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CNIB appoints new Board Chair, Robert Fenton

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Robert FentonCNIB is proud to announce the appointment of Robert (Bob) Fenton as Chair of our Board of Directors. Robert, who has been blind since birth, is a passionate advocate for people with sight loss and a long-time leadership volunteer for CNIB. 

“After more than 20 years of volunteering service, we’re excited and honoured to welcome Bob to lead our board as Chair,” says John M. Rafferty, CNIB’s President and CEO. “He’s always made an incredible impact on our work and the people we serve, and I have no doubt he’ll continue to do so as Chair.” 

Robert has a long history working with and supporting CNIB, dating back to 1984 when he worked as a counsellor at our Lake Joe camp in Muskoka, Ontario. Since 1999, he has served in a number of senior volunteer roles with our organization, from Board of Directors member to Chair of both our Investment Committee and Risk Committee. 

“I’ve always been taught since I was very young that if you benefit from a group, an organization, or an individual, you always strive to give back to make the world a better place than when you found it,” says Robert. “It’s important to me that other blind and partially sighted people have the same opportunities to succeed that I did.” 

Robert takes on the role of Chair as CNIB begins the work of creating our next strategic plan, scheduled for launch in 2023. He says his goals as Chair echo many of the priorities that emerged from the extensive strategic plan community consultation we undertook last year, including a focus on dispelling misconceptions about and increasing understanding of people with sight loss. 

“I want to help change societal attitudes about blindness, from indifference or negativity, to positivity,” says Robert. “We want people who are blind to be seen the way others are seen. Being blind is a characteristic; it doesn’t define who I am. We have to get past the stage where society says about a person who is blind ‘they can’t’, and change that societal attitude to ‘they can’.”

Robert is an esteemed member of Canada’s legal community, currently holding the role of Director of Legal Services for the Calgary Police Service. He is also an exceptional retired athlete who has competed both nationally and internationally, and previously held the roles of President of the Canadian Blind Sports Association, Vice President of the Calgary Speed Skating Association, and Vice President of the International Blind Sports Federation. He is also a current member of the Canadian Paralympic Committee Board of Directors and the Chair of its Governance committee.

For his outstanding contributions to society both as a professional and a volunteer, Robert has been the recipient of many illustrious and well-deserved awards. They include the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award for Excellence in Academics, Athletics and Community Service; the IBM Special Achievement Award; the ESSO Higher Education Award; and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which he received in 2012.

Read Robert Fenton’s full bio at cnib.ca/robertfenton

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