The recipient of the 2013 Bissett Distinguished Alumni Award is Sean Moore. Graduating from the DPA in 1976, Sean’s distinctive contribution has been to enhance the quality and openness of public policy advocacy.  Although not a lawyer, he  has become an authority in this country on the laws as well as the rules and customs of lobbying and advocacy and the evolution of the ways in which private and public interests interact – and compete – to shape public policy.

He began by doing advocacy, first as a consultant in one of Canada’s first government-relations firms, ultimately serving as president of what was then Canada’s largest government-relations consulting company, and working as a Washington, DC-based government-relations advisor on state and federal issues in the US.

In 1989, the same year as the federal lobby registry was established, Sean co-founded and co-edited (with John Chenier, another SPPA grad) The Lobby Monitor to track and assess lobbying activity.  The Lobby Monitor continues today, owned by the Hill Times.

Sean then spent 12 years as Public-Policy Advisor and Partner at the national law firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.  During that time, Sean always made time, usually pro bono, to assist nonprofits in their advocacy work.  He has served as a member of the advisory board of Media Magazine – a publication of the Canadian Association of Journalists – and was a member of the board of directors of the Vancouver-based NGO, IMPACS – Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society.

After “semi-retiring” from Gowlings – and I would stress only semi – Sean founded the Advocacy School in 2011.  The Advocacy School provides professional development training, mentoring and coaching in public-policy advocacy to NGOs, professional and trade associations, charities and private companies.  He continues as an active policy advisor and mentor to the nonprofit sector, having worked (often more accurately volunteered) with the Maytree Foundation, the McConnell Foundation and its Social Innovation Generation initiative, among many others. Sean’s workshop on “do-it-yourself” public-policy is exceptionally good advice for how to be a constructive participant in public policy.