Special Olympics BC’s Board of Directors and Leadership Council provide vital guidance for our organization and movement, and SOBC benefits significantly from the efforts of these valued volunteers. At the 2020 SOBC Annual General Meeting on September 15, the Board of Directors welcomed new Athlete Representative Sheenagh Morrison, re-elected the dedicated Executive Committee, and saluted two retiring members.
Morrison, a longtime SOBC – Victoria athlete, was nominated for the role by the SOBC Leadership Council. Morrison was selected based on her years of Athlete Leadership experience and advocacy work, and her long history of dedication both as an active athlete and an eloquent supporter of Special Olympics fundraising and awareness events.
Morrison has been a Special Olympics athlete for 20 years, participating in athletics and swimming, among other programs. She has completed SOBC Athlete Leadership courses including Athlete Speakers Bureau and Athlete Reporter training. Through her own hard work, she has developed herself from a child who could not speak to an accomplished athlete speaker and reporter. Morrison has been an engaging athlete speaker at many Special Olympics fundraising and awareness events, and an effective Athlete Reporter who showcased a wide variety of local stories for SOBC – Victoria’s social media.
Morrison is a longtime Thrifty Foods employee who loves her job! Throughout the pandemic, she has been a positive presence on social media to connect with and encourage fellow athletes. In 2013, she won a Community Living BC Widening Our World award for promoting awareness of people with diverse abilities. Morrison said Special Olympics helped her with this advocacy “because Special Olympics helped me believe in myself.”
“I first got involved in SO because I love swimming, and I wanted to be part of a team and make new friends,” Morrison said in 2017. “I like Special Olympics because I have gained more confidence, friends, and leadership skills.”
In 2017, Morrison competed in her first Special Olympics BC Games, racing in swimming in Kamloops. Morrison is also the author of a Spectrum Press book Researching Researchers: Interviews with researchers about disability.
“Special Olympics is great because people with intellectual disabilities can gain more skills and friendships, always growing as people,” she says.
Morrison will hold the Athlete Representative role for a two-year term. As part of the role, she will also serve on the Leadership Council for a two-year term. Morrison was preceded in this role by fellow outstanding athlete leaders Susan Wang of SOBC – Surrey and Vincent Li of SOBC – Richmond.
The Directors also re-elected the dedicated volunteers who lead the Executive Committee. Longtime Special Olympics champions Ted Hirst and Randy Smallwood were re-elected into the roles of Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Hirst is Canaccord Genuity’s Managing Director, Investment Banking - Global Head of Resources. Smallwood is the President & CEO of Wheaton Precious Metals. Pamela Keith of Dueck Auto Group serves as SOBC’s Past Chair, and Money Talks host Michael Campbell and Colin Yakashiro of Grant Thornton serve as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively.
Also at the 2020 AGM, Special Olympics BC honoured Wang and fellow outgoing Director Colin MacKinnon. Wang, an accomplished athlete speaker and 2017 World Games medallist in alpine skiing, completed her two-year term as the Board’s Athlete Representative. She is an articulate, thorough, and thoughtful advocate who always acts in the best interests of athletes province-wide. Our movement is fortunate that Wang will remain an active athlete and leader in a range of roles.
“Susan has been both a delight to work with and a tremendous representative of the athletes,” SOBC President Dan Howe said.
“She has been a terrific Board member and the inspiration for many of us,” Hirst said.
“It was an amazing experience. I learned so many things,” Wang said, thanking her fellow Directors.
MacKinnon retired from his role on the Board after more than 34 years of impactful service to the organization. MacKinnon, the retired SVP CFO and CRO at BCAA, has been an SOBC Director since 1986, and part of the movement even before that. MacKinnon has been an instrumental financial advisor, served in every role on the Board Executive Committee, and provided essential fundraising support through events such as the Newmont Invitational Golf Tournament throughout its history. MacKinnon even introduced SOBC to our first computer!
“He has done so much to bring us forward and so much to improve our processes, how we relate and communicate, our information, our issues, how we understand our financial matters. … To say Colin has made an impact on our organization is an understatement,” Howe said.
MacKinnon has had an enduring impact on the Special Olympics movement provincially and nationally, as he has also served on the Special Olympics Canada Board of Directors. He is a deserving member of the SOBC Hall of Fame.
“I thank each and every one of you for everything you do to make Special Olympics better,” MacKinnon told the Board. “I’ve been proud to be associated with Special Olympics, and will continue to be proud to be associated.” He is graciously continuing to serve on the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee.