoods is magical, and small businesses are surviving+thriving. Can’t ask for much else.

What’s in your Netflix queue right now?

Wild Wild Country documentary, Santa Clarita Diet, Jessica Jones S.2, and always The Office.

If you weren’t a healthcare practitioner, what would your next career choice be?

Probably an event planner/party pro/caterer. I love throwing parties and cooking amazing food. Or a writer with a cookbook/lifestyle book based on my life growing up in Oregon in a lumber family.

Out of the five elements of CM (earth, air, fire, water, metal), which one do you identify with the most?

Earth, absolutely.

It’s your day off and you have no responsibilities. How are you spending your leisure day?

Cleaning my house, meal prepping for the week, maybe catch a movie, brunch with a few friends is always a go-to….in the summer though? Finding the nearest body of water/waterfall and walking/jumping in.

Your top five favorite movies?

Desperately Seeking Susan, Closer, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Beetlejuice, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

What’s your favorite season of the year?

Spring and Fall, equally. The equinoxes.

Tea or coffee? Favorite teamakers or roasters?

COFFEE. I cut way back on caffeine in the last year, which was huge for me. But I really enjoy making my own cold-brew coffee at home and customizing it with local honey and nut milk. I enjoy it twice a week now, as opposed to every day. My skin and digestive tract are thankful for this.

Read a book or listen to a podcast?

TOUGH. Depends on my mood. Lately, listen to a podcast. Huge fan of “My Favorite Murder”. If you’re into true crime and hilarious women, check it out. Now, I’m tearing into “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark”, as the Golden State Killer was finally apprehended after 40+ years.

What was your “aha!” moment that made you realize you wanted to be a healthcare professional?

This is a big question! By nature and as an esthetician, I am a product of the beauty industry by default. My biggest “aha!” was deciding that I wanted to take a more natural, holistic, healing approach to skin care. I decided that I wanted all of my clients to experience quality skin care and realize that a facial is not a pampering spa service, but more of a basic self-care option.

I enjoy educating clients on this factor and have been actively working to change the stigma surrounding facials–instead of “treating” yourself to a facial, make it a part of the normal regimen. It’s an important cornerstone of the skin care department here at Watershed Wellness.

Three words that describe your personality?

Sassy, straightforward, warm.

Where are you from originally, or where did you first call “home”?

Fifth generation Oregonian, loud and proud! Our family immigrated to Sandy, OR, from Germany in the late 1800s, and started a lumber company there. Then it moved to CherryGrove, OR, and eventually landed on Sauvie Island in the early 60’s, which is where I was born and raised. I’m incredibly lucky to have been raised in the “country” with quick access to the “city”.

What’s in your music queue right now?

Blood Orange, Gary Clark Jr., Queens of the Stone Age, and always a heavy rotation of Depeche Mode, Bauhaus/Peter Murphy, Sisters of Mercy, Chromatics, Chelsea Wolfe….anything industrial/goth/involving a synth.

What was your favorite part of medical school/trade school?

My instructor and mentor, Denise D’Angelo. Such a magical human with love and information to give to her pupils. She gave us a solid education and 13 years later, I still keep in touch with her and bother her occasionally for advice haha. She’s the head of faculty for the cosmetology department at Mt Hood Community College–FANTASTIC beauty program they have curated over there.

Where do you hope your practice lands in the next five years? (and/or) What’s your biggest goal and hope with what you do?

I’d really love to elevate my holistic skin practice with a European approach to facials. This means a “9-function” machine, where I can perform lymphatic drainage with a skin vacuum, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning (physically shaving the skin with a scalpel for intense exfoliation for acne scarring), and many functions to create electricity in the skin to banish acne bacteria and to lighten sun spots/age spots. It’s a whole thing. Incredibly effective.

What is a health care modality that fascinates you, that you’d like to learn more about, or that you just greatly admire?

Nutritional therapy and energy work. These are two outfits that greatly support skin care. It’s actually possible to control your skin’s condition through diet, exercise, and mindful intent–to an extent. Example: if you are stressed out or depressed, your skin is the last organ to receive vital nutrients to survive, and it can start producing acne or excessive dryness/oiliness as a result.

If you can stave off stress, and feed your body the nourishing fats and plant matter that it craves, you really CAN improve the health of your skin. Energy work is also great. Clients can feel the intent and message of a facial through your hands. To be able to give someone a great facial with quality products, but to boost it with sound nutritional advice and relaxing energy work to reset a client’s mindset, is dreamy. And amazing.

Written by Amanda Koennecke

Amanda Koennecke is a licensed esthetician with 10+ years of experience in the field and a vast knowledge of Eminence Organics skincare products. Her facials are second-to-none and include a customized plan to maintain your glow.