Meet the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County Staff Team
Laura-Lynn Bourassa is the Manager of Education and Support Programs who joined the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County in 2003, first working as an Education Coordinator. Her personal experience with dementia and background in Gerontology fuels her drive to provide quality programs and services that meets the needs of the community.
Dana Bessette is an Education Coordinator servicing Barrie and South Simcoe. Dana oversees Public Education programs, as well as managing the Alzheimer Society Music Project locally. Dana has been with the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County since 2013, starting as a volunteer. She has a love for seniors and thoroughly enjoys her work with the Alzheimer Society.
Dana was born and raised in Etobicoke, but has been living in Springwater Township for many years, enjoying the surrounding Simcoe Forest. She lives there with her husband and two daughters.
Erika Rice is an Education Coordinator serving Orillia, North Simcoe and South Georgian Bay. She is primarily involved in our Family and Professional Education programs. Erika has been with the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County since 2004. Originally working as the fundraiser for the organization, Erika developed a passion for helping people whose lives have been impacted by dementia. In 2013 she moved into the role of Education Coordinator where she can focus on her love of assisting people.
Erika and her family have lived in Penetanguishene since 2000, but her roots are in Saskatchewan and she will always be a prairie girl at heart.
Support Services Team
Michelle Menecola is the First Link Care Navigator serving Simcoe County. Michelle is passionate about helping to enhance the lives of those living with dementia, and their care partners. She loves working with such a compassionate team at the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County!
Susan Nagy is a Family Support Coordinator serving Orillia. She feels encouraged by the growing awareness and understanding around living well with dementia. Originally starting in the Education Coordinator role, Susan has been with the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County since 2002, transitioning into Support Services in 2008.
Susan moved to Orillia to work for the Alzheimer Society, and continues to enjoy living on the doorstep to Muskoka and all the outdoor opportunities it brings.
Heidi Haupt is a registered Social Worker who serves as a Family Support Coordinator in Barrie. She has been part of the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County Support Services staff team since 2003, and volunteered for the Society prior to that. Heidi has been inspired by so many people living with dementia and their care partners over the years, and enjoys being a member of such a great staff team!
Heidi was born and raised in Barrie. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children as well as talking to the bees and butterflies in her garden.
Meredith Joy is a Family Support Coordinator serving Barrie and North Simcoe. Meredith came to us from the Alzheimer Society of Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland & Haliburton, where she worked in a similar role.
Meredith enjoys getting to know the Simcoe County community and establishing relationships with the new clients that come her way.
Meredith currently lives in Orillia.
Sanju Hirji is a Family Support Coordinator serving South Simcoe. She has trained as a nurse and worked in many different programs and settings. Her focus has been supporting clients and families to live well in their communities. Sanju started as a volunteer with the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County in 2017. She volunteered with the Minds in Motion® program and co- facilitated a drop-in support group for care partners in South Simcoe, as well as serving on the Board of Directors.
Toni Jacobs, RSW is the Enhancing Care Program Clinician for the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County. Prior to joining us, Toni has worked as a clinical social worker/therapist in the Orillia area and has focused her practice on three areas including disease management and psychosocial rehabilitation, care partner health and well-being, and grief/loss and bereavement. In addition to her work at the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County, Toni teaches at the Orillia campus of Georgian College.
In her spare time, Toni enjoys the outdoors with her Australian Sheppard, Maghie.
Minds in Motion® Team
Taryl Bougie is a Minds in Motion® Coordinator who came to us with over 20 years of experience working with older adults living with dementia, in both the community and long-term care settings. She formerly worked as Life Enrichment Coordinator at Grove Park Home in Barrie where she worked since 2007. Prior to that, Taryl was an Activationist at Coleman Care Centre in Barrie for two years. From 1995 to 2005, she was a Social Service Worker for St. Joseph’s Care Group in Thunder Bay. Taryl has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Lakehead University, and a Community Gerontology Diploma and Personal Support Worker Certificate from Confederation College in Thunder Bay. She is also a Certified Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA) in Dementia Care Coach and a trainer in Montessori Methods for Dementia Care.
Lynda Low has over 15 years of experience facilitating educational groups with adult learners. She formerly worked with YWCA Muskoka providing group learning for women at transition points in their lives. This included life skills and entrepreneurship training as well as initiatives supporting individuals living in poverty. Prior to this, she was self-employed, providing entrepreneurship training to groups throughout Ontario. She has an understanding of the challenges and benefits of living in rural communities. A life-long learner, she has studied extensively in Adult Education through Athabasca University and Lakehead University, and has music training through the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Lynda is the Minds in Motion® Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Muskoka, but does provide some Minds in Motion® programming in the Simcoe County region.
Fund Development Team
Katherine Breeson is the Events Coordinator who joined the team in March 2020. Katherine has enjoyed a 25+ year career in advertising and publishing and has been producing and organizing events for over 10 years. She is passionate about supporting community causes and is enthusiastic about bringing awareness to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias through the Alzheimer Society in Simcoe County's fundraising events.
Sandy MacNevin is the Fund Development Officer who joined our team in January 2020. Sandy is a professional marketing veteran who brings an integrated background in promotion, publicity, sponsorship, team building, event management (and most recently a focus in executive level business development), she has benefited the corporations or partners she works with in significant financial and fiscal growth. Philanthropy through empathy is a core belief in how Sandy lives her life and to that end, has volunteered and worked with many not-for-profit organizations. Her passion for business development and partnership programming on a local community level is her current professional focus simply because making a difference to those whom she shares her neighborhood with ultimately matters, thus making her a strong addition to the Simcoe County team.
Marguerite Glanfield is the Volunteer Resources Coordinator. She started to work at the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County in 1996 in the newly created position of Coordinator of Volunteers. Over the years, the volunteer program has grown to meet the increasing needs of the Alzheimer Society in every aspect of its programming.
Born in Bermuda, Marguerite immigrated to Canada with her parents at the age of 8. She has lived in various communities in Ontario over the years. She and her husband Al have lived in Alcona for over 24 years.
Kristin Smith is the Administrative Assistant for the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County. Kristin loves being part of such a hardworking, passionate team of people who all have the same goal: helping and guiding those living with dementia and their care partners to ensure they have the resources and tools they need to live well.