Originally from Hong Kong, Walter came to Canada at an early age and transitioned through several occupations before finding his way to social work. Working in treatment programs for violent offenders, Walter found his niche and this led to an MSW based on the researching the organizational and policy dynamics of criminal justice programming. After the MSW, he worked in the mental health system, the realities of which came as quite a shock to Walter. He started his PhD at the University of Manitoba in 2013 with an interest in social movement leadership. Walter is currently a PhD Candidate in social work.
Active in the community, Walter is currently a member of the National Network for Mental Health, the West Coast Mental Health Network, and Alberta Network for Mental Health, as well as the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, where he sits on the board. Walter also volunteers for Greenpeace, and he participates with Divest U Winnipeg, the American Indian Movement, and Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition.
Walter is the recipient of the Graduate Students' Association PhD Award and is currently funded through the University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship.
Walter's doctoral project is developing a grounded theory of leadership practices within a social movement. It specifically examines the leadership practices of the psychiatric consumer and survivor movement in three Canadian cities: Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg. The intent of the research is to compare "real life" practice of leadership with extant social movement theory, and provide a knowledge base for leadership and strategic decision making for both the psychiatric consumer and survivor movement and other allied progressive movements.