(He/Him) Founder, Jack.org
Eric started an initiative (The Jack Project) in partnership with Kids Help Phone and then Queen's University, after tragically losing his eldest son Jack to suicide in March 2010.
Since then, Eric has put aside his business interests and has worked in the youth mental health space full-time.
With the support of his wife and cofounder Sandra Hanington, and their closest friends, this initiative grew into the national charity Jack.org, which was officially launched in July 2013. Eric works tirelessly to inspire mental health discussion and engagement, especially among young people aged 15-24. These “transition years” are known to be the time when 70% of the onset of mental illness occurs.
After the hiring of the new Jack.org President & CEO in August 2022, Eric has now transitioned to a "Founder" role which will allow him to continue to support the leadership team and the entire Jack.org organization in this outward-facing and ambassadorial role.
With more time available, Eric is also pleased to be assisting other youth mental health initiatives. He’s excited to have joined the advisory committee for ABRAR TMH - an initiative focused on the mental health of Muslim communities and newcomers to Canada. He’s also joined a mental health advisory board initiated by Boston Consulting Group which is focused on the mental health of young people in the workplace.
In 2013, Eric received the Champion of Mental Health award from CAMIMH and the QE Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2015, Eric was honoured by Queen's University, receiving an honorary degree (LLD) recognizing his work in the field of mental health.
In 2017, Eric and his wife and Jack.org cofounder Sandra Hanington received the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division) from the office of the Governor General. Most recently, Eric was selected as one of the 150 CAMH Difference Makers for mental health in Canada. Eric is also a recipient of the 2018 Queen’s Alumni Humanitarian of the Year Award and the 2020 Ontario Psychiatric Association's Mental Health Advocate of the Year Award.
To learn more about Eric and his work at Jack.org, you can read this story in the Queen’s Smith School of Business Alumni Magazine: