In the Natural Health Industry since 2000
Current Position: Purchaser and Wellness Provider
Leah Charney-Turgeon was born and raised in the Peace Country. A resident of Grande Prairie, her husband, teenage daughter, adult son and fun-loving dogs keep her laughing. She is an active parent and on the parent council at her daughters school. She also promotes bilingualism and French-second-language learning opportunities as a volunteer with Canadian Parents for French. Leah is a certified massage therapist who has always been drawn to the natural health and healing communities. She uses a background in psychology to help her understand customer needs and anticipate concerns. As Purchaser, Leah meticulously tracks inventory, places and manages orders with The Health Hut's hundreds of distributors, and fulfills customer special order requests. Leah is a wealth of information and enjoys researching, learning and sharing what she learns with customers and staff.
What is one item on your bucket list?
The biggest item right now is to eventually live in Jasper, Alberta. It's mountainous and full of wildlife and lakes, it's the outdoors. It's an accumulation of all that is gorgeous in Alberta. I feel a pull to Jasper, maybe to retire and live my senior years exploring and soaking in the energy.
What inspires you?
Acts of extreme kindness, love or empathy. I like reading about people doing great things out of passion.
What are you grateful for in your life?
I'm grateful that I was born in Canada. I'm grateful for the relationships that I have with family and friends.
What is a self-care practice you are doing or would like to start doing?
I sleep. I self-care every second that I get, from sleeping to eating ice cream. Everything that I love doing is self-care, and I do it all the time.
Teach us something new that you are learning about right now.
I'm learning the most about mental health right now. That's my side passion. It seems to be that this is something we've paid a lot of attention to, to acknowledge that it's there, but there's not enough attention paid to a solution. There is a hesitancy to go ahead with action. The act of performing self-care in the moment, because of a mental health concern, is still being thought of as weakness or manipulation. It's not always met with support and kindness. It should be celebrated when we are willing to help ourselves heal or get the help we need. I think we're fighting the battle of what to do after that diagnosis. Acknowledgement isn't enough. What needs to happen is more empathy from those who may not have had experience in these situations. These are opportunities for people to find common ground and support each other, whether professionally or even from short interactions.
What are you known for at work?
I'm very much an environmentally aware person at the store. Also researching and remembering obscure facts from product trainings.
As a Supplement Advisor, what area of natural health do you most enjoy discussing with customers?
It changes over the years. Right now it's CBD oil (Cannabidiol oil). It's new and exciting. Their industry is growing and is vast, and I believe it's going to change medicine in Canada, 100%. There's so much information and so much misinformation out there that it's very challenging to discern what's right and not right. It's like putting a puzzle together, and that's a lot of fun. From what I have found out so far, what we know is just the tip of an iceberg. It's like there's a massive mountain of information: you can see the outline of it but inside it's all unknown, there's so much more to know. It's going to be staggering over the next couple of years, finding out what that one little humble plant can do.
When customers come in, I find out what they know, find out what they're looking for and start slow because it's a massive amount of information to relay to someone. That's why we welcome questions: come by, phone in and ask.
What do you find most enjoyable about working at The Health Hut?
I like Christie's fearlessness in accepting new trends in healthcare. Anyone can order products online, and that's tough to compete with, so supporting local is a priority for our store. So as examples, we have recently added Fox & Chaos, Chickweed & Clover, Five + Pines and Bo & Marrow Sippable Bone Broth to our unique local inventory. As an exciting new endeavour, we also have Happy Belly Kombucha on tap and, most recently, we are featuring True Heroes Coffee, a company that supports Grande Prairie's first responders who have PTSD.
For The Health Hut itself, I like how our hearts and our intuitions guide where the store is going, and that's with full faith. As a staff member, if we find a new product we want to bring in, we have no problems with taking it to Christie. She's super innovative.
How has your understanding of health or dis-ease changed throughout your career?
I used to think that symptoms were dealt with as individual parts, in their own entity, and now I realize how much it's all connected. So when it comes to a disease of the body, you can't just treat one area or one symptom, there's always a bigger picture. In the same way, getting results from treating symptoms doesn't always mean that you're getting better. Finding the more in-depth picture and understanding how everything is related is a much more integrative way to approach any disease.
What is your current favourite quote, mantra or affirmation? Why?
It's a Sanskrit inscription I once found on a spinner ring: Om Mani Padme Hum. It has resurfaced multiple times in my life. It's not so much as an affirmation, but a reminder that these are qualities to strive for. I think all of these are something everyone should live by.
Om(ohm)- Om is the sound or vibration of the universe. In the context of chanting and mantras, it is meant to destroy attachments to ego and establish generosity.
Ma(mah)- Removes the attachment to jealousy and establishes ethics.
Ni(nee)- Removes the attachment to desire and establishes patience.
Pad(pahd)- Removes the attachment to prejudice and establishes perseverance.
Me (meh)- Removes the attachment to possessiveness and establishes concentration.
Hum(hum)- Removes the attachment to hatred and establishes wisdom.