Melissa Hozack’s college and community roots run deep. As an alumna of Medicine Hat College (MHC), award-winning pharmacist, business owner, coach, mentor and mother, Hozack is committed to helping people and building relationships.
The experiences she had as a student-athlete at MHC laid the foundation for her future. Hozack attended MHC from 1994 – 1997, taking pre-pharmacy science courses and playing both soccer and basketball for the Rattlers.
“My whole experience at the college was amazing. I made such great friendships. It was a real benefit to start here with the small classes and cost savings,” says Hozack.
The college also prepared her well for her experience at the University of Alberta where she completed a degree in pharmacy and met her classmate and future husband, Rob.
The couple graduated in the spring of 2001, got married, and were licensed by July of that year. Wanting to return to her hometown, the Hozacks started their careers with the Pharmasave group in Medicine Hat. In 2007, they were asked to buy in to the company when Jim Boylan sold the stores and so became the owners of Redcliff Pharmasave.
In 2013 their business took a new turn. Following the birth of her third child in 2012, Hozack was looking for a way to lose the weight gained during her pregnancies. She heard about the Ideal Protein program and just 10 days later, had the product in her store.
“When I decide to do something, I’m all in. The program really made sense to me,” explains Hozack.
As her own first client and coach, Hozack lost 125 pounds with the program. In the four short years since, she has helped 850 clients lose nearly 33,000 pounds. The store has expanded to accommodate the Ideal Protein line and bring in complementary products. Partnerships have been established with other business owners throughout the city to offer incentives and services to her clients.
“Ideal Protein is a weight loss program but I can see the benefits in other areas of health. It’s not just about losing the weight, it’s about learning how that lifestyle switch is going to keep the weight off,” says Hozack.
She recently received her additional prescribing authorization, meaning she can take people off medication. This designation is unique to Alberta, which has a wider scope of practice compared to the rest of the Canada.
“As a pharmacist, that’s pretty rewarding. It’s awesome to get people off their meds and help them get healthy.”
Because of these efforts, Hozack was presented with the University of Alberta’s Outstanding Alumnus Award and the Pharmacy Practice Canadian Commitment to Care and Service Award in Health Promotion.
Her passion for the community is equal to that of her client’s success.
From presenting to MHC students about her accidental startup and donating to the college’s Pathways Student Life Enhancement Fund, to accompanying sick children to Disneyland with Pharmasave’s Dreams Take Flight program and supporting various local organizations through 100 Women Who Care, Hozack is committed to helping others.
“Giving back is so important. We’re always trying to stay involved,” says Hozack, who is also the social media director for the Women in Business committee and a nominee for the group’s Inspire Award.
When she’s not busy inspiring her own clients or building new partnerships, Hozack is likely to be found on the sidelines of a soccer field, watching a Rattlers game or coaching her daughters’ U14 and U6 teams. Still well-connected with the college’s athletics department, she even brought her eldest daughter’s team to the final Rattlers soccer game this fall to field balls and be exposed to the high level of sport.
Being back in her hometown means that the relationships Hozack formed at MHC years ago are still a big part of her life. Many of her college teammates also have children that play soccer with her own, so the former Rattlers enjoy watching their children grow up together and carry on their traditions.
“I tell the kids it’s the friendships you make with the team now that will last a lifetime. As you go through college and life, it’s important to have those relationships.”