John Holtmann Leadership Award
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John Holtmann Leadership Award

John is remembered with overwhelming love by his family, as well as by hundreds of friends and colleagues in our industry. After graduating from Point Grey High School in 1974, John began his career in the food industry at Woodward's Food Floor in Vancouver. When he landed the position of director of sales in the mid-1980s at a rapidly emerging organic cereal company called Nature’s Path, he knew he had found his calling. As Nature’s Path grew rapidly, he developed a strong commitment to the natural foods industry and its ethics. He had boundless energy and a remarkable ability to connect people and build networks. His natural talents and skills carried him to great success on both sides of the border from Nature's Path to Kettle Foods, Clif Bar and UNFI. From 2010 and on, he was a member of CLIF's White Road Investments, a proponent of inspired long-term investments in mission-based small companies. It was here John discovered his dream job. A consummate trailblazer and builder of networks, he was manager, mentor and leader to many fledgling CEOs and sales directors in his portfolio of natural products enterprises.

Brilliant at solving problems and a quick study in everything he pursued, he was simply the best. John carried this same ethic of high energy, passion and inclusiveness into his personal life. He loved people, recognized competence and integrity, brought people together, looked after them, laughed with them, supported them, cherished them, and needed them. He knew how to inspire, organize and lead. He also made it a priority to have fun, work hard, eat well, exercise, and value human relationships. 

John Anthony left us suddenly and too soon, but his legacy reflects brightly the high standards and environmental leadership of the organic foods and Fair Trade movements to which he was so deeply committed.

Award Winners

  • Matthew James
    Recipient: CHFA Quebec 2017
  • Bruce Cole
    Recipient: CHFA West 2016
  • Stewart Brown
    Recipient: CHFA East 2015
  • Alicja Wojewnik
    Recipient: CHFA East 2014
  • William Gall
    Recipient: CHFA West 2013
  • Deborah Callbreath
    Recipient: CHFA East 2012