Wayne Connell – IDA Founder, President and CEO
Wayne Connell, the Founder, President and CEO of the Invisible Disabilities® Association, established IDA in 1996 out of the desire to educate friends and family about his wife, Sherri’s debilitating illness. Soon afterwards, people around the globe began sending emails sharing how IDA had changed their relationships with their loved ones. He is co-author of the book, “But You LOOK Good, How to Encourage and Understand People Living with Illness and Pain.” Wayne’s background fueled his passion for helping people living with illness, pain and disability. His experience includes that of a professional, multitasking husband caregiver with an extensive background in management, media and technology. This man on a mission quickly launched IDA into a world-wide outreach for millions living daily with invisible disabilities.
Wayne obtained a BA in TV & Radio Broadcasting and Computer Information Systems from CCU in 1990. Wayne’s passion for technology allowed him to become a multi award winning senior manager with RadioShack, ultimately in 1996 as General Manager and first employee of their largest store, TechAmerica in Denver Colorado. Wayne left RadioShack in late 1999 and moved into Telecom planning and engineering with USWest, Qwest, tw telecom and finally Level 3 in 2014. In 2016, Wayne joined the team managing the telecom assets for Dish Network‘s satellite broadcast network and Sling TV as a Staff Technical Program Manager. Wayne was promoted to Senior Manager of the telecom infrastructure team in December of 2018.
Wayne loves volunteering! While at both Qwest and Level 3, Wayne held volunteer leadership roles in their respective Employee Resource Groups focused on disabilities as President of Qwest Friends and Vice-President of Level 3 Friends. Wayne spends most of his evenings, weekends, lunch times, vacations and holidays, volunteering for IDA as the President and CEO. He loves sharing about the great work of IDA and advocating on behalf of all people living daily with illness, pain and disability. Wayne has had the opportunity to speak at many organizations and businesses over the years about invisible disabilities as well as share via local and national TV and radio interviews.
Wayne conducted Disability Seminars for the following:
• Healings in Motion (Caregiver Symposium Keynote)
• Centurylink (Qwest) Corporation
• Parker Adventist Hospital
• Poudre Valley Health System – Arthritis Symposium
• Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation
• Lupus Foundation of Colorado
• Denver Commission for People with Disabilities
• Marriott Denver South
• Twins Cities Disability Insurance Day
• Rotary Club of Denver South East
• Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation – CSF Lecture Series
• SHRM – Diversity & Inclusion Conference
• Accenture – National Disability ERG and Accenture’s Inclusion & Diversity program
• TIAA – Diverse Abilities Employee Resource Group National Event
• Vivos Therapeutics – Breathing Wellness Conference
• Glasko Smith Kline – Disability Confidence Network National Event
Wayne and Sherri have been married since 1994. They do not have any children, because of Sherri’s illness, but they do have two very loving and entertaining pets, Pumpkin and Cookie, who are Nigerian dwarf goats.