Name: Christie Woodward
In the Natural Health Industry since 1980
Professional Qualification: BA in Sports & Fitness Management (Lindenwood University)
Title: Manager, since 2007
Christie’s connection to The Health Hut began before she was born. Her mother Ann McLeod bought the store with a close friend, Darlene Repka-Smith, the year Ann was pregnant with Christie. This purchase was a risk at the time because Ann and her husband Lorne McLeod were somewhat unfamiliar with the alternative health industry and because Ann was pregnant with their second child (Christie). But Ann took the risk and would not let those fears discourage them from becoming “hippy enough.” Christie and her brother Kelly grew up eating weird food and were always encouraged to think outside the box.
Christie attended Lindenwood University on a golf scholarship in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated with a degree in Sports and Fitness Management with a focus in business. She worked in Missouri in her field of study for a few years. In 2006 Christie discovered she was going to become an auntie for the first time. Excited, she returned to Grande Prairie. Family had always been important to her, and she knew she’d return to the region to raise one of her own some day.
She became manager of The Health Hut in 2007. Now over a decade later, Christie is an optimistic and empathetic leader of the group of dynamic and intelligent women who make up The Health Hut family. As manager, she demonstrates fearlessness in leading the store and staff through new and ever-evolving trends in alternative healthcare. Christie has also taken innovative approaches in celebrating local businesses, both through expanding product selection to meet local consumer needs and through supporting brick-and-mortar businesses in Grande Prairie, in Alberta, and throughout Canada.
Now with a family of her own, Christie is a wife and mother who wholeheartedly lives a holistic lifestyle, trusts in intuition to guide her, and mindfully feeds her kid weird food and green-tasting supplements.
What is one item on your bucket list?
I want to drive across Canada in a motor home, preferably in an old beauty, making sandwiches on the go and family memories on the open road.
Who is a valued teacher in your life?
Our first son, David. He passed away at a week old. His life and death have and will continue to impact every nook and cranny of my life. From the ways he taught me to love my husband differently, to how I parent, to the way I take a moment to check my ego when a minor inconvenience occurs, and an all-encompassing certainty in my ability to survive absolutely anything.
What is a self-care practice you are doing or would like to start doing?
Yoga. After an hour of quieting the mind, I feel like a better person physically, mentally and emotionally. I believe I would like Tai Chi too.
Teach us something new that you are learning about right now.
I want to be more of a minimalist. I’m realizing that as a society, we have too much. Many North Americans have intensely more than we would ever need. All I really need is a comfortable home, a healthy family, great friends, and possessions that invoke happiness and that allow me to surround myself in memories.
What is your current favourite quote, mantra or affirmation? Why?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This says it all and then some. Thank you, mom and dad, for always expecting my brother and me to be kind humans.
What do you find especially interesting about your industry?
How the industry is called ‘alternative’ health, but time after time it educates the world on relevant topics years before they become mainstream.
What area of natural health do you enjoy discussing with customers?
I love that every person who walks into The Health Hut is making a conscious choice to ask us for suggestions on how to feel better. We’re there to guide them through it all: from how to guide and support women through menopausal symptoms to how to nourish a child who won’t eat anything but KD.
Holistic health is described as the health of the whole body, the Mind-Body-Emotion-Spirit connection. How does holistic health show up in your life outside of work?
My kid is willing to eat weird things, and I want so badly for him to maintain his open mind about all foods. I feel like one day he will wake up and say ‘no, thank you’ to hummus. But, for now, Opa!
Describe a memorable conversation with a customer.
As a teenager, I helped a man make a supplement choice for the pain that was being caused by gallstones. Gallbladder surgery terrified him, but he was deeply in pain and wanted help. I did my best to share what I had learned from listening to my mom and the other staff over the years. Months later he stopped me on the street. He grabbed both of my arms, looked me right in the eyes, and genuinely thanked me for helping him. I will never forget that moment.
How has your understanding of health or dis-ease changed throughout your career?
I can be slightly skeptical of homeopathic remedies, but the darn things continue to work every time. It’s not that I don’t believe in them, it’s more that the way they work is sometimes outside even my quirky thinking. I understand that they work by asking the body to recognize the remedy on an energetic level as opposed to a physical level. So they help heal the energy of a symptom or disease first and then that helps clear up the physical issue. Homeopathic remedies continue to humble me about what’s possible in healing.