For 10 years, John O'Neill has been a member of Ackerman's board, generously giving his time, expertise and money to further the work of the Institute. For the past 6 years, he has also served as its Treasurer. During the challenging economy of the last decade, John has called upon his brilliant background as a senior partner at the accounting firm of Ernst + Young to ensure that Ackerman stays on firm footing. For all of that work and more, the Institute used this year’s Gala as an opportunity to say thank you by honoring him with the Ackerman Distinguished Service Award.
To a standing ovation, he ascended to the dais to receive the award from Board Chairman Alec Haverstick. A heartfelt video from his friends and family played on a large screen, congratulating him, teasing him, and saluting him. With his signature humility, John O'Neill used the opportunity to once again, point the spotlight where he has always believed it belongs: on Ackerman and its work.
Remarks from John O'Neill at Gala
Thank you, Alec and thanks to everyone here tonight for helping make this a successful Gala. I'd also like to give a special thanks to my wife, Kathy, and my daughter, Shannon, for their help on the Gala Committee. Also, I know there are a number of my friends who have made contributions, some of whom have traveled far to be here tonight. I thank you all.
I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award, especially knowing all the deserving honorees who have come before me. I would also like to congratulate Christine Vachon, tonight's other honoree.
I've always believed in the importance of giving back to the community and to organizations like Ackerman that have helped me and my family. We each have an obligation to lend our expertise where needed and to give back financially within our means. The chance to help strengthen Ackerman, to share my expertise and my time, is something I consider a privilege, and a welcome responsibility.
As I have said at many Ackerman board meetings, Ackerman Institute for the Family is still a well kept secret outside the family therapy community, where we are well known and revered around the world.
This Gala lets the world know that we are Moving Families Forward.
One of the many areas Ackerman excels in relates to family and business. Strong family relationships help employees build strong work related relationships and perform better at their jobs. I want each of you to think about how Ackerman's Center for Work and Family, led by Dr. Peter Fraenkel, could be helpful to your business.
That you are honoring me tonight is very generous; it's a great moment for me. But the fact that we are all here, doing whatever we can to ensure that the Ackerman Institute for the Family continues to move families forward...well, that's what makes this evening truly special for me. Thank you.