The IDEA World Fitness Award recipients and finalists each have a tale to tell. Here, all the honorees share their journeys, strategies and triumphs.
Michael Taylor Member Since 2010 :: Los Angeles “I am a Jedi,” says Michael Taylor, with a smile. And once you know him, the idea isn’t at all far-fetched. Taylor harnesses the power of a…
It was little surprise to anyone when, asked to pick her “favorite punctuation mark” for a photo shoot of the IDEA editors, Judy Minich picked the exclamation point. She approaches every situation with the thought that she can spice it up with an extra dash of excitement.
Cynthia Walker was struggling. Although she’d been trying to lose weight for years, it just seemed like the odds were stacked against her.
“At age 42, she had a TIA (transient ischemic attack) along with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels,” says trainer E. Faith Bell. “Then, 11 years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At 4 feet 9 inches tall, she weighed 176 pounds.”
One of the magical attributes of a great dancer is the ability to convey supremely tough athletic feats as graceful, artistic and seemingly effortless movement. It’s no wonder, then, that IDEA’s director of event programming, Rebecca Garity, seems to glide through the annual creative challenges of programming 100+ sessions for IDEA’s Personal Trainer Institute and more than 350 sessions for the IDEA® World Convention.
Member Since 2017 • Naim Village, Israel
Ammar Zoubi says he lives “on the other side of the world,” but his story really hits home. After years as a bodybuilder, he became a certified personal trainer, eventually getting hired at the gym where he was a member.
In rising to meet major challenges and needs—from overcoming cancer, a staph infection and even a four-story fall inside an elevator, to serving reservation residents and low-income individuals in high-crime neighborhoods—the 2019 IDEA World Scholarship recipients have shown character, determination and a commitment to helping others.
Veteran fitness pros know how important it is to pay attention to clients as unique individuals. Experience, education and empathy are key qualities that equip seasoned pros to help a wide variety of people with diverse needs.
If you’re ever lucky enough to get Nate as your inspired service specialist when you call IDEA with a question or need assistance at an IDEA event, there’s no doubt you’ll finish the encounter feeling like your day just took a leap and a bound. This man walks a positive path, lives by the golden rule and sincerely gets pumped when he witnesses the good nature of others. “I love seeing or hearing about acts of kindness for those deserving or in need,” Nate says.
Purpose, passion and people! The fitness industry is all about forging relationships that lift others up. Fitness professionals have energy to spare, and they are dedicated to mentoring new generations of pros, networking with peers, and motivating clients and participants every day.
“Returning to Pilates has changed my life,” says Linda Arroz. That’s a powerful affirmation, but Linda’s journey with trainer Jillian Hessel has power to spare. Their story extols the virtues of focusing on health over weight and building connections that stand the test of time.
The Foundation of a Lasting Partnership
It began in 1994. Hessel, a multicertified master Pilates teacher, remembers her first meeting with Linda.
Member Since 2008 • Los Angeles
In 1979, Susanna Gayedon, inspired by a kinesiology class—and the movie Flashdance—became a fitness instructor. But she was no flash in the pan, going on to earn her AFAA certification, become registered with Yoga Alliance and make a difference in the lives of hundreds of clients as both a personal trainer and a group fitness instructor.
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You may feel the hummingbirdlike whoosh as she speeds by you in the hallways at IDEA headquarters, but your brain may not always process that the voltage you felt pass by was teammate Kelly Nakai. This woman is calibrated at a higher speed than most people you’ll ever meet, and from Day One of her more than 15 years at IDEA, she has moved with purpose. Driven by her love of our mission to Inspire the World to Fitness®, Kelly. Gets. Stuff. Done!
When Colleen Evans wanted to improve her strength while healing from Lyme disease, her doctor knew exactly who could help her: fellow patient and personal trainer Shona Curley.
Like Colleen, Curley had been diagnosed with Lyme disease and was coping with its symptoms.
Member Since 1989 • Los Angeles, California
A former IDEA editor once said that if Joy’s writing and reporting style were likened to a food, it would best be described as peanut butter. Why? Her work is “nutrient-dense,” packing a punch that sustains readers a long time.
CLIENT: Brenda Badish
PERSONAL TRAINER: Kelly Fletcher
LOCATION: KFit Studios, Brighton, Michigan
Brenda Badish had almost given up hope that she could regain her health. “I figured I was a few weeks away from pushing up the daisies,” she says.
Shebah T. Carfagna
Member Since 2014 • Miami
It’s no surprise that Kathleen excels in her role as an IDEA brand activation strategist—she is living the dream through a lifestyle dedicated to holistic wellness and positivity. She genuinely gets excited about the products and services she helps IDEA clients bring to market, often using them herself or sharing them with friends and colleagues.