2022 Individual – Leadership Winners

Photo by Ronald Lee

David Balfour, Clayton Heights Sports & Therapy, Surrey, B.C.

David is the owner and director of Clayton Heights Sports & Therapy in Surrey, B.C., which boasts a wide range of practitioners focused on active rehabilitation to help patients no matter their needs. 

David and his staff at Clayton Heights Sports and Therapy Center (CHSTC) saw the pandemic as an opportunity to make positive changes in the clinic. After enduring a clinic closure in 2020, CHSTC transitioned to telehealth appointments, making the centre one of the first to do so in British Columbia.

After re-opening, David and his staff continued their safety precautions by operating a virtual check-in and waiting room. They also created an app for ease of access for their patients and have been a pioneer in direct billing.

In addition, CHSTC is always active in their community, with charities such as the Cloverdale Community Kitchen, offering meals, clothes, toys and emergency shelter for those in need.

The pandemic offered David and his staff a chance to explore more services, with many staff members becoming certified in new areas.

“From the start of my business, the goal and focus were on helping people have and live a better and more active life. Winning this award means so much to me as it’s a statement that even during the hardest times, we have stayed true to our vision and goal. Our success is evidence that putting people first and getting results is still what matters most.”

David Balfour, owner/director

Photo submitted by Heather Gardner, Kardia

Heather Gardner, Kardia, Toronto, ON

Heather is the owner and an instructor at Kardia, in Toronto, Ontario. Kardia is a fitness studio offering yoga, cycling and strength training classes online and in-studio.

As a studio owner, Heather found the long months of COVID-19 incredibly challenging, financially, mentally and emotionally. The studio went from having waitlisted classes to just Heather and a screen. But even though the studio was forced to close, Heather refused to turn her back on her community. 

Heather took her classes online, offering free Facebook and Instagram Live classes two or three times a day.

“I knew I needed to keep our community connected, and supporting their physical and mental health became my priority,” said Heather.

Heather kept fitness fun during the pandemic, creating monthly scavenger hunts and labelling locations around the studio with exercises that members could do solo. Along with her online classes, she also created a photo booth outside the studio, so that members could stop by and get their photos taken. There were free weekly workshops, cooking demos, goal-setting sessions, floral arranging and even virtual wine tastings.

While these had little to do with fitness, they had everything to do with community and connection.

While things look very different than they did pre-COVID, the pandemic allowed Heather to connect in different ways with the community and set up her on-demand streaming site, something that had been a dream for a long time.

“These past two plus years have been a struggle for everyone in the fitness industry here in Canada. The fact our Kardia community is still together and now thriving is enough of a win that I will forever be grateful for. This award, and having my hard work acknowledged nationally by Impact Magazine is the simply cherry on top, making this comeback even greater.”

Heather Gardner, founder

Photo by Cooper and O’Shea, submitted by Shaif Jetha, Achieve Personal Training

Shaif Jetha, Achieve Personal Training, Edmonton, AB

Shaif is a trainer and owner of Achieve Personal Training in Edmonton, Alberta. Achieve is a boutique studio offering quality personal training to help clients reach their fitness goals.  

Shaif is a person passionate about changing lives and helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. Since founding Achieve Personal Training Studio in 2004, Shaif has been guiding people aged 16 to 96 towards lifelong fitness through his unwavering support and encouragement.

Shaif is no stranger to the fitness industry, competing in 118 marathons and qualifying for Boston every decade since his 20s. As well as fitness classes, Achieve also offers seasonal run clinics and track clinics to help take walkers to runners.

When COVID-19 forced his studio to close, Shaif’s fitness family recognized the importance of exercise and community to mental, emotional and physical health. Shaif offered individual and group coaching on Zoom and conducted physically-distant training in parks and on clients’ driveways.

Shaif and Achieve mean so much to the community and have changed the lives of so many, from a teen who suffered from weight and health issues to a 72-year-old who became a marathoner and many more in between.

“Winning this award is a confirmation for my passion/lifestyle that I’ve tried to impose on my clients! Run clinics, group fitness etc. etc. etc.! I live, eat and breathe value, health and fitness. Kinesiology degree, education degree, 11 years teaching PE, 21 years of personal training, and 19 of those are ACHIEVE, where I can curate, motivate and innovate sessions clinics and fitness to mold clients inclusively! No matter age, gender, weight etc. Winning this award AFFIRMS I’m being heard! It’s making a difference and clients are healthier, stronger and fitter. And the best part? Great humans who have a passion for community and fitness! That’s my succession plan: to pass the torch to Kendra who is being groomed to carry and share these values that I used as a teacher! Trainer! Coach! Husband! Friend! Role model!”

Shaif Jetha, owner and trainer

Photo submitted by Karen Kobel, Kahlena Movement

Karen Kobel, Kahlena Movement Studio, North Vancouver, B.C.

Karen is a teacher and the owner of Kahlena Movement Studio in Vancouver, B.C. Kahlena Movement Studio provides a fun and supportive place for people to build their exercise regime.

Kahlena Movement Studio was founded by Karen as a welcoming place where people of all levels can come together to explore, grow and laugh together. It is a place where people are celebrated in their victories and encouraged in their moments of doubt.

When the pandemic stuck, Kahlena Moves went online, operating through Zoom and a Facebook group called Kahlena Moves Online. Karen also created the Kahlena Curbside Crew, taking movement practices to the streets. They taught classes outside senior homes and hospitals, as well as to residents on lockdown. They came around for Mother’s Day celebrations, birthdays and more!

Even with lockdowns over, the team has continued to do pop-up performances at hospitals and senior homes.

“In my life I have lived for my passion.  My passion has been community, movement, meditation, mindfulness, love, kindness, and joy! I am forever grateful that my community has seen this in myself, my teachers and our studio.  It has been a long 2.5 years, and I am so grateful to be here with our doors still open for our community to come and practice, meditate, and congregate with one another to heal, share space, celebrate, and practice.  We are looking forward to the next chapter of Kahlena movement and wellness centre with our newest additions: Thai, Swedish, deep tissue massage, reiki and most of all HEALING HEARTS: a support and healing group for those suffering mental health, injuries, side effects, loss of loved ones, long haulers, mandated and loss of their livelihoods.”

Karen Kobel, owner, founder

Photo by Saige Carlson Photography @SaigeCarlson, submitted by Scott Salling, F.I.T. Academy

Scott Salling, F.I.T. Academy, Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Scott is a trainer and the owner of F.I.T. Academy in Port Coquitlam, B.C. F.I.T. Academy is an inclusive personal training and physiotherapy studio located in Port Coquitlam designed to create a new standard of what it means to be a fitness leader.

Besides being a driven entrepreneur, Scott is a humble, yet very educated individual in the fitness industry. He has created his own business model that not only provides a great atmosphere for other trainers to thrive but also creates a safe place for clients to work on their fitness goals in a supportive environment.

No matter the fitness level or personal challenges, Scott’s experience allows him to adapt and customize training to each individual to help them reach their personal goals. The customized gym is lively, full of energy and a desirable place to be.

Scott’s passion for life is infectious, and he instills true core values in all of those who surround him.

“Winning this award means a great deal. I have been very fortunate to have been coached by some great leaders in sports and in business, and winning this award is a tribute to the lessons that have been passed down to me. Leadership is not about a title or a position, it is about empowering others and developing quality and trustworthy relationships. Leadership is about consistent action, delivering on your word and doing what is right, which isn’t always what is most popular. I was taught that a boss says, ‘Go!’ and a leader says, ‘Let’s go!’

To be looked upon as a leader is very humbling and comes with great responsibility. It isn’t easy; it requires a lot of patience, but it is so rewarding to see people on your team and within your organization build their conference and aspire to become a leader themselves. Creating more leaders is the tell-tale metric of a great leader.”

Scott Salling, owner and trainer

Photo by Amy Gardne, submitted by Danelle Tucker

Danelle Tucker, Training Foundation & Calgary Regional Dance, Okotoks, AB

Danelle was one of IMPACT Magazine’s Athletes with Impact in May/June 2018 and recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Exercise.

Danelle is a retired professional ballerina who, since 2018, has taken her knowledge as a pro-athlete and after completing her Bachelor of Science program, completed internships with some of the United States’ top training facilities. 

While the world was sidelined by Covid-19, Danelle trained ballet students via Zoom in between university classes, which is no small feat considering the watchful eye and physical adjustments of a dancer’s body that are needed. 

From thousands of miles away in the United States, Danelle kept young Calgarian dancers who were on lockdown upbeat and in shape.

She assisted Melissa at Calgary Regional Dance in keeping dancers in shape while audition season was disappointingly cancelled. She also helped coach/mentor and implement training programs with Training Foundation athletes via Zoom.

Danelle is determined to make a difference in sports performance and the physical health of young athletes. All who know her will attest that her passion is one in a million and this is only the beginning for her.

“Winning this prestigious award from IMPACT Magazine makes me realize that even through one of the most difficult times this world has lived through, our physical and mental health are a priority!

This was especially important to me as I worked with youth athletes with the impact of Covid hit them especially hard with lack of sports or training availability. 

As a passionate ambassador of the sports performance industry, this means we are not only training our bodies to be resilient and adaptable every day but also our hearts and minds as well. Being able to adapt and persevere physically through hard times is something we should all embrace. After all, this was a cornerstone of our fitness, mental health, and most importantly, our society as a whole coming together.”

Danelle Tucker

All Winners