Helen Long began her impactful career at CHFA in 2001 serving as Board Secretary. It was during this time that she developed and nurtured many relationships within the industry while learning the intricacies of the regulations, the membership and the association. It was because of this exceptional foundational knowledge of the industry, in addition to the remarkable relationships she built, she was the perfect candidate for President of CHFA, which she became in 2011.
For the next decade, Helen led the industry through many pivotal and revolutionary events including, the introduction of The Natural Health Products (Unprocessed Product Licence Application) Regulations (NHP UPLAR) which allowed sales of NHPs to continue as the backlog of 10,000 product applications was assessed. As well as the industry’s exemption from Bill C-17 (Vanessa’s Law), which protected the industry from the tougher measures and penalties imposed upon the drug industry.
As a strong and decisive leader, Helen always believed in the power of her team and was able to guide them through many successful public-facing campaigns including, Save Our Supplements and NHPs are not Drugs, which ensured that NHPs continued to maintain their own regulations and pre-market approval system.
As an integral spokesperson for the industry, Helen was constantly defending the industry in front of national media – the pinnacle of those efforts being CBC’s retraction of a negative NHP story and on-air apology on the national news.
Under Helen's direction, the success of CHFA’s best-in-class tradeshows continued to grow year-over-year, including the introduction of new and exciting ventures such as Launch Pad, which continue today. This, in combination with careful expenditures and improved investment strategies, led to the strongest financial position the Association had ever been in.
Through her leadership, CHFA grew into its own as a professional, industry-leading trade association. Comfortable in Ottawa and respected by government, able to network and partner with external stakeholders and other industry representatives, these relationships truly helped CHFA and the industry to grow, thrive and achieve success.
Helen always put Members first. Through many member forums, surveys, and countless conversations over the years, Helen’s ability to listen, hear and truly support the members, contributed to a trusted partnership and ultimately to her success.
Members were never afraid to reach out and Helen always made time for them, often sending handwritten notes to congratulate them on a new store opening or other professional or personal achievements.
Above all, it was Helen’s hard work ethic, determination and passion that pushed her and allowed her to construct a thriving Association, which helped create the groundwork for the innovation and prosperity within the industry today.