John Holtmann Leadership Award
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John Holtmann Leadership Award

About John Holtmann

John Holtmann was regarded as an incredible leader in the natural products industry. After starting his career at the age of 21 (with a summer job that never ended), John was given the opportunity by his father-in-law to change his focus, stepping away from retail and moving into the distribution/manufacturing side of natural health.

The Vita Health Company is where John spent the first half of his career. His work and leadership created a company that became highly regarded as a leading manufacturer and distributor of natural health products. But the world of retail was never far away, eventually calling John back to his roots as the owner and operator of the award-winning retail chain the Vita Health Fresh Markets of Manitoba. Deeply committed to customer service, going above and beyond for those he served was something John was known for, with many stories told about how he changed lives.

John also played an instrumental role in the founding of United Health Merchants, the precursor to today’s Health First Network, a buying and marketing group with 120 member stores across Canada.

John served on the Canadian Health Food Association’s Board of Directors as Director and Board Chair. In 2010 John was inducted into the CHFA Hall of Fame.

Throughout his long career, John selflessly provided mentorship, support, guidance and friendship to many people in the industry. Whether it was visiting stores, offices or warehouses he was known to always offer thoughts and encouragement to those around him.

John was a true leader and inspiration to many in the natural health industry. He left us too soon, but his legacy continues, reflected in those who strive for better, creating positive change through their actions and leadership.

Award Winners

  • Mike Fata
    Recipient: CHFA Connect 2021
  • Ryan Benn
    Recipient: CHFA Connect 2020
  • Michael Bentley
    Recipient: CHFA West 2019
  • 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