Board members and volunteers help shape the strategic direction and sustainability of the Society. Learn more about how you can get involved by contacting us at [email protected].
The Alzheimer Society Board of Directors for 2020/21 are:
Rennie Brudnjak, President
Rennie is a CPA who has worked at Sun Life in Finance and Risk Management for almost 20 years. Rennie has volunteered with several local organizations including The Literacy Group, Hospice Waterloo Region and Grand River Mental Health. Having seen her mother's health deteriorate under the strain of being a caregiver for a husband with Alzheimer's, she understands the value to the community of providing education and support for families facing those challenges.
Kim Cusimano, Vice-President
A lived family experience sparked a passion for supporting persons living with dementia. Through an educational background in recreation, leisure, and volunteer engagement, Kim has 25+ years of experience in the community, retirement and long-term care as a recreational professional, a leader of volunteers and most recently supporting non-profits and charities with best practices in volunteer involvement and training along with leading marketing, communications and events for PIN – The People and Information Network.
Through these experiences, Kim has had the opportunity to be involved in culture change and dementia care initiatives and is a Master Trainer for an award-winning training program for those supporting persons living with dementia. Kim continues to deepen her awareness and perspective, is an advocate for person-centered support and the vital need for meaning and life purpose for all.
As a member of the Board, Kim returns to her non-profit roots and is thrilled to have the opportunity to support the Alzheimer Society as it seeks to support persons living with dementia to live their best day.
Uzzam Riaz, Treasurer
Uzzam is an Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Whales (ICAEW), Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA) from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK. He also volunteered as a member of the CPD Committee of ICAB for 4 years. Uzzam loves hiking, playing with his daughter and reading.
Uzzam has been working with Deloitte for over 12 years in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Barbados and most recently in Canada. During this time, he has had various opportunities to spend time for the firm’s volunteer activities like Impact Day, one day specified to do volunteer work with any local organizations on an annual basis, and Lifelong learning labs (labs carried out to give some start-up ideas to students or new graduates).
Most recently, Uzzam joined the board of Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington, where he aims to play a part in making the Society most effective in serving people living with Alzheimer's. In addition to serving the board, he is also the Treasurer overseeing the finance functions of the Society.
Jesse Dugard, Director
Jesse joined the board of ASWW in the summer of 2019. Jesse is passionate about giving back in the community that he lives and works in; he takes pride in being involved in ASWW and several other local non-profit community organizations. Jesse was first touched by Alzheimer’s when his grandmother was diagnosed with the disease, as a result, he saw firsthand the impact that the disease has on loved ones and recognized the importance of organizations such as ASWW. Jesse has worked at BMO Financial Group for over a decade the last seven years of which have been at BMO Nesbitt Burns where he is an Investment Advisor. Jesse is a graduate of The University of Guelph where he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He lives in Waterloo with his wife.
Christopher Loucks, Director
Like so many others, Chris has had to face Alzheimer's and Lewey Body Syndrome with their devastating effects on his family. He is looking to help the Alzheimer Society to extend it's reach to more persons with dementia and their families. As a Board member, he hopes to use his background in Board governance, financial reporting and business process improvement to help the amalgamated Waterloo Wellington organization to grow. As a chartered accountant with a background serving entrepreneurial companies, he has seen the way that community initiatives and re-investment can create a culture of business success. In his consulting practice, he has worked with numerous local companies on various strategic growth initiatives. There is a growing movement locally to create this same culture of partnership and re-investment in our community service organizations. He will work to ensure the financial viability of the society as well as its future partnership strategies.
Cheryl Sarnavka, Director
A CPA CGA, serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of senior-level management experience in various industries including Pharmaceutical, Financial Services, Real Estate, Manufacturing, Advertising, Communication and Retail. Her unique management style, classic “customer service is an important key to business continuity”, and a respect for every level within an organization has created a devout team of followers who consider Cheryl a great mentor, trusted friend, colleague and advisor.
She is an individual who believes in trust, loyalty, integrity and transparency. She is both a highly-skilled, analytical thinker and a creative, sales-oriented leader. Creating policies, controls and leading organizations through successful execution of their strategic plans is second nature to her.
Cheryl climbed the corporate ladder starting as a General Accountant and quickly working her way up to Controller, Vice President and then Chief Financial Officer. Cheryl has a passion for achieving results and helping others obtain their goals. She is a highly focused, driven team leader who is an effective relationship builder. She uses her spare time and unique ability to rally teams to support local community-building efforts.
David Bernstein, Director
Date last edited: November 18, 2020
Lisa Deguire, Director
Lisa holds a Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Waterloo and started her career in the pharmaceutical industry. She then made a career change to Human Resources working up to the executive level in the mining industry at the end of her corporate career. Lisa is a Certified Training & Development Professional (CTDP) and Human Capital Strategist (HCS) and now supports organizations as a Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness consultant. She is currently pursuing her Accredited Coaching Certification (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation.
In 2018, Lisa’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she became her Power of Attorney. Supporting her father, she had to navigate the healthcare system to place her mother in long-term care. In so doing, she became a member of the Alzheimer Society of Waterloo Wellington.
Lisa is passionate about blending her diverse skills and prior board experience to raise awareness about this disease in order to support those afflicted with it and their caregivers, to promote prevention strategies for future generations, as well as to enable research for cause and cure.
Catherine has worked in a variety of leadership, educational and clinical roles in health care. The lived experience of her father’s vascular dementia sparked a passion for supporting our elders. Catherine and a physician colleague played instrumental roles in developing a geriatric clinic in Simcoe County where she worked as a Nurse Practitioner diagnosing and managing dementia.
After retiring in the spring of 2020, Catherine relocated to the Waterloo area. She is currently the care partner for a close family friend living with dementia. Catherine has been an active volunteer supporting environmental initiatives. She has also served on the executive of community boards. She brings a deep understanding of the needs of care partners and governance experience to the Waterloo Wellington Alzheimer Society.
Len Carter is a former CBC Television Director working on current affairs programs including The National, Sunday Report, Saturday Report and The Nature of Things (David Suzuki show). He was also involved in the presentation of programming for 9/11 and Lady Diana's fatal car accident entitled Lady Di.
During his tenure at the CBC, Len was president of two different local unions (CUPE Local 667 and CMG 30213) and held table officer positions for approximately thirty years.
These positions held included travel to ten provinces and two territories within Canada.
Len Carter is currently an activist and officer on the Dementia Advocacy Canada board and joined the Board of Trustees at the Alzheimer Society, Waterloo Wellington.
Len fulfilled all executive positions on the executive boards of his CUPE and the Canadian Media Guild locals as well as holding national office positions within the parent unions as noted.
Len has also led or participated in the activities of many non-union community organizations as a governor at Conestoga College and was the chairperson at the Waterloo-Wellington training and Adjustment Board.
At the conclusion of his employment at the CBC and for the following ten years he became heavily involved in the Waterloo Regional Labour Council, The Canada Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation of Labour and was one of the first and busiest Occasional (Peer) program facilitators in Ontario.
Len currently resides in Cambridge, Ontario.
Janis Randall Simpson
Janis Randall Simpson is a Registered Dietitian. She is Professor Emerita in the Applied Human Nutrition
program at the University of Guelph where she is still active in teaching and research. Janis has just finished a four-year term as volunteer, part-time Executive Director of the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, the research foundation associated with Dietitians of Canada.
Recent experience as a caregiver to her late husband, who was afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia, led Janis to the terrific programming through the Alzheimer’s Society of Waterloo Wellington (ASWW).
She is excited to be able to contribute to the ASWW Board to fulfill its mandate to provide programs and services for those with various forms of dementia.
Having recently moved to Waterloo region, Ian was eager to give back to his new community and joined the board of ASWW in the summer of 2021. Through his partner's employment in the healthcare sector, and having had a grandmother face the challenges of living with dementia; Ian appreciates the great work and meaningful improvements that organizations such as ASWW provide to those members of the community that are impacted by this disease. Ian is a senior advisor with the Ontario Public Service and has received a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Analysis along with a Master of Political Management, both from Carleton University.
Paul Kerr, Director
Paul retired in 2018 because he was overwhelmed by the requirements of caring for his parents, his father having Alzheimer’s and his mother physically challenged. While trying to care for them both, he experienced many highlights of organizations and individuals who care deeply for the respect and dignity that the elderly deserve. There were also many disappointments with the system that is supposed to assist and take care of them. With them having passed away, he will dedicate his time and passion to assisting those afflicted and their caregivers in an effort to ease the challenges of aging.
His business career provided him with experience in accounting, finance, regulatory, and legal expertise with which he wishes to assist local families and organizations in addressing and easing the challenges of the elderly and particulary those dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s.