Inclusion Alberta board member receives leadership award

December 3, 2019

Inclusion Alberta is pleased to announce that our current board treasurer, Donna Desjardins, is the 2019 recipient of the Gary McPherson Leadership Award from the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. The award is one of many handed out as part of annual recognition for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

The Gary McPherson Leadership Award is given to an individual Albertan who has demonstrated outstanding leadership or achievement in enriching the lives of persons with disabilities.

From the Premier’s Council:

“Donna Desjardins is a long-time advocate for people with developmental disabilities. She and her husband Ray are proud parents of two sons, one of whom, Daniel, has Down syndrome. Her advocacy is fuelled by her own experiences with exclusion and segregation to ensure her son has equal opportunities in life. Daniel, now 41, is an entrepreneur and advocate for himself and others.”

“Donna has worked passionately for over 40 years to ensure individuals with developmental disabilities are valued members of the community. She served as a member of the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Board for six years and spent nine years as vice-chair of the Northeast Alberta PDD Community Board. Donna also served on numerous provincial boards and committees, including Inclusion Alberta, Inclusion St. Paul and Portage College Advisory Committee.”

“One of Donna’s most recent accomplishments is her leadership in advocating for inclusive post-secondary education at Portage College in St. Paul.”

About the Gary McPherson Leadership Award:

This award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership or achievement in enriching the lives of persons with disabilities. The award is named after Dr. Gary McPherson who dedicated himself to furthering the ideals of equality and citizenship for all Albertans. He also served as the first Chair of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

More information about the Premier’s Council Awards, and this year’s winners, can be found at the Government of Alberta’s website.

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In the photo above: Donna Desjardins stands with one of her sons, Rob, her husband Ray, the Minister of Community and Social Services, Rajan Sawhney, and the MLA for Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul, David Hanson.