National Director, Volunteer Engagement and Organizational Development
Jeff Sparks is the National Director of Volunteer Engagement and Organizational Development with Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
He is a quadriplegic and relies on 24 hour attendant care, which he manages himself, for all physical activities of daily living. Diagnosed at 10 months of age with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, he was not supposed to live past the age of 2 years old. 40 years later, there is no slowing him down.
Jeff works full time. In his current Senior Management role, Jeff coordinates corporate and board governance, as well as volunteer engagement and service delivery at a national level, and has managed strategic initiatives related to website, strategic planning and national conferences. Furthermore, Jeff raises awareness of what it is like to live with a neuromuscular disorder, raising funds for the Mission and striving daily to engage others in the work of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Outside of work, Jeff is a role model and advocate for those with disabilities. He is Chairperson of the Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons and Past President of the Saint John Ability Advisory Committee, a municipal advisory committee which has had several accomplishments under his leadership including implementing an accessible sidewalk policy, enhancing the Para-transit system, training city staff on working with people with disabilities, organizing activities for Disability Awareness Week and advocating for change for several people with disabilities.
Jeff has also advocated on his own behalf for 24 hour attendant care and met with government officials on several occasions for other disability issues. He is also not afraid to speak with the media in order to make his community more inclusive. Jeff has been identified as one of New Brunswick’s 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, attended the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and has been the recipient of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, NB Disability Awareness Week Award and the YM/YWCA Leader to watch.
Related to research, Jeff has acted as the National Director, Research, Programs and Services at Muscular Dystrophy Canada where he supported the National Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and Granting Programs. Both Jeff and Muscular Dystrophy Canada are interested in research related to finding a cure as well as improving quality of life. Jeff is particularly interested in Research related to Community Health Needs, Interprofessional Collaboration and improving the Patient’s experience.
Jeff enjoys life to the fullest, including Caribbean cruises and spending time with his wife Heidi.