Founders and Staff

Brenda Rusnak

Brenda Website
Brenda Rusnak, Co-Founder and President

Pronouns: she/her

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

Kascha Cassaday
Kascha Cassaday, Co-Founder, Mentor Training Program Director

Pronouns: she/her

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

Macaulee Cassaday

Macaulee Cassaday, Co-Founder, Program Director

Pronouns: they/she

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

Tess Finlay
Tess Finlay, HR Director

Pronouns: she/her

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

Saffron Cassaday
Saffron Cassaday, Director of Social Media

Pronouns: she/her

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

Charlene O’Connor
Charlene O’Connor, Administration Manager

Pronouns: she/her

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

Carly Michelle Pullin
Carly Michelle Pullin, Online Community Education Manager

Pronouns: she/her

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

Christine Calderon Caruso
Christine Calderon Caruso, Community Relations Manager

Pronouns: she/her

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.

Veronica Jiang

Veronica Jiang

Veronica Jiang, Project Manager

Pronouns: she/her

Veronica holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. She was involved and led several design projects during her undergrad study to help improving the life quality of seniors and physically challenged people. Veronica previously worked as a project coordinator in the manufacturing industry and have been working closely with multiple non-profit organizations for the past six years as an event coordinator. Being a visible minority who studied and lived abroad by herself, Veronica understands how critical it is to have people to communicate with and to get support from when being isolated and vulnerable. With her passion for helping people, Veronica started working for Cyber- Seniors as a project manager who oversees the coordination of all projects and ensures the implementations of service contracts are successful.

Beth Winnick

Beth Winnick

Beth Winnick, Best Buy Program Manager

Pronouns: she/her

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.

Christian Ortiz

Christian Ortiz

Christian Ortiz, Best Buy Program Coordinator & Facilitator (Houston)

Pronouns: he/him

Christian is a first-generation college student having earned both a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Health from the University of Houston while currently pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Data Science from the University of St. Thomas. Since his undergraduate career, Christian has helped act in his community by leading and coordinating with multiple organizations to develop scholarships and charitable events while serving as an educator for five years. Christian is now a Program Coordinator and Facilitator for Cyber-Seniors, responsible for both the development of the youth curriculum and implementation of the program in the Houston area.

Chania Mitchell

Chania Mitchell

Chania Mitchell, Best Buy Program Coordinator & Facilitator (San Marcos)

Pronouns: she/her

Chania has a B.S. in Business Administration and is completing her M.S. in Clinical Counseling and Psychology. Chania has coordinated and developed several social service and behavioral health programs and training curriculums. Chania is joining CyberSeniors as a Program Facilitator and Coordinator and will be assisting in development and implementation of the youth mentorship and work readiness program.

Kamryn Moore

Kamryn Moore

Kamryn Moore, Best Buy Program Coordinator & Facilitator (St. Louis)

Pronouns: she/her

Kamryn is in her final semester at Webster University pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in International Human Rights and a minor in Political Science. Having spent time studying abroad in both Thailand and Costa Rica, Kamryn developed a passion for helping others, especially youth. Throughout her time in college, Kamryn has worked for countless non-profits working towards ensuring the rights of children are protected, including spending a summer as an AmeriCorps employee at the International Institute of St. Louis where she worked with refugee and immigrant youth. Kamryn is looking forward to connecting the youth and seniors of St. Louis, and beyond, in hopes of fostering a greater understanding of each other, and an increase in opportunities for all.

Nancy Siciliana

Nancy Siciliana

Nancy Siciliana, Niagara Region Program Manager

Pronouns: she/her

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

Anny Salcedo

Anny Salcedo, Bi-lingual Group Technology Training Supervisor

Pronouns: she/her

Anny is certified in Human Pedagogics and Occupational Therapy. She has taught Spanish to immigrants from all over the world and volunteered in Canada for organizations like Catholic Social Services, the Edmonton Food Bank and the Certified Listeners Society in Toronto, Ontario as a Team Lead Coordinator. Within her work experience, she has acted as a performance manager for AirBnB properties building listings from the ground up. She currently conducts virtual training for seniors for multiple organizations across North America and oversees the Cyber-Seniors Connected Communities Initiative in the Niagara Region intended to connect businesses and services in the area with senior citizens. Anny spends her free time practicing MMA and she is pursuing a Mental Health and Addiction Certificate at George Brown College.

Brigmar Alvarez

Brigmar Alvarez

Brigmar Alvarez, Call Center Representative

Pronouns: she/her

Brigmar has an academic background in medicine that allowed her to interact with and care for people of different ages. Originally from Venezuela, she relocated to Toronto, where she has worked as a home caregiver for the last four years, ensuring personal needs are met daily and encouraging and supervising clients with daily living activities. Since then, she has always been committed to delivering high-quality service to those in need. She is currently pursuing a Nursing career at George Brown College, following her passion for helping people using her skills. Brigmar enjoys spending time with family and friends in her free time, crafting and enjoying the outdoors.

Alex Hall

Alex Hall, Scheduling Assistant

Pronouns: she/her

Alex is a candidate for a degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Brock University. She currently lives in St. Catharines but is originally from Kapuskasing, ON. Alex hopes to continue working with older adults throughout her career and is a passionate advocate for seniors in practical and research work. In her free time Alex enjoys spending time with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, practicing yoga, and spending time with animals.

Una Xu

 

Una Xu

Una Xu, Marketing Coordinator

Pronouns: she/her

After getting her degree in Human Behaviour & Psychology from McMaster University, Una took the role to help managing the social media and marketing for Cyber Seniors. Previously she has volunteered for 3+ non-for-profit organizations and hospitals, and worked as a marketing coordinator. Knowing it’s important for the seniors to be heard and welcomed by the digital world, Una wishes to make a difference by utilizing the power of social media and bring the joy to life.

Dr. Skye Leedahl

Dr. Skye Leedahl

Dr. Skye Leedahl, Research Consultant (volunteer)

Pronouns: she/her

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

Dr. Mark Chignell

Dr. Mark Chignell, Research Consultant

Pronouns: he/him

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.