Dynamix Fitness: Lisa’s WorkStory

By Abigayle Walker, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Ottawa

Lisa Bergart owns her own personal training company called Dynamix Fitness. Her business provides professional in-home training for customers in the greater Toronto region. Saving busy customers a trek to their local gym, Lisa brings the experience to them. With customized workout plans that are tailored to each client’s fitness level and goals, Lisa is dedicated to helping her clients attain the results they desire. Lisa says that there is nothing better than seeing her clients reach their fitness goals and be who they have always wanted to be. Having over a decade of experience in the health and wellness industry, Lisa says she loves her job!

Typically, Lisa starts her day at the bright and early time of 6 AM in order  to meet her first clients. After her morning sessions, Lisa responds to email leads and client text messages. She also takes this time to post to the company website and social media pages. Throughout the rest of the day, she drives around the city and holds training sessions. Lisa says that each day is completely difference and depends on her clients’ schedules.

Lisa received her undergraduate degree at York University in Health and Social Science. She says her degree had provided her with a strong foundation in the health profession. In addition to her undergraduate education, Lisa also received a diploma at The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, becoming a registered holistic nutritionist. She also went on to attain her certification as a post-rehabilitation specialist. This allows her to offer conditioning programs for over 30 medical conditions. In addition, she is also certified as a post and pre natal exercise specialist. On top of all this, Lisa took Seneca College’s Social Media program, which helped enhance her marketing and promotion skills.

Why start her own business?  Lisa had worked at several different gyms across Toronto; the last one being a private training studio. There, she gained the knowledge to create safe and effective customized training, which she needed to start her own business. Lisa was given extra motivation when two of the gymnastic teams she had been coaching received bronze medals overseas, at the Maccabiah Games in the summer of 2013. In addition to being this thrilled by this, it gave her that much more confidence in her ability to train people to reach their fitness goals. 

Lisa says that the success of her business is due to her strong social media presence, as well as her strong community connections through and events with various organizations.  Lisa’s business was featured at the Toronto Women's Expo, Feel Good Women's Expo, Cancer Recovery Foundation of Canada, and The Thornhill, Vaughan, and Aurora Festivals. Although her success has been on an upward incline, Lisa says one of the biggest challenges with owning her own business is staying up-to-date with all the current health and fitness trends.

Lisa’s advice for other young entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses? Create a business plan and have monthly goals that excite you. Specifically for those in the health and fitness field, Lisa stresses the importance of staying current with health and fitness trends on social media. Her closing words?  Follow your passions and priorities!

Healthy Balance with Tara Antle

By Mariana Hernández-Hernández, WorkStory Ambassador at Memorial University

Tara Antle’s work story is an excellent example of initiative, proactivity, and of how one experience (whether it be volunteering, work or school) can take us to the next one. Her work story also shows us how it is possible to do what we love as a job and even turn it into an entrepreneurial endeavour.

Tara is a Nutritionist whose weekly activities include private nutrition consultations, providing grocery store tours, hosting kitchen parties, giving cooking lessons, and organizing seminars and workplace wellness programs.

She’s also a regular guest on Rogers TV’s Out of the Fog (monthly segment called “Healthy Bellies”), Cross Talk on CBC’s Radio Noon with Ramona Deering, the CBC Morning Show with Anthony Germain, The NTV Evening News and Here and Now on CBC. Moreover, her articles and interviews have been published locally, provincially and nationally in The Telegram, NL Wellness Guide, The Downhomer, Fresh Juice Magazine, Atlantic Law Enforcement magazine and The Newfoundland Herald.

How did she get here?

When Tara graduated from high school in the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, she didn’t know what type of work she wanted to do, so she took a few years to find herself. She devoted her time to volunteering with Helping Hands and The Community Services Council, working full time in retail, studying General Medical Sciences and taking evening courses at Memorial University of Newfoundland, which eventually evolved to full time General Studies.

Five years after being involved in these activities - and mainly because of her volunteer experience - Tara realized that she wanted to do something related to health care. She chose the Applied Human Nutrition program (BSc.AHN) at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax and was able to transfer all her credits from Memorial University. During her full time studies in Nutrition, she took elective courses in Business, worked as a Residence Assistant, and helped raise funds for scholarships and bursaries with the Alumni Association.

Every summer, Tara returned home to Newfoundland and held different jobs. The summer before graduation, she had the chance to work for the federal Public Works and Government Services as part of their student program, and after university graduation, she was offered a full time position. This experience led to an opportunity working in finance with the federal government in Newfoundland, and it, in turn, led to a government position in Ottawa as a Financial Officer! While working in her new role in Ottawa, Tara studied full time during the evenings at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and earned her Diploma of Natural Nutrition (Holistic Nutrition).

Later, Tara became one of the three Nutritionists that were hired by Shoppers Drug Mart for a pilot project.  She was responsible for the Ottawa region and her duties involved helping build a clientele, developing and delivering health and nutrition seminars in the community, acting as a liaison and team member with local physicians and pharmacists, creating in-store educational displays, and facilitating sampling of products.

After being away from Newfoundland for ten years, Tara decided to move back with the intention of eventually starting her own business. Once in St. John’s, she worked as a Nutritionist for a company for a couple of years and then left to develop the business plan for her own private practice. Seven months later, her dream became a reality as she began Healthy Balance. With more than 15 years of experience, six years of formal education in Dietetics, Holistic Nutrition and Health Studies, Tara’s private practice has been successfully flourishing for the past six years.

When Tara was studying nutrition as an undergraduate student, she was often questioned about her choice and was told by some that she was wasting her time. She stayed firm with her decision, however, and continued doing what she loved. Now, nutrition is gaining more and more attention and is even considered something ‘trendy.’ Today no one would question its importance as a field of study and interest.

When I asked Tara if she had any advice for students seeking the ‘right’ career path, she said: Do what you love and the rest will follow as long as you take the right steps to find an employment opportunity that works for you. Skill sets are transferrable to each new opportunity that exists. Be patient, persistent and keep a positive attitude. Her career path is good proof of that as Tara enjoys her job so much that it doesn’t feel like work!

To learn more about Tara and what she does, check out her website at www.healthy-balance.ca.



“Cheerleaders in Nearly Every Corner”: Tito’s Story

By Katie Chalmers-Brooks

Photo by: Nardella Photography

Photo by: Nardella Photography

Growing up, Tito Daodu could have easily gotten stuck in a rut by focusing on what she didn’t have: much money or a sense of safety in the rough Winnipeg neighbourhood she called home. Getting dressed in the morning meant being mindful not to wear gang colours.  She had to make sure she walked back quickly to her apartment after school. She was well versed in her classmates’ personal connections to the stories on the six o’clock news—‘the guy arrested for a stabbing was so-and-so’s cousin.’ “All of those things felt close to home,” says Daodu.

So too did everything the 28-year-old doctor feels helped her to succeed. Daodu likens herself to a lottery winner—lucky because she had cheerleaders in nearly every corner. “I had a lot of people in my life who said I could achieve whatever I wanted.” She didn’t see getting into trouble as an option; her Nigerian-born mother made sure of that. Her mom’s voice would override those of her school chums, many of whom saw a trip to Juvenile Detention as a rite of passage. Daodu had bigger plans. And she had mentor Ken Opaleke at West Broadway Youth Outreach to help her on her path. She was in Grade 3 when Opaleke called out to her and her sister, Dupe, from across the street, inviting them to join the neighbourhood’s after-school club. Daodu did and has never really left. “I have had the pleasure of seeing her grow from a shy, energetic, nine year- old participant in the program to a now caring, selfless young woman who a great number of inner-city children have come to emulate and rely on, not only for academic and physical guidance but on a personal level as well,” says Opaleke.

Daodu went from mentee to mentor and launched a homework club at the centre, forming meaningful connections to kids as she helped them through mundane school assignments. Daodu says she would be hard on the kids when they didn’t “try to achieve”, just as Opaleke was hard on her. Daodu went to St. Mary’s Academy on bursaries, steadily inching her way toward university. When she earned her degree in medicine from the University of Manitoba in 2013, more than a dozen West Broadway kids showed up at convocation, rooting for “doctor number 2.” (Daodu is the second West Broadway ‘graduate’ to become a physician.) “Quite a few of them have said, ‘I want to be doctor number 5 or I’m going to be doctor number 7,” says Daodu. “When I go back I try to instill in them that this is totally achievable. I look at those kids and I think ‘I was exactly that kid.’” She is now doing her residency in general surgery in Calgary while chipping away at a master’s in international surgical care.

To Daodu, it makes perfect sense to seek out a problem and then try to be part of the solution. As a med student, she made a cold call to a researcher featured in a documentary about the shockingly high number of pneumonia deaths among children in Nigeria, her native country. “It was staggering to me that 200,000 children under age five die of pneumonia every year. In Canada, it would be unheard of for a child to die of pneumonia without any other complications,” she says. Daodu asked the researcher if she could come to Nigeria and help; he obliged. The hospital featured in the film happened to be the one where Daodu was born. She was just four when her mom left the country, which was then under a dictatorship, with her and her sister. (They lived in Jamaica and England before settling for good in Winnipeg, where Daodu’s uncle could be their sponsor. Her father joined them years later.)

The state of care at the Nigerian hospital shocked Daodu. In the first week, she witnessed the deaths of six children from conditions that could have easily been treated in North America: pneumonia, tetanus and malaria. “I had no idea what widespread, systematic poverty looked like on the ground,” she says. Minimum wage there is a paltry 100 dollars a month yet patients are required to buy their own medical supplies. Daodu dipped into her own wallet to stock up on syringes, gloves and needles. If a child needed a transfusion it was up to the parents to coax family and friends to donate blood. If there was a power outage, test results were simply unavailable.  Doctors there have the knowledge, Daodu explains, but no resources. She was there to investigate oxygen treatments for kids with pneumonia, specifically machines that convert ambient air into oxygen, a less expensive alternative to oxygen tanks. It took her a month and a half to get a backup generator in the room so they would work in a power outage, a routine occurrence.  Her frustration grew when she realized a separate, private ward within the same hospital was well-stocked for patients who could afford it.

The experience reinforced Daodu’s desire to help improve health-care systems in developing countries. She wants to work on international surgical education projects in impoverished regions to ensure first responders are properly trained in basic, life-saving procedures like inserting chest tubes. The World Health Organization identified surgical care among the globe’s top five pressing healthcare needs. The reality is: simple surgeries are getting missed and the consequences can be personally devastating. A patient with something as minor as a hernia—left surgically untreated—might go decades unable to work and be shunned by his community, Daodu notes. She also wants to offer her surgical skills in disaster zones. This fall, she is headed to Haiti, a country still shattered by 2010’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake. “As a surgeon, you really have an ability to make an impact,” she says. Daodu knows it takes leadership to act on these kinds of opportunities. She defines a good leader as someone who is “willing to take in and adapt to the changes that are presented along the way, without giving up.” It’s a philosophy that’s guided her throughout her life and, she’s happy to say, some of the kids from her old neighbourhood too. While studying in University Centre one day, Daodu bumped into a former participant of her West Broadway homework buddies group. Daodu had lost touch with the girl when she stopped coming to the centre as a teen so was thrilled to see she made it to university. The student had faced, and clearly overcome, a lot of the same challenges Daodu did. “It was pretty exciting to see that she had continued on and was doing well,” Daodu says. “It was awesome.”

This story, reprinted with permission of the University of Manitoba, originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of On ManitobaTito Daodu, a 2013 University of Manitoba grad (MD; BSc[Med]), was honored recently as one of the university’s Outstanding Young Alumni.


Contact Lenses: More than better vision!

Harry Gandhi is a recent grad from University of Waterloo’s  Biotechnology/Economics program.  With an interest in the link between health and technology and the support of the UW’s Velocity  program he co-founded Medella Health .  

The goal?  To develop contact lens that help diabetics by monitoring glucose levels and sending the info to a mobile device…a healthcare wearable.

Read on as Douglas Soltys and Peter Kenter share more of this inspiring health startup’s story!

Taking the Long Way to Medical Radiation Technology

By: Karli Steen, WorkStory Ambassador

Lynn Watson-Lee took the long path to Medical Radiation Technology. She went to Saint Mary's University in Halifax right after graduating from high school, and ran out of money before she was able to finish her B.Sc., so she got a job at a local nursing home and trained as a Personal Support Worker. Eventually, she finished her B.Sc., and continued to work in healthcare. When she moved to London in 2004, Lynn started working with VON, doing home care. She enrolled in the MRT program at Fanshawe College in 2006, and graduated in 2009, with her MRT(R) designation.

Lynn loved the scientific aspects of the courses she took: "While the majority of my job is patient care and radiographic positioning, I like that I know about radiation and how the machines work; how x-rays are created, how they interact with body tissues, how the images are actually created, etc. I still tutor Medical Radiation Physics and enjoy it a lot."

According to Lynn, there is no typical day in X-Ray: "We have three main x-ray departments at UH (London Health Science Centre): General Radiology on the second floor, and Emergency Radiology in the ER, plus the Fowler-Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic at UWO. In General, we mostly image patients who are going to see surgeons in Orthopaedics, Neurology, Cardiology, Urology, or other specialties. We also have portable X-ray machines for inpatients who are unable to come down to the department for imaging. Sports Med is primarily Ortho, but we may also see some of the students who get referred over. Plus we see any Inpatients who may need follow-up imaging after procedures or when their condition changes. The x-ray area in the Emergency department pretty much just does whatever the ER docs need to see to understand what's going on. We don't see as much trauma as Victoria Hospital does, but I do have a lot of very interesting stories. We also run fluoroscopy (real-time, video x-ray) in Operating Rooms and procedure rooms. The vast majority of people who come through the healthcare system need imaging of some sort to support their diagnosis, treatment, or management of disease. We are 'open' 24/7/365, and provide a vital service."

 Although she always knew she wanted to be in the frontline of healthcare, MRT was not always where she imagined herself. She once considered Medical School, but realized that it might be too much. With her MRT position, Lynn finds a perfect balance; in which she can help others, and also see them.

 When asked what advice she would give those interested in the field, she had this to say: "Get out and work at a few different hospitals. I was hired where I trained, but one of the best things I did was take a contract position at another hospital. I learned different equipment, routines, and procedures, which only served to help me think "outside the box" on a regular basis. Also, shadow a MRT before you apply to the program. A lot of people have no idea what we really do. It is a very physically demanding job, and can also be psychologically and emotionally draining - especially when we are working in the morgue, OR, ICU, or ER.3.

More Than Counting Pills

By Karli Steen, WorkStory Ambassador

 Salma Ghanie was introduced to pharmacy work through a Which Career is Right for You? test in Grade 10. She had always had a fascination with medications and what they do to the human body, but had never known what to do with that fascination. When she took the test, most of her career results were something to do with the outdoors but, interestingly, one of the final ones was a “pharmacist”. Salma decided to act on this and in Grade 11 she tried a co-op placement at Shoppers Drug Mart, which she loved!  A few years later, that experience made applying for her program an easy choice.

 Salma studied at Fanshawe College for 2 years in the Pharmacy Technician program, and loved it: "It was hard and tough, for sure, but it was fun for me. There's a ton of math, chemistry, and pharmacology. We had a course on pharmacy law that was brutal. Like most people I always thought that a Pharm Tech just counted pills; but no, there is so much more to what I do than counting pills and putting a label on a vial or a box."

 In second year, Salma had the chance to experience both a hospital and retail placement opportunity. She did not find the retail portion very helpful, as she was only able to shadow, and didn't really gain any hands-on experience.  When asked what courses were particularly beneficial, Salma shared the following:  “Pharmacy law for sure, math, compounding (making drugs), pharmacology and the practical retail course I took, that course taught us so much. Retail Pharmacy, it was a two part course and taught us everything from, drug names, chemicals, Latin, math, communication, and how to count things properly."  She uses aspects of these every day.

 In spite of the retail placement not going so well, Salma grew to love the retail setting as, according to her, you actually get to see and interact with the people you're helping. In her current position at Shoppers Drug Mart in St. Thomas, Ontario, Salma does just that. Her day is filled with answering phones, processing and dispensing prescriptions, and communicating with doctors, patients, and customers alike. She shared the most rewarding part of the job: "I think the most rewarding thing is that once you get to know patients, they will confide in you and they will tell you what's on their mind and how they are feeling and it’s really nice knowing someone trusts you. Whether they are 30 or 85!  People know my name and when they want my help specifically, that’s when I know I've made a difference"

 As content as she is right now, Salma would like to continue up the ladder to be a full-fledged pharmacist. Her ultimate goal is to become a pharmaceutical chemist.

 As for advice, Salma says you have to be caring and compassionate, as well as know how to multi-task with things like phone conversations and counting pills and dosages at the same time. Patience is also key when the pharmacy is busy. If you are not good with math, a pharmacy is not the place for you. It is also necessary to learn how to read “doctor scribble”. As hard as some of this may seem, Salma says it all comes together with practice.  

My Fitness Dream: “Howe Fit”

By Alexandria Friesen, WorkStory Ambassador  & Amy Howe-Wall

Passion is one of the most easily recognizable traits a person can have.  If you have never known someone or had a conversation with someone who has passion, I’d like for you to meet Amy Howe-Wall. From my first encounter with Amy, I knew that she was a genuinely caring person devoted to improving the wellness of others. It has not always been smooth sailing, but success does not always come easy; it’s a matter of believing that it is worth it.

Amy is the Owner-Operator and Instructor at Howe Fit, the premiere customized fitness and nutrition provider in the greater Kingsville/Leamington/Harrow, ON area. Offered at Howe Fit are group classes, single and group private training, nutrition programs and, most importantly, an incredibly positive environment to help you achieve your fitness goals! So, how has Amy come to gain so much success doing something she loves for a living? Here is her story.

Amy attended Kingsville District High School and, upon graduation, attended St. Clair College in Windsor, ON. She graduated from St. Clair with degrees in both the Paramedic and Law & Security programs while maintaining an athletic scholarship for her badminton career while in college. Amy has also obtained the following licences and certifications on her path to success: Can-Fit Pro Personal Trainer, Can-Fit Pro Fitness Instructor Specialist, Resist-a-Ball Level 1, Kickboxing Certification, Kettlebell Certification, Zumba Certification, Spin Instructor Certification, and Pilates Instructor Certification. Talk about qualifications!

As Amy is self-employed, she will not hesitate to tell you that the path to get to where she is now has not been easy. “As a business owner,” she says, “you come to learn that you work 24/7, no matter if you are present at work or not.”   Howe Fit was established in October, 2010 and it is incredible to see where Amy’s hard work and dedication has brought her once-small business. “When you’re the sole operator, there is no ‘calling in sick’, finding a replacement, or simply not showing up,” she continues, “Work has consumed my life for the last 5 years in some good ways and in some bad.”

With dreams of working in the police force, Amy had always shown a love for health and fitness. The turning point was her own weight-loss success at the age of 20. After working long, tedious hours at other businesses and helping those around her succeed, she decided to try her luck at self-employment at the age of 22. “I always believed in myself so I used that confidence to push through the tough times because I knew deep down I had what it took to become successful,” says Amy.  Like anything in life, there were obstacles – finances, time, energy, support – and sacrifices had to be made.

So what does Amy enjoy most about her job?  The answer is simple: “I am one of those crazy people that absolutely loves working out, I sometimes can’t believe I actually make money doing it on a daily basis!” In addition to that, Amy expresses that helping people achieve their personal goals is one of the greatest accomplishments one can achieve. “It makes me smile knowing I am helping others regain their self-esteem and in some cases their lives”.

Are you interested in pursuing a career in the health and fitness industry or looking to start your own business? This is what Amy has to say to you; “Explore your options! Become well informed and do your research! I do not regret my time working for other business at all…it actually gave me a platform to the people and also a better understanding of how I wanted to run my own business”.  Because of how hectic Amy’s schedule is, there is often little time to do things other people her age may be doing, like going on vacation – “there are a lot of variables to consider; it’s a big decision to make!”

Regardless of the path that Amy will continue down, she knows she will always be involved in health and fitness promotion; “it is who I am, not what I do”, she says, “the sky is the limit for what I wish to accomplish and challenges I wish to tackle.” Regardless of what she chooses to do, it is quite clear Amy will be successful at it.  In times of stress Amy often remembers these words and would like you to do the same the next time you are faced with an obstacle: I would rather live a few years of my life like most won’t, to live the rest of my life like most can’t. 

Why Not Be A Nurse?

By Karli Steen, WorkStory Ambassador

ENT/Urology Nurse Karla McTaggart-Steen had always known that she wanted to work in the field of healthcare, but originally saw herself as a physiotherapist. She started out taking Western University's Kinesiology program, but soon realized her grades didn't meet the mark.

Nursing seemed like the obvious next step: "One day I woke up and thought 'Why not become a nurse?' It's a good job, secure profession, with a good income and the best part is you get to help people through the most challenging times in their lives".

With that, she pursued the collaborative Nursing program provided by both Fanshawe College and Western University. When asked what she found most useful about the program, she had this to say: "My clinical placements were the most beneficial experiences as I was able to go to different clinical settings and gain a sense of the type of nursing I enjoyed the best.  I was able to interact with patients and their families and learn about health, wellness and empathy."

A day on the job can be full of both reward and sacrifice: "I start at either 7 am, or 7 pm, and basically don't sit down for 12 hours.  Sometimes I miss my breaks, or go for 6-7 hours without eating something.  I am responsible for much more then basic patient care, I make sure the docs don't miss anything, that my patients get to all of their appointments on time, that they are cleaned, walked, dressings are done, vital signs stable, educated about lifestyle changes, given all their medications on time, documentation donein addition, there is coordinating care with allied health,  caring for their family members, wiping tears, making jokes, laughing and helping them to have a few smiles in this dark time in their life.  Go home, shower and repeat less than 12 hours later"

In spite of the sacrifice made, Karla says that the most rewarding thing is being able to help. Whether it be guiding patients and their families through after-hospital care, or holding the hand of a dying patient, being the helping hand is a blessing. She hopes to help even further by going back to school for nurse practitioner credentials, where she hopes to work alongside a family physician.

When asked for advice for future Nursing hopefuls, she had this to say: "My advice would be make sure it is something you really want to do, not something you go into for the money.  It is a very physically and emotionally draining career and if your heart is not into it, you will burn out.  It is a great career in that there are so many job options for nurses.  It is a very well-respected and rewarding career."

RPN Combines Passion with Compassion for Rewarding Career

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Sheri Fleming’s passion involves her compassion for others and she is able to put that to work as a Registered Practical Nurse at Parkwood Hospital in London, ON. In addition, she also works at a long-term care facility. Originally from Thunder Bay, Sheri graduated from the Nursing program at Fanshawe College in 2014 while she was also working as a Personal Support Worker. Although she enjoyed working with her clients, her dream was to be working in a hospital, and she soon had Parkwood in mind:

“When I was in school,” says Fleming, “I had a placement on the unit I'm currently working in and I immediately fell in love with the staff, the patients and the work we do. I was lucky enough to do my consolidation there from January to March 2014 and began applying for jobs within St. Joseph's Health Care immediately after leaving.”

Sheri’s path to nursing initially started as a path to dental hygiene. She took a Pre-Health Science program, but she admits that, “after a short placement I quickly realized that wasn't for me.” It turns out that her experience with dental hygiene was just a stepping stone that led Sheri onto the path that was right for her: “[Afterwards,] I started really looking into careers I could do that would make me happy. Then I found nursing. I couldn't be any happier with the career I have chosen.” For people who are interested in following Sheri Fleming’s path as a Registered Practical Nurse, she says there is not a shortage of jobs available in this field. In fact, according to a recent “Workopolis” article by Peter Harris, Registered Practical Nurses are among the top 15 most in-demand jobs in Canada! (Harris, 2014)

When asked why she loves being a Registered Practical Nurse, Fleming emphasized that “there are so many different areas of nursing. You can do so many different things. The two jobs I have now are so very different and I enjoy the work at both places.” Sheri also loves that she is in an environment where being able to learn new things is a constant job requirement. She states, “I never go a whole day without learning something new.” But most of all, Sheri loves her patients and they’re the reason she goes back to work every day, even after the exhausting 12 hour shifts:  “I love working with people and getting to know their stories and being able to help them—whether it's through a difficult time in their life, or keeping them comfortable in their last days. I see people when they're at their most vulnerable and I do my best to ensure the patient maintains their dignity.” There is no doubt that Sheri loves the work she does and that the hard work it took to get there has led to a very rewarding career!

Works Cited:

Harris, Peter. “15 in-demand jobs in Canada that are waiting to be filled right now." Workopolis. Workopolis.com, 19 Oct. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

Maria Camacho will get rid of that kink in your neck!

By Vanessa Grillone, WorkStory Contributor

Maria Camacho is a Registered Massage Therapist, providing clinical massages to patients in order to improve their daily lives. She is also my cousin and I speak from personal experience when I say that she is a wonderful massage therapist. Give her five minutes at a family function and she’ll fix that kink in your neck and get rid of your splitting headache. She understands what’s going on with your muscles and she knows how to make you feel brand new. Most importantly, she has the perfect combination of passion and knowledge to make you feel comfortable and safe in her hands.


When Maria was little her neighbours would joke about her being a RMT. In high school she liked biology and exercise science and after looking into massage therapy, she realized it would give her a job in the medical field and still let her become the active mom she dreams to be. So, Maria took the three-year Massage Therapist program at Centennial College where she put all of her time and energy into making her dreams a reality. Her favorite class was Massage theory; she liked learning about how to treat specific issues and conditions.


When I asked Maria what she loves about her job she said, “I love that I am helping people live a better life. I love that every patient is a new challenge, and I have to figure out a new puzzle to get the amazing picture at the end”. The most difficult part about her job would be dealing with so many different personalities. She has to be sensitive to everyone's specific needs and preferences, “I could have a patient that loves to talk and the next patient could just want 60 minutes of quiet time, so I have to play by their rules”.  Since every day on the job changes, her hours are based around what time the patients want to come in. But usually she works around 6-8 hours a day. Besides treating patients, she prescribes home care for them to help themselves. She ensures also a clean environment for all treatments and fills out the proper documentation at the end. 


Eventually Maria hopes to have her own practice involving naturopaths, chiropractors, and other medical professionals who can aid in well being. “I feel as though every patient I treat is an opportunity to prove to myself that I'm in the right field. The opportunity to help someone feel better when they leave the clinic is amazing. I would advise people who are hoping to get into their dream field to evaluate yourself realistically. Do not put yourself on a pedestal, we all have to start somewhere. I'm not saying to settle for something, just follow your gut and you can't go wrong.”