Meet Our Team
Andrea Barone Sazwan
With a background in Occupational Health and Safety and biological sciences, Andrea has long been familiar with reviewing labels and technical data sheets and understanding which chemicals are, or are not safe for the body.
After her twin boys were born, she began looking at the labels on the products she was using in her home for her family: she found chemicals, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, parabens, and sodium laureth sulfate. Irritants, sensitizers, and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals, as well as environment-harming ingredients were in nearly all of the skincare products found in her home.
She wondered how this could be. Were there no viable alternatives that a company could use when creating skincare products that are luxurious to use and beneficial to the body, rather than causing harm?
The Next Step
Concern for her family’s health, especially after her children were diagnosed with a variety of allergies, drew her to more natural holistic alternatives. After being involved in a severe car accident, Andrea suffered long-term migraines, fatigue, and sensory and memory problems.
Neurologists suggested permanent medication for pain, but she instead decided to try alternative treatments such as Reiki, medical qigong, acupuncture, visceral therapy, chiropractic care, and crystal healing. These therapies had such a positive impact on her health that she went on to become a Chartered Herbalist and Reiki master healer, and studied organic skincare formulation. This gave her the knowledge to create gentle and nourishing items that everybody could use, and from which everybody would benefit.
Andrea’s mission is to create luxurious and highly effective skincare products that incorporate the active constituents of botanicals as well as the healing energetic traits of crystals. All this without harsh chemicals, synthetics, dyes, useless fillers, and strong preservatives. The end result are products that lead to beautiful, healthy, glowing skin. Andrea is very passionate about promoting a health-conscious lifestyle that incorporates the healing powers of nature and the high vibration of crystals. Her natural beauty company is committed to safety, honesty, and sustainability.
Dana was born and raised in Czechoslovakia, where her culture has always been based on following nature’s cycles and living organically from the land. Her family’s meals were made from scratch, included kneading dough by hand and making preserves and condiments harvested from their yard. They used herbs in cooking, in medicinal recipes, and in herbal bitters. Dana’s fondest memory of those years is of making vino – her feet in a barrel and all! She has always recalled those memories with fondness, and has continued to develop an interest in nature and healing. Whenever possible, she uses natural sources to restore and improve health: she looks for clean cosmetics for her family, and wholesome products for her two little boys. Originally a trained dance-theatre artist, Dana enjoyed a successful fifteen year career in performing arts. After earning a Masters in Economics, she travelled through Europe and North America, eventually settling in BC. Raising her own family now takes her back to her upbringing and reminds her that the best things come in the simplest form. Dana is proud to be part of the Crystal Hills team, bringing nature’s best to you. Crystal Hills is a brand that delivers beyond your expectations.
Sharon was born and raised in Vancouver, yet her path in life has taken her to live in places as unique as Los Angeles, the Peace River Country, and the South Cariboo Region of British Columbia. Presently, Sharon has come to call the Okanagan Valley her home, where she spends time soaking in the sunshine and enjoying the great outdoors with her loving husband, young son, and chocolate lab. Having spent over fifteen years in her pharmacy career, Sharon has gained a broad spectrum of experience in both retail and hospital pharmacies. She has worked in a women’s correctional facility, and has taught professionals at a community college. Although Sharon is a first-generation Canadian, her parents came from India with simple, yet deeply rooted, cultural and spiritual beliefs. Growing up, it was instilled in her that living a natural, organic, vegetarian lifestyle and using Homeopathic remedies, Ayurvedic medicine, Yoga, and meditation can all provide positive health benefits. Alongside her apothecary background, her training in Reiki has fortified a balance between East and West to improve physical health, spiritual growth, and emotional well-being.
Dr. Monica Penner - Medical Doctor
Monica grew up in Alberta, and obtained her Bachelor of Science (with Distinction, 1995) and Doctor of Medicine (with Distinction, 1999) from the University of Alberta, followed by a residency which she completed in 2004. Monica currently practices Anesthesiology at the Kelowna General Hospital Eye Care Centre, and is a certified Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She is married to Dr. Robert Penner, and has three children: Daniel, Elizabeth, and Catherine.
Her family has inspired her to explore the realm of wellness through physical activity, nutrition, and general body care. Monica is especially interested in the long-term impact of wellness products on individuals and the environment. Through Crystal Hills, she is pleased to have the opportunity to help create products that further her own knowledge, and that are good for people and their surroundings.
Renée Altman - Holistic Nutritionist
Renee was raised in small town Kaslo in the West Kootenays. After graduating, she pursued a health and lifestyle path by enrolling in the Human Kinetics program at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna. While attending university, she found her passion not only to be fitness, but also nutrition. In 2012, Renee attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Nanaimo, where she specialized in holistic nutrition. She then returned to the Okanagan where she now resides. Renée’s strong belief in healthy practices such as fitness, nutrition, and emotional well-being fit well with the principles of holistic nutrition.
Renee’s method is to ditch the diet and switch to a lifestyle where incorporating nourishing food everyday will have you feeling empowered and revitalized. Her plan will have you forgetting about trendy diets that leave you feeling hungry, irritable, and tired, and instead incorporating natural, alive, and good quality whole foods. Visit her website for more information: www.veritynutrition.com
Ed Barone - Chemist
Ed was born in Italy and immigrated to Edmonton as a young child. He always had a penchant for science, and followed his interest to the University of Alberta, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. After graduating, he worked in a couple of laboratories before finding his passion for teaching at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). Ed instructed in Introductory, Analytical, and Instrumental Chemistry for over thirty years. He found it an honour and privilege to assist so many young and vibrant students in finding fulfillment in their ambitions. After retiring, Ed relocated to the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. He now spends most of time keeping fit (riding his bike, walking by the ocean, taking fitness classes), and still loves to learn about the world, science, and health.
Ramona Manola - Fashion Blogger
For as long as Ramona can remember, she has been a lover of anything to do with high-end beauty and fashion. Both fashion and beauty have been true passions for her, and continue to be as she ages gracefully through the years. Ramona loves anything pretty, girly, and luxurious. She is extremely selective when choosing skin care products due to her skin’s sensitive nature. This is the reason she chose to work with Crystal Hills: their products are beautiful, clean, and luxurious. During their product trials, Ramona used all the products on herself and her sons, who happen to have sensitive skin and allergies. Ramona absolutely loves Crystal Hills, and is confident in recommending the products to everybody she meets. With her educational background in Business Management and her passion for beauty, she is happy to contribute to the social media side of Crystal Hills. Being a part of this team, means that she has the opportunity to be creative, collaborate with the team, and contribute to the overall success of Crystal Hills. Check out her blog at: www.houseoframona.com
Nicole Lachance - Bella Vita Beauty Blogger
Nicole earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (with distinction) from the University of Alberta, with a major in French Language and Literature and a minor in Italian Language. She then continued her education at McGill University, earning her Bachelor of Common Law and Bachelor of Civil Law, where she was selected as class valedictorian. Nicole works as a prosecutor with Alberta Justice and writes the Bella Vita Beauty Blog for Crystal Hills Organics.
Nicole enjoys being active with her husband and three small children. She also enjoys traveling, playing tennis, ballet, cooking, baking, and experimenting with skin care and makeup. With too little sleep and a very exciting and hectic life as a mother of three young children, Nicole can appreciate the value and importance of implementing a skin care regimen composed of products containing quality ingredients. She also believes in the power of positive energy, and recognizes the benefits of using essential oils and other natural elements to create at-home beauty treatments. She would like to share this passion with Crystal Hills Organics followers, and would enjoy hearing your feedback and ideas.