Rachel MacNeill

Rachel MacNeill


  • Program Year
  • 2015-17
  • Country of Current Residence
  • Canada
  • City/Town of Current Residence
  • Montreal
  • Current Position
  • Manager of Communications and Knowledge Translation, Institute of Gender and Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Organization
  • Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, Institute of Gender and Health
  • Profession(s)
  • Communications Specialist, Advocate

  • Sector(s)
  • Aboriginal communities, Education, Gender equality, Government, Healthcare
  • Language(s)
  • English, French
  • Mentor
  • Claudia Mitchell, James McGill Professor, McGill University
  • Interest(s) / Expertise
  • communications, empowerment of women, gender, health, identities of marginalized groups, justice
Scholar LinkedIn profile Scholar website URL Scholar email address
Impact Statement

Rachel is committed to grassroots community building towards a more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable society. She is passionate about empowering young people, traveling, community, and diversity.


Rachel’s professional and academic experience centers on engaging communities through communications and media programming. She has worked in Northern Canada as well as East Africa, using communications planning and a community-building approach to engage and empower individuals.

Rachel grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, which inspired her interest in community building, social justice and women’s issues. She is the Co-Founder of V-Day North; through this initiative, she has worked towards raising awareness on women issues and more specifically, on violence against women. In addition to working on territorial communications campaigns with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Rachel has headed fund-and awareness-raising campaigns on the topic of violence against women and worked as a mentor with girls’ programs. In 2012, she was selected as a CUSO International volunteer and moved to Zanzibar to work as an organizational advisor at the Stone Town Heritage Society, a grassroots NGO dedicated to local training and capacity building in the heritage sector.

Most recently, Rachel has been studying at Concordia University in Montreal, where she completed a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Media Studies focusing on a participatory media project with young Aboriginal women in the Northwest Territories. Through this research, she hopes to critically examine the role new and traditional media play in individual and community identity for northern Aboriginal girls.

Rachel currently works as the Manager of Communications and Knowledge Translation at the Institute of Gender and Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The institute advocates for the inclusion of sex- and gender-based analysis in health research across disciplines, from inclusion of female research subjects in preclinical research to expansion of gender identity definitions in population health research.

Rachel is also working with #LadyInvestors, to create resources and meetup opportunities for women interested in improving their finance literacy and control over their resources.

As a Fellow

In alignment with their program’s theme of Public Leadership for Culturally Diverse Societies, the 2016-17 Sauvé Fellows decided to collectively explore the complexities of refugee integration in Canada. To advance their learnings, they led a critical reading group, conducted site visits, and met with a wide range of relevant stakeholders, including refugees and parliamentarians. Their team project’s goal was to develop and pilot an approach to refugee integration in a holistic and practical way that delivered both impact and thought leadership while espousing core values of agency, inclusivity, fairness and cultural sensitivity.

In tackling the issue of refugee integration and implementing their team project, the Fellows wrote a policy brief (which they presented to several ministers while in Ottawa) and an op-ed, produced a short film on refugee experiences in Montreal as well as organized a series of public events exploring refugee integration in Canada.