IDEA Health & Fitness Association, the leading membership organization of health, wellness and fitness professionals worldwide with more than 23,000 members in over 80 countries, recently honored four industry standouts as exceptional leaders in their fields. The IDEA Health & Fitness Inspiration Awards were presented August 13 at the opening ceremonies of 2009 IDEA World Fitness Convention in Anaheim, California.

“IDEA is proud and thrilled by all the meaningful work our members do to motivate people to live healthfully,” says IDEA executive director Kathie Davis. “These awards honor professionals who give their utmost to help clients, communities and the fitness industry to be better, stronger and healthier all around.”
Here are details on each of the recipients and a list of finalists in each award category:

IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year: Cynthia Carrion Norton, MBA, Makarti City Philippines. Norton is personal trainer to President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines, to 15 of Arroyo’s cabinet members and heads of national agencies, and to private individuals. Norton is also the Philippine undersecretary for sports and wellness, in the department of tourism (DOT). “As personal trainer [to] the president, I inspire and motivate her to be in top shape,” says Norton. “Thus she becomes an inspiration for the whole nation to keep the fitness lamp burning bright.” Other finalists in this category: J.J. Flizanes, Beverly Hills, California; Jonathan Ross, Bowie, Maryland

IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year: June E. Kahn, Broomfield, Colorado. Kahn is president of June Kahn’s Bodyworks LLC Professional Fitness Pilates Training, life studio coordinator for Life Time Fitness, director of education for Beamfit LLC, and a Peak Pilates MVe Trainer. Kahn’s success in inspiring others comes from being able to bridge the gap between classical Pilates and the fitness industry, bringing together components of each in a nonintimidating environment so that all benefit. “Key to doing this is an ability to communicate across all ages and levels that inspires self-confidence and participation,” she says. “By focusing on form--explaining and demonstrating correct execution in an unintimidating fashion--I help the participants benefit.” Other finalists in this category: Shannon Fable, Boulder, Colorado; Carol Murphy, Rochester, New York

IDEA Program Director of the Year: Debi Pillarella, M.Ed, Munster, Indiana. Pillarella is the education/fitness program manager for The Community Hospital Fitness Pointe, a medical fitness facility. She oversees a staff of more than 50 fitness professionals and develops fitness, wellness and health education programs in aquatic fitness, personal training, group exercise, Pilates and yoga, while supervising the day-to-day operations of this facility and outreach venues. Her personal mission is to create best-practice health and fitness programs that are data driven and geared for different populations in Northwest Indiana. She wants to make a difference in people’s health for today and tomorrow, one community at a time. Other finalists in this category: Tina E. Gray, Alpena, Michigan; Darren Jacobson, Cape Town, South Africa; Fraser Quelch, Canmore, Alberta

IDEA Fitness Inspiration Award: Scout Bassett, Los Angeles, California. At an early age, Scout lost her right leg due to severe burns. Later she was abandoned at a Chinese orphanage to endure hardship, abuse and child labor. For years Scout hoped for something to change her fate, but her dreams seemed a lifetime away. Then when she least expected it, a miracle occurred and she was adopted by an American family at the age of 7, taking her from an uncertain future to a world of opportunity. With help from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, her parents and prosthetist, Scout actively competes in tennis, golf, marathons and triathlons. She is attending UCLA on a full scholarship. Scout is passionate about pursuing her athletic interests, educating people about the physically challenged and helping raise funds to allow remarkable individuals to live active lifestyles.

For more information on the IDEA Health & Fitness Inspiration Awards and additional background on the finalists, please access the full story about them in the July-August issue of IDEA Fitness Journal at:

IDEA Health & Fitness Association is a membership organization of fitness and wellness professionals with more than 23,000 members in over 80 countries. For more information on IDEA fitness and wellness conferences, publications, professional fitness education and products, member services and other activities, visit