Lynille Steffenhagen


We would work in the morning and spend the afternoon scuba diving. To be shut off like that might sound scary but it made me embrace the natural world that surrounded me.
The wild animals smelled the horses not us, so we could get very close. When I was young I just assumed that everyone grew up with wild animals

Director of Training, Jindilli Skincare

“The lions were always on the other side of the fence. But they watched everything.” To lots of people that sounds like something out of a very bad dream, but for Lynille Steffenhagen it was just a part of her childhood, spent roaming the game reserve near her parent’s home just outside Johannesburg, South Africa. “We were usually on horseback. The wild animals smelled the horses not us, so we could get very close. When I was young I just assumed that everyone grew up with wild animals.”

Having grown up in a place most people would love to travel to, Lynille wanted to travel herself. Specifically, travel on the ocean. In 2010, I made my way to my current home, Sycamore, IL, via the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean after 12 years in the spa industry”. I loved working and traveling almost non-stop. I don’t think the travel bug has left me entirely, even if I now have children and their security and education are very important to me. Maybe once they’ve grown up a bit I will pack our bags and we’ll start traveling again.”

Lynille particularly loved places the outside world couldn’t reach. She worked for a year on the Indian Ocean Island of Benguerra, where she could go weeks at a time without any form of modern communication. “We would work in the morning and then spend the afternoon scuba diving. To be shut off like that might sound scary to anyone glued to their smartphone, but it made me to embrace the natural world that surrounded me. Not that I needed much encouragement!”

Ending up in Illinois might sound decidedly un-exotic in comparison, but at least Lynille has been able to recreate a little bit of her childhood for her own son. Not including the lions. “We have space to be outside, and even if it’s not Africa he gets to ride on a tractor every day and is learning to love the outdoors.” Her South African accent also makes her stand out from the crowd, even if it can also be something of a hurdle. “I have to talk slowly, which I suppose in a training role can be helpful!”

On the subject of training, Lynille is also attempting to learn the piano by reading music rather than to play by ear. “It’s far harder than I imagined, and although I’ve made progress it has also given me a whole new appreciation for artists and musicians. I thought my teacher wouldn’t be interested in me because of my age and the habits that we accumulate with age. Children must be much easier to teach, I thought. But he accepted me – and the challenge I represent – with open arms.”

With over 20 years of experience in spa around the globe, Lynille is reveling in her (relatively) new role training spa staff on Jindilli’s skincare products. “The accent also makes it easier to be memorable, once we’ve stopped talking about it!” And at least there aren’t any hungry lions involved.


We would work in the morning and spend the afternoon scuba diving. To be shut off like that might sound scary but it made me embrace the natural world that surrounded me.