Brenda Rusnak, Co-Founder and President
Brenda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy. For over 30 years she served as the President and CEO of a healthcare company (specializing in senior care) in which she held controlling interest. In 2009, she sold her company and in 2014, she produced an award-winning documentary film (Cyber-Seniors), that has been broadcast in 40 countries and screened in over 500 communities world-wide. In 2015, Brenda co-founded the non-profit organization “Cyber-Seniors : Connecting Generations” in response to requests from community-based organizations to replicate the Cyber-Seniors model. Brenda’s role at Cyber-Seniors includes daily oversight of all operations to ensure implementation of the organization’s mission across a diverse array of projects and staff.
Kascha Cassaday, Co-Founder, Director of Digital Services
Kascha is one of the co-founders of Cyber-Seniors. She and her sister started the program when they were in high school after witnessing how the Internet had brought her closer to her grandparents. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism with a minor in International Relations from Ryerson University and recently completed the New Strategies Program at Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business. Kascha worked as a creative producer specializing in new media for seven years before assuming the role of Director of Digital Services at Cyber-Seniors. She is responsible for developing and overseeing Cyber-Seniors Digital Services and Mentor Training Program.
Macaulee Cassaday, Co-Founder, Online Program Director
Macaulee is one of the co-founders of the Cyber-Seniors program. She, along with her sister developed the program as part of a high school project, inspired by her grandparents. Years later, Macaulee is still pursuing the important work of getting seniors connected, as the Online Program Director for Cyber-Seniors. Macaulee holds a BFA in Theatre with a minor in Political Science from New York University, and has worked in production as a production assistant, an editor and most recently as a writer and producer. She is responsible for producing and overseeing all of Cyber-Seniors online programming.
Tess Finlay, HR Director
Tess is a communications specialist with a passion for global action and social change. After graduating from Humber College with an Advanced Diploma in Public Relations, Tess worked alongside three of Canada’s largest and most impactful charitable organizations – World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF), Free The Children and Environmental Defense Canada. Tess has assisted in the execution of various national marketing campaigns and PR events, developed integrated communications plans for major national campaigns and has implemented a number of highly successful partnership programs. Tess has played a key role in successfully growing Cyber-Seniors community engagement and expansion across North America, since its inception. In her current capacity Tess oversees employee and volunteer recruitment and is responsible for the development and implementation of the new staff/intern on-boarding process.
Saffron Cassaday, Director of Social Media
Saffron Cassaday began her career as an actor while working as an assistant director and editor on several online, TV and corporate projects. In 2014, Saffron directed the documentary film “Cyber-Seniors”. The film was a huge success, broadcasting in 40 countries (including on PBS, Netflix and CBC), and played to sold-out audiences in over 500 communities world-wide. Cyber-Seniors won the Audience Choice Award at the High Falls Film Festival and was nominated by the American Library Association for a Notable Videos for Adults Award. Saffron received well over 200 accolades for the film and her work, several coming from the most prestigious media outlets in North America including the New York Times, LA Times, Village Voice and Hollywood Reporter. Cyber-Seniors documentary is the inspiration behind our organization and Saffron has remained connected through the development and creation of content for social media, our website and promotion material.
Charlene O’Connor, Administration Manager
Charlene holds a degree in Mathematics and has received additional certification in the areas of Public Administration, ESL, and teaching. She has worked in various capacities as an administration and technology co-ordinator for over 25 years. She is also a tax pro at H&R Block Canada. At Cyber-Seniors Charlene is responsible for office administration, the setup and maintenance of technical systems, and co-ordination of multiple projects involving various teams and stakeholders throughout the organization and the communities it serves.
Carly Michelle Pullin, Trilingual Training Manager
Carly has a BA with a major in International Relations from Mount Allison University, with specializations in Political Science and Sociology. She has extensive international experience; having lived, worked and studied in Canada and the US, Colombia, France and Pakistan, and has worked in the fields of Communications, Teaching, Tourism and Hospitality. Passionate about social justice and inclusion, Carly enjoys working with diverse communities and individuals within a capacity building context. Carly is responsible for managing and supervising Cyber-Seniors’ internship placements, as well as managing Cyber-Seniors tech-training in English, French and Spanish.
Christine Calderon Caruso, Community Relations Manager
Christine has more than 15 years experience working with large and small non-profit organizations. Notably, she has worked for Union Rescue Mission, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels and the Dr. Phil Foundation. She started her non-profit career as a lead counsellor and worked her way up to supervising programs. She eventually found her true calling in Fund Development and Community Relations. In her current capacity, Christine is responsible for developing and securing partnerships allowing Cyber-Seniors to expand its reach and achieve its mission.
Beth Winnick, Best Buy Program Manager
Beth holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University, with a specialty in Non-Profit Management and Communications. Committed to public service, she’s worked with an array of non-profit and public organizations over the past 30 years, including in the U.S. Senate as Legislative Clerk and at the United Nations Association as Communications Director. She recently received a Mayoral appointment to the Minneapolis Advisory Committee on Aging. Beth is responsible for the development and oversight of all the Cyber-Seniors programs at various Best Buy Teen Tech Centers throughout the U.S.
Nancy Siciliana, Niagara Region Program Manager
Nancy has degrees in English Literature, the Humanities, and Adult Education. She has professional accreditation in Homeopathic Medicine and 20 years of experience in private practice. As a long-time volunteer in adult literacy, she realized that so many seniors wanted to learn tech skills which lead her to develop the Seniors’ Computer Lab Project in the Niagara region. Nancy has continued to deliver computer training to seniors, through the implementation and management of the Cyber-Seniors program throughout the region.
Anny Salcedo, Bi-lingual Training Supervisor
Anny is a recent immigrant to Canada from Colombia, where she studied Human Pedagogics and Occupational Therapy while teaching Spanish to immigrants from all over the world. She also lived for a time being in Mexico, where started a program called “Be Our Guest” that focused on teaching Spanish to English speaking children transitioning from living in United Stated to Mexico. Anny first joined Cyber-Seniors as a volunteer with the desire to help seniors stay connected during the Covid-19 pandemic. Anny’s dedication to serving seniors quickly lead to a full-time where she is responsible for leading and supervising Cyber-Seniors tech-training in Spanish and English.
Stephanie Ascencio, Spanish Projects and Scheduling Supervisor
Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics from the University of California, Irvine. Since graduating, she has held various volunteer and non-volunteer positions, including as a Behavior Interventionist, where she helped children with behavioral issues to learn and advance with their class. At Cyber-Seniors, Stephanie is responsible for scheduling and overseeing one-on-one tech-help sessions for seniors. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and has been instrumental in carrying out a number of additional projects including outreach to Spanish-speaking communities throughout the U.S.
Jenna Wickens, Scheduling Supervisor
Jenna graduated from Niagara College with a diploma in Recreation and Leisure services and then with honours from Brock University, obtaining a degree in Community Recreation. Prior to joining Cyber-Seniors, she worked as director of a non-profit youth centre, gaining valuable experience in working with youth and volunteers. In her current capacity, Jenna is responsible for matching volunteers to meet the needs of senior citizens requiring tech help.
Kayla Kuefler, Program Developer
Kayla holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University and has been working in journalism and marketing for six years. Kayla has lived in Germany and Australia, where she was a brand and content marketing manager for a German e-commerce company. She continues to work as a freelance fashion, lifestyle, and beauty writer alongside her role as a program developer for Cyber-Seniors’ community-based activities. Her role is to research, develop, and test community and wellness-focussed programs to broaden Cyber-Seniors’ program offerings.
Dr. Skye Leedahl, Research Consultant
Dr. Skye Leedahl is a tenure-track faculty member at the University of Rhode Island. She was hired as part of the Cluster Hire Initiative in Aging & Health. She has worked in nursing homes, for a U.S. Senator, at a community agency action agency, and as a research project coordinator for various stated-funded program evaluation and research projects. Dr. Leedahl was the recipient of the prestigious John A. Hartford Doctoral Fellowship in Geriatric Social Work, and she has received awards from the Gerontological Society of America, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Kansas for her research. Dr. Leedahl currently teaches a mix of undergraduate and graduate classes about research methods, physical and social environments for older adults, policy issues in health & aging, and public program evaluation.
Dr. Mark Chignell, Research Consultant
Dr. Chignell has a PhD in Psychology and an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He has been a member of the Mechanical & Industrial Engineering faculty at University of Toronto since 1990. Prior to that he was an Assistant Professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California, taught in the Psychology Department at Monash University in Melbourne, served as the Director of the Knowledge Media Design Institute at the University of Toronto, and was the BUL Chair in Human Computer Interaction. He has been a visiting scientist at the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies in Toronto since 2002 and he was a visiting scientist at Keio University from 2005 to 2010.
Professor Chignell has co-authored books on expert systems and intelligent databases and has written many journal and conference papers on topics such as hypertext and information retrieval, user interface design and healthcare applications. His current interests revolve around the aging process and is working on technologies for aging including physical and cognitive exercises for people with dementia and the design of user interfaces for communicating efficiently and effectively with artificially intelligent agents.