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Coaching Association of Canada  – Ottawa (May 9) – The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) is excited to announce that Special Olympics athlete Matthew Williams and Special Olympics coach Jessica Chapelski Souza are joining the 2016 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference (SLS16) as emcees.

With a theme of Innovation and Inclusion, the 2016 conference will challenge sport leaders to embrace diversity as an opportunity to create a more powerful Canadian sport system. “I am thrilled that Matthew and Jessica will be with us in Richmond as conference emcees”, says Lorraine Lafrenière, Chief Executive officer of the CAC. “Their personal experience as leaders and ambassadors of inclusivity in sport will be invaluable as we encourage our delegation to become a more innovative, diverse, and inclusive sport community.”

Over his 10-year athletic career, Matthew Williams has earned significant Special Olympics achievements. He competed in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in basketball, where the first-ever Canadian basketball team to participate in a World Games finished fourth. He has also participated in track and field, swimming, floor hockey, and curling. “I am most looking forward to interacting with people from different sports across Canada and sharing how big of an impact sports have played in transforming my life, both on and off the field,” he said. 

Jessica Chapelski Souza, an NCCP certified coach, has been involved with Special Olympics in one shape or another since 2009. She has also coached figure skating at the Canada Winter Games on two separate occasions and continues to volunteer her time to this day. For Jessica, the SLS16 theme is a perfect fit for her: “When I saw that the theme of the conference was about inclusion and diversity, I just couldn’t say no. Working with Special Olympics athletes has shown me how essential inclusion is in sport and I have seen it change the lives of the athletes in ways I never could have imagined.”

The Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference is Canada’s conference for coaches, researchers, sport executives, and administrators. The event gathers 400+ delegates for three full days of learning, professional development, and networking, with the top minds and leaders of the Canadian sport, business, and education communities.

SLS16 takes place in Richmond, BC and runs from November 3-5 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel and the Richmond Oval. Registration for the CAC’s annual conference will open in June. For the latest updates on SLS16, please follow @CAC_ACE, like us on Facebook or visit

For more information, please contact:

Michel Hachey
Manager, Communications
Coaching Association of Canada
613-235-5000, ext. 2382