2022 Individual – Community IMPACT Winners

Photo by Ronald Lee

Steve Carter, Drive 365 Fitness and Health, South Surrey, B.C.

Steve is the founder and owner of Drive 365 Fitness and Health in South Surrey, B.C. Drive 365 offers individual training programs delivered by educated and experienced coaches.

Steve has a community impact within the South Surrey and White Rock communities. He coaches teams in both football and soccer, and he is an executive board member of the Athletics for Kids organization, which helps ensure all kids have equal opportunity to be involved in organized sports in B.C.

Steve is a man who strongly believes in creating bonds and mentoring others. Because of this belief, when COVID-19 caused widescale lockdowns, Steve saw an opportunity to help support families struggling mentally and physically. Together with his business partner, he created Facebook live forums and groups to share the struggles that they faced as a young family to support others.

When outdoor training sessions were allowed again, Steve and Drive 365 knew just how important it would be for clients to be outdoors in nature while working out again. They organized sprint and agility programs to give clients a new and thrilling experience.

Steve places huge importance on serving the community. It is part of his mission to be a leader and positively impact those in need.

“Being recognized by Impact Magazine as an industry leader in fitness and health is a great honour.

After 20 plus years in the industry, I have seen many changes and have weathered the ups and downs of business ownership.

To have been given this award coming out of the hardest time our industry has ever faced during Covid and trying to figure out the new normal highlights the adaptability of my personal training company in South Surrey, B.C. It showcases how well we reacted in a time of uncertainty.

This award highlights the great work that our team of coaches and leadership team have done to keep our services available at all stages of the pandemic while following the guidelines.

This could only be done by following government guidelines and communicating with the wants and needs of our fitness community. To be honest, this looked so different for many clients. Being able to cater to the many needs was the key.

We strived to give our best possible service under a very restricted time and help ease clients into the new normal moving forward. 

We were able to provide a consistency by strong communication, adaptability, continuity of a real person who cares about your well-being mentally and physically.

After being challenged mentally and physically in so many different ways and coming out maintaining our high standard along with integrity and be able to thrive and keep our doors open is attributed to resiliency of our business and those apart of it.

This award reflects all those hard days and tough conversations and decisions that lead to our success. 

Thank you, IMPACT Magazine, for seeing us for who we are and recognizing us with this great group of people.”

Steve Carter, founder and owner

Photo by Jenia Kos at Toi Et Moi Photography, submitted by Maeghen Cotterill

Maeghen Cotterill, 5 Elements Martial Arts, Calgary, AB

Maeghen is the owner and head instructor at 5 Elements Martial Arts in Calgary, Alberta. 5 Elements Martial Arts is Calgary’s largest Martial Arts studio, providing training for people of all ages, skill levels and abilities.

Maeghen recalls 2020 as a year of anxiety and uncertainty in the fitness community but also one of diversification and growth.

The first lockdown hit a week before 5 Elements was set to hold the World Kickboxing & Karate Canadian National Championships in Calgary, which also impacted the World Championship, set to take place in November of the same year.

Maeghen and her team persevered through the uncertain times, holding online workshops with the international community to keep connected and pumped up for when the time to compete came again.

During the pandemic, Maeghen and 5 Elements also worked hard to continue support for community organizations they care about greatly. They held programs, classes, workshops, seminars and fundraisers, all free, to aid charities like Fast and Female, STAND, PaceKids, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. 

5 Element members were not charged any membership fees throughout the pandemic, and individual and family memberships were only restarted when members felt comfortable returning to the sport.

Meaghen and her team rolled with the punches during the pandemic, re-adapting and pivoting to support their members and the community.

“Receiving the Business Resilience Award is such a kind and generous reminder that adversity, creativity, endless passion and unorthodox thinking can help you accomplish goals that seem scary and out of reach.

Myself and my team are so humbled to be recognized. Over the last few years there were a lot of tears, feelings of defeat, sleepless nights and stress. Through coming together, making sacrifices, looking at new opportunities and changing our mindsets, we were not just able to keep our beautiful martial arts & fitness business open, but it has been thriving. It forced us out of our own ways, changed our business strategy, and made us realize that we are a community – a community that is worth all of the challenges through to the successes. Thank you, IMPACT Magazine, for all the work you do in our community and for celebrating so many amazing businesses!”

Maeghen Cotterill, owner and lead instructor

Photo by James Patrick, submitted by Yana Helper

Yana Hempler, Yana Hempler Fitness, Victoria, B.C.

Yana is a running coach and the owner/founder of Yana Hempler Fitness in Victoria, B.C, helping clients achieve their goals – both fitness and personal.

Leading up to the pandemic, Yana was coaching beginner runners to help them strength-train and cross-train to compete in their first 5k, 10k, half-marathon and eventually marathon races.

When the pandemic hit and all of the races that Yana and her clients were training for were cancelled, she saw an opportunity to positively impact the community by using fitness to fundraise for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

Yana was inspired by the care that a friend had received in the critical care unit in 2019. She recognized the tireless work of the healthcare workers during the pandemic and was determined to show them that the Great Victoria community values and recognizes the long hours and stressful conditions they were going through.

With that in mind, in the summer of 2020, Yana ran 12 marathons in 12 days. The following May, she followed that up with 30 marathons in 30 days. Both times, she had incredible support from local runners, clients, members of the community, first responders, healthcare workers, and many others in the area, raising almost $100,000.

Yana was grateful that the campaign allowed her to unite with the community and become a large team, showing support for an incredible foundation.

“Winning this award truly means a lot to me. There are so many inspirational people in this community and it is an honour and a privilege to be recognized amongst them. I love IMPACT Magazine and the fitness community.”

Yana Hempler, founder

Photo by Dama Slutchuk, submitted by Rishona Hyman

Rishona Hyman, Aqua Essence Swim Academy, Winnipeg, MB

Rishona is the owner of Aqua Essence Swim Academy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Aqua Essence Swim is a leading swimming school focused on helping students of all ages – from infants to seniors – feel comfortable, strong and competent in the water.

In 2017, Rishona started the Ready, Set, Swim non-profit that offers kids and youth a chance to learn to swim by removing all barriers. The program focuses on newcomers to Canada and those who can’t afford the price tag.

When COVID-19 hit and the pools that Rishona and her team would run their classes in were closed, she went into instant survival mode, readjusting her business to keep her staff working and youth learning.

Aqua Essence had always taught the Red Cross Babysitting course as an add-on to their other, more prevalent courses. However, Rishona saw an opportunity. She advocated for the Red Cross to develop an online version of the course, and her centre was one of three in Canada chosen to pilot the program.

With the program creating such a positive impact on the community, Rishona and the team were inspired to develop other programs. They introduced the At Home Heroes for 7-11 year-olds, At Home Babies for 4 months-2 year-olds, cookie decorating and the InspireHer Series.

“Winning this award for resiliency means a great deal to us. When COVID first hit, we sprang into action to see how we could pivot to service our clients and keep staff employed. When your business is water based and you can’t be in a pool, it makes things challenging. To be selected as the recipient of this award is a culmination of all of our hard work and our thinking outside the box attitude. Our team came out stronger, more cohesive and in great spirits to service our clients. We are so thankful to IMPACT for recognizing all the businesses that had to adjust and pivot to stay relevant. It is nice to be among such brave and resilient people.”

Rishona Hyman, owner

Photo by Mikey Stevenson Photography, submitted by Melissa Schaffer

Melissa Schaffer, MissC Fitness, Calgary, AB

Melissa is a group fitness instructor, certified in spin, portable equipment, TRX, ViPR and Crossfit.   

When our local gym and fitness center closed for months during the pandemic, fitness instructor Melissa Schaffer offered complimentary workouts for our community via zoom. Her workouts allowed those in the community to stay fit and safe from the comfort of their own homes. 

Melissa impacted the fit community by gifting of her time and talent. deserves recognition for promoting a fit community and lifestyle!

“Winning this award is so heartwarming and surreal. Fitness classes have always been more than just a fitness class for me. It is a community of people rooting for each other, pushing each other and getting through tough times together. Which is what we did. I am beyond grateful for this recognition. To my community,  I love you and you are my reason keep moving forward.”

Melissa Schaffer

Submitted by Nathan Skoufis

Nathan Skoufis, Guelph Family Martial Arts, Guelph, ON

Nathan, a 23-time world champion and member of Team Canada, is the owner of Guelph Family Martial Arts in Guelph, Ontario, offering training from world-class instructors. Guelph Family Martial Arts offers outstanding family programs for students of all ages to learn the discipline, respect and dedication of the practice.

Nathan has had such a positive impact on this community as a whole. Each year he is active at multicultural events, antibullying events, fundraisers and more.

Like all in the health and fitness industry, the pandemic posed a challenge when fitness centres were forced to close, but Nathan persevered for the sake of the community. He went online, continuing to offer the classes that all who know his studio love.

Throughout COVID-19, he ran online workouts for the community to raise money for local hospitals.

Martial arts and fitness training provide an outlet and a vehicle to facilitate personal growth and development. The program and Nathan’s teaching methods change the lives of students of all ages because he motivates, inspires, empowers and cares about everyone in the community. 

“This award is truly a humbling honour for me. Throughout my career my focus has been to make a positive impact and difference in the community: to inspire, motivate and empower, to leave this world in a better place, to change lives, to serve the community and help individuals overcome their personal challenges and obstacles.”

Nathan Skoufis, owner

All Winners