His Background

Your impact, your ideas, your eloquence, your sincerity, your care and concern for other people and your patience are all an inspiration for me (and I know for others too).


Born in Montreal in 1956, John Heney weighed in at about half a pound. Getting ready for the outside world was a close call; he spent almost a year in an incubator. Undaunted by after-effects and later surgeries, he emerged with a curiosity that continues to enrich his life.

He lived in Toronto for a time. By the early 1960s his family was in Stratford, Ontario — enriched by the Stratford Festival and community service he and his family engaged in on many fronts. There he began his foray into journalism, at CJCS Radio (also the launching pad for the Canadian journalism icon Lloyd Robertson).

John participated in a number of student exchanges, travelled into the United States and to Italy and spent many summers in Quebec’s St. Maurice Valley. He obtained a Bachelor of Journalism with Political Science at Carleton University, along the way working in print and radio journalism and on Parliament Hill for an MP. His radio work included producing his own show, stints at two stations, and helping out Standard Broadcast News in Edmonton during the Commonwealth Games there.


John Heney’s many adventures have shaped his expansive view of life. Here he appears at right during a private audience with Pope John Paul II in the library of the pontiff’s private apartment at the Vatican..

His time with the Canadian Press was followed by his role as the first telecommunications regulations analyst for Bell-Northern Research (BNR). While working in conjunction with Bell Canada, BNR and Nortel, he obtained his MA in International Affairs from Carleton, including study at the University of Ottawa in a program he devised himself.

His experience widened even further in marketing communications, public affairs, consulting and as the managing editor of a specialized newsletter publishing firm. He has completed study in Core Belief Engineering and Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the art of Qigong.

John’s life changed drastically in the spring of 1991 when he collapsed in the shower, instantly losing voice, limb and fine-motor control. Doctors puzzled over this emergence of ataxia, aphasia, dystonia and complications now traced from his birth while he convulsed dozens of times a day, forced to independently make his way first through the medical system and then through complementary medicine (and out the other side!). Dismissed from his job, cut off from his disability insurance and left with no hope, no program, and no road to recovery, he set out to discover what remained, and to use it to move on, having been told he’d been left with “a hideous and horrible way to have to live.”

Seven years of persistence and resilience restored his ability to type, resulting in his first book, The Thunder Within. Further observation and interaction as to how people relate to each other and tackle challenges produced Ladies and Gentlemen! Daring to Live What the Soul Already Knows. Slowly his ability to walk and function returned as he kept up with community involvement, working on his recovery and advocacy on the subject of dystonia at the local and national level.

This led to study of the wellspring of economic and health benefits to be found in greater respect, wider use of common decency and more formal teaching of what we can gain from uplifting interaction. Such became his practice and his path as people unexpectedly began to turn to him for ideas, creativity and learning.

Along the way, John has edited, co-authored, contributed to or authored several books and articles and contributed to the creation and support of many organizational, strategic plans. His passion for history resulted in John being presented the City of Ottawa Distinguished Service Award for his role in supporting local heritage in many capacities.

John and his wife Kathy have enjoyed time in Egypt, the United States, Poland, England, Ireland, and across Canada from Dawson City to St. John’s. Fully aware that everyone needs a hobby, John enjoys the pioneering days of the recording industry, collecting dozens of gramophones and phonographs, related paraphernalia, cylinders and records. Great music to enjoy while he engages in his love of cooking!