Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta 5th Woman of Inspiration 2014-2015 Presented by Syncrude Announced


Photo: Supplied

Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude are proud to announce the 5th nominee for the Women of Inspiration series 2014-2015:

Barb Henning

Barb Henning’s life has been dedicated to helping people. As a 25 year resident of Fort McMurray, Barb has helped men, women and children of all ages achieve their goals. Her path has always been on healthy living and it wasn’t until she was 45 that she was able to clearly define where her passion lies.

Barb’s road to discovering her goals started with getting her Education Degree from the University of Alberta. Barb taught grade three for seven years and, like many dedicated teachers, she devoted countless hours above and beyond the required classroom hours. She was involved with many extracurricular activities including volleyball, swim club, and Jump Rope for Heart.  For her efforts, outside and inside the classroom, Barb was awarded the Teaching in Excellence Award, a recognition given to only 100 of the top teachers in Alberta. During that time she was also the race director for Kids of Steel.

Barb has been an active member of the community and has volunteered with many non-profit organizations. Her community activism is evident in her passion to make the Wood Buffalo region a healthy and positive place for everyone. Barb was involved in Harvest of Hope for over 3 years, and she states that the cause has a personal connection as she lost her sister to cancer.  She not only enjoyed working as part of the Harvest of Hope team, but it was also important to her that the funds they raised stayed in Fort McMurray. The annual Northern Lights Health Foundation’s Festival of Trees event also kept Barb busy for 3 years. She was the volunteer coordinator for the multiple day event. Barb also volunteered at the hospital by providing tours to new employees each month.

Sports have been a major theme in Barbs personal and volunteer work. In addition to Kids of Steel she was also involved in the Seniors Games, the Arctic Winter Games, Ptarmigan Ski Club, and Masters Swimming.  Barb has taught aerobics and was a personal trainer.  When she had a serious back injury she had to stop doing the activities she enjoyed and thrived in. This setback didn’t push her down though, in fact, it made her start looking at other ways to ensure that healthy living would be still part of her life.  She explored many different avenues and was drawn to getting involved in the business of Ideal Protein where she helped countless people lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.  This business was the stepping stone towards achieving her dream of opening a wellness centre in Fort McMurray.

Fast forward to 2014 and the wellness centre Layers Wellness (formally Back on Track with Barb) is well established. Her search for what makes women feel better has been transformed into providing an inclusive space for Wood Buffalo residents where they feel comfortable and have strong coaches who motivate and mentor them to achieve personal goals. Having mainly a female clientele, she understands that her mission is to provide support. There are many women locally who don’t have a strong support network and Barb is able to provide this. She describes that she’s trying to help women dance, not wrestle, with their healthy living goals.

Barb is a proud member of our region and enjoys being part of the community.

Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude will honour Barb and 11 other nominees, at the Women of Inspiration Celebration which will take place in June 2015 at the Sawridge Hotel.

The Women of Inspiration is a partnership between Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude, with a goal to recognize women throughout the Wood Buffalo region who inspire others, break new ground or old barriers and help create change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here.

To nominate a woman of inspiration, please visit our website at or contact the Girls Inc. office at 780-790-9236.