Wayne McNeil was Trustee and Vice-Chairman of the Rocky View School Division, volunteer President of the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation, which raised over $ 1.2 Million during the 1998 Cross-Canada Skate to raise awareness for the prevention of child abuse, served as Chairman of the Alberta Gymnastics Federation for six years and is a Board Member of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre. These volunteer roles and his commitment to child advocacy lead Wayne to co-found Respect Group Inc.; Canada’s first, on-line, abuse, discrimination, bullying and harassment prevention training program for community/sport organizations, schools and corporations. Wayne has a seasoned, professional background in Information Technology and Project Management that he developed through key global positions with Bell Canada, 3Com Corporation and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). This strong IT expertise enabled Wayne to create a solid team and technology approach for Respect Group. Wayne was instrumental in forging an exclusive partnership with the Canadian Red Cross to combine Canada’s best abuse, bullying and harassment prevention curriculum (Respect Education) with Respect Group ‘s world-class, on-line training technology. In 2007, Wayne was awarded the Canadian Red Cross Caring Award for his leadership in the promotion of violence and abuse prevention education.
Sheldon Kennedy won a Memorial Cup, World Junior Gold Medal and skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career. He is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five year period while a teenager under his care. Through this disclosure, and the important work that Sheldon continues to do, he has become an inspiration to millions of abuse survivors around the world.
Sheldon has been instrumental in bringing governments, public and private sector partners together to work collaboratively to influence policy change and improve the way child abuse is handled. He has influenced changes in Canadian law and has taken his message to the International Olympic Committee and the US Senate.
Sheldon is the Lead Director at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, the first-of-its-kind in Canada, offering full wrap-around services for victims of child abuse. He is also the Co-Founder of Respect Group Inc., which provides empowering online abuse, bullying and harassment prevention education to sport organizations, schools and the workplace.
Sheldon’s awareness contributions are many:
- He in-line skated across Canada in 1998 to highlight the issue of child abuse and donated 100% of the proceeds ($1.2M) towards abuse prevention programs. During this skate he was presented with the keys to the cities of Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg.
- His life story was made into an Award Winning TV movie.
- In 2006 he published “Why I Didn’t Say Anything”; a riveting account of the many psychological impacts of abuse.
- He has shared his story through countless media appearances including Oprah, ABC’s Nightline, W-5, The Fifth Estate, and was named Canada’s newsmaker of the year in 1997.
Sheldon has received several awards for his tireless work including:
- Honourary Bachelor of Child Studies and Child and Youth Care, Mount Royal University, 2016
- Honourary Bachelor of Business Administration, SAIT, 2016
- Member of The Order of Canada, 2015
- Member of The Order of Manitoba, 2015
- Honourary Doctorate of Laws, University of Calgary, 2015
- Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award, University of Guelph, 2015
- The David Foster Foundation Humanitarian Award, 2014
- Calgary Citizen of the Year 2013
- Honourary Doctorate of Laws, University of the Fraser Valley, 2012
- Scotiabank Humanitarian Award, 2012
- Canadian Red Cross Caring Award, 2007