Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers


 The Student Research Colloquium includes a keynote address and this event is a valuable part of the program. Past keynote speakers included leading sport practitioners, Zeigler Award recipients, a past Editor of the Journal of Sport Management, and a past-President of the North American Society for Sport Management.

John Cawley, Program Manager, McConnell Family Foundation

2011 Keynote Speaker

John Cawley currently works as the Program Manager at The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation with particular responsibility for the Foundation’s initiatives with universities, youth engagement and the sport for development movement. He worked in the community sector in Canada and in developing countries for over 25 years – as a front-line practitioner, program evaluator and senior leader. He has degrees from Queen’s, Sussex, Ottawa and McGill in fields ranging from intellectual history to agricultural economics and management. He is an active board member of several community and international organizations focusing on citizen engagement. He believes that most of life’s mysteries can be understood by playing the sport of curling.

Mr. Cawley’s keynote address was titled – “Social Innovation as a Contact Sport: How can your Experience as a Student Researcher enable you to serve as an agent of social change in the community?

As one of Canada’s largest family foundations, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation has undertaken or launched initiatives in education, the arts, community development, sustainability and health. These initiatives share some common characteristics: all are based on engaging people directly in learning and problem-solving, all have qualities of innovation in their approach and all seek not simply to solve problems, but to transform systems.
John will be sharing some lessons from the Foundation’s work on social innovation, exploring the skills and values that both individuals and organizations will need to thrive in a rapidly changing environment.

The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Established in 1937, the vision of the Foundation is “a Canada where all people feel a sense of belonging and contribute as active citizens to improving the well-being of all.” The private family foundation funds innovative programs that foster a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable society.

The Foundation provides funding in nine program areas related to sport, recreation, art, youth and education. A few of the programs that are particularly relevant to potential attendees of the 2011 Student Research Colloquium are briefly highlighted below (the information is drawn directly from the McConnell Family Foundation website):

- Sport for Development programs (approximately $4 million) include True Sport Foundation (, KidSport Canada (, Sport Matters Group, Ray-Cam Cooperative Community Centre, and Active Circle-Motivate Canada (

- Community Service Learning programs (approximately $9.5 million)

- Engaging Youth (approximately $2 million) programs for a youth engagement strategy including YouthScape (

- Social Innovation Generation (approximately $10 million) program to build locally developed innovations through ‘applied dissemination’, such as the Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo.

- Sustainability Education (approximately $10 million) programs on environmental stewardship such as Green Street (

Dr. William A. Sutton

2007 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sutton currently holds an appointment as Professor and Associate Department Head on the faculty of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at the University of Central Florida and is the founder and principal of Bill Sutton & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in strategic marketing and revenue enhancement; his consulting clients include the NBA, WNBA, NHL, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, MSG Sports, New York Mets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Dr. Sutton, a past president of North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), is a founding member and current President of the Sport Marketing Association (SMA) and the Sport Marketing Quarterly – a publication where he has also served as the co-editor. Dr. Sutton is a featured author for Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal (SBJ) where his Sutton Impact column is a monthly feature. As an expert who educates and engages, Sutton possesses a distinct combination of professional experiences that blend his savvy business acumen with his significant university credentials.
When asked to reflect on his Colloquium experience, Dr. Sutton stated “I have had numerous opportunities to speak to students all over the world but my experiences at Brock rank near the top. The faculty and the students posed challenging questions and the dialogue was diverse, meaningful and relevant.”

Dr. Sue Vail

2006 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sue Vail is an Associate Professor with the School of Kinesiology and Heath Science and an Associate Dean with the Faculty of Health at York University. With her extensive knowledge of the national and provincial sport system, Dr. Vail’s research focuses on the application of community development models to sport and recreation environments in order to increase participation in physical activity and sport. Over the past eight years she has worked with Tennis Canada to develop a strategy called Building Tennis Communities.
At the 2006 Sport Management Student Research Colloquium, Dr. Vail delivered an address entitled “A Community Development Approach to Increasing Sport Participation” based on the Building Tennis Communities strategy. The message she had for students was that “your research can make a difference in the real world!”

Dr. Alison Doherty

2005 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Alison Doherty is an associate professor of Sport Management at the University of Western Ontario. She is a Research Fellow and former president of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) and is currently the Associate Editor of the Sport Management Review. Dr. Doherty’s research focuses broadly on the management of non-profit and voluntary sport, particularly at the community level.
At the 2005 Sport Management Student Research Colloquium, Dr. Doherty delivered an address entitled “Research for Practice, and Practice through Research: Making a Difference in Sport Management”. She encouraged students to reflect on the notion of conducting research for practice – that is, research that makes a difference to the practice of sport management – and conducting practice through research – that is, practice in the real world that incorporates, builds on, and even generates further research.
When asked to reflect on her Colloquium experience, Dr. Doherty stated “it was a time to present, discuss, and celebrate student research in Sport Management”.

Dr. Wendy Frisby

2004 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Wendy Frisby is a professor in the School of Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia. She was a former Editor of the Journal of Sport Management and a recipient of the Zeigler Lecture Award for outstanding scholarship from the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM).
At the 2004 Sport Management Student Research Colloquium, Dr. Frisby spoke about “Student Researchers as Change Agents”. She encouraged students to think about who might benefit from our research, who might not benefit, and whether our findings can be communicated in ways that promote social change? She provided a story of her own that was unconnected to the community, but later learned valuable lessons by conducting participatory action research with women and youth who live below the poverty line.