Donna Benjamin, Owner

I began CrossFit in 2010, and since opening CrossFit Homeward in 2016, I have fallen in love with training all over again. Our mission is to provide wellness to a broad spectrum of adults and youth. Our Coaches are incredible people inside and outside the gym. Graduated University of Virginia 1989, BA and University of Chapel Hill, 2001, Master of Social Work. I’m a lifetime student of health and wellness.

Faith Stewart, Manager

I am originally from Philadelphia, where I played soccer and lacrosse in high school and ran half-marathons for fun. I have a background in equestrian showjumping, which I pursued for more than a decade with Olympian, Lisa Jacquin, before transitioning into fitness for time. I have been a Crossfit athlete for five years and a Crossfit coach for three.

I started Crossfit while pursuing my undergraduate degree in Military History and Political Science at Duke and fell in love with the sport immediately. I began coaching soon after, as I enjoyed the transformative impact of Crossfit on my own life and hoped to be able to enact similar changes for other people. I love coaching the progressions to higher-level skills and Olympic weightlifting, and currently wouldn’t be caught dead running for fun. I enjoy coaching, training, and have personal aspirations to compete at an elite level in the sport of fitness.

Autumn Philyaw, Assistant Manager

I am from Hickory, North Carolina where I grew up playing soccer and softball but ended up cheerleading in middle school and high school. My senior year in high school I started going to the gym with one of my friends and immediately fell in love with fitness. I’ve been doing CrossFit specifically for a little over a year. I am currently a senior at UNC Chapel Hill, GO HEELS!

I am an Exercise and Sport Science- Fitness Professional Major and absolutely love it. In the past year, I have received my NASM-CPT and CF-L1. I love lifting heavy barbells and the “lift and sit method”. One thing I love about CrossFit is the community that the sport builds and the friendships made when you join a box. When not in the gym, I enjoy eating cheeseburgers and going out with friends.

Sage Holley, Youth Head Coach

I am originally from Durham, North Carolina and have returned to the area after attending Appalachian State. I started CrossFit after watching the Games and felt that varied fitness training could act as a supplement to my lacrosse and football training. I enjoy CrossFit because unlike other training methodologies, the sport requires a wide variety of skills and strengths in order to complete the range of workouts presented in regular CrossFit workouts.

I have done CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting for almost five years, and remain engaged in the process of providing people with a way to participate in an encouraging and competitive fitness atmosphere.

Ralph Howard,

Back in 2014, I was sitting in the mall contemplating my failed dream of becoming a pro basketball player (derailed by age, height, skill, and injuries) while gorging on a big ole cheese danish, I found myself wierdly attracted by the unidentifable noises coming from the CrossFit Box across from me. I walked in to check it out and have been hooked ever since.

I have a strong desire to help and encourage others achieve their goals no matter how big or small they are in the same way that my coaches patiently and positively worked with me to reach my own. Network Engineer by day, pondering ways to save the planet by night, and coaching (and contantly learning) CrossFit in between.

Ethan Foy

I grew up in Chapel Hill and played baseball and travel ice hockey. I began working out regularly at home when I was 11 and did bodyweight workouts inspired by Herschel Walker.

I began lifting and doing CrossFit specifically as a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill. I graduated in the spring of 2019 with a degree in Biology. While at UNC I became an NASM-CPT and was a member of the Olympic weightlifting club. I worked for campus recreation as a personal trainer and small group instructor teaching a functional fitness class. I’m excited to be a part of the Homeward coaching staff and enjoy working with both youth and adult athletes in order to help them achieve higher levels of fitness.

Ashley Bishop

Bio: I am the proud mom of my amazing 9-year-old son, Kai. I received my BS in Physical Education with an emphasis in Outdoor & Experiential Education from Winthrop University in 1999. I’m well versed in a variety of coaching methodologies and have led outdoor experiences like ropes courses, kayaking, and climbing in addition to my time coaching Crossfit.

I discovered and subsequently fell in love with CrossFit in January 2012, and obtained my CrossFit Level 1 the following year. I am driven by a passion for helping others to live their healthiest lives. I am energized by helping people discover that their strengths and abilities are far beyond what they could imagine. The combination of Crossfit coaching, massage & bodywork experience, and personal training has proven to be a well-blended approach to my career in the health and wellness field.

Amanda Utevsky

I am from New York City where I grew up training in gymnastics and ice skating. After a bad back injury, I turned to weight lifting for rehab and quickly fell in love with lifting weights and feeling stronger. I was introduced to CrossFit in 2011 through boot camp-style community classes and joined a box soon after.

The camaraderie, exhilaration, and measurable progress got me hooked. I love sharing my passion for CrossFit style metcons and lifting heavy barbells with anyone I can get in the gym. I recently completed my PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke, and when not in the gym, I enjoy hanging out with my husband and pups and having a casual drink out in Durham.

Chris Howard

I am from Chapel Hill, where I grew up playing soccer and basketball. I was introduced to CrossFit/powerlifting about 4 years ago, and fell in love instantly. My hobbies outside of lifting include cooking, mathematics, and spending quality time with loved ones.

Scott Carroll

With a distance running and beer league hockey background, I started Crossfit in 2014. I am a Firefighter and EMT in Chapel Hill, and I started coaching in hopes of sharing the knowledge and skills I learned as an athlete with other members of the CFH community.

Eric Horlbeck

I have been studying the effortless magic of Aikido Kokikai’s principles applied to human movement since 1983. My current focus is complementing whole body functional strength and fitness training with mind/body coordination and awareness. The combination produces astonishing results! I am a husband and a father actively involved with my boy’s Scouting and school activities. I enjoy ballroom dancing and training Sadie, my dog.

Amber Pace

I am originally from Raleigh, North Carolina where I grew up playing basketball and running track. After several state-state moves, I decided to embark on a journey to rededicate myself to fitness and a healthier lifestyle. I was introduced to CrossFit in 2016 and quickly fell in love with the community and process.


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