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Leadership Team

Michelle Martin
Executive Director

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2014

mmartin@alzheimerww.ca
About

Michelle Martin joined the Society in 2016 as Executive Director. Michelle has over 17 years of experience working in Community Support Services in both front line positions and leadership roles. With a BA in Business Administration Marketing and a BSW in Social Work, her combination of education and practical expertise make her a leader in Waterloo Wellington’s Community Support Services community.

Michelle also holds a certificate in LEAN Management from Queen’s University and has used the LEAN process to restructure a large not-for-profit community services agency. Results yielded a 50% sustainable funding increase and 30% capacity increase within 5 years. Michelle hopes to bring this expertise to the newly amalgamated Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington.

Michelle lives in Fergus with her husband Ed and their 6 year old son Gabe. Life with an energetic young son is certainly an adventure and Michelle enjoys her family immensely.

Caitlin Agla
Director of Programs and Services

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2022


About


Programs & Services Team

Cara Dowhaniuk
Social Worker

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2020

cdowhaniuk@alzheimerww.ca
About

After working with older adults at an adult day program for approximately 5 years, Cara joined the Alzheimer Society in 2008. She received her BA in Arts with a double major in Social Development Studies and Recreation and Leisure Studies in 2004, and received a Bachelor of Social Work in 2011.

Cara's interest in the field started when she was in her final year of high school and she volunteered in an art program at a Retirement home. She hasn’t looked back since! Cara also enjoys spending time being out and about with her husband and son.

Lynelle Drudge
Social Worker

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2012

ldrudge@alzheimerww.ca
About

Lynelle holds a BSc. in Social Work and certificates in Gerontology, Dementia Studies and Case Management. She has been with the Alzheimer Society for 10 years and has been involved in the non-profit sector for more than 20 years. On a personal level, her mother-in-law and family have walked the journey through Alzheimer’s disease. With her husband, she has two sons and two daughters, 2 daughter in-laws and three wonderful grandchildren between the ages of 3 months and 4 years. She loves family, camping and hiking, and traveling this awesome world we live in. She has traveled across Canada, to the United States, Holland, Turkey, Greece, Israel/Palestine and Kenya. Her self-care includes creating/piecing quilts and reading.

Natasha Ekelman
Volunteer Companion Program Coordinator

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2016

nekelman@alzheimerww.ca
About

Natasha Ekelman joined the Alzheimer Society in June 2016 as the Volunteer Companion Program Coordinator. She completed her Bachelor of Social Work in 2015 and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Social Work program at Renison University College (University of Waterloo). The program has been a wonderful opportunity as it is health-focused, which is an area that Natasha is excited about. She looks forward to completing her studies in August 2016.

Natasha has been an active voice for students throughout her educational studies. At Renison, Natasha was the BSW and MSW student representative for the Curriculum Committee. In this position she reported feedback and provided suggestions to the Faculty on behalf of the students in the program. In addition, Natasha was among a group of students that advocated for the implementation of suicide intervention skills training for students enrolled in the BSW program. In May 2016 she attended the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE) in Calgary. As a presenter and student delegate, Natasha continued to advocate for suicide intervention skills training for all social work students across Canada. Backed by the support of the student committee, Natasha put forth a motion at the Annual General Meeting that requested the CASWE Board of Directors to recommend that the Education Committee advocate for suicide intervention skills training for social work students across Canada. This motion was passed and currently is under review.

Natasha's areas of interest is in holistic care, social determinants of health, health equity, person-centred care and strength-based approaches. She is passionate about healthy aging and quality of life for seniors. Natasha looks forward to combining her education, enthusiasm and positive engagement to the Society.

Colleen Martin
Social Worker

Contact

226-314-0949 x 2015

cmartin@alzheimerww.ca
About

Colleen's journey working with persons living with dementia began in 2006 when she started working in a long term care home as an Administrative Assistant. In this role, she soon became connected with residents and their family members and thoroughly enjoyed serving this population. There were times however, that she felt a strong urge to have an opportunity to work more directly with persons living with dementia and their caregivers. This desire led her back to school where she earned three degrees: an undergraduate in Social Development Studies, a Bachelor of Social Work and a Masters in Social Work specializing in Gerontology.

During her education, Colleen had the privilege to intern at Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington. She became totally immersed in observing the various programs and services that the Society offered and was able to practice working with clients, groups and educational events. She was offered a summer position as a Public Education Support Associate, and internship at the Centre for Family Medicine where she observed memory clinics with Dr. Linda Lee and developed clinical counseling skills. Previous to her Social Worker role with the Society, Colleen also worked with Age Wise Solutions as a Social Work Consultant in long term care homes. Colleen is overjoyed to be back with the Society and is thoroughly enjoying her role as social worker serving persons affected by memory loss and their caregivers. On a personal note, her mother was diagnosed with mixed dementia about seven years ago and has recently moved into long term care. Both Colleen's education and personal experiences have enabled her to expand her knowledge and insight into memory related illnesses and have been the source of passion for serving this population.

Robin Smart
Public Education Coordinator

Contact

226-314-0949 x 3013

rsmart@alzheimerww.ca
About

Robin Smart has been a Public Education Coordinator with the Alzheimer Society since 2005. Previous to that she worked in LTC since age 16, when she started as a nursing aid. Over the years she has worked in a variety of departments including dietary, recreation, activation and for many years as the admission coordinator for a local LTC home. Robin was an active member of the Palliative Care Team during her tenure in LTC.

Robin’s degrees are from the University of Guelph. Her master’s degree focused on helping people adapt to institutional living. Robin has also worked with individuals with a developmental disability at the Kiwanis Camp at Bellwood.

Robin sometimes describes herself as the single mother of two, her husband and her daughter. She enjoys music, theatre, travel (so far Italy is her favourite country) and really really enjoys chocolate. She gardens and cooks under moral obligation, and would usually rather be kayaking.

Raised in Guelph, and very happy to back living here, Robin has lived as far north as Thunder Bay, and for some time in a geodesic home in the desert in Arizona. Robin is fortunate to have her parents and sisters both living in the city, and spends much quality time beating them at cards. She participates in many volunteer activities to support Guelph at the River Run Centre, as secretary for the Lutheridge Board, and by organizing dinner downtown for the homeless 4 times a year. She is also an active volunteer in her church.

Stephanie Vigil
Social Worker

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2011

svigil@alzheimerww.ca
About

Stephanie joined the Alzheimer Society family in fall 2014 as the Volunteer Companion Program Coordinator. She is currently covering a maternity leave position as a Social Worker. Prior to joining the Society, she completed a Masters of Social Work at the University of Toronto where she specialized in working with Children and their Families. After completing a student placement at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region from 2012—2013 it instilled a desire to work with volunteers, especially in non-profit agencies as they help to provide support to so many of our clients and families. Her passion to help and support individuals and families in need is driven from many years of experience working with children, young adults and families. She feels so much pride in her work when she knows she has been able to make a difference in a person with dementia or care partner’s life.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy going for hikes, reading, shopping, cooking, spending time with loved ones, and playing with my new wheaten terrier puppy, Wookiee.

Thayna Walter
First Link® Coordinator

Contact

519-742-8518 x2018

twalter@alzheimerww.ca
About

Thayna Walter is the First Link® Coordinator for Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington. Thayna is also our Minds in Motion® Coordinator for this new and exciting pilot program. Thayna has been with the Society since 2008 and previously worked in Recreation in Long Term Care and Retirement Homes. She has a degree in Family and Social Relations and a diploma in Gerontology. Thayna has over 20 years of experience working with people living with dementia and their families and has a true passion for her work at the Alzheimer Society.

Thayna is married with three children and lives in Wilmot Township. She enjoys reading, going for walks and spending time with her family.

Janine Wilson
Public Education Coordinator

Contact

519-742-8518 x 4002

jwilson@alzheimerww.ca
About

Janine Wilson joined the Alzheimer Society as the Public Education Coordinator in 2013. She is a mother to 3 wonderful children ages 14, 11, and 2 years old, and yes she started all over again and is loving every moment of it!! She moved to Cambridge from Brampton in 2000 after working as a Recreation Manager in a long term care facility in Toronto for 6 years.

Janine graduated from the Activation Coordinator Program at George Brown College and studied teaching and training of adults at George Brown part-time in the evenings. She continued her studies for Teaching and Training Adults at Conestoga College as well as accepting a full time position as a Recreation Manager at a local long term care facility. After 9 years she decided to take a big leap and try her hand at Retirement Living, where she began a career at Schlegel Villages as a Neighbourhood Coordinator for a Memory Care/Dementia home area.

Once on maternity leave with her beautiful surprise daughter she applied for the Public Education Coordinator Role at the Society. She is providing education to Care Partners through Family Education Sessions and monthly seminars that cover topics of interest and concern. In the community she provides education for retirement homes, long term care homes, group homes, senior centres, students, churches and a long list of other community partners.

Bethany Galbraith
Public Education Coordinator

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2027

bgalbriath@alzheimerww.ca
About

Bethany Galbraith has over nine years of combined professional and practicum experience working with older adults and their families, with a strong focus on providing and advocating for quality, person-centred care for individuals living with dementia. After completing a diploma in recreation and leisure from Conestoga College, Bethany went on to complete an undergraduate degree in Social Development Studies at the University of Waterloo. In 2014, she received her Master of Social Work with a specialization in gerontology from the University of Toronto, and is currently working as Interim Director of Programs and Services at Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington. Bethany is also working in collaboration with Hospice Wellington to develop and pilot an ambiguous loss support group for care partners of persons with dementia.

Prior to joining the Alzheimer Society, Bethany was working with the Information, Support and Education team at the Alzheimer Society Canada. Bethany had the opportunity to assist with the development and dissemination of dementia-specific resources. Bethany also has previous frontline experience working in a long-term care home on the recreation programs team, as well as volunteer and professional experience in a local non-for-profit social service agency. In her spare time, Bethany enjoys spending time with friends and family, travelling to new places and dancing up a storm.

Development Team

Barb Eastman-Lewin
Coordinator of Volunteers

Contact

226-314-0949 x 2019

barbeastmanlewin@alzheimerww.ca
About

Barb came to the Alzheimer Society in 2010 with significant experience in the Not-For-Profit sector. Her extensive professional experience has given her a creative and diverse knowledge of community outreach and relationship building in addition to planning, marketing and executing successful special projects and events. Barb understands the Alzheimer family journey, having lost her dad to Alzheimer’s a number of years ago.

Previous to working with the Society, Barb worked with the City of Hamilton, Eastman-Lewin & Associates, Lakefield College School, Mohawk College and McMaster University (Not For Profit Volunteer Management).

Barb holds a National Volunteer Management Certification in the Not-For-Profit Sector from Ryerson College / Centre For Philanthropy and a Certification of Achievement Destination Selling (Destination Marketing Association International). Barb was a nominee of the Toronto Sun’s ‘Women on the Move’ Award and recipient of the Greater Hamilton Tourism Award of Excellence. She also earned her English Rider 1 Certification and English Rider 2 Certification.

In Barb’s spare time she enjoy riding lessons with her equine buddy ‘Teddy’ (a ‘hobby’ Barb took up at 45 years old), walking her rescue puppy ‘Oliver’ and being bossed around by her 2 feline friends. Barb and her husband, Murray, reside in Guelph

Jillian Treadgold (Buttenham)
Community Engagement & Donor Relations Coordinator

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2021

jillian@alzheimerww.ca
About

Jillian joined the Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington in August 2016 with five years of experience in the Non-Profit sector across a variety of organizations. From educating the public in Ontario museums to fundraising for local and national charities, Jillian’s experience has given her a wide range of talents to draw from, a passion for engaging audiences and a deep desire to make a difference.

Jillian has a Bachelor’s degree in History from McMaster University and a post-graduate diploma in Culture and Heritage Site Management from Centennial College. Prior to the Alzheimer Society, Jillian worked with the Museums of Burlington, the Ontario Heritage Trust, The Fergie Jenkins Foundation and the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides.

With both a maternal and paternal link to Dementia and Alzheimer’s, Jillian is very excited to work with the Society and support people living with dementia and their families in the community.

In her spare time, Jillian can be found scouring Pinterest for new crafts and recipes to experiment with, relaxing with her husband and rescue pup on the dock at the family cottage, or cheering on her two favourite sports teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Buffalo Bills!

Joy Noble
Development Coordinator

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2024

jnoble@alzheimerww.ca
About

Born and raised in a small Northwestern Ontario community in the Rainy River District she relocated to Southern Ontario because she heard the winters were shorter and not as cold.

Joy's philosophy in life is that it isn't always about trying to fix something that's broken, SOMETIMES it's about starting over and creating something better. She trusts everything happens for a reason, that the things that happen in life are all just series of lessons and that the people we come into contact with are all teachers of something.

Joy is passionate about nurturing the benefits of the animal-human bond and strives to demonstrate the positive benefits it has in our mental and physical well-being. For fun, Joy studies and practices Animal Reiki and Professional Canine Training and Behaviour Modification, an aspiration of hers for as long as she can remember.

Joy lives in Kitchener with her best-friend and partner Scott and is the proud mom of two incredibly successful adult children, Josh and Deidre.

Operations Team


Receptionist

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2010

About

Jill Ross
Finance & Site Systems Coordinator

Contact

519-742-8518 x 2013

jross@alzheimerww.ca
About

Jill joined the Alzheimer Society of Kitchener-Waterloo in 2005 in the role of Office and Finance Coordinator. In 2010, she moved into the role of Finance Coordinator expanding to include Cambridge and Guelph-Wellington. She has moved the organization from three separate sets of books and financial practices to one system. Jill’s primary community partner is the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN).

Having experienced the disease in her family and through her family’s retirement home business, she feels fortunate to see first-hand the hard work that the staff, board and volunteers of the Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington do for all those affected with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Jill has a Bachelor of Music performance degree. She was a part of the Elora Festival Singers, Guelph Chamber Choir and the St John’s Elora Parish Choir (a professional church choir) for over 21 years. Her performance travels have taken her from St Paul’s Cathedral in London to the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina. She now lives with her husband and daughter in a rural community where she grew up.


Last Updated: 05/23/17
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