Jeff Sparks is the Director of Volunteer Engagement and Human Resources 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, he was not supposed to live past the age of 2 years old. 45 years later, there is no slowing him down.
Jeff works full time, volunteers on several Boards in the areas of diversity, poverty reduction, community health needs, disability awareness and youth leadership development, has a graduate degree in Human Resources and is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources. Professionally, at one time, Jeff operated his own consulting firm focusing on diversity in the workplace, as well as a personal care attendant agency and an accessible transportation service, with his brother, in the Greater Saint John area.
In his current Senior Leadership role, Jeff coordinates volunteer engagement and human resources at a national level, is the organization’s privacy officer and has managed strategic initiatives related to website, mission delivery, board governance, 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 has been Chairperson of the Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons and Past President of the Saint John Ability Advisory Committee.
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 Award.
Jeff enjoys life to the fullest, including Caribbean cruises and spending time with his wife Heidi, who he met on a cruise 6 years ago, and their fur baby Toffi!