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, Mentor Training Program Director
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, 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.
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.
Veronica Jiang, Project Manager
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.
Chloe Bearce, Social Media Manager
Chloe has an education in film and television production and has worked for many startups. Digital media, curation, and content are major obsessions of hers and she is always up to date when it comes to pop culture. She has a great deal of experience in all matters of production including art direction, set design, and wardrobe. Originally from California’s Bay Area, Chloe has lived and worked in many major U.S. cities and currently is enjoying the lovely city of Toronto. She loves reading, movies, cooking, and shopping vintage.
Kaliyah Lee, Best Buy Program Coordinator & Facilitator (Minneapolis)
Kaliyah is in her third year at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities pursuing a B.S. in Health and Well-being Sciences minoring in Family Social Sciences. Kaliyah has dedicated most of her time as an undergraduate as a board member across several student-life clubs aimed towards advocacy and relationship building of POC students on campus. Alongside community involvement, Kaliyah has also dedicated work in assisted living facilities aiding seniors in everyday life. Kaliyah hopes to tie these experiences together while furthering her professional skillset through her position as a Program Facilitator for Cyber-Seniors in Minneapolis.
Chania Mitchell, Best Buy Program Coordinator & Facilitator (San Marcos)
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.
Anny Salcedo, Bi-lingual Group Technology Training Supervisor
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.
Lukas Holland, Outreach Manager
Lukas has an academic background in Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University. During his time in Undergrad, Lukas was President of Laurier Supporting Sick Kids, supporting the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Canada and forming lasting partnerships with local businesses and organizations in Toronto and the Kitchener-Waterloo region. Lukas has experience working in the tech sector, supporting multiple large-scale product launches and maintaining back-end systems. Lukas’ passion for helping others through the delivery of digital literacy programs is being furthered through his position as Outreach Manager for Cyber-Seniors, where he coordinates partnerships and sponsorships.
Brigmar Alvarez, Call Center Representative
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, Scheduling Assistant
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.
Dr. Skye Leedahl, Research Consultant (volunteer)
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.