2014 IW Winners

North Bay | Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Crystal Kaufman

Crystal Kaufman

Since opening her North Bay pedorthic clinic in 2007, Crystal Kaufman has achieved gold standard-like status within the Bioped franchising chain.

The 34-year-old was lauded by her boss, Robin Schleien, president and CEO of the chain of more than 60 orthotics clinics across Canada, for her "extraordinary performance" and "high level of professionalism."

In her first year of operation, Kaufman outpaced other first-year clinics in sales by a margin of 25 per cent, including some in the GTA with a larger population base, and then grew by an additional 31 per cent during her second year.

"Perhaps the highest compliment I can bestow upon Crystal is that I wish I could clone 100 exact duplicates and have all of them open clinics just like Bioped North Bay…all across the country," wrote Schleien in her nomination letter.

Certified pedorthists are trained to assess lower limb conditions and biomechanics and offer non-surgical treatment options.

"I've always known that my passion is to help people and it doesn't matter what setting it was in," said Kaufman. "As long as I was helping people and increasing their quality of life, that made me happy."

Raised in North Bay, Kaufman graduated with an honours degree in kinesiology from Brock University before landing a job at a Sudbury physiotherapy clinic. There, she noticed a job ad for a pedorthic intern at a Bioped clinic in Sudbury.

"From the first day I started I knew that was it," said Kaufman.

The certification process requires a two-year apprenticeship, but Kaufman was granted an exception to challenge the exam in less time based on the recommendations of a pedorthist of 20 years.

With no pedorthists in North Bay, the opportunity presented itself to open a clinic in her hometown under the Bioped banner.

Kaufman immediately established a rapport in reaching out to 50 physicians through educational seminars and one-on-one meetings in order to earn their trust and get patient referrals for treatments.

To brush up on her presentation skills, she joined Toastmasters and was mentored by local motivational speaker Penny Tremblay.

Overcoming her fear of public speaking was a huge hurdle.

"I knew I was going to do well on the pedorthic side and would successfully treat my patients because I'm very stubborn. I'm not going to give up until I make my patients better. But to teach people what I do and present to these physicians, that was a very hard thing."

Kaufman has now added a second pedorthist to her modest three-person staff, is taking on apprentices, and has established a satellite clinic in New Liskeard.

Many of her patients are women in the 40 to 55-age range, diabetics with foot and circulation issues, and athletes and children with arthritic joints.

She attributes her assertive and goaloriented attitude to her parents, Robin and Dave Roy, and her husband, Scott, "my biggest influence and role model."

"My parents have always been very driven people and work so hard for everything. They're the types of people who never missed a day of work and everything that they did, they did 100 per cent, and that's how we grew up."

Rather than follow the exodus of young people out of town, Kaufman made a decision to bloom where she was planted.

"I always have a soft spot for North Bay," she said. "To be able to serve your hometown is a wonderful feeling."

As for the future, each day for Kaufman is devoted toward becoming a better specialist, a better boss, and growing professionally.

"The more people I can help, that really solidifies my future. I think I'm exactly where I want to be."

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