Celebrating Over A Decade of tuja Love
Over the past year, wellness has meant something very different to each of us.
For the past 12 years, tuja has been grateful to support, guide, and evolve with you on your wellness journey. tuja has been more than a trusted online wellness resource. It is an inspired community. A tapestry interwoven with spirit, integrity, passion, joy, and connection.
And so it is with gratitude, some sadness, and much reflection we share that we are closing our virtual doors. The challenges of implementing a new visionary health and wellness program have been exhilarating yet slightly prickly like a thuja tree.
But the purpose and “why” at tuja will always be to live well. From the get-go, our mission has been to inspire and empower healthier and more conscious daily living. We hope you carry this with you.
To celebrate all that is tuja, we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how tuja has impacted the lives of our beloved contributors around the globe.
Prepare to giggle, fill your heart, and feel deeply connected
“When I was a regular part of the tuja team, I lived in downtown Toronto. I drank the wheatgrass, I taught the yoga, I wore spandex on the subway. Fast forward ten years, and life couldn’t be more different (aside from the spandex). My writing and teaching have given way to birthing two boys, and the pandemic has made it challenging to do anything else. I now realize that life always prepares you for the next step, even if it doesn’t seem obvious.
tuja prepared me to look for resources, to be mindful and to always question. When I am left with a conundrum that feels insurmountable in today’s climate (don’t we all have them?) I put on my researcher hat, and I get to work. The interviews I conducted with amazing people over 80 truly taught me the definition of wisdom. My mindfulness column gave way to two published books. To this day, some of the people I met through tuja continue to be resources and fountains of knowledge. I am ever grateful to this online portal for positivity. Working with Kyla tapped me into a creative force that I don’t think I will ever fully leave.
The idea that the world will be tuja-less kind of breaks my heart, to be honest. This was one place that had soul and purpose, and I am ever grateful that I was a part of such a wonderful team.” ~ Courtney Sunday, Writer, Mom
I had the opportunity to be involved with tuja from the very beginning, before tuja was called tuja! My involvement came at a time of major transition in my life: motherhood. tuja was like family to me through pregnancy and my early parenting days while balancing a freelancing career. Not only did the team provide tremendous support, but I was also able to access a wellness community that helped me feel more balanced and healthy when my life was suddenly so different.
In the years afterwards, I enjoyed contributing to tuja as well as gleaning wonderful resources and tips from the online articles and wellness challenges (such as the 30-day smoothie challenge!) My kids are now 3 and 8. Looking back, I realize how important tuja was to my wellness journey and ensuring that I put myself first. ~ Meghan Ward, Writer & Marketing
“My role with tuja as a city connector in Toronto had me completely out of my comfort zone regularly – a vital stimulus for growth. Connecting with local businesses and creating a network is an essential skill that I have continued to use in my career as a Naturopathic Doctor. tuja taught me how to create community – which is now a passion and core value of mine.” ~ Dr. Brianna Botsford, Connector, Writer & Naturopathic Doctor
“My time working at tuja wellness as a photographer was truly a blessing! The opportunity helped propel me into my photography career while inspiring me to embrace the health & wellness routines that are now a part of my everyday life. I’m so grateful for the amazing people that I crossed paths and connected with during this journey, some of whom will be lifelong friends.” ~ Meaghan Eady, Photographer
After all these years, I still make it on my kitchen counter and love it. But I owe so much more to Ed, Kyla and tuja than just bringing out my inner hippy. I was lucky to have been the unofficial head of the AV department for several years at tuja. During that time, I was introduced to a lot of life-changing practices. The people I met and worked with changed my mind about how I see myself, others, and the planet and shaped my heart, knowing that so many souls are aligned with the same truths and values that tuja represents.
Kyla kept Ed’s vision and beliefs front and centre for every piece of content we published. And that meant Kyla was the one asking for edits and tweaks and changes and adjustments and fine-tuning and “just one more little revision, Tim”… Her thought and attention made me a better editor whether I was editing YouTube videos, creating the meditation series or producing and hosting the podcast. All that work helped me succeed as a podcast coach today. And, even more importantly, my time at tuja helped me develop mindfulness, a deeper appreciation of my time in nature, and healthier eating habits that are still part of my life today. I’m so grateful for the tuja chapter in my life.” ~ Tim Wohlberg, Videographer, Video Editor & Podcast Host
“I began my journey with tuja wellness as an Editorial Intern following the completion of my English degree. I immediately noticed how warm, enthusiastic, and creative every single person on the tuja team was. It was such an inspiring moment from the very beginning. I was then brought on as a contributing writer, and tuja wellness was the first to publish my writing. It was so exciting!
Years later, I moved back to the Bow Valley and joined the tuja team again as a creative project manager. The core team and I worked hard on some fascinating initiatives, events, and new ideas that kept us buzzing with excitement all the while. I am a full-time writer and editor, and I can confidently say that tuja wellness played a massive role in getting me to where I am today. Not only in my career but also in how I view and practice wellness by my own definition every day.
tuja empowered me to find my voice, nurture meaningful connections with myself and others, and grow into the person I am right now. tuja wellness’ impact has been so deeply profound on myself and countless others.” ~ Brittany Burr, Writer & Creative Projects Manager
“I’m so grateful for all of the personal connections made both with the tuja team and with participants from the various events that I facilitated in the Bow Valley and virtually. Having a community that has helped me build my wellness business as well as keep me motivated along my own wellness journey has been priceless. I’ve always been passionate about enhancing both the quantity and quality of people’s lives, and I know that tuja’s work in the world does both. Have loved being a part of the team!” ~ Trish Tutton, Writer & Wellness Connector Coach
I’m grateful for my time spent with tuja wellness, as it allowed me to connect deeper to my community, expanded my wellness knowledge and allowed me to further develop my skills in marketing.
I had only been in Kelowna for over a year when I received the Community Manager role, and the connections I made, to this day, are still relevant. I got to spend time in yoga studios, health centres, tea shops, and so much more. I enjoyed working with the team, as we were a tight knight group, and I feel we encouraged each other positively.
Being able to work remotely and in an industry that I love was a wonderful experience. I’m glad I got to be a part of the tuja wellness adventure, and I look forward to seeing what chapter unfolds next! A big thank you to Ed for allowing me to be a part of the journey and Kyla for steering the ship and keeping us on track. ~ Marissa Young, Community Manager & Advisor
“I arrived in Canada ten years ago, in the dead of winter, with the hope of finding work as a writer and very little else! I applied for dozens of jobs without success, and any freelance writing I could pick up was really poorly paid. Then along came tuja. I must have seen the job posted somewhere, and immediately applied. Right from the first interview (tuja did things virtually before it was cool), I knew there was something different about the work, the team, and the way I would fit in. I felt cared for, respected, and supported from my first article – the same way I feel now, 9 years later, with many tuja articles under my belt.
I’ve always been interested in wellness, conscious living, and self-improvement. Still, without a formal background as a trainer/meditation teacher/yoga instructor, I wasn’t sure if I would be given a chance to explore and write about these subjects. tuja gave me that freedom – both to choose topics that interested me and write about them in my own style (which luckily seemed to match the tuja voice pretty well!).
One of the most special things about working with tuja was the chance to meet other writers and local ‘connectors’ in my city, to try out some fun activities with them (hello surf yoga!) and to have a close relationship with Kyla, part editor, part guardian angel, who was always excited about my ideas (or diplomatically steered me towards new angles to fit the editorial calendar!). It seems silly, but one thing I’ll never forget was receiving – with a lovely Christmas card – a bar of beautiful dark chocolate slipped into the envelope all the way from the other side of the country – what other organization does that for freelance staff?!!
I love that tuja’s topics span the depth and breadth of the world of wellness. I’ve made videos about local hikes, interviewed fascinating people, completed a ten-day silent meditation retreat, experimented with intermittent fasting, and so much more – all the while being paid to write about it. It’s meant so much to me to be part of such an exciting project.
Most recently, the chance to work with a tuja wellness Connector Coach has lifted my journey from the page to the real world, and the experience has been as loving and supportive as I would have expected from the tuja team.
When I started at tuja, I was a young writer looking for direction. Now, I run two businesses and manage staff with, I hope, the same empathy and respect that I’ve learned from my wonderful treatment writing for tuja. My wellness journey is ongoing, but it’s SO good to know that if I come across something innovative, fascinating, or just plain effective, I can always share it with tuja, and they will, in turn, share it with the world.
I cannot thank Kyla, Ed, and everyone at tuja for always being there for me, with encouragement and love (and not very strict deadlines!). I don’t know how they did it, but they created the perfect work environment from the other side of a vast continent! I hope that this special relationship will continue long into the future. ” ~ Jess McGovern, Writer
“My tuja journey began when I was based in Whistler, transitioning from a corporate burnout role into freelance content and holistic nutrition. I was at a dinner gathering, where a friend encouraged me to reach out to her friend (Niki Boileau), who at the time was writing articles and developing recipes for an online wellness publication. In other words, tuja kismet.
This ultimately led me to Kyla, who to this day has been a writing spirit guide and one of the most supportive, kind and mindful humans. She has diligently helped me hone and nurture my writing with patience and grace. I vividly recall the excitement (and nerves) of working through my first round of edits, and the gratitude in sharing my work with tuja’s growing readership.
Kyla, Ed and the tuja family embraced me with open (virtual) arms. Over the years with tuja, I experienced a world of growth as a writer, friend, sister, daughter, partner, human being.
Out of the many tuja teachings, I learned how to guide myself into stillness and tune inward, and make the best ever miso bowl. It’s a true gift to be a part of a community that inspires, relates and connects.
This quote distills the essence of tuja for me:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead
tuja has been an integral part of my life – through career shifts, starting a business, adapting during a pandemic…if tuja had a song, it would probably be Bob Marley’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” ~ Chelsey Allen, Writer
“I’ll never forget seeing an ad in Craigslist looking for a writer in Kelowna with experience in the wellness space and business. It seemed too perfect to be true. But it was true, and answering it led to one of the best experiences in my life. Working with Kyla as an editor challenged me as a writer and gave me the confidence to have fun with words, even when dealing with a topic I revered.
But, my life with tuja ended up being so much more than ‘profile writer’. tuja gave me the opportunity to create hundreds of videos to populate the YouTube channel (now with over half a million views!), research and write feature articles and micro-content, and help guide the marketing and growth of the site. What I am most grateful for is that with every piece of content or campaign we ran, I truly felt like we were providing tools and inspiration for personal and planetary wellness.
On a professional level, my work with tuja led to securing a Wellness Column with CBC Radio, the creation of more videos for a variety of clients, and a deeper commitment to always creating content that serves. On a personal level, the echoes of tuja pop up on a daily basis. Whether it’s my homebrew Kombucha, tips gleaned from our countless video shoots or the meditations from the Meditation Challenges that I still enjoy.
I could not be more grateful for tuja, Ed, Kyla, and the amazing team I got to be a part of. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, I would not be living the life I am now if I had not answered that ad.” ~ Valerie McTavish, Writer, Producer & Marketing
Hand(stand)s down, I am grateful for the people. The hearts, souls, and mindful work that shaped tuja from east to west of Canada will always remain with me.
Our founder, Ed Malcolm, trusted me with finding incredible talent to evolve and share his vision across the country. Ed is a true, generous, people-first leader. So much so that I will take these qualities forever into the rest of my work-life as I work with and lead other teams.
Our contributors and writers taught me more than I could have imagined about the ever-emerging state of well-being.
I am blessed with the ongoing presence of what each human (and four-legged friend) gifted to us across the past decade—knowledge, wisdom, ideas, creativity, delicious food, beautiful writing and photography, challenges and growth, and great moments of joy. ~ Kyla Jacobs, Managing Director & Editor
It has been a remarkable 12-year journey with tuja as we’ve tried to bring new ideas and concepts to the wellness space. Kyla built a tremendous team of passionate individuals that touched people and communities throughout Canada and around the world. She provided tremendous leadership to the entire team for over a decade. The challenge and excitement for me, and the team, has been trying to move people up the wellness ladder no matter where they resided on the scale. It hasn’t always been easy, but the joy for me is that our team of incredible people are continuing to do this within their own businesses and lives. While tuja is taking a break and who knows what the future holds, we will all continue to grow and help others lead a healthier life. ~ Ed Malcolm, Founder
Whether you’ve read a tuja piece that resonated with you, tried out a recipe, participated in one of our wellness challenges, or teamed up with a wellness coach, we see you, and we’re eternally grateful for your conscious choice to be here.
From the whole tuja community, love and live well