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Influencers!

by Fred Dyck, Director of Fitness & Facilities

Who are the significant influencers for your career? What role did they play and how has it led to the successes of a person’s life? Maybe its because I am getting a bit older but this is certainly a question I have found myself reflecting on lately. I have always felt I was a good fit (pun intended) to be part of the Fitness Team at YWCA Saskatoon/Fitness on 25th. What I view as important for a positive and productive in a successful customer service setting has always seemed to be in alignment with the values of YWCA Saskatoon. Why this is the case for me is a very large lifetime story influenced by those significant people from my life. Recently I have asked others on our fitness team who their significant influencers are and thought we would give thanks here. Along with my own, I asked Nima, Val and Shadi to outline a couple of the people who helped them become the people they are and how that has led to them being important members of the YWCA Fitness Team.

 

Fred’s Influencers: Two CPGA Head Professionals from my time in the golf industry, Criag Yahiro and Wade Hudyma

First, myself. Like many people my list of influencers includes parents, my three brothers, my wife Shannon and those who have always been close to me personally. I am blessed with my family and try hard not to take them for granted. I have also had a few very impactful professional experiences with individuals. And, I would like to highlight two here. The two people I will mention were both individuals I worked for. They were direct supervisors. Both in a customer service setting. The list of skills and learnings I brought from my interactions with both of them helps me do my work each and every day. Some of the skills I developed under their supervision include valuing every members’ experience, placing importance on my own personal accountability and how to enjoy and thrive when dedicated to difficult challenges. I have a simple philosophy I often relay to the fitness staff at the YWCA; one that took root under both of these person’s supervision…”hard work…works”. They are Craig Yahiro and Wade Hudyma.

I was an employee of both Craig and Wade at two different golf clubs; the Willows Golf and Country Club and the Chinook Golf Course. I worked with Wade from 1993 to 2000 at the Willows. Wade made work fun. He was very dedicated to his profession and often talked about the next day off would come in November once the season started in April. Still, work was not a drag for Wade. He met every day with enthusiasm; focused on providing the superior services we strived to offer at the Willows. No one I have known knew the art of the handshake like Wade. He could greet a patron with a handshake that made the person feel like they were the most important person in the room. Craig (pictured) was very similar to Wade in that way. He wasn’t as gregarious as Wade (Wade’s personality filled a room) but his ability to care and attend to a patron’s wants and needs was incredible. I only worked with Craig for two summers (1990 & 1991) at the Chinook Golf Course in Swift Current but to this day I strive every day to duplicate the efforts he consistently made. Day in and day out, he focused on ensuring his entire team cared for the outcomes of our members and patrons. And, like Wade, doing this while smiling and laughing through our day. Work with both of them was not work…it was fun without losing track of what we were there for. Sadly, Craig passed away a couple of years ago and I regret Craig not being around for me to tell him what he meant to my life. I have not made the same mistake with Wade who is the General Manager at the prestigious Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton (I sent him a copy of this blog just this week). I try every day to live up to the standards of care they asked of myself and demanded of themselves.

 

Nima Nazemi (YWCA Fitness Business Development Manager & Certified Personal Trainer) and his influencers:

By Nima Nazemi

I never thought writing about people who influenced me and made me the person I am today would be this difficult. I started to think about my influencers mid last week and soon I realized it was hard to choose 2 or 3 people amongst all those individuals who helped me or inspired me to get to where I am today. Although I acknowledge and appreciate all those individuals who were and/or (still) are inspirational for me, 2 people stand out: Michael Jordan and Tim Grover.

I clearly remember the first time I watched Michael Jordan on TV. My dad was watching sports news which was about an African American who scored 63 points in a basketball game. That was the first time I got to know about the game of basketball through watching Michael Jordan. As a 4-year-old kid, I got mesmerized by his moves and the way he was playing the game which was unique, beautiful to watch and artistic. That night was perhaps when I got hooked up to sports, in general. My journey in competitive sports was a result of that night when the 4-year-old kid watched the African American athlete on TV. Of course, later in my life, I couldn’t continue my career as a professional athlete due to an injury which was definitely a turning point. It took me about a year to adjust myself and my plans for my future. Throughout the whole process one thing was 100% clear to me: I wanted to establish my career in sports and fitness industry. I am still watching Michael Jordan on YouTube. I can tell there is no interview that he has done and I haven’t seen. There are 2 things he always talks about: work on fundamentals and deliver the best possible version of yourself. To him, those two things made him the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). Everyday, no matter how my day is going to look like, I try to hold on to those two things.

As a basketball player, I always searched to find out how the best players became that dominant which is how I came across a name: Tim Grover. He is definitely one of the high-profile sport specific trainers and movement specialists… to me, he is the best. He has worked several years with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and so many other elite athletes. To me, there are 2 aspects which make Tim Grover great at what he does. First aspect is about his approach to fitness. He does not look at fitness as a tool to improve performance. He believes fitness is a tool to prevent injuries. When I think about this, it is more like some sort of philosophy to me which is simple, but very true: an athlete (client) who is more resilient to injuries would perform better through a longer period of time compared to other athletes. The second aspect is about attention to details. Tim Grover is definitely the master when it comes to this. He would count how many steps an athlete may need to take to go from one end to the other end of the court and design exercise regimens accordingly. He would work with you to get you functionally more efficient. To him, even 1% matters. Watching Tim Grover and listening to him at his interviews encouraged me to look at things differently and perhaps more sophisticatedly. Many people perform all in the same way, very few can be like Tim Grover and do it their own way.

 

Val Kirk (Certified Personal Trainer) and her influencers:

by Val Kirk

Today, I reflect, on a question that was posed to me……“who was your mentor” to help you on your fitness journey, as an Aerobic Instructor and Personal Trainer.  There have been many individuals throughout the years, but one who stands out the most is my Phys.Ed. teacher.  His name is Mr. Robert Webber. He was an awesome coach, teacher and person.  Very knowledgeable in the fitness realm.  He breathed and lived the life; running, weight trained, etc..  He is now well into his 90’s and still as fit as ever, from what I hear. His philosophy was “try, you never know what you can do until you do” and “never give up”.  I learned early on that physical activity goes a long way when it comes to health and well being, as well as diet.  We had phys.Ed. one to two hours a day.  Everyone complained as he was a hard-ass (pardon my language) but he expected a lot.  The majority of the students, were lazy and he knew it, including me lol, but I was over weight and not that fit……but he made things fun and there was always something to learn and do. I was encouraged to do track & field…..running especially….400 & 800 meters.  I went as far as Districts and came second…..the first place was my goal, but wasn’t to be. I still run, but for enjoyment and health……its easy.

I started reading about fitness and learning about what it can do for the body, mind and spirit.  At the time I was overweight and mentally not in a good place.  But that is a whole other story.  Running was my outlet to relieve stress.  Then I started to look at my family. Observing how they moved, health issues (there were a lot…cancer, heart disease, stroke, depression, just to name a few).  At that point, I realized I did not want to have any of those issues, much less mobility ones.  That is when I decided to get more involved in fitness.  I became an aerobic instructor…….I started a Fitness Club in the small town that I lived…..the Club offered many programs…………during this time I took many certifications and I mean a lot……I wanted to coach some of the sports I started playing (basketball, volleyball, badminton and softball, etc.).  Pretty soon I lost weight and I was feeling fantastic.  It got to the point where people were asking questions about fitness and as an aerobic instructor, I didn’t feel comfortable answering their questions, so I enrolled in a Personal Training Program (distance) through Mt. Royal College in Calgary.  I had approximately 6 years to complete the course, but I did it in two.  Of course, I had to travel to Calgary, but that was not big issue.  The Fitness Club was quite successful, but I didn’t do alone.  There were two other people, Patti Cairns (pictured) and Betty Kohle.  Mothers who had very active children.  Their encouragement, patience and hard work made this Fitness Club a great success.  With that came a great deal of experience for me and my dreams.  Sadly, Patti passed away about 5 years ago.  A great friend and one of my mentors, who I miss dearly.  Betty, is a nurse by trade, but no longer operates the Fitness Club.  The Fitness Club disband when I moved away from the small town.  We still chat about the old days and the Fitness Club but isn’t the same now.

There are two other people, who, I have to mention, here.  They didn’t understand what I really wanted to do with my life, sometimes they still don’t.  Mom & Dad (Liz, 86 yrs & Alfred Kirk, 87 yrs).  Even though they didn’t understand why I eventually chose Fitness and to own and operate my own Personal Training business they both contributed to my success.  Both, often said “hard work, pays off when you apply yourself to a passion and run with it”….in other words…..whatever effort you put in, you will reap rewards”…………..if you don’t put in the effort you will not reap rewards………….respect your fellow man/woman, for you don’t know where life has taken them……….be kind and generous and help whoever you can by either paying it forward or helping in some way.  With all my experiences, in fitness and in life generally, I think I help, encourage, motivate, have respect, involve, inspire, show leadership, and passion of what I do (I hope it shows).  If I can be that role model that encourages individuals to fitness, then I have done my job.

I believe “a body in motion, stays in motion”.

 

Shaid Beiki and her influencers: Masoud Ghobe and Kim Jones

By Shadi Beiki, Head Lifeguard, YWCA Saskatoon

When I was asked to write about my influencers, I immediately thought of the two people who had the most impact on who I am today. Masoud Ghobe (pictured, my French teacher) and Kim Jones (Aquatic Coordinator at the University of Saskatchewan.

Monsieur Ghobe (as we used to call him in class), taught me French language for several years when I was still in Iran. What made him the most remarkable person in my life was not the fact that he did not just teach me how to speak French. He taught me something much more important and priceless than that: he taught me how to live, how to be strong, and how to never give up on myself and my dreams. The only time that I truly felt free, was the time I got to spend in his class. He opened my eyes to a lot of truth and reality about life. He taught me how to believe in myself by believing in me and my capabilities. If it wasn’t for him, I may have never found the courage and bravery to leave my homeland and everything else behind including my beloved family to move to Canada in pursuit of success and happiness. He is indeed the most amazing teacher I ever had in my life and I wish I would be able to see him again one day and hopefully, I would be able to make him feel proud.

The second person who has influenced my career is Mrs. Kim Jones (pictured). I was hired by her as a lifeguard for the University of Saskatchewan in 2018. One thing that stood out to me the most about her was how she genuinely cared about each and every single one of her staff. She took an interest in what was going on in our lives and did her absolute best to be there for us in times of difficulty. She taught me that respect can only be earned by love not fear. Her genuine acts of kindness when she would go above and beyond for her staff is what I will forever remember and be thankful for. Her management skills were remarkable. She made everyone feel appreciated at work which resulted in us putting our best effort to represent the values she held. She was like my second mom in Canada who looked out for me all the time. I look up to her every day and I hope that one day I would be able to be to live up to the same values.

 

Imagery sourced from: Serena Williams by USA TODAY Sports, Michael Jordan by NBA, Hayley Wickenheiser by Toronto Star.